One Week in Heaven – The Portrait Masters conference in Palm Springs, CA

I am jet lagged as anything and struggling to return to a normal sleeping pattern since returning to Sydney last weekend. But wow. Just wow. The memories of Palm Springs are still vividly dancing around in my mind and I SO want to go back for a road trip next year. That place has left a lasting impression on me far beyond my imagination. The desert landscape alone had me grasping for my (Iphone) camera every other second yet I couldn’t quite translate what I was seeing with my eyes into the phone photos (no surprises there really). I had my DSLR with me BUT it was left in the backpack more often than not – which I now regret. Like, A LOT. What the hell was I thinking?

 The Miramonte Resort & Spa at dusk. They were in the middle of renovations so their awarded restaurant was sadly closed. However, the great staff and service made up for that in spades. 

The Miramonte Resort & Spa at dusk. They were in the middle of renovations so their awarded restaurant was sadly closed. However, the great staff and service made up for that in spades. 

You see, I wasn't thinking clearly. Meeting another 399 portrait photographers from around the world and perpetually feeling like one big family (cheesy I know but true) got me feeling a little dizzy and overcome with emotion. The energy at the resort where the conference took place was electric, encompassing and just incredible. My head was spinning most of the time from the sheer amount of people coming up to me and introducing themselves because they recognised my name from the Facebook group we are all members in. Huh? All my life I have been staying well clear of big crowds because they make me nervous. And suddenly I wanted to be IN the crowd. What?!

But enough about my spinning head and lack of planning to take more photos with a real camera.

We had two full days with the most incredible speakers ranging from creative dance portraits to marketing and commercial photography. We got gifted beautiful portrait boxes from Grafi Studio in Italy, had the opportunity to photograph at 15 shooting bays set up around the grounds of the Miramonte Resort and Spa and parties every night for us to mingle and connect with old and new friends. This event was nothing short of amazing.

I learned so much about the craft and the business of photography from all of the master photographers’ key notes and I am very excited to implement everything over the next few months in my own work and life.

 Gorgeous Megan not only organised but also volunteered to model for our fun portrait shoot in the Joshua Tree National Park, CA. How lucky were we!? 

Gorgeous Megan not only organised but also volunteered to model for our fun portrait shoot in the Joshua Tree National Park, CA. How lucky were we!? 

This trip truly was an investment for life. It almost feels like that I haven’t even processed all the information yet and only seeing glimpses of the possibilities that have presented themselves with all the new knowledge and shifting of mindsets. Development and growth is a peculiar thing, it is so far from linear but rather moves in waves of inspiration then followed by challenges then followed again by inspiration and so on.

I guess that’s how I feel right now, like I am in the aftermath of a tsunami of information that my mind is still processing, sorting and compartmentalising for later use. And I am just waiting for it all to manifest as applied knowledge. Cross fingers.

 Joshua Tree National Park at Dusk. We stayed just until the sun went down and had to almost race out of the park. There is NO light in desert after sunset so we were a little bit scared to drive out in the darkness. Glad we stayed long enough to get this shot though. 

Joshua Tree National Park at Dusk. We stayed just until the sun went down and had to almost race out of the park. There is NO light in desert after sunset so we were a little bit scared to drive out in the darkness. Glad we stayed long enough to get this shot though. 

I did (thankfully) manage a few photos – not many but I hope just enough to give you a feel of the place. I hope they can inspire a little, to maybe invest in that trip you always wanted to take or plunge into unknown waters purely to grow a little or follow a dream. And who knows, maybe your dream is to be photographed in a desert somewhere and wear a gorgeous gown. Well, dreams do come true.....

Sx

p.s Make sure you follow me on Instagram for more photos and adventures @stinemunkjensenphoto 

 Parts of the Miramonte Resort was fit for photo shoots and a lot of us ended up having photo shoots on these stairs. Just so very picturesque. 

Parts of the Miramonte Resort was fit for photo shoots and a lot of us ended up having photo shoots on these stairs. Just so very picturesque. 

 The Portrait Masters from left to right: Lindsay Adler, Peter Hurley, Joel Grimes, Michele Celentano, Kelly Brown, Sue Bryce and Susan Stripling Mautner. Legends. 

The Portrait Masters from left to right: Lindsay Adler, Peter Hurley, Joel Grimes, Michele Celentano, Kelly Brown, Sue Bryce and Susan Stripling Mautner. Legends. 

 Some of the amazing peopleI met and hung out with in-between key notes and photo shoots. So much love in one place! (iPhone photo only)

Some of the amazing peopleI met and hung out with in-between key notes and photo shoots. So much love in one place! (iPhone photo only)

 First day of the conference - yep, that's me! (iPhone photo only)

First day of the conference - yep, that's me! (iPhone photo only)

 Night time at the Miramonte Resort & Spa

Night time at the Miramonte Resort & Spa

 More night mood shots around the resort grounds

More night mood shots around the resort grounds