The California trek was full of beautiful subjects to photograph, guided by two excellent mentors in Michael Schwarz and Dave Black, kept on track by Michelle Cast, our group leader and shared with a fun and interesting group of fellow trekkers.
After a morning spent meeting our mentors and learning the technical aspects of light painting, we were off to our first photographic stop, June Lake loop. Our mentors were on hand to answer questions and give tips on how to photograph the kayakers and boats. The highlight of day one however was the opportunity to photograph Bodie Ghost town at night and having Dave Black teach us how to light paint it. After his tutorial, we were set loose to light paint on our own or in groups. The grand finale was Dave and Michael light painting the stamp mill which is like trying to light paint a big city block full of different sized buildings. We had so much fun we didn’t get back to the hotel until 1:30 am.
The next morning we took the shuttle down to Devil’s Postpile National Monument and Rainbow Falls. Dave and Michael worked with us trekkers on how to get that smooth silky water that make waterfalls so fun to photograph. The afternoon was spent having our photographs critiqued by our mentors. A learning experience all on its own:). We had our second light painting tutorial that night at Mono Lake after photographing a beautiful sunset. We returned to Mono Lake the next morning for sunrise followed by our second Mentor review of the weekend and ending with a final slide show of everyone’s best 5 images.
While there were many wonderful locations, it’s the experiences that happen along the way that make the weekend special. Learning how to light paint from Dave Black, hiking out of Rainbow falls with Michael Schwarz while wishing for an oxygen tank, carpooling with my fellow trekkers, witnessing a couple of gorgeous sunsets at Bodie & Mono Lake, and a sunrise at Mono Lake were all highlights for me. The Mentor reviews and final slide show provided a valuable chance to learn not only from the mentors but my fellow trekkers. It’s always fun to see how you can take a group of photographers to the same locations and everyone see things so differently!