Months ahead of time, I had signed up for a Road Runner tour in Cape May. As the weekend grew closer I got very excited about spending an entire weekend immersed in black and white photography. Unbeknownst to me a friend from my photo club had signed up for the previous weekend and posted pictures from the trip and it made me even more excited.
I took a leisurely drive down to the Jersey Shore early on Friday. I knew the fall was going to be busy for me with my regular work, teaching a graduate class on some Saturdays, and various other obligations, and I was excited to have the weekend to myself and my hobbies. I had heard that Cape May had a zoo that was worth visiting, so I decided to stop there on my way (it WAS worth it, especially as the lion posed for me and another zoo visitor like he was an old pro!). The weather was gorgeous, in the 70s and sunny, and the weekend promised to be rain- and bad weather-free.
Well, by sunset on Friday night, the time of our first shoot, the temperature started to get a little cooler—60s and breezy (Note: I hate the cold and I hate the wind more). By the time we met up before dawn on Saturday morning to shoot sunrise, it was 45 with blustery winds. I don’t think I’m the only one whose tripod blew over into the sand. We were all freezing and practically begging to go to breakfast. Denise, clearly a dedicated tour guide, teacher, and host (and obviously not afraid of the cold) kept pushing us further: “Oh, just wait! When the sun comes over that cloud, we are going to get great light on this pier!” “Oh, just one more thing! You have to see how the light comes up over there!” “Oh, wait for this other great thing that is going to happen soon, but sadly, your hands will be too frozen to take the shot….” Her loyal partner Geff—in shorts even in winter temps—was equally helpful in getting us motivated, helping us see the lights and angles, and giving us tips. It was easier to ignore the blustery fall weather while aiming for that perfect shot.
But we also DID really want to go to breakfast and warm up, which finally happened. We all walked in crying for something hot to drink and ordered a delicious breakfast before heading off to take pictures of the boardwalk as the sun moved higher in the sky and the temperature warmed up. After a full afternoon workshop on editing our pictures and making the most of black and white photography, we set out to do another sunset shoot. By then the temperature, thankfully had rebounded and the wind had died down, and I had the privilege of shooting the biggest group of swans I had ever seen. As we did on Friday, after sunset, we went out as a group for dinner and our guides made us feel welcome, and fostered camaraderie and togetherness amongst the attendees. Sunday morning it was another sunrise shoot and another breakfast, after which we started to disperse and scatter. A few of us walked around Cape May and took a few parting photos. Some ran off to travel back home early. I stopped back at the zoo on the way home and moseyed home slowly, in no rush to let my weekend end.
As is often the case when one spends time with others with the same creative interests, hobbies, skills, and passion, I left energized and eager to get home and go through the zillions of pictures I had taken. I learned some new things, improved some skills, and made new acquaintances whose photos I can admire on social media. Whether it was 75 and gorgeous or 45 and windy, the weekend was a blast!
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