Photo Retreat

Open the Eyes of My Heart
A contemplative photography retreat 

Photography can open up new ways of seeing and understanding God, the world, and our lives. Learn to take better pictures, integrate the power of photography into your spiritual life and church, and rediscover the sacred power of images.

October 19-21; Camp Manidokan, near Harper’s Ferry, W.Va.

The retreat begins Friday evening and closes with lunch on Sunday. Participants may also choose to attend Saturday's events only.

The full weekend retreat, which includes workshops, lodging and meals, is $150.

Note: Lodging is in rooms of 3-4. If you have a roommate you'd like to room with, please let us know.

To attend the full weekend including workshops and meals only, but not lodging is $90.

Saturday only (workshops and meals) is $46.

This event is adult only. Must be at least 18-years-old to attend.

Eligible clergy can earn .7 CEUs for attending this event. 

Please contact Alison Burdett for additional information or with questions.



5:00 p.m.  Registration opens
 Dinner will not be served Friday evening, but refreshments will be available throughout the evening.
7:15 p.m. Welcome
7:30 p.m. Session 1: “The Power of Image”
Using iconic photographs, we will examine the meaning and message conveyed through the medium of photography or “drawing with light.”
8:30 p.m. Session 2: “Praying with the Eyes of the Heart”
We will explore the practice of “Visio Divina” or “divine seeing:”an invitation to encounter God using photographic images.

9:30 p.m.


 Evening Prayer followed by fellowship



Participants are encouraged to engage in early morning photographic exploration of the camp.

8:15 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Morning Praise
9:15 a.m. Session 1: “Connecting Eye, Heart, and Lens”
What do we mean by “Contemplative Photography?”
9:45 a.m.  Session 2: “Seeing God in All Things—Seeking God in All Things”
Using the principles of Ignatian Spirituality, we will learn to become more deeply aware of God’s presence through the practice of contemplative photography.
10:45 a.m.  Clinics 1: Optional. Those who wish may use this time for photographic exploration or choose one of the following:
Photography 101: The Basics

This class is geared towards the beginner photographer. What exactly happens when you set everything to 'automatic'? What other settings that give you more control over the camera when you take a photo?

Moving from Snapshots to Photographs
A how-to for those who want to create images that tell a story

Using Photography in Your Church

Can photographic images enhance worship or become a tool for evangelism and mission? You bet!

Introduction to Photoshop

An introduction to the layout of Photoshop. What does this button do? 
*Note: A more in-depth photoshop tutorial will be offered later in the day along with Lightroom. This introductory class will introduce the basics that the later class will assume you know.
11:30 a.m. Clinics 2: See choices above
This is an opportunity to catch a different option than you attended for Clinics 1 or if you used that time for photo exploration.
12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Session 3: Optional. Those who wish may use this time for photographic exploration or choose one of the following. Note: these classes will not be offered a second time like the previous clinics.
Advanced editing with Photoshop and Lightroom
How do I fix the lighting? Remove blemishes? Color correct? Combine photos? What are layer masks? What are adjustment layers? Etc.
Those who are wondering if the investment in this editing software with worthwhile will benefit by seeing what it can do.

Stories in Stone: Cemetery Photography

Join an experienced cemetery photographer for a presentation on this special subject followed by a field trip to a local cemetery.

Advanced Portraiture

Tips and tricks for working with subjects to get them comfortable and capture their personality on camera.  The class assumes a basic understanding of camera settings.

Come to the Water

Photographing any moving subject is a challenge. Learn and practice techniques for creating water images. This clinic requires a camera with manual settings, a tripod, and a self-timer or remote shutter trigger/cable release. A polarizing or neutral density filter ND .9-ND 3 (or higher) is recommended.

2:30 p.m.

 Individual or Group Photographic Exploration

5:30 p.m.


7:00 p.m.

Participants will gather to share and reflect on the day’s photographic creations.

8:45 p.m.

Optional Clinic: “Introduction to Light Painting”

An exploration of the techniques for creating images in dark settings using hand-held light sources and long exposures. This clinic requires a camera with manual settings, a tripod, and a self-timer or remote shutter trigger/cable release.

9:30 p.m.


Evening Prayer and Song featuring participants’ photographic creations




Participants are encouraged to engage in early morning photographic exploration of the camp.

8:15 a.m.


9:00 a.m.

Wrap-up Session: From Pursuing a Hobby to Pursuing the Holy”

We’ll discuss how contemplative photography can become a spiritual practice/discpline individually and in community. Feedback, evaluation, and future possibilities will be shared.

10:00 a.m.


Participants may use this time to clear their rooms before worship. As time permits, photographic exploration is always encouraged.

11:00 a.m.

Closing worship with Holy Communion

12:15 p.m.

Lunch and Farewell