Photography / Travel

Turquoise and Adobe Walls

Santa Fe, New Mexico. Another city and another state crossed off the bucket list! A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Photography Workshop with National Geographic Expeditions and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.


After doing a little exploring in Albuquerque, I headed up to Santa Fe! Having never been to the southwestern portion of the country before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the South West certainly has its own unique beauty and I couldn’t wait to get started with the workshop and exploring this part of the country!

Our workshop was fast-paced, intense, but so much fun! I learned a lot from our instructors, Nevada Wier and Carlan Tapp. We also had the opportunity to explore some pretty cool spots around Santa Fe.

On our first full day, after a morning full of class, we headed off to Canyon Road. Canyon Road is a half-mile stretch where a lot of fine art galleries, shopping, and dining is located in Historic Santa Fe. After learning all about CLAP (Color, Light, Action, Pattern), we were tasked to photograph Color and Pattern with several limitations. Everything we did challenged us and definitely stretched our creativity.

After spending several hours wandering up and down the road, we headed back to the classroom for our first round of editing and critiques. I was surprised by what I was able to capture, and it was fun seeing what everyone else captured as well. We all walked the same stretch of road, and we all saw it differently. After the critique, we were provided with our evening and early morning projects – working with light!

After a delicious dinner at Blue Corn Cafe, some of the ladies and I headed down to the plaza to work with artificial light and blue hour. The next morning we rose early, like 3:45 early, to get ready and head up to Old Fort Marcy Park, which overlooks Santa Fe, to capture the sunrise. Luckily the clouds cooperated with us and we were able to get some great images. I learned later this was just an average Santa Fe sunrise. I’ll definitely have to go back and see what a “real” Santa Fe sunrise looks like!

For Day 2, we headed out to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú (almost 50 miles north of Santa Fe). At one point in time, Georgia O’Keefe called Ghost Ranch home. It is now used as an eduction center and retreat by the Presbyterian Church. Several movies have also been filmed there including Red Dawn, Lone Ranger, Cowboys and Aliens, and 3:10 to Yuma. It’s a beautiful ranch! My little group opted to hike the Kitchen Mesa trail, about a 4.6-mile hike that loops around the massive red rock formation before climbing up a crevasse that goes to the top of the mesa. We didn’t realize the trail went up (thanks to the trail not being on the map), so we got slightly lost, and ended up taking a detour through a dried up river bed. As we were taking the trail in front of the mesa, the sun decided to finally come out and Kitchen Mesa showed off all its stunning colors! It made for some pretty incredible images!

Our third day’s assignment took place on Eaves Movie Ranch, which is just outside Santa Fe, and our task was multiple types of portraits. Built originally as a Movie Ranch, Eaves Movie Ranch has had more than 50 movies filmed there. I thought this was going to be my least favorite day, but I absolutely loved it once I got started!

After our morning of working with our models, we headed back to the classroom for our last lesson and for our critique. Not ready to leave, some of us headed back in town to grab lunch before heading our separate ways, and I would be remiss not to mention this adorable little restaurant we tried (thanks Enterprise lady for the recommendation). If you are ever in Santa Fe, you must try La Boca!

Thanks Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and National Geographic Expeditions for a pretty incredible vacation and experience. There is no question in my mind that I would do another photography workshop or trip with National Geographic Expeditions!

May 2015 Photography Workshop | Santa Fe, New MexicoAnd no worries, Santa Fe I’ll definitely be back!