I realize this is a rather late post since I've been back from Italy for a week now, but in my defense I must plead temporary insanity—for a couple of reasons. First, as you probably know, work tends to pile up while you're gone and I was playing a little catch-up there. Second, it's taken me a while to figure out what the hell happened to me on this trip. Now, that sounds rather dramatic and I don't really mean for it to, but for me, this really was the trip of a lifetime. Surprisingly, that trip wasn't about photography.

[caption id="attachment_317" align="alignnone" width="392" caption="Old Friends"]Old Friends[/caption]

Oh, I learned quite a bit about photography. Between the lessons in the field, the afternoon image critiques, and the late dinner conversations, I absorbed quite a bit of photographic knowledge that I will use for many years to come. In addition, the opportunity to shoot in these wonderful villages—full of the sights and sounds of working Italian communities—has been an experience I can draw inspiration from for quite a while. Learning photography from Jeffrey and David is an incredible experience, and you should take advantage of it if you can. I will be posting several images here and on Flickr very soon, so you can see the result of that experience.

What was really different about this workshop, though, were the people who were my constant companions for a week. I've never been involved with a group where we came together with such ease. None of us are professional photographers (for now) and none of us have careers in the same field, but when we stripped away all of life's distractions and simply made images, we made an incredible connection. "It was," as one of them remarked, "as if we were all good friends who just hadn't seen each other in a long time."

Many of you are familiar with my struggles to get to Europe, thanks to the volcanic ash cloud that disrupted air travel for quite a while. Because of those problems, I was bumped from my original place in the first group/week of the workshop to the second group/week. I managed to meet several of the first week's participants when I arrived in Genoa, and I think I would have had a similar experience with them. They were talented, smart, and witty, and I believe would have made great traveling companions and friends, and I could be writing about them right now instead. But for whatever reason—call it fate, if you will—it was my privilege to travel and shoot with Marco, Natalie, Jeff, Kerry, Claudio, Eli, and Anna. The workshop made me a better photographer; these folks made me a better person.

We've started plotting a reunion tour/workshop in 2012 in Tuscany and I hope it comes to fruition. Not just because the opportunities for photography would be great—they will. Not just because I could continue to learn from David and Jeffrey—I would. But just because I'd really like to see my friends again.