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 …

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 …

Postcards from Real Life: Getting Lost

Earlier this week, my buddy Steve shared his moment of getting lost in the pursuit of finding himself. Steve’s story resonated with me because I’ve had a few of those epic moments. They’re usually out exploring some natural wonder but not always. But Steve’s moment got me thinking… is getting lost the same thing as finding yourself, or maybe one …

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: Longing

This was the view I was denied at Great Sand Dunes. It’s kind of a rite of passage at the dunes, to make it all the way to the top. Beyond the act of making the climb and the mental and physical challenges it represents, the view is unlike any other. Looking down on the dunes from within the dunes, …

Time to Get Your Tremont On…

In just a few short weeks I will again set off to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance Workshop with Will Clay. My thoughts… Just to refresh your memory on my love affair with this place, here’s a roundup of what I’ve written about Tremont so far… Autumn Brilliance in the Smokies Friends of Camp …

Real Life Connections: The Tremont Workshop Junkies

This addition to Real Life Connections is actually a collection of people. But, as a collective, they’ve greatly impacted yours truly and totally qualify for inclusion. And yes, it has been a long time since I’ve inducted anyone so why not go big and just add a bunch at once right? What’s the deal? Well, I’m still absorbing the awesome …

Autumn Brilliance at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

So what seems like an eternity ago but what was really only a few months, I got a little uber-mommy time. That’s right, I got to spend a glorious long weekend at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance Photography workshop. With the boys shipped off to Gma for safe keeping, I got four days away …