Sharpening The Saw

In his book, “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, Author Stephen Covey lists the seventh habit as ‘Sharpen The Saw’.  By “Sharpen The Saw” Covey is referring to the idea of preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have…you.

It has to do with Life Balance, and in order to achieve life balance you need to make the time to to renew yourself.  I did just that last weekend when I signed up for and attended something called the Black Hills Photography Shootout held in Spearfish, SD at Black Hills State University.  Last year at about this time of year I heard about the Shootout from a fellow member of the Sandhill Photography club.  The timing last year was either that the event had already taken place, or it was to short of notice to make plans to be able to attend.  No matter what the reason was, I decided that I was going to attend in 2011, so I watched all Fall as participants posted images from the good time that they had, and then waited all Winter watching for updates and hints as to when I could get registered for 2011.  The day finally came and I happened to be looking at the site just moments after they posted the schedule.  I got registered right away and was able to get into all of the sessions that I selected (many of the sessions eventually filled).

I wanted to sharpen my saw by learning from other photographers, trying new things, and learning from the pro’s.  Another piece of this is that I would be able to take my family out there for a “get away” to enjoy Fall colors and see that part of the Black Hills.

On the way out there, I was able to make a couple of quick stops for photo opportunities.  One was a Carnegie Library in Redfield, SD and then the other was a grain elevator and railroad track in a little town further down the line.  I passed up several spots that caught my eye because we needed to get to our destination for check in and to attend the Keynote speaker.   I made mental notes of some of the places, maybe I’ll be back through there sometime when I have more time to stop and capture the image.

We finally made it to Spearfish after many hours on the road.  As we approached the building where the check-in was taking place, it just so happened that we walked into the building with a group of people that were members of a photography club in Duluth!  I didn’t really get to connect with them too much over the weekend, but I hope to make a connection with them soon.

Our Keynote speaker to kick things off was David Stoecklein: Photographer of the American West.   His talk was very informative and inspirational.  He re-iterated something that I’ve heard other pro’s like Art Wolfe and Frans Lanting say….”every picture tells a story”.  He talked about approaching each picture that way. Mr. Stoecklein showed us several slide shows of his work.  Throughout the slide shows he kept saying, “I really like this one”…it was fun to see him so exited about his work and excited about showing it to others.  He took questions from the filled auditorium and gave really good and helpful answers.  The passion that he showed about his work was contagious!  It was a great way to get all the attendees fired up for the weekend of sessions that were about to take place.  I couldn’t wait for morning – even if it meant meeting the group at 6AM the next morning.

To view images from the weekend:


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