The very first photo workshop I took after switching from film to digital was held in Nashville and was led by Tony Corbell, a very talented photographic artist and one of the most knowledgeable lighting people around. There were a number of gifted photographers in our group and I felt a bit intimidated by the images I had seen them produce. One of the days our assignment was to photograph parts of downtown Nashville. As we rolled out of the bus, most of the group headed off in one direction, but I stopped to survey my surroundings and saw this garage wall a couple of blocks off the opposite way. The image immediately resonated with me and I jogged up the street to get there first. It only took an instant to get this composition and I expected to hear the sounds of other shutters going off behind me, but when I turned around I was alone. Later that evening when we were showing our best images from the day, Tony said, "I saw this when we got off the bus and was going to make an image of it, but I saw you hightailing it in that direction and didn't want to steal your shot. Nice work."
I doubt that Tony knew how much his encouragement meant to me, but it played a huge role in my continued development. The small act of kindness in letting me have the subject to myself was in keeping with his professionalism through the entire workshop. His love of photography was contagious and he continued to generously share his knowledge the entire time we were in the workshop. I learned a number of helpful technical things from Tony, but my biggest takeaway from the workshop was the value of being an encourager.