Is it possible to experience a lifetime of photographic adventures on a weeklong Mentor Series Trek? The answer is an emphatic yes! On October 10th, trekkers descended on Budapest from all corners of the United States and even Canada. As we all gathered in the conference room at the K+K Hotel, the excitement was contagious. Our Mentor, Bob Smith, covered the basics of composition, structure, layers and separation, then Michelle Cast covered the logistics for the week and Donnie Sexton was placed in charge of the Candy Corn for the week. After a quick dinner break we were ready for a short bus ride to our first night shoot. The weather was perfect, with moonlit sky, as Bob worked his way up and down the row of photographers, offering advice as we hunched over our tripods. With Bob’s help, our images were improving by the shutter click. After several stops to photograph a variety of sights and to experience multiple lighting challenges, we all climbed back on the bus with big grins on our faces. Everyone wanted to get back to the hotel to download their work. At 2:00am, Facebook was still lighting up with images being posted by the Trekkers. This was only day one of eight and it was already an awesome photographic adventure.
The next seven days repeated the successful pattern of day one; travel to one stunning location after another and then shoot and shoot some more. The itinerary took us from night shots, palaces, train stations and scenic vistas in Budapest, to photographing art students in Vienna, to shooting skeletons in the Church of Bones in Kutna Hora and then ending with the Charles Bridge in Prague. We also made many stops in between. The scenic views at Hallstatt were postcard perfect, Cesny Krumlov was a charming little village and Salzburg was the perfect location to spend an evening. As the week progressed Bob Smith continued to help all of us hone our photographic skills, Michelle kept us on schedule, Donnie provided an endless supply of sweets and our friendships with fellow Trekkers continued to grow. The opportunity to photograph stunning locations is the main objective of the Treks, but one of the biggest takeaways is the new lifelong friendships that develop. Being able to bond with people who share a common passion for Photography for eight straight days is a special treat that needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. But, with many Trekkers, it is an experience they repeat over and over again. The Trek to Prague, Vienna and Budapest was simply phenomenal. The shooting locations, trip coordination, mentoring and people were all just beyond compare. A big thank you to Bob, Michelle and Donnie. Also a big thank you to all my fellow Trekkers for welcoming us into the Mentor Series family.