Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oklahoma Bound!

This past week was absolutely crazy! Actually, I think it has been that way for at least a month! Over the last weekend, Shan and I had the privilege to teach at a photography conference in Oklahoma. Together we taught 5 classes over the weekend. Shan taught a Natural Light Photography class and a Reception Lighting class. I taught The Business Side of Photography. It was a ton of fun, but a lot of work too.

I have already taught this class before, so I didn't have to prepare a whole new presentation, but I did make some changes. But I spent a good month preparing for this trip. Mainly because we decided to take the boys with us and let them spend some time with my family in Oklahoma. My cousin, Jamie, was kind enough (and maybe a bit insane enough) to agree to keep my boys at her house for the 2 1/2 days that we were at the conference. This left her with her 2 boys and my 2 boys...all under 6 years old! I've said this to her probably a dozen times, but once again....thank you so much Jamie!!! I couldn't have done this without you.

Did I mention that we decided to DRIVE to Oklahoma?!? This meant 4 days, over 32 hours and almost 2200 miles in the car with 2 children! I am not sure what we were thinking. LOL

The trip went really well overall. Here are just a few pics from the trip:

This was my view for the majority of the trip! LOL
We decided to stop at the end of the first day in St. Louis. It was very cool being able to see the Gateway Arch. I have never been to St. Louis before and I have never seen the Mississippi River either, so this was very exciting for me. This is what I got of the Arch while we were driving into St. Louis:

That night we had arranged to meet one of my friends that lives in St. Louis for Dinner. Nic and her daughter, Ellie met us at Houlihan's in Union Station for dinner. Isn't Ellie just the cutest!?!?

After dinner, Shan took the boys outside to do some natural light pictures by the little canal they had there while I finished visiting with Nic. These are a couple that Shan took.

Christian loves to point out letters and numbers that he sees on signs. In this one, he was reading off the letters in the restaurant's sign.

After Nic and Ellie left to go home, I took some more images by the canal with the boys.

Shan and the boys were feeding the fish.

After a restless night (we don't sleep too well when we are all in the same room! Christian woke up about 6 times that night.), we decided to go see the St. Louis Arch before getting back on the road. Despite the short night, Ian was wide awake and ready to go!

One of the Park Rangers was kind enough to take a picture of all of us with the Arch. He was so friendly.

Of course I had to torture my children and try and get pictures of them with the arch.

In order to get these angles, I was laying on the ground. Once Christian was out of the shot, all he wanted to do was come and climb on me. Then of course the sound from the camera while I was photographing Ian caught his curiousity and this was the result:

Ian was actually quite cooperative when it came to photos that day. He was posing up a storm for me!

We had a 2 hour wait for our time to go up in the Arch, so we watched the documentary on how they built the Arch. (That was very interesting!! I highly recommend it!) Then after that, we decided since it was a nice day to go back outside and let the boys run around and play. I did manage to get some creative angles of the Arch and an image of Shan and the boys.

Ian wanted to take my picture, so I let him have my camera. Apparently, Christian wasn't as important to him. LOL (I was on the phone with my Mom...big surprise! LOL)

Sadly, we didn't get to go up in the Arch. The tram broke down while we were waiting and we had no idea how long it was going to take to get it fixed. With at least 6 hours still to go, we decided we should just get on the road.

We got into my cousin's house later Thursday night and the kids immediately started playing together. I grabbed this one shot right before we were leaving. They were all watching tv before bed.

Then it was on to Skiatook for Shan and I. We went and got the photobooth setup at Ms. Patty's house and unloaded some of our gear. Shan's first class was scheduled for 9am on Friday morning, so we had a lot to do. Over the weekend, we never got more than 4 hours of sleep a night!

This is a shot from Shan's natural lighting class. (And the only image I really have of the models! When you are teaching, there isn't as much time for taking pictures! LOL)

Saturday...Oklahoma got 6 inches of snow! I could have sworn it was spring! LOL

Of course, the weekend wasn't just work. We also had a great time with our friends, both new and old, and laughed more than we do in a typical month! Here are just a few of the craziness that happens when 80 photographers get together in the same place. (Add in our photobooth and the craziness level goes up tenfold!)

Finally 6 days, 134 hours total, 6 states and almost 2200 miles...we were back home! We were sad to leave our friends, but happy to finally be back home after the long trip!

I think that next time we make a trip that long...we should take an RV! That would be more comfy and I think more enjoyable...even though this trip will definitely have memories for me!

Can't wait for next year's Shootout!


PS: Here is a slideshow of some of the photobooth craziness! If you are interested in making extra money, Shan is going to be selling the brains, software and plans for making your own photobooth! Just contact us!