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TWO and 1/2 DAYS – A road trip to remember

As a photographer one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do is capturing memories for our clients. But sometimes (though not as frequently as we would like) we get the chance to record those memories for ourselves.

Add a few great friends that also double as some of the finest photographers in the world today , together with a road trip down America’s iconic Route 66, and you have a recipe for three of the most memorable days I have ever spent in the USA.

This all initially started as an unfortunate situation as I discovered when booking my flights to WPPI that the earliest flight home would encounter a three day delay.  The thought of spending any additional time in Vegas was a bit daunting.  So, I enlisted the help of a few good friends to fill the time and some very loose plans for a road trip took shape.  To be honest the only plans we had were that we where going somewhere.

For me this was the first time I had the chance to “photograph for the soul” (that is – just purely for my own pleasure and own viewing) since last July, when I was lucky enough to travel with another Icon of the industry Jeff Ascough .  This time some of my greatest friends in the industry joined me on this trip:

The one and only amazing – Parker J Pfister,

Two time Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer, legendary – Greg Gibson,

Fellow STUDIO IMPRESSION’IST & the always charismatic – Adam Finch,

&

Fellow Aussie, THE STARRMAN – Jason Starr.   Who just had a great write-up in Rangefinder Magazine.

With no plans, no car booked and no clue of what we where going to photograph let alone where we where going to drive, the trip started pretty slowly.  The first road block came up when hiring a car.  Five fully loaded photographers required the biggest car possible and that became the first hurdle.  Thanks to Adam & Greg we got a car, but as Greg would describe it the car company didn’t do too bad off us either.

Greg Gibson is a photographer with an incredible depth of experience and some completely amazing stories.  From photographing the Clinton years in the oval office and campaign trails, to working in the jungles of Brazil – this man tells stories that have me enthralled.  Now turning his attention to wedding photography he brings a new dimension to truly catpuring the decisive moment at these events.  It has been great to get to know Greg more and more.

With a 1/2 day now lost we headed north to UTAH. Due to the delay we resorted to “drive-by shootings” that consisted of using lightning reflexes and shooting images whilst traveling at 65mph (or perhaps 80mph when we were accidentally taking our eye of the speedometer).

“My first image of the trip, clocked at 65mph”

Jason resorted to STARRMAN like tactics to capture his images.  This was also the point we began wishing we’d hired a car with a sunroof, though in hindsight we might have been lucky we didn’t.

Night came way too early and plans were revised.  We first decided we would head to Bryce Canyon then changed our plans and agreed ZION would suffice.  Suffice it did.  What an incredible place in the world.  Though, for Queenslanders not equipped with winter gear – incredibly cold.

Roadside shooting,  just outside ZION

The first evening was both fantastic fun and also a very humbling experience.  Having the chance to see the full extent of Parker J Pfister’s work it was obvious that in the past few years he has developed so incredibly that I have no doubt in my mind that he is one of the most remarkable photographers of his generation.  I know that this is a big statement but when you experience his images and the incredible depth of his talents, you can’t help but be impressed.  A small taste can be found at his website www.ParkerJPhoto.com.   I met Parker a little over five years ago and the friendship I have forged with him (and others) has been one of those amazing gifts this industry has given me.    He is a great guy and an inspiration to my photography, not to mention the funniest bloke.

The morning after our first night in Zion, presented our first group photo opportunity.  I hope this shot marks an annual post -WPPI expedition.

from left to right:  Marcus, Greg, Parker (sitting), Adam and Jason.

“Jason Starr, experiencing sub-zero temperatures in ZION”

Above – “Parker, before his first cup of coffee”.

Above – “Parker, after his first cup ( with a little perk-up help from Jason)

Above – “American Sunrise in ZION”

Above ” Shadows in Zion national park”

Above – “The first of many stops during the day for photo ops”

Above “Just after that shot, we where no longer alone.  At least it felt like we where not the only ones just waking up to this incredible place”

It became quickly appraent that the aussie contigent of this trip was ill prepared for the conditions.


Above – “Just moments after shooting this image, a car came to a screeching halt.  A fellow photographer from the WPPI convention recognized Parker, jumped out, and joined us in this incredible landscape for 5 minutes or so.”

The day continued to be a dream shoot, from magnificent location to magnificent location.  The day’s shoot ended up at Antelope Canyon, where we had this magnificent wonder of the world to all our own for two hours.

Then the day took a weird turn as we found ourselves booking a night in a motel straight out of a CSI episode or maybe a B grade horror flick.  We are pretty sure we saw a few rooms with police tape – do not enter CRIME SCENE.    Then on the advice of Jason’s wife back in Aus – we had to have Mexican for dinner.  So it was that we found a place with “The most authentic Mexican around“.  Parker was also raving about Mexican in Arizona, so Mexican it was.  A decision that Jason and I would regret for the following 72 hours as we ended up with food poising and spent pretty much the entire following day either asleep or wishing we were.   Adam, Parker & Greg got some amazing shots though, and that does not include the images of Jason & I looking a little worse for wear.

In the end it was an incredible experience and one I look forward to doing again with my great friends.

Now that I’m back in the Studio working away again I look forward to sharing some more of my favourite images from the trip.

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