Mentor Series - Worldwide Photo Treks!

ARCHES  |  May 16 - 21, 2007

Mentors | Lin Alder & Chris Alvanas

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A trip to Arches National Park has always been on my list of photography destinations. The opportunity to join the mentor series trek and travel with three photo mentors was one I couldn’t resist. After the first night, of watching Lin Adler’s, Chris Alvana’s and Tom Bol’s presentations, I knew I made the right choice. All of them had inspirational work and I knew I was in for a treat and a great photography education.

Our first day, I felt like a real pro-photographer setting out at 4am to shoot the sunset. It was worth it at the Turret Arch, the light was never better. Returning back to the hotel for a nourishing breakfast was ideal. Afterwards, Tom Bol’s class on exposure was just what I needed. It is often tricky for me with extreme light conditions to get the right exposure on my pics.

Travel with our mentors and try out all of the latest equipment from Nikon! Including world class digital SLRs, Nikkor lenses and the Coolpix line of Digital Cameras.
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Our evening hike turned out to be an unbelievable adventure. We trekked 2 miles, taking some pictures along the way to get to the elevation we wanted at “Delicate Arch”.  Overlooking the sandstone slick rocks waiting for the sunset, I felt like I was on top of the world. 

Another early morning sunrise shoot at Mesa Arch was our first stop the following day. It was still early morning with wonderful light when we continued to the Green River Overlook and then to Canyonlands and the Colorado River. This landscape was spectacular, with the harsh dropping cliffs and vast openness it was breathtaking, it’s no wonder that they shot so many movies there.

Back at the hotel, we all had a long and lazy brunch until it was time for our reviews with our mentor. I was a little intimidated to show my work but after hearing Tom’s critiques with others I was comforted. He was honest and helpful but also gentle enough not to bruise my ego when looking at my images.

The following morning’s shoot felt like late in the day compared to our early sunrise shoots. Nonetheless it was still a thrill to photograph the longest Arch in the park, probably the most photographed arch in the world! I focused a little more on other details such as the rock formations and my favorite thing to photograph; trees. The Juniper and Pine were perfect foregrounds in this location.

Upon returning to the hotel, Chris Alvanaz gave a detailed Photoshop class. And, although I’m still learning the program I found it was helpful to sit in on the advanced class to get a glimpse of what I could do in the future.

The evening photography at Fisher Towers was ideal for a different view. The La Sal Mountains with snowy caps were a picturesque backdrop.

Our final day was by far the most challenging for me. I’ve never been a portrait photographer but learning the new off camera flash with the SB-800’s was fun. Especially when we had such great models, the bikers and rock climbers with toned and muscular bodies were perfect.

After a leisurely relaxing afternoon we all met up for the final photo show and our group Mexican dinner. It was entertaining and enjoyable to see the other photographers work from this trip. Funny how we could all be in the same place but still have different favorite images. Our dinner together reaffirmed that I had made some great friends with a common interest. I hope to see you all soon, maybe on another photography trek.