Monday, February 14, 2011


***Update: 2.16.2011 -- As of today, this retreat is SOLD OUT, pending deposits. My sincerest thank you to all for making this a reality in less than 48 hours. I'm so honored, excited, happy and humbled.

If you'd like to be put on a cancellation list, or receive a note when other workshops or retreats become available (co-ed is in the works as well) please email or message on any network {or} feel free to join my workshops group, while the official site is still being built. {workshops}

Members of my workshops group or on the mailing list will be the first to receive a note when new offerings become available and before being announced to the public.

ash x


Original post - 2.14.2011...

you are radiant with the beauty of your own being.
If you ever doubt this, just look down at your own two hands & recall all that they have done.
Please don’t read another detail of what’s ahead until you have reread what I just wrote.
And then again.
Alright, how exciting, and here we go…
I remember the first time I visited the northern most stretch of Minnesota, when I was a young girl.
The deep forests were stark – full of pine & birch; a land full of canyon lined rivers and rugged boulders, covered in wet mosses and polished agate; deep green marshes knee deep in moose and loon, who called out by dawn and twilight; valleys full of gliding eagles whose shadows would linger in my wild, youthful eyes; fresh wolf and bear tracks lined the gravel back roads, each leading further into the wilderness - hinting that its first inhabitants were still abound if I wandered off the path; sometimes, even in midsummer there was a crispness in the air that I couldn’t shake no matter warm or cold; so rich it would permeate my skin; so thick & palpable, I could actually draw sustenance from it.
The shores of the Great Lake Superior were rugged - born of rock & driftwoods; The horizon line, a gorgeous sweep of heavy blues that lulled my eyes further and further into its cold and ship wrecked waters. And then came the night, with the warmth of campfires, popping like fireflies in and out of existence; the scent of evergreen and ash woods, burning away, and built from our own hands - cut only a stone’s throw from the woods that sheltered us. I would wrap in my sweaters as the night began to cool, and laugh with everyone who would also be wrapping themselves in their own warming layers. We’d all seemingly glance up at the same time, somewhere late into the night as we would endlessly talk and our words would cease as the cosmos took the stage, like shimmering diamonds, every one of them visible against the darkest backdrop that only exists in the middle of nowhere; the sound in those nights – a pure silence, beyond the cascading waters and the wind that hummed from trembling branch to branch; a profound silence; the kind that offers up the deepest breaths and truest healing; and once every few years, when we’d wander the muddy trails to a nearby road – only as bits of echoes & laughter gathered by the night… the lot of us would lay down on the dirt road & look up to find the aurora borealis forming, for which (at 27 years of age, and many many many visits later) I’ve still no words to describe what it means to see it. None.
As morning would commence in its buttery dawn light, we’d peel ourselves from our warm beds, as the weather would suddenly turn from sun to fog to rain to sun to rain to fog in a matter of minutes, over the sweeping, unapologetic valley views and endless lakes the north woods are renowned for; everything so full of an irreverent and uninhibited beauty; repeating itself day after day, and forever.

This is the Boundary Waters.


This is the most unspoiled, secret piece of Earth I’ve ever seen, unique in light and palette, animals and vegetation.
This is where we’re going.
Well, I’ve been trying for months to get together a “Women’s Only” blog post, but I finally realized: why do just a blog when I could offer something so much more amazing for a few brave women, ready for a bit of adventure and growth.
The idea for a woman’s only Photography & Wellness Retreat was born from a few principles and things I hold dearest to myself and my life: photography, nature, spirituality and wellness - each key factors not only in deciding to offer this retreat, but also in choosing the right location to host it. This was the perfect place for what is being offered and it just so happens to be my favorite place on Earth; Endless quiet and expansive views to die for, and wellness drawn from every meal to everything we do. I’m a firm believer that the truest moments of growth and creativity will happen in the silence, where ideas are allowed to be born; in that pause between all of the [sometimes, seemingly] inundating, chaotic thoughts and worry of today’s world of deadlines and business; when you’ve a moment to take a step back from it all – replacing it with nourishing food and new surroundings; inspired by new people with similar intentions and goals, and with no pressure to perform or be judged; in a place that commands and reflects the same beauty and respect, that we possess and require as women.

The Details:
Where - a 3000 sq. ft. luxury - 3 level log home that sits quite literally on the beautiful (and private) beachfront shores of Lake Superior, offering views from every window. This home boasts a grand stone, wood-burning fireplace in the great room, built from two story vaulted ceilings of exposed beam work. This home offers a loft that looks over the great room that also houses one of its beds and baths. In addition, there is also a master suite with whirlpool tub and 2 other bedrooms with various sleeping arrangements from twins to queens. Additionally, this home has a beautiful family room, dining area, and fully equipped kitchen.

What - 2 days and 3 nights of relaxed wellness activities and hands on photography fun. It is my intention in everything offered to meld the feeling of connectedness and wellness to the activities and process of creating. The greatest creations are not born from your camera, they are born from YOU.
*Day 1 (Friday) - Arrival
The fun will begin with a welcome dinner for the group, as we overlook the uninterrupted views of Lake Superior by dusk, offering a great opportunity for relaxed conversation and getting to know new faces and then settling into our new luxurious living quarters for a night of restful sleep, listening to the break of water hit the rocks outside.
*Day 2 (Saturday) – A Day of Inspirational Wellness.
Your day will begin with a nourishing and whole breakfast, made from the earth in our own kitchen, followed by a morning of mindfulness techniques that I will lead, allowing for an opportunity to clear all of the static within, resulting in a better you, when it comes to your life. When you gain that focus, it’s amazing what begins to creep into your life, yourself, and your work. During the lunch hour we will eat and then break (maybe you want to take a walk down the beach and take a few photos of your weekend) and will reconvene for an afternoon filled with projects that are meant to be the take home treasures of this retreat and tailored to spark the connection between you and your camera; you and yourself. This is also a day to embrace ourselves as women, and the projects are very much geared to the girl in us, no matter the age. I know you know what I’m talking about, ladies. The day will end with a beautiful dinner as we trail into the night by the crackle of the fire and crash of the lake. This day will be a day about reconnecting with yourself and with others. It will result in becoming centered and inspired for what’s to follow.
*Day 3 (Sunday) – A Day of Photography.
Following a morning of another fresh and beautiful breakfast, made from our own kitchen, we will spend the day covering:
*becoming inspired
*defining your style and finding the artist within/refining your vision
*concept to execution (conceptualizing a shoot from the early stages of building your idea to wrapping a shoot, location scouting, props, designing a set, working with a model, etc...)
We will break for lunch and reconvene, finally having the chance to put what you’ve learnt to the test:
*photoshoot | will be working with one of my own models (fully costumed w/ props and styled by my MUA). If you decide you don’t want to photograph a model, and instead would like to photograph the land surrounding us, a map of the points of interest for favorite landscapes in the area will be provided at this point, and you may venture off for the afternoon. This trip is for you, and you should photograph in the way that speaks to you, even if that isn’t with our model.
We will be shooting in natural light, and using my favorite natural light techniques on our own private beach, making Lake Superior our backdrop for the model (OR) at a location as yet to be determined.
When - Friday, May 13 – Sunday, May 15th, 2011 (you would leave on Monday, May 16th after a night of rest).
How many spaces available? - 6-10.
***Note: After registering, paying your tuition, and filling out the mailed Q&A (as mentioned below) this number is subject to change as I determine what is best for the group.
Tuition (and what’s covered) - $800.00/person | Additionally, because this is my first retreat and you are my first group, I'm offering a deal for those that are willing to bunk together as a group of two, helping to split that cost up a bit. That will be available as an option for this group only, as you are being the brave first ladies to make this journey. x
*Tuition can be paid in two payments. Half of the tuition fee will be due upon registration and the other half due, no later than 2 weeks before the date of the retreat.
If you are interested today, please send me a message on any of my networks or email:
[As soon as registrants pay their deposit - a Q&A will be sent to fill out, ensuring a more intimate and personalized experience during the retreat. You are each different and seek slightly different things. I want to know them and the questionnaire will help me to know you better before we meet]

What's being covered within your tuition:
*Lodging. | Lodging will cover the 2 days & 3 nights in the cabin.
*Meals. | As follows: On the day you arrive (Friday, May 13th) only Dinner will be provided. On the day you leave (Monday, May 16th) breakfast only will be provided. On Saturday and Sunday (May 14/15) breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided.
*Course Materials. | You will receive a welcome ‘kit’ when you arrive with a few special gifts prepared just for you, as well as your itinerary for the weekend. | Additionally, there are several projects in which your own materials will be needed and those will all be covered within your tuition and given to you as part of (and throughout your) stay, as needed.
*Photoshoot & Teaching. | See the above, detailed outlines.
What is not covered -
*Travel to and from our location. | Airfare to Mpls. Or Duluth International Airport will not be covered or for those who are making the road trip, your travel expenses to and from the cabin will not be covered outside of the days outlined, above. Our location is about 90 minutes north of Duluth at a location that will only be given to those participating in the workshop. The exact location is being kept off radar for my wellbeing, your wellbeing, and to preserve the authenticity of the retreat. I may arrange one pick up caravan on my way up to the cabin and one drop off caravan on my way down from, depending on needs and schedules, though as of now that is not the plan.
*Alcoholic beverages
*Phone Calls
*Meals outside of those offered above or in addition to what is offered
*Trip cancellation or interruption, for any reason.
Requirements –
*You must be at least 18 years old at the time you reserve your spot.
*You must be a female. Sorry, boys, you wouldn’t even like this trip. This is a girl’s weekend doing girl things. ;) | Co-ed retreats are something on the roster (I’d even love to do Men only retreats, but then I couldn’t attend ;) - so please be patient as this year unfolds. I love you all, and all in due time.
*You must send me a link to your website or any online networks. This will help me to ensure all who come are who they say they are.
*Requirements as far as being a photographer: Experience isn’t a requirement and neither are your make and model - as long as you 1.) Own a camera (preferably a DSLR only for their vastly improved shooting capabilities) & 2.) Work at least part time as a photographer. I’m not a gear snob and this isn’t that kind of weekend, but this is specialized and fine tuned specifically, for women photographers.
*Respect and an open mind are essential in being a part of this beautiful retreat. Women are coming to grow as photographers and people, with likeminded goals. This is a weekend that will meld new ideas, wellness and spirituality into the process of creating your imagery. Photography for me isn’t a ‘job’ - it’s a lifestyle that goes way beyond the image, behind the lens and spills into every facet of my life. We don’t freeze those moments for nothing. There is a point and a purpose, whether you realize it or not, and this retreat is to awaken or rekindle that for all involved. This is the way I work and this is the way I’ll be presenting the weekend. The atmosphere is going to be incredibly candid and relaxed.
Things you will need to bring -
A list of what to pack & bring with you will be mailed to registrants of the retreat.
Is this retreat for you?
I wanted to touch on this for a second, because there are so many workshop offerings from so many different realms of this industry and in so many different styles from who teaches them to what is covered. First, I wanted to say: this isn’t a workshop. This is an EXPERIENCE that you may decide to call a workshop, but you may decide to call it a vacation. You aren’t required to attend all that’s offered or you may choose to venture in and out of the cabin on your own time.
My advice is this: Do you feel moved by what you’ve read? Were you intoxicated with inspiration or the need to make this happen when you read the description about my beloved north woods? Do you want to experience the mind, body and wellness connection that this retreat offers as well as endeavor into the realm of photography with a group of women?
If this retreat idea speaks to you on a level beyond these words and somewhere deep within - I’m a FIRM believer on following your intuition If your gut says “Yes”, then ladies, make it happen for yourself. Come with a friend if you like. Come with two. Have fun with this. Take a road trip instead of a plane if time allows, and begin endeavoring into yourself a bit early, taking in all the inspirational sites you will see on your trip up, down or over. I don’t do anything flying if a road trip is an option. There is soooo much to experience on a drive.
If you'd like to participate, again, please message me today and as logistics & tuition are set (within the next 48 hours they'll be set) I will contact my list with further detailing as well as posting it here under the 'tuition' tab.
If this trip isn’t for you, please help me spread the word, since it’s going to SPEAK to the right group of women and the right group of women will absolutely make it happen. I’ve great faith in this style and teaching through life as a whole. This is how I live my life.
So, no matter what, there’s something you can do!
Participate [OR] pass along the word to women you feel might benefit from this format & group.
Please click the 'like' button below and share this post with your network.
We are a group of Women.
We are a group of Photographers.
Those are two very specialized and beautiful things.
I cannot wait to meet my group!
- Ash x
ps. Happy Valentines Day!

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