-by Jeff Greene /
Boyden Valley Winery, Cambridge, Vermont
I was fortunate this past week-end to hang out with two incredible instructors and 35 talented workshop attendees at one of the immensely popular Mentor Series Treks produced by Popular Photography magazine and sponsored in part by the Microsoft Pro Photo Community team.
Approximately 12-18 Treks are held each year in some of the most scenic areas around the US and around the world. Last week the Trek was held in Vermont and led by photojournalists Kevin Gilbert and Reed Hoffman. Kevin is the president and founder of Blue Pixel and Reed Hoffmann is one of Microsoft’s Icons of Imaging. Both are very passionate about photography and truly enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience with students to help them expand their creativity and enhance their ability to “find photos” in every conceivable situation.
The first morning was dedicated to “Meet the Mentors”, a digital imaging Q&A, and a fantastic and compelling demonstration on digital imaging software solutions currently offered by Microsoft. I’m sure my presentation it was the highlight of the week…. Afterwards, we boarded a motor coach and headed to historic Shelburne Farms for an opportunity to capture images of a working dairy farm and cheese making facility. It was here at our first stop that I was christened “the Cow Whisperer”. Apparently I possess the ability to communicate with the local Brown Swiss breed and can arrange them in a variety of poses by simply clapping my hands, whistling, and snapping my fingers. No big deal really, these are the same techniques I used for 25 years photographing small children and overweight bridesmaids in bad dresses…
Shelburne Farms mudroom
The first day ended with a cruise on Lake Champlain aboard the Ethan Allen 2 with the hope of catching some sunset shots before the skies clouded over. No such luck, not even a sighting of "Champ" the legendary sea monster reported to reside in the depths of the lake.
The second day started with some rain so the classroom stuff came first to give the weather a chance to clear before our trip into Burlington for the Saturday Farmers Market. Some of the best shots there were of a local merchants’ maple syrup stand. Paul Limberty of Dragonfly Sugar Works was VERY patient and accommodating as 35 students blockaded his stand taking hundreds of pictures. Paul makes great maple syrup and I look forward to receiving my shipment next week.
Maple syrup at Burlington farmers' market.
Next was a trip to the Boyden Valley Winery. Lots of old barns, tractors, and bottles to photograph there along with some darn fine wines to taste. On our way back, we stopped at an old covered bridge near Cambridge for some quintessential rustic Vermont architecture photos. The bridge was on a rarely used farm road, so we had plenty of time to work the scene from all different angles.
Old covered bridge near Cambridge, Vermont
The final day was spent shooting the busy kitchens and beautiful culinary creations produced by the students and staff at the New England Culinary Institute. Afterwards, there was some final one-on-one review and the closing student slide show. Always gratifying, and sometimes humbling, to see the high quality and creativity of the Trekker’s efforts from three days of photography.
To learn about upcoming Mentor Series Treks and view images from past Treks, go to http://www.popphoto.com/mentor-series-home/ .