Sorry for the long (too long!) delay in posting.  We’re finally getting settled in to our new place here in Aventino, Rome.  Somehow, even with a 4-month post delay, I am STILL behind in posting a lot of sessions and news and things.  As you can see, there’s a whole new website look, which, while I completed myself, I owe many many thanks to Betsy for not blocking me on Yahoo for the endless string of questions!  So here’s 2 updates from the recent past.

First, in January (yes, 2 months ago!) I got my Craftsman Degree – or Cr.Photog. – from PPA at Imaging USA 2010.  It was quite the event.  Liz was my sponsor and congratulated me with a high-five on stage (we’re not huggy people)… even after she managed to break my first medallion on the way up the stairs.  We were doing a dry-run of the lift-hair/hang-danglie maneuver – except that I had rather big hair that night.  (Convinced my friend Andrea to do it for me – so it actually looked good for a change!)  Anyway, the hook got caught in a clot of gel, spray, and hair and the whole thing broke… Liz runs back behind the curtain (me, next up on stage mind you!) with “I NEED A NEW MEDAL!!!”  Them: “Why?  We just gave you a medal.”  Liz:  “Now is NOT the time to argue about this!”  It was close… the stage-hand was almost my sponsor (it’s all good though – Terrell is a cool guy!).  Anyway, it worked out in the end.  Here’s some pictures for proof that my buddy Joerg took.

Liz, bedangly-ing me:

Our obligatory high-five (That’s PPA ex-prez Ron Nichols in the back.  Unfortunately for him, he had the room across the hall from us.  We left him offerings to make up for what we can only assume was a tremendous lack of sleep caused by yours-truly.  We were the “loud room” on the floor…  shocker, I’m sure.)

And here are some other fun ones from Imaging:

Above:  One we took at “Caney Fork Fish Camp” – TN’s authentic food.  (Might be roadkill?)
But good company!  From left:  Andrea, Liz, Barbi, Erin (below), Mark, Betsy, Me, Deb

Below:  Giant Pink Elephant with a… Fez, maybe?  He was on the side of the road so we just HAD to pull over!
From left:  Barbi, Me, Erin, Deb, Liz

So now the interesting part of this story… “But you live in Rome, what were you doing in Tennessee?” I hear you ask.
Good question.
As everyone knows, “getting there is half the fun.”  Erin and I wrote an article about our ridiculously complicated, albeit extremely fun, trip from Italy to Imaging USA.  It was published in this month’s copy of Professional Photographer Magazine.  It was, however, edited quite a bit (for length – apparently, I’m long-winded?)  Here’s the original version for those of you who are curious!

So Many Countries – So Little Time: Our Travel to Imaging USA
By: Erin L. Clark, CPP and Stephanie Millner, Cr.Photog., CPP

Living in Europe is great. Lots to do, and even more to photograph. However, there isn’t the same type of photographic community as in the States. So, when Imaging USA came around in January, we set out on an epic adventure to Nashville.

Our round-trip journey from Italy to Imaging took us to over fifteen major cities and four countries in twelve days. Our trip started nearly a week prior to Imaging flying from Italy to Frankfurt, Germany. Since we both have access to free military travel, we decided to take Space-A flights from the major air-terminal in nearby Ramstein, Germany.

When flying Space-A, flexibility is imperative: you can’t really decide where, or when, you want to travel. We wanted to arrive somewhere – anywhere – in the US. That day, six different flights were scheduled for the East Coast. Unfortunately, one flight was full, four more were cancelled, and another was delayed indefinitely. After over fourteen hours waiting, we luckily got on a last-minute flight out to Dover, Delaware on a C5 jet.

The C-5 is quite an experience. You shimmy up very steep and icy ladder. After a somewhat treacherous two-story vertical climb (holding your bags), you find whatever space you can and settle in for an eleven hour flight back to the states… seated backwards.

We arrived in Dover and drove back to Washington DC with a local photographer-friend, and stayed with her (thanks Liz!). On Friday, after a frigid thirteen-hour van ride, we finally arrived in Nashville.

IMAGING USA – we are here and having a blast. And it’s over in less time than it took to get us there. Now to get back to Europe…

First was the van-ride which took almost twice as long. Sure, we had to make a few stops along the way – mostly for coffee and shopping. We arrived back in Washington, DC at nearly 5:00am, only a few hours before our next Space-A flight was scheduled to leave Baltimore, MD.

Only – THAT flight was cancelled – as was the next one, and the next. The dreaded free flight home was not looking promising. We desperately called every military airport on the East Coast determined to catch ANY flight back to Europe. The choices were more than slim – nothing was scheduled for days.

With no other options, we bought one-way-tickets back to Italy. Surprisingly affordable… except the only airport we could fly from was in New Jersey. The next day we drove to Newark National for a flight to Rome, via Brussels, Belgium. Naturally, we had to make a quick stop for sight-seeing, waffles and chocolate – an obvious necessity after 12 days of travelling.

Was it worth it? Absolutely – nothing beats seeing old friends, hearing great speakers, and eating Belgian chocolate. Would we do it again? Yes – but, next year, we’ll research round-trip tickets on a commercial airline first!

Stephanie Millner, Cr.Photog, CPP is a pet photographer in Rome, Italy. Erin L. Clark, CPP is a portrait photographer in Sicily, Italy.

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