by Jeff Greene /
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Engine 480 chugs back to Durango.
Another great Mentor Series Trek, this time led by noted adventure photographers Tom Bol and Beth Wald. Both reside in Colorado and have an intimate knowledge of the state and it's unique photographic offerings. From the very start, the schedule was jam-packed with a variety of different photo opportunities. This, coupled with the absolutely PERFECT weather, resulted in everybody successfully capturing an impressive collection of images. I have never felt so inadequate and jealous as I did on the last day when the students each shared their ten best images for final slide show. This success was a direct result of the excellent and selfless instruction offered by Tom and Beth as much as it was the opportunities presented for local photography.
Gunfighter, Silverton, CO Engineers, D&SNG Railroad
We started the workshop off on Thursday night at the historic Strater Hotel in Durango, where Tom and Beth each showed samples of their work and offered expert advice to inspire and motivate the group. On Friday we travelled to Mesa Verde National Park where the class had ample time to photograph the 2000 year-old Anasazi ruins at Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace House. After lunch we met with a bunch of pro kayakers on the Animas River and spent the next three hours photographing them work the rapids and performing stunts in a river that was flowing at an amazing rate of 5000 cfs. That's a helluva lot of H20 flowing by... The class was encouraged to break from their normal "comfort-zone" and try different techniques and we saw some incredible results later utilizing LensBabies, ND filters, blur effects, and fill-flash.
Spruce Tree House ruin in Mesa Verde National Park
On Saturday there were mountain bikers and a trip to historic Silverton, CO (elevation 9313') where we caught the departure of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad leaving on it's final run of the day back to Durango. Tom and Beth arranged for some locals to pose in 19th century costumes and they were many nice images made in the streets and local saloons. Before stopping back at the hotel we were able to spend a couple of hours in Durango shooting the local Saturday night rodeo.
Six seconds at the Durango Rodeo.
The final morning was set aside for photography in the D&SNG railroad yards. Lots of trains, conductors, and historic buildings all captured in the early moring Colorado light. After reviews, lunch, and a frantic scramble to quickly edit their images, each student submitted their ten best images from the past three days contributing to a memorable final slide show to wrap things up.
I look forward to joining another Trek soon and encourage everyone to invest the time and effort to join one themselves in the near future. For more information, visit the PopPhoto Mentor Series Trek webpage.