Warriors and Quiet Waters (WQW) were in Three Forks for their Photography Experience last week.
The Photography Experience (PX) gives Warriors the opportunity to explore the art of photography while being present for multiple WQW programs. Warriors attend the PX to discover or enhance their level of photography under the tutelage of WQW photographer and former Combat Correspondent SGT Mike MacLeod.
The Warriors received instruction in photography basics, landscape, and human portraiture. At the conclusion of the week, they combined all elements learned to produce a final project photo. Through this process, they engaged with the group of six Warriors in a shared activity that they will take home and either pursue personally or professionally.
At the end of the week, the group of Warriors and their mentors were practicing outdoor photography skills on the Three Forks Ice rink. Thankfully a group of local youth hockey players were up to the task. Acie Kelley, Tadley Kelley, Teegan Gifford, Aislynn Gifford, Naomi Gifford, and Lorin Gifford all laced up their skates to support Warriors and Quiet Waters.
The warriors braved the elements and the occasional dusting of snow from a skate blade to capture some amazing photos. The Warriors and skaters had a great time connecting and sharing this experience. " It was great to be able to give back in any way to veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country," said Aislynn Gifford one of the hockey player participants.
"This Photo Experience fits the WQW mission: Finding purpose in their civilian life ... peace, meaning, and purpose through fly fishing and other inspirational activities ..." Photography gives these veterans a new way to view things around them - literally. Even when they weren't looking through the lens of their cameras, just driving around, they were always observing things around us and commenting on the lighting or how to capture that moment, that Bald Eagle, the steam rising off the river. It allows people to use their minds and imagination in a positive, creative manner. I am very grateful for getting to participate in such a worthy and humbling program," said Kelly King, a long-time WQW supporter, volunteer companion, and photography mentor.
The PX did not end after the week-long experience in Montana, though. These Warriors will travel back to Montana up to three different times the following season to shoot a WQW program and apply their newfound or enhanced skills in photography to capture other Warriors and supply them with priceless memories of their time at WQW.
Goals of the Photography Experience
● Provide a renewed sense of purpose, identity, and values
● Teach participants the art of photography from a professional and enable them to continue this art upon returning home
● Create an enhanced sense of community through lasting, meaningful connections found in a common pursuit and growth in a network of other professional photographers
● Newfound or improved skill and confidence in photography that can be applied anywhere personally or professionally
If you are interested in supporting the mission of Warriors and Quiet Waters, visit warriorsandquietwaters.org to make a difference in a POST 9/11 combat veteran's life.