A unique photographer’s road trip through the deserts and landscapes of Nevada and California

This epic photography road trip adventure journeys through the spectacular deserts and mountains of Nevada and California. Our route has been carefully designed to take in the most wonderful shoot locations. We will drive in a convoy of five vehicles and we will be staying in small town motels along our route.  As is customary on these trips there will be the occasional opportunity to enjoy an end of day drink in a classic saloon style bar for that authentic Wild West experience.

We will have two professional models with us for the duration of the trip. I will be joined by Martin Hill as joint tour leader and co tutor. Martin is an expert image-maker, a resourceful leader with a kind heart and is a perfect road trip companion. Martin and I have run many prestigious events together over the past 14 years. He is a star!

Join us on this exciting adventure.

  • Nine days of photography and road trip adventure.
  • Two professional models with us for the duration of the tour.
  • Shooting portraits among abandoned mining buildings and shacks.
  • Shooting landscapes at Mono Lake, Cathedral Gorge and the Alabama hills.
  • Shooting at a railway museum, in the engine sheds and among the wagons.
  • Staying at classic motels along the way.
  • Travelling in a convoy of spacious luxury SUVs. Chevy Suburban or similar.
  • 35 shoot locations on a journey of 1445 miles.
  • Flash kits, triggers and smoke machine supplied.
  • Guidance and inspiration from expert tutors throughout.

 

Overview

Dates: 20th-28th May 2023
Tutors: Damien Lovegrove & Martin Hill
Genre: Portraiture, plus the occasional landscape
Group Size: Maximum of 12 participants

There are a few seats available for non shooting partners. Contact me for details.

Price: $5750, or €5460 or £4700 per person (exchange rate correct at time of publishing)
Deposit: $1000, €950 or £820 Payable at the time of booking
Balance payment: $4750 is due on 28th Feb 2023

Payment plan option: An initial deposit of $1000, followed by 4 bi-monthly payments of $1188. Book your slot on this page then email me to set up your payment plan.

Notes: Prices are listed in USD and this website defaults to USD but Euro or GBP currencies can be accepted at the exchange rate of the day. Please ask for more details. The tours start and end in Las Vegas. The fee includes; tuition, model fees, motels (8 nights), vehicle hire and fuel. The fee does not include; meals, drinks or flights/ transfers to and from Las Vegas.

The planning for this adventure has been very thorough. I’ve been to each of our locations, driven every road, checked out the terrain and scouted the best places for us to shoot at. I followed up my recce by writing up each day’s itinerary with a 15-minute resolution. I checked out motels, restaurants and bars too so we are ‘all set’.

Reserve your place here

20th May to 28th May 2023

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The benefits of this adventure

  • Enjoy the freedom of the open road
  • Create lifelong memories
  • Share the experience with like-minded people
  • Make new friends
  • Enjoy the visual beauty of the desert
  • Feel liberated
  • Have creative fun taking fabulous photographs
  • Learn new skills

“Most of our previous Lovegrove road trip photographers are still connected and the friendships formed on their trip will last for many years. Some say that it was a catalyst for big change in their lives. There is something special about these road trip adventures that bonds us all. Now, you can be a part of this amazing experience. You will leave this adventure a more confident photographer with images to be proud of and memories to last a lifetime.”  Damien Lovegrove

Itinerary May 2023

The exact details and timings are subject to change but this is the plan as it stands. On these adventures, we can get distracted by beautiful atmospheric conditions and the hospitality of locals so the plan has to remain flexible.

Day 1
Meet at the car rental desk in Las Vegas at 08:30 am (Address TBC)
A gold mine tour led by the owner and an extensive fashion/ lifestyle shoot
Visit a dry lake bed and shoot figures in the landscape with flash in sunlight

Day 2
Shoot figures in the landscape at Cathedral Gorge
Several shoots a various gold mine ruins
shoot at an Art Deco cinema

Day 3
Shoot at some fabulous shacks and railway sidings
An organised group shoot at the Ely railway museum
Shoot at a dramatic ore processing mill

Day 4
Shoot at an isolated desert trading post on America’s loneliest road
Shoot at some fabulous shacks
Time to explore Virginia City

Day 5
Shoot in Genoa
Visit June Lake & Silver Lake
Shoot at Beaver Creek
Shoot at White Tree Ranch

Day 6
Shoot at Mono Lake
Shoot at Cinder Forest
Shoot at Benton shacks
Shoot at a silver mine
Shoot at abandoned mine worker’s homes

Day 7
Shoot at Goldfield ghost town
Old cars, abandoned houses and fabulous textures
Visit the oldest saloon in Nevada

Day 8
Early morning shoot at the sand dunes
Visit the Joshua Tree
Shoot at a mountain top ghost town
Shoot at an old railroad station
Shoot at the Alabama Hills movie locations

Day 9
Shoot landscapes at Zabriskie Point
Drive the 20 Mule Team Rd
Arrive back in Las Vegas by 16:00h

Our route takes us anticlockwise from Las Vegas and after a small detour, it heads north to Ely. Travelling through classic basin and range topography we head west towards Lake Tahoe and Virginia City. Then south to Mono Lake where we shoot on day 6. After a detour back into Nevada we reach the Alabama Hills via Death Valley. We then have a fairly straightforward run back to Vegas on day nine.

Our Models

We will have two fabulous models to photograph and they will travel with us throughout this road trip. I have booked Kate Ri as my first choice model. I’ve shot with her in Belgium, the UK and Poland. Kate is a talented model with a diverse range of looks. She looks amazing from every angle and can role play with ease.

I’ll run a model search competition for our second model, inviting entrants to apply for the job. I’ll be looking for someone who is kind, patient and hard working. The ability to look great without make up is desireable too, because it is hot in the desert and make up melts. Do you know a wannabe cowgirl, cowboy or rancher, someone who would look great in the role, someone with film star qualities?

Martina Belacima in Tuscany shot by Damien Lovegrove

This is Kate Ri, she is not scared of a grubby environment and brings a dynamic energy to every shoot. Kate and I shot these photographs on workshops over the past 3 years. She is one of the most versatile models that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Perfect for this adventure.

I put together this set of photographs of Kate to show you her softer natural beauty side. We shot these pictures in Poland between lockdowns. There was only one flight out of Bristol Airport and it was going to Poland so I made the trip just to get away for a bit and I’m so glad that I did.

Camera kit suggestions

  • A Mirrorless or DSLR camera
  • Several lenses covering the equivalent of 24mm to 200mm on full frame
  • A tripod for landscapes (optional)
  • If your camera is a DSLR you may well need a Hoodman style loupe to assess exposure as it is bright in the desert

Lighting kit

Martin and I will supply all the lighting kit needed for this workshop. In a lot of instances we will be using a Godox AD200 Pro and perhaps a Scatterflash kit. We’ll have a smoke machine with us too. I will supply the flash triggers for each of the makes of camera in our group. There are dedicated triggers available for Fujifilm, Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Sony, Panasonic, Pentax, Leica, Phase One and Olympus. I’ll ask you what camera you are bringing before the event.

The photography sessions

When we arrive at a location we will gather around for a quick safety briefing. We will then check out the site as a group discussing the picture opportunities and lighting requirements. Then Martin and I will each take a group of 6 photographers and one of our models to shoot. After 40 minutes or so of shooting the photographers will swap groups so that everyone gets a chance to shoot every setup. This format has worked very well on our previous trips so we will implement it here too.

Experience level

This workshop will suit intermediate to advanced photographers. If you know how to adjust manual settings on your camera you will be fine. No previous experience of working with off-camera flash is required. Martin and I will teach you everything you need to know.

We’ll show you how to communicate with our models in a way that keeps the photographs looking relaxed and natural. You will become a more confident photographer over our nine days of shooting. Especially when it comes to photographing people.

Fitness level

Our shoot zones are rarely beyond 100 yards from the car so there is little to no hiking on this trip. There are going to be big temperature changes though with the first shoot of the day in Ely (at an elevation of 6000ft) is likely to be at 2°C (36°F) and our early morning shoot on the sand dunes in Death Valley could well be 34°C (93°F).

The driving

Each vehicle will have up to three named drivers on the hire plan. The choice to be a driver is optional. We can mix and match passengers as we wish as long as one of the named drivers is driving their corresponding vehicle. I will move among the cars to get a chance to spend down time with each of you. We can resolve camera issues or talk about photography or life in general. Each vehicle will have a walkie talkie to make comms between vehicles easier.

The recce

In May 2022 I ventured out to the Wild West USA with Claire and Lydia. We met up with a photographer friend and drove a zig zag path through the deserts. We checked out all the potential shoot spots that I had identified using Google Earth and Google search. Some tracks were impassable in a 4×4, some locations were too far gone to be exciting but there were new gems discovered too. Armed with this first hand knowledge of the area I designed a road trip to incorporate all the best locations in an efficient route and this epic, 9 day adventure is the result. “What could possibly go wrong?”

We will visit all of these fabulous places on our adventure. The aromas of oil and soot in the engine sheds are wonderful. So too are the textures of the weathered shacks and mills. The history of these locations lives on in the decaying machinery and distressed buildings. One place we will visit has just 8 people living there but back in the day, it was more populous than Los Angeles. The words “There’s gold in them there hills” by Mark Twain reflected on the crazy race for fortune. The innkeepers, brothel owners and pick sellers probably did a better trade than many of those “scratching to make a living”.

This is another group of stunning locations that are on our route. It’s a fast decaying existence that will soon only be memories. I find the transition from recently abandoned to lost forever fascinating. I guess I’ve found the knack of seeking out buildings where the patina and distress have romanticised the past before the building eventually collapses.

What’s included

  • Accommodation on a single occupancy basis in classic motels
  • Transport in large SUVs. Maximum of 4 people per vehicle
  • Everyday charges for fuel and museum entry tickets/ passes
  • Two professional models with photoshoots on all nine days
  • Tuition and guidance throughout the trip

After the workshop, I will offer you a complimentary 1:1 picture review session over Zoom at a time to suit you. I’ll be able to suggest different approaches to post production and give valuable feedback on your photographs. My clients have found this service to be of particular value as so much can be achieved after the shot has been taken.

What’s not included

  • Transport to and from Las Vegas
  • Meals on the workshop days
  • Travel insurance

On past road trip adventures it has been hard to coordinate payments for meals and the prices of personal choices vary considerably. At some of our stops there is a steakhouse or BBQ grill opposite a Mexican restaurant and I want you guys to have the choice of where you eat. Finding tables for all 16 of us at the same time in a particular place might prove a little difficult. We will phone ahead each day to book places once we have an idea of our arrival time at our destination.

Damien Lovegrove & Martin Hill

Martin and I have an honest approach to sharing our knowledge and skills. Our partnership has worked really well on the numerous workshops and adventures that we have run since 2008.

Martin is the sensitive, observant, kind and caring one. He is efficient with time, never flustered and always prepared. His background in the Royal Marines is useful in the mountains and out in the desert too. His photography skills are excellent and he has a no-nonsense approach to setting up wonderful pictures for you to shoot. Martin is a master with flash and can make a shot ‘pop’ with light.

I am passionate and enthusiastic and I love sharing my vision. You won’t be left struggling if you are lost in-camera menus and I won’t ignore you if you are quietly getting great photographs. What we’ll do is show you how to build rapport and communicate with our two models to make structured poses look relaxed and natural.

Reserve your place here

20th May to 28th May 2023

Out of stock

Martin and I enjoying an end-of-day drink on our first USA Adventure in 2016.

The small print

A deposit payment of $1000 is required at the point of booking. You can pay online via PayPal, debit/credit card or you can contact me to pay via bank transfer. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the payment plan option. An initial deposit of $800 is required at the point of booking, followed by 8 monthly payments of $620 starting on the 29th July 2022 and finishing on the 28th Feb 2023.

Cancellation Policy

Should you cancel your place on this event for any reason, no refund will be available unless your place is resold. If you would like to cancel please contact us by phone or email as soon as possible. If your place is resold, we will, of course, make a full refund or credit to you. 

We also reserve the right to cancel any workshop if there is insufficient demand, especially if it means that our costs would be higher than our income. Please, therefore, do not leave it until the last few weeks if you are interested in a particular event, as you may find that it has been removed.

Some costs for each training event remain the same regardless of how many attendees there are, just like any pre-booked tickets for the theatre, concert, flights, etc. We are therefore unable to give a refund in the event of non-attendance, regardless of the circumstance.

Please note that we cannot be liable for any other costs incurred by yourself, so please check with us before booking any non-refundable accommodation or transport.

Please take a look at our full terms and conditions.

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