My Fear of Workshops

Sunset from the summit of Bláhnjúkur

My recent Icelandic landscape photography workshop with Thor Photography was a success, all participants were happy, learned a thing or two and came away with some great images. We ate some great food, went kayaking in the mountains, we all bonded over drinks and great stories. In other ways, it was also a bit of a disaster, well the second week was a bit of a disaster. This article explains about a storm that hit our camp. Luckily we escaped it and had the sense to pack everything up and get the hell out of there. You can see the video series of this workshop HERE.

Volcanic Crator in the Icelandic Highlands
Volcanic Crater in the Icelandic Highlands

It has taken me several years to build up the confidence to lead group workshops. I would shudder at the thought of encountering days of bad weather and would worry about being asked questions I could not answer. Running a workshop is just one example of how a lack of confidence and self belief can hold you back because the truth is, running my first group workshop was one of the best things I have done and the relentless battering we took from the weather was a blessing in disguise.

Maria, Logan, Jody, Aljan & Thomas (Sorry Chris, I don't know where you are)
Maria, Logan, Jody, Aljan & Thomas (Sorry Chris, I don’t know where you are)

“As long as we have perfect light, we can’t go wrong”. This was a constant thought I had leading up to my trip to Iceland and we did encounter those perfect moments, but thankfully we also encountered horrible weather; wind, rain, flat skies and on top of all of that we were camping! So why was I thankful? Because my fears were realised and as it happens, those fears weren’t a fraction as bad as I had imagined. In fact, it was the complete opposite. Those bad weather moments actually pulled us together as a group. We all bonded, helped each other out, shared drinks and shared stories.

Jim, Chad, Thor, Rob, Chris, Efrat, Andre, Me
Jim, Chad, Thor, Rob, Chris, Efrat, Andre, Me

During a really bad storm on week 2, we all had to rebuild camp at 1am in driving rain, it was horrible, we were wet and we were tired. But then something happened and the whole group found this amazing energy, pulled together as a team and built camp in 15 minutes flat! It was incredible. 4 people working on one tent at a time with 4 others working on another. That night we were wet, cold and tired, but we all had a great sense of accomplishment. We sat in the warm trailer tent, opened the whiskey and chatted for what felt like hours in to the night. It was the happiest we had been as a group.

Bad Weather moving in
Bad Weather moving in

Running this Icelandic workshop, facing my fears and living them has only made me stronger, more confident and more comfortable with future projects. I am a big believer in getting out of your comfort zone, whether it is running workshops, starting a Youtube channel, shooting locations that are slightly less hospitable or travelling to a completely new & foreign land. Pushing ourselves and doing things we are not comfortable with is the only way we can grow and learn.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Thor Photography, my co-leader in Iceland and to all of the participants; André, Efrat, Chris, Rob, Jim, Chad, Logan, Maria, Jody, Thomas, Chris & Aljan all of whom I would consider friends. I have created this video playlist if you wish to watch this video series and see in more detail what we got up to.