Montana Highs and Airstream Lows

Let's start with the highs, shall we?   Bill and I were both selected (along with 43 other photographers from the US, Canada and UK) to attend the Collective Quarterly workshop and portfolio review held at the Chico Hot Springs Resort in Pray, Montana.   We decided to go footloose and fancy-free and leave sweet old Inga at home with a dogsitter and drop of the Airstream at the dealership for repairs.   As much as we love road-tripping with the Airstream, it was awesome to just load up the truck and go.

The workshop was a four-day whirlwind - in parts completely inspiring, overwhelming, occasionally deflating but overall a very worthwhile experience.   Each of the 45 attending photographers had 20 minute portfolio reviews with six creative professionals at the top of their fields, including D.W. Pine - Creative Director at Time, Eugenie Frerichs - Director of Photography at Patagonia, Jesse Southerland - Design and Photo Director at Bicycling,  Jesse Lenz - Creative Director and co-founder of Collective Quarterly, Shannon Ghannam - Magnum Photos, Brandon Kavulla from Kavulla Creative (former Creative Director of Wired, Fortune and many others).    Not an intimidating list at all, eh?   Each reviewer also gave a one-hour talk about various issues facing freelance photographers.  I'm still trying to process all the information and feedback after several weeks and  I suspect it will take several more.  It was the first portfolio review for me (and Bill), so it was definitely a learning experience.   The feedback ranged from brutal honesty to inspiring and supportive ('hop a plane and go photograph your passion - trees -  in Russia or Finland!).     And I haven't even mentioned the other 43 photographers - a truly talented, supportive, open and encouraging bunch of people.  I wish I had a couple more days just to hang out and chat and view all the different photography work with all of them (and a couple more dips in the Hot Springs!)

After the workshop, Bill and I headed a little south to the sweetest little Airbnb log cabin about a 10 minute drive from Gardiner, Montana and the north entrance to Yellowstone.   The majority of the park was closed for winter, but we were still able to spend a day driving through the north portion and checking out Mammoth Hot Springs and bison galore!    It was a great way to decompress before heading back to Portland.    We also took time to visit Livingston - such a cool little town!   Thanks to the intro of one of the photographers at the workshop - Chris Douglas - we stopped by Robert Osborn's studio.  If you find yourself in Livingston, be sure to check it out.  Super cool guy with some absolutely stunning images of cowboys and Indians from Montana.   

Alas, it was time to return home and pick up the Airstream.   Unfortunately, our endless service issues (which I haven't blogged much about but we are beyond frustrated) continued.   We had a very minor leak that needed to be fixed along with checking the leaking windows (for the third time) and a couple minor things.   We picked it up and were assured everything was in great shape, so we headed to Astoria for the weekend.  I had a photo in a show at Lightbox Photographic Gallery (another great little gallery if you are on the Northern Oregon Coast!) so we went for the opening.    We got to the campground and as soon as we turned on the water pump, it started gushing out of the closet and all over the floor.    So no water for the weekend and yet another trip back to the dealer.    As I write this, it's all been fixed (again) and we are settled in at Roamer's Rest for the next 6 weeks but we shall see what happens next.  (I will spare you the sad gushing water photo but check out our instagram ( @rivetandroam ) for that!

The whole gang!  (Photo Credit:   Alexa Diserio  )

The whole gang!  (Photo Credit:  Alexa Diserio )

And of course, we had to make a final stop by the tree farm on our way to Montana.  There are a couple small sections still standing but the majority of the farm is gone. (Heather - iPhone and instax).

And of course, we had to make a final stop by the tree farm on our way to Montana.  There are a couple small sections still standing but the majority of the farm is gone. (Heather - iPhone and instax).

Obligatory 'Bill wearing a hat staring at trees' photo (Heather - iphone)

Obligatory 'Bill wearing a hat staring at trees' photo (Heather - iphone)

Bill shot this on a loaner leica (thanks  Leica Akademie  for letting us play with all your cameras!)

Bill shot this on a loaner leica (thanks Leica Akademie for letting us play with all your cameras!)

Bill trying out the leica on the backroads of Old Chico (Heather - iPhone)

Bill trying out the leica on the backroads of Old Chico (Heather - iPhone)

The sweetest gallery dog at Robert Osborn's  (Heather - iPhone)

The sweetest gallery dog at Robert Osborn's  (Heather - iPhone)

Bill getting the drive-by stink eye (Bill)

Bill getting the drive-by stink eye (Bill)

so many bison!  (Heather - iPhone)

so many bison!  (Heather - iPhone)

Road-tripping through Yellowstone (Heather - iPhone)

Road-tripping through Yellowstone (Heather - iPhone)

Still plenty of snow to be found  (Heather - iPhone)

Still plenty of snow to be found  (Heather - iPhone)

Mammoth Hot Springs (Bill)

Mammoth Hot Springs (Bill)

Mammoth Hot Springs were a study in neutrals (Bill)

Mammoth Hot Springs were a study in neutrals (Bill)

our sweet little log cabin - at least for two nights!  (Heather - iPhone)

our sweet little log cabin - at least for two nights!  (Heather - iPhone)