Everything is Broken.

I have nothing. No website. No power point presentation. No camera or lighting of any kind and I have the most attended class of the whole thing! I’m in big trouble.

Phone rings and I’m being asked to teach a workshop on the Power of Light. A subject I’m absolutely in love with but the icing on the cake for me was the keynote speaker- Joe McNally. WHAT!? I’m in!

The days leading up to the workshop I spend putting together a stellar powerpoint presentation. I’m going to wow these people with what I know. Lighting this. Emotion that. Communicates this. It’s all in there. Finally, the morning of workshop comes. I get a phone call from a friend of mine that tells me the website was down. Sure enough, the entire website had been deleted off of the server and was going to cost $170 to fix it. Don’t ask me how this happened because I still don’t know to this day. I paid the money to have the process started and shrug my shoulders. At that exact moment I get a phone call from the event coordinator frantically asking me were I was. You have a class to teach in 10 minutes about Portrait Lighting. HUH!? I’d been marketed for the Power of Light and this was the first I’d heard of Portrait Lighting. I hang up the phone, grab my laptop, save the powerpoint to dropbox, rush out the door, and fly 25 miles in 10 minutes only to get to the venue and see that they had gotten the class covered. Sorry for the miscommunication they say and I’m told to hang out until my class starts a little later that day. Relieved and a little frustrated I say okay.

Walking around the venue I see Joe setting up. He’s all alone and I have to meet him. I run down, play it cool because I don’t want to be like a little girl star struck by Justin Bieber, and introduce myself. He’s as cool as you can imagine. I tell him that I’m teaching on the Power of Light, how he’s my hero (cool fail) and my class starts in about 10 minutes. He says, “Oh! Maybe I’ll come check it out”. HAHAHA! I laugh and think yeah right. I shake hands, get my picture with him and leave him to finish setting up.

Joe McNallyc

Ok. It’s go time

I grab my laptop and open it up. I navigate to dropbox and download the powerpoint presentation I had uploaded before I scrambled out the door from the office. I suck in a deep breath and begin to compose myself mentally as everything begins to load. BEEP! I look down to a message telling me that file is not supported by your software. In walks Fear, of whom reaches down my throat and squeezes my insides into a variety of balloon animals. This can’t be happening! I try numerous times to fix it and come up with the same message. File not supported by your software.

I’m screwed… Just then the coordinator walks up with a  smile on his face, oblivious to my personal fear fest and tells me good news! “Your class was so popular that we have to double the size of your room. Everyone is excited to hear what you have to say!”


I have nothing. No website. No power point presentation. No camera or lighting of any kind and I have the most attended class of the whole thing! I’m in big trouble.

I pull myself together the best I can and push down the nerves to a manageable level. I walk into the class to see blank faces looking at me waiting for the knowledge bombs I’m about to drop on them and who do I see in the back? Yep. Joe McNally.


I was about to open my mouth and start speaking when it hit me.

When everything breaks around you. You’re only left with yourself. You have the power over light.

I went on to share about the debacle that had just happened to me and thankfully had everyone laughing at the craziness of it all. “And to top it all off”, I said, “Joe McNally is sitting in the back of the class right now!” I went on to talk about how on a shoot everything revolves around you. You control the elements. You manipulate light. The common denominator to every shoot is YOU. Gear comes and goes, lights burn out, technology fails, but you’re always stuck with yourself. Now, they may have all felt sorry for my poor excuse of a workshop but I don’t think so. So many of the photographers came up to me afterwards saying they loved what I had to say and asked loads of more questions. It was the best workshop I think I’ve lead if we’re being honest. Ha!

I met up with Joe McNally later that night and he congratulated me and said that I did great job at keeping everyones attention for 45 minutes. He went onto say especially for pulling it out of you *explicit. His words not mine. I agree though.

The take away:

There are moments in your life you look back on and can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous that situation was or what a close call that could have been. At the time, however, you would have given anything to have been teleported away. Beam me anywhere but here, Scotty! Those moments define us, build character, lessons are learned, and our comfort zones are stretched so we can handle more later. Don’t run away from them. Bull your way through and evaluate the lessons learned on the other side. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it.

When everything breaks you’re always left with yourself.


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