Bad Weather and Good Friends at Tremont

great smoky mountains institute at tremont - val in real life

Let’s face it, life dishes out the unexpected and undesired. A lot. The only thing we’re in control of is how we respond, right? I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Georgia. Part of the time was dedicated to hanging out with Fred and George. The rest was mostly allocated to attending the spring photography workshop at my beloved Great Smoky …

Turning Misfortune into Opportunity: A Photographic Journey

Val in Real Life

Each April I return to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for the spring photography workshop led by the fabulous Bill Lea. While it’s largely a family reunion for me and I love spending time with people who constantly inspire me, I also look forward to honing my photography skills when I’m there. At the Tremont workshops (both spring and …

Mentor

Today I’m back in the Great Smoky Mountains for my photographic family reunion. It’s time for the Autumn Brilliance workshop again and this is where I come to get rejuvenated and inspired by my friends and mentors. There’s an undertone of melancholy to this one, though. While it’s only my fourth fall workshop at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at …

Sanctuary

Today I’m nestled in one of my favorite places in the world. It’s spring photography workshop time again at The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and I’ll be immersed in photography, the Smokies, and my Tremont friends for the next several days. I’ve written much about my time in the Smokies and this workshop in particular is a sweet …

Contact

I’ve talked a lot lately about how much I appreciate the connections I’ve made during my life as a blogger. I’ve made some great friends in various communities and I’ve learned a lot from some inspiring people. But today I get to return to my beloved Tremont to expand my Great Smoky Mountains knowledge through immersive, experiential education. (It’s not …

Appreciation

Through my blogging and travels, I’ve gotten to meet some truly remarkable people. Some have become friends, others are mentors, some are both. All of them, I cherish for their impact on my life. And now that I’ve been around the blogosphere for a little while, I occasionally meet people who are inspired by what I do. It’s a little …

Tremont’s Naturalist Certification Program: Discover the Great Smoky Mountains

You all know by now that I love the Great Smoky Mountains and that I’m obsessed with the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. In fact, I’m a Junkie. I’ve written about their fabulous photography workshops (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C) and even highlighted why Tremont is so awesome for kids, but I’ve never taken you through the nuts …

Inspiration and Friendship

I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it is to be in the Great Smoky mountains again after two anxious weeks of park closures. I’m back at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance workshop, my oasis of friendship and inspiration… that almost didn’t happen. It came down to the wire but the workshop is …

Guest Post: Lost in the Dark at Crater Lake

Dear readers, help me welcome a special guest blogger to Val in Real Life. You might recognize Steve Zigler as a Friend of Camp Granola and today’s post is brought to you by his big adventure this summer. Steve came back with an epic panorama of the Milky Way over Crater Lake that he shared with us through space.com initially. …

Postcards from Real Life: Why?

Today I head off yet again to my home-away-from-home, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. This trip marks my final class in the Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification program so as of Sunday I’ll have officially graduated! One of the most frequent questions I get about the program is why I chose to do it. Well for one, I’m a …