Transparency – Retreat Breakdown

January 25, 2016

Transparency is something that we’re a fan of here at Light Inspired.  I was incredibly touched when our friends at Bittersweet Designs guest posted this article for us.  My goal is to run this company with integrity and transparency.  We are not a giant corporation making lots of money.  It is simply ran by me, Stacey, with the help from an awesome staff of Sally, Corinn, and a handful of amazing social media helpers and blog writers.  That’s it.  We are normal, everyday women and mothers with a passion for uniting the photography world which is somewhat of a tumultuous one.  When I took over Light Inspired 2 years ago, I had a vision.  Of course we have a forum where members can go to ask questions and get support in private, but we also host yearly retreats as a way to get to know photographers from across the world that we otherwise would not have gotten the privilege to meet.  In the past we retreated multiple times at Inspiration on the Farm at Warthan Farms in Virginia, and last year I hosted Inspiration on the Mountain at my personal home in Utah.  Last week was Inspiration on the Seas- a Carnival cruise out of California to Catalina Island and Ensenada Mexico.

To say that things didn’t go smoothly is an understatement.

Let’s start from the beginning:

For a few days here in Utah, we had the thickest layer of fog that I’ve ever seen in my 10 years of living here.  I was hoping it would be gone by Sunday morning for our flight, but it wasn’t.  Not even close.  We are hopeful and arrive at the airport, thinking everything was fine.  As we got closer to the departure time, they started bringing out cans of soda and water… that’s when I knew there might be an issue.  10 minutes before scheduled departure, they finally announce that the flight was delayed for fog.  The plane had been circling the area for 30 minutes and couldn’t land so they had to fly back to Vegas to fuel up and come back to try landing again.  Even with the delay, we would be fine.

We would totally make it to the ship which was scheduled to depart that evening.  A few hours later and with an out of control heartrate, they finally announce that the flight would be cancelled completely.  No flights were leaving that airport that day, and as we found out the same thing happened the day before that as well.  We immediately started figuring out a plan.  We would drive and meet the group the next morning on Catalina Island and board the ship there!  We Ubered up to the only rental car place open on a Sunday in Utah (an hour away), and got our rental that we would drop off after our 9 hour drive to California.  After being on the phone with Carnival all day (no joke- my phone died multiple times) we were told that we could board on Catalina and all would be well.  Another phone call came in saying that we couldn’t get on in Catalina.  Back and forth.  Talk about stressful!  We spoke with the Port Authority who had us send our passports to them in attempt to bypass customs.  We were hopeful again!  Then the final phone call came through- they could not let us on because Catalina does not have any customs agents on the island.  That was it.  No cruise.

The next 10 hours were a blur.  We drove through the night (when I say we, I mean Corinn and Jeniece with me in the backseat freaking out) and got to Long Beach at 4am.  We purchased tickets to the Catalina Express for 5:15am.  That hour was spent trying to sleep in the parking garage with a car alarm going off every 5 minutes the entire hour.  Could we not catch a break?!


We boarded the boat to Catalina and were ready to take full advantage of this day that we had with all the retreat attendees!  We couldn’t have asked for a more fun and amped up group to shoot with.  We started the day with a mini shoot of an adorable blonde curly hair 3 year old.  Next we strolled around town while Kimmy modeled a wedding gown (complete with the sheriff being her husband for a few shots), and Jeniece donned a beautiful red gown and did some ballet moves for us to photograph.  After some headshots, a delicious lunch, and a shooting on a desolate rainy beach, it was time for them to board the ship again.  We got in a great day on Catalina Island.  To put it lightly, I was devastated that we couldn’t join them for the remaining port and day at sea.  From there on out, we used the hashtag #everythingthatcangowronghasgonewrong with strict adherence unfortunately.   It seems like when everything was going wrong, good ole’ Adele was right there with us singing her ballad whose lyrics (especially the  bolded ones) now have a whole new meaning to me:

Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing
Hello, can you hear me
I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet
There’s such a difference between us
And a million miles
Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home
Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore
Okay, so maybe those lyrics are a bit dramatic, but I was in a dark place and they took on a whole new meaning to me. LOL

Even though everything definitely did not go as planned, I’m glad we got that one day with them and there were some major lessons learned.  We are absolutely taking care of the attendees and hope to have them back for future events so they can get a full retreat experience rather than a half experience.

I do hope that those affected by this truly series of unfortunate events can accept my heartfelt apology.


With much love,



Modeled by the beautiful Kimberly Ann Boudoir Photography

Processed with Mastin Labs Presets


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1 Comment

  • Reply missymayophotography January 25, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    ohh my goodness, stacey! What a nightmare and so stressful. I am so sorry that happened!

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