Contemplative Photo Retreat

Contemplative Photo Retreat
Friday, October 25, 2019, 5:00 PM - Sunday, October 27, 2019, 12:00 PM
Location: Camp Manidokan, 1600 Harpers Ferry Rd, Knoxville, MD US 21758

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 25-27; 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 $165.

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 $105.

Saturday only (workshops and meals) is $60.

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.
7:00 p.m. Welcome
7:15 p.m. Session 1: “Every Picture Tells a Story”

Photographs tell stories – stories of experience, journey, and epiphany. We don't just "take" photos - we "receive" moments that reveal a greater context. We'll reflect on the stories that photographs share with us, as well as the stories we share with one another.
Facilitator: Wayne Hipley

Session 2: “Come to the Water”
Water is mentioned in the bible more than 700 times. The earth—as well as the human body—is composed primarily of water. Our retreat theme is an invitation to “dive into” a deeper relationship with God as we open ourselves in trust and gratitude through contemplative practice. 
Facilitator: Terri Cofiell

8:50 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
9:15 a.m. Morning Praise
9:30 a.m. Session 1: “Exploring the Contemplative Process”
Bring your camera and experience how composition, light, color, and intent come together in Contemplative Photography.
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Clinic 1: Optional. Those who wish may use this time for photographic exploration or choose one of the following:
What’s Your Priority?
Learn the basics of the interplay of aperture and shutter speed in creating images. This clinic will combine presentation and hands-on experimentation so bring your camera (and prepare to take it out of program mode!).
Facilitator: Terri Cofiell

Contemplative Portraiture

Have you ever seen a photo of someone and felt like you knew who they were on the inside? Learn how to photograph who a person is, rather than what they look like.
Facilitator: Alison Burdett
Photography, Poetry, and the Contemplative Spirit

This clinic will explore the interaction between photography and poetry and how, together, they can be prayed in a spirit of contemplation. In addition to discussing practical applications, participants will have an opportunity to review a variety of poems (or choose their own source material), and then spend time recording images that reflect their chosen texts.
Facilitator: Wayne Hipley

11:30 a.m. Clinic 2: See choices above
This is an opportunity to catch a different option than you attended during Clinic 1 or if you used that time for photo exploration.
12:15 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Session 2: 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.
God in the Details
Often we seek God in settings that speak to the spectacular or “awesome:” a church or cathedral, a beautiful landscape such as a mountain range or sunrise over the ocean, the vastness of the Grand Canyon, or in other human creations such as the Pyramids at Giza or the Taj Mahal in India. But God is also in the details… a shell found along the seashore, a smooth stone found in a stream, a once-green leaf now amber with the change of seasons. In this clinic we will seek God in the details we receive through our camera’s lens.
Facilitator: Wayne Hipley
Editing with Photoshop and Lightroom
How do I fix the lighting? Remove blemishes? Color correct? 
Do your images accurately represent that moment you experienced? Explore how Photoshop and Lightroom can help enhance the image you received.
Water Photography

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. We’ll cover the basics indoors and then travel in groups or individually to several water venues. 
Facilitator: Terri Cofiell

2:30 p.m. Individual or Group Photographic Exploration
4:30 p.m.

Please select your three favorite images from the weekend to share after dinner. The facilitators will be available at this time to help transfer your images (via data card, cable, or—for cell phone images—your charging cable).

5:30 p.m.


7:00 p.m.

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

8:30 p.m.

Evening Prayer and Song

8:45 p.m.

Optional Clinic 1: “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. 
Facilitators: Terri Cofiell and Wayne Hipley

Optional Clinic 2: “Photographing the Night Sky”

Join Leon Brown, an accomplished self-taught photographer, as he shares the insight he has gained pointing his camera at the heavens. Required equipment: Any camera that has Manual Mode (preferably a DSLR or Micro 4/3rds camera), a tripod, and a remote shutter release (or a 2-second self-timer).

Optional Clinic 3: “One-on-one image editing”


Photoshop expert, Alison Burdett will be available for specific questions on Photoshop and Lightroom and to help edit your work from the weekend. Bring your laptop with the images you would like help with already loaded.



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

8:15 a.m.


9:00 a.m.

Wrap-up Session

We’ll share the insights we gained from the weekend, touching on themes of trust and gratitude.

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 

Instructor Bios:

Leon Brown:

Leon is a self-taught photographer and previous attendee of our inaugural Contemplative Photo Retreat. Due to the consistently inspiring work he has shared through our Facebook group, we asked him if he would share his gifts as a facilitator this year.

Alison Burdett:

Alison Burdett is the Graphic Designer & Multimedia Producer of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church. Previous to her work for The United Methodist Church, she has worked in the photo departments of LivingSocial, Woman's World Magazine and Cosmopolitan Magazine. She runs her own portrait photography business, Alison Leigh Images, specializing in children and families which was inspired by her own two children, Eleanor (4) and Jack (2). Alison is passionate about a lot of things; arts and crafts, french fries, Disney - to name a few, but the thing she is most passionate about (aside from her 2 children of course), is image editing. Most evenings after her kids are asleep, she will be on her computer taking online classes just for fun to stay on top of the latest Adobe Creative Cloud updates and editing techniques.

Terri Cofiell:

Rev. Terri Cofiell has served as a pastor in The Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church for over 30 years and currently chairs the BWC Commission on Communications. In 2014, she created an online photographic Advent Devotional for the Conference. While a student at Wesley Theological Seminary Terri studied Contemplative Drawing and discovered a deeper connection to God through creative expression that has been both healing and sustaining on her spiritual journey. She received her first 35mm camera when she was a teenager and after college sold cameras and worked as assistant to a non-studio (“anything but people”) photographer. Among her favorite photographic subjects are abandoned buildings, gravestones, and any living thing with wings.

Wayne Hipley: 

In 2016, Wayne Hipley was named Pastoral Associate of St. Agnes and St. William of York Roman Catholic parishes in Baltimore after 14 years as Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Prior to answering his call, Wayne worked for nearly 25 years in the film and video production industry as a director, editor, and camera operator. He studied photography and holds a degree in Art from Towson University. Raised in a United Methodist family, Wayne embraced Catholicism and is particularly drawn to its spiritual practices and social teaching. Contemplative Photography brings together his passion for pursuing God with his search for beauty in all things. He is often found wandering with his camera in cemeteries, urban landscapes, and along country roads. 



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