I could not have imagined that the Mentor Series Trek to Portsmouth, New Hampshire would turn out to be such a great experience for me. Our amazing mentor, Layne Kennedy, and our two wonderful group leaders, Michelle Cast and Vanessa Vasquez, did a fantastic job making sure we had a weekend full of photo opportunities.
After meeting Layne and seeing some of his incredible work, it was off to our first destination. Before we even boarded the boat to Star Island, Layne was busily pointing out things to photograph that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, at least by me. After our boat docked, we made our way to the historic Oceanic Hotel for lunch, which was a nice way to get to know one another. The afternoon was spent exploring the island sites—classic rocking chairs on the expansive front porch of the hotel, old wooden cottages and stone buildings, and tranquil ponds and seas.
On our first evening, we traveled to Nubble Lighthouse. This picturesque site at sunset was the perfect spot for capturing the changing light and the atmosphere of a lovely summer evening.
The next morning, we visited a quiet area of the Portsmouth riverfront, walked along residential streets, and had an impromptu tutorial on how to use multiple exposures to create fascinating pictures. Then it was on to the Strawberry Banke Museum to photograph historic buildings and people demonstrating their traditional crafts and activities.
During the afternoon a digital review session, Layne was more than helpful with his suggestions on how to make our photos better. It was also interesting and instructive to see how my fellow trekkers photographed the same locations in so many different ways.
Prescott Park, with its flower gardens and fountains, was the location for our afternoon shoot. In the evening, the busy streets of downtown Portsmouth gave us a good opportunity to learn or improve our nighttime photography skills—creating pictures of scenes with streaking car lights, glowing street lights, and an almost full moon. And a walking tour of the tranquil city and harbor area early the next morning offered us quintessential New England views of the waterfront, tugboats, and lobster boats and shacks. After the final digital review and slide show, our trek sadly came to an end.
The Portsmouth workshop was a truly exceptional learning experience for me. Layne was always enthusiastic and generous with his knowledge, and never stopped showing us new ways of looking for good photo opportunities and new techniques to try. I’m so looking forward to my next Mentor Series trek. Cynthia Reichman