Part One.
A few weeks back I got an email from work to say that I had a lot of holiday allowance left to use, the second most in the business and we are 750+ people. Use it or lose it! This was timed with me chatting with a model who I had worked with earlier in the year and she was planning a trip abroad, a photo tour of salt lakes and the Moab desert. When Holly first asked if I would be interested I immediately thought this is the kind of thing that other people do, people who have spare time on their hands and enjoy adventures. Then I thought, hang on a moment, that’s me!

I started looking at the photos other people had taken and was quickly hooked. For a long time I have wanted to take photos on a salt lake. I love the idea of the alien landscape and white surface. I had first seen photos like this taken in South America and was really inspired. The other images that have always captivated me are the red rock canyons of Petra in Jordan. I love the stunning colours and light that is caught in the narrow and natural pathways. But these locations are both a long way to go for a single photo session. Looking through the photos taken on the tour I couldn’t believe my luck, it seemed both my bucket list locations could be found on this one tour.

I’m also someone who needs a person in the shot to complete the image. See my past blog on the subject. I’d sooner take a photo of a model in my studio than a photo of a mountain alone. So the idea of a guided tour to find the best locations combined with a model seemed perfect. I honestly couldn’t ask for more. There was only one snag, the tour is set up as art nude, something I have never done before. I say snag, this is not something I find uncomfortable and in truth my time working in fashion and editorial photography early in my career saw similar work but I am always the first to admit when I am not an expert at something.

So the scene was set for a real adventure, not just experiencing new locations but also experimenting with my own creativity. 

The other unique thing about this trip is that the tour is usually set up to accommodate six photographers and 3 models. These are scheduled months in advance and get booked up quickly. So when I decided to put my hat in the ring it quickly became obvious that the off the shelf dates wouldn’t work around my work commitments. However, after speaking with the organisers they also do mini tours in-between the planned ones that promised to have the same locations, but a smaller group of one or two photographers. So I signed up and booked my flights.

I like planning ahead and always chat with the model I am shooting with to agree on styles and outfits. On paper this might not seem necessary given the context of the trip, but I was keen to add my own take on some of the shoots and Dmitriy, who was organising the trip put me in touch with Jen, our model. Jen was immediately very open and friendly and excited to bring some outfits along.

The Great Salt Lake. That's me and Mel my Uber driver.

I arrived a day early to adjust to the time zone and this allowed me to experience a little of Salt Lake City. I took an Uber into town and enjoyed wandering around the sites. I love to walk in American cities, the grid system gives you a false sense of confidence that things are nearby so you quickly rack up the miles! I had wanted to see the Temple but that was covered up as they were lifting this historic building up to put wheels under it to allow it to move in the event of an earthquake! So my next stop was the Capitol building and I have to say that was really stunning. See my snaps below.

The Capitol Building in Salt Lake City.

That afternoon I took an Uber out to Saltair, a place where people park up and then walk out to the Great Salt Lake now that the water line has receded. My Uber driver was great fun and enjoyed telling me about his city and how he had a wife back in the UK that he was due to visit next week. He was so generous with his time that after I took my shots of the lake and flew around the area with my drone he turned off the clock and took me on a tour of the valley and the mountains that surround it.

One thing I have witnessed in my short time here is that everyone is incredibly friendly and people always make the time to say hello on the street.

Today is day one of my trip and I am waiting in the lobby of my hotel, about to get picked up and to meet my companions for the next 4 days.

See my next post to find out how the trip went with UTadventure.

The Great Salt Lake, as seen from my drone.

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