INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Meet Your Executive Team
Sheltering in Paradise
Professional Photographers of California
From the Smoker
Meet your Affiliates
28 Photoshop - Zero to Sixty 34
www.prophotoca.com Spring 2020
Diane Costello, M.Photog.Cr, CPP
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Jim Trapp, M.Photog.Cr, CPP
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT
Larry Skibiski, M.Photog.CR., CPP
Professional Photographers of California, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)6
trade association of professional photographers, employees, suppliers
and others allied to the profession. Professional Photographers of
California offers a variety of opportunities and benefits to its Members and
is one of the largest state affiliates of Professional Photographers of
America. Pro Photo West is the official publication of Professional
Photographers of California and is published quarterly for the purpose of
keeping Members informed of photographic information, news and
activities of the state. Subscription is included with Member dues.
Articles, with or without photographs, are welcome for review for inclusion
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contents of this magazine is granted to similar photographic publications,
provided the author, Professional Photographers of California and Pro
Photo West are credited as the source.
Robin Swanson, M.Photog.Cr, CPP,
F-PPC, S-PPC, CPA, CGMA
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Pete Rezac, M.Photog.Cr, CPP,
Mel Carll, S-PPC
WEST COAST SCHOOL
David LaNeve, CPP
Professional Photographers of California
www.prophotoca.com Spring 2020 5
John Grusd, M.Photog., M-PPC
One of the great truisms about photographers, especially those who specialize in landscapes and
nature, is that they always think they have to go somewhere else to create terrific photographs. In
unfamiliar locations we see masterpieces around every corner but the places we experience every
day don’t even register on our creative radar. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a unique
image of my hometown taken by a visitor! Why didn’t I think of that? What is it about our own home
bases that make us so blasé?
Maybe we have an opportunity in these times of “Social Distancing” to change that. We can
possibly take advantage of this extra time to work on our skills, clean our equipment, learn
something new and otherwise get everything ready for the future when we can safely go out again.
Take nature photography for example. I live in the city of Los Angeles, California. Perhaps you have
heard of it. This megalopolis probably doesn’t offer much in the way of nature photography. Right?
What got me thinking about this was my morning walks with my dog. With nearly everybody staying
home and there being almost no noise from automobile traffic, I noticed something different. Birds!
Lots of birds! Hundreds of them! Maybe thousands! Every morning my neighborhood sounds like a
It got me rethinking about what kinds of wildlife I’ve seen within a few blocks of my house, not to
mention in my own backyard. I already mentioned the birds. I see many hummers, songbirds and
woodpeckers. Birds of prey like owls, falcons and hawks are ever present. I’ve even seen a Golden
Eagle! LA, like most of the places where each of us live, is on a major migration route. The passing
of the weeks bring a constant change in the variety of species. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese
are always around and there are too many shore birds to mention.
I regularly see other animals as well. There are squirrels, of course, and possums, skunks, bats,
raccoons and the ubiquitous coyotes. I’ve even seen the occasional bobcat and numerous families
of mule deer. For those of you who are a bit delicate, I won’t list the creepy crawlies that are
fantastic for macro or the biggest rattlesnake I have ever seen, just a few miles from my house!
My point is, all we have to do is stop, look and listen to notice the photographable nature around us.
There is plenty of it wherever you live! (Don’t forget Spring flowers and other flora!) The internet and
apps are fantastic for researching animal behaviors and identifying species. They’re also great for
picking up the photographic techniques that will yield fantastic results with practice. And you can do
all of this while diligently keeping your social distances! Don’t despair that you can’t travel like you
planned. You can turn these difficult times into a windfall of learning and opportunity!
The Peregrine Falcon in the image below was photographed within the city limits of Los Angeles,
not a 20 minute drive from downtown (where Peregrines also live). It was raining hard and I only
spent a short while photographing but hopefully this is a new beginning of a local nature
photography adventure for me!
I hope you stay safe and healthy and make the most of these uncertain times. Keep your camera
handy and ready to shoot! You never know what will wander into your own backyard or
I’ll see you all out there…Eventually! – JG
Wow, this year took quite an unexpected turn…I feel as though I am living a movie I may
have seen when I was younger. This is and has been a very challenging time for so many of
PPC has beein trying to stay up-to-date with all of the information flying around regarding
financial help and had found that PPA is at the forefront of collecting and passing along this
information which at times seemed to be changing by the hour. We are making sure to pass
the latest and most accurate information along to you. A huge “Thank You!”, to Mel Carll for
keeping on top of this and making sure it is posted in both the PPC and PPC Affiliates
Facebook pages for you to access easily.
Also, as you have probably heard, West Coast School has been cancelled for 2020. It was an extremely difficult
decision to make but we are already finalizing plans for 2021 and it will be better than ever! Stay tuned for more
In light of everything going on out there, this may be a reset that so many of us needed. I know I have kept myself
busy learning about all sorts of things that I have wanted to know but didn’t have the time. And, sometimes I just
don’t even know where to start because I have too much time. It’s OK!
These are unprecedented and strange times so please remember to be kind, to yourself and those around you!
Take time to play, It is so very good for your soul!
ON THE COVER
“Afternoon Seat” by Sharol Lobel
See page 10 for the full story!
A Huge Thank You to Our Sponsors!
Your Support is Greatly Appreciated!
Sheltering in Place …
M.Photog., CR, M-PPC
Little did I know that my scuba diving photography trip
would turn into my own version of “Survivor”!
Leaving Los Angeles on March 17th for a ten-day trip to
Ambergris Caye, Belize to dive the Mesoamerican barrier
reef (the second largest coral reef in the world) and the
famous Blue Hole, I ended up facing the pandemic outbreak
that was occurring around the world!
Taking everything into consideration and weighing all
the risks, I decided to weather the storm in place and
stay on the Island. I thought, geez, how long could this
last…they will have it resolved in no time! With no
cases of the COVID-19 present on the Island or
mainland, I felt extremely safe but still a little worried!
What if there was an outbreak? How reliable were the
doctors and the hospital? How fast could the government
react to containing the spread of the virus on such a
Without much more thought, I gathered my dive gear to catch the next boat for a morning dive. Upon preparing
for the dive I soon hear these words, “Oh, by the way, the resort is closing and everyone has to be out of here by
Monday!” Of course, my reaction was, “What the f*@#!!!! In two days???” I tried not to think about it at the
moment because I was about to flip off of a boat and dive under 80 feet of water!
Well, my mental anxiety kicked in upon my ascent to the surface and once I hit the surface… so did my
breakfast! If you know what I mean! Yuck! I made my way up the swim steps and into the boat and soon we
were back on land! Everything was racing through my brain including this decision to stay on the island.
Flights were being cancelled and the borders were closing. I could only think about how I was going to find a
place to live in such a short time!
So, I did what I do best…started asking people about rentals. I called a friend who had spent a lot of time in
Belize and talked to everybody I saw and later started walking the beach to find a place to live. I had rented a
golf cart to get around, so I was stopping at every for-rent sign I saw. I met with a realtor and she showed me a
few options, then I had lunch at a local beach restaurant called “Rum Dog” and the owner’s friend was in real
estate, so he put us in touch with each another. My very frustrating day soon came to an end and it was a bust!
Making my way back to the resort with a case of super anxiety, I quickly took a seat at the pool bar. Sitting
next to me was the dive master and he asked if I found anything and then he suggested a few places to look the
following day. I only had one more day to look or else it was camping on the beach!
The next day a decision had to be made! Keep looking or take one of the places that I had already seen. I
decided to keep looking. Awakened early and determined to find something, I sort of questioned myself…Did
I make the wrong decision? I thought to myself that even a shack on the beach will do at this point. I felt a bit
overwhelmed but, hey…it’s an adventure and I am adventurous! I am going to make the best of it! Who
doesn’t dream of being stranded on an Island?!
Off I went, stopping at every location between the resort and town as I was making enquiries of a place to live.
I continued to hear everyone saying the same thing, “We are shutting down! There are no rentals!” I could not
believe it! It’s an open market on this island and there are hundreds of empty condos and houses! I cannot be
the only person looking for a place to rent or the only tourist who decided to stay on the island! I was so
desperate I even asked the grounds caretaker that was racking the sand at one resort. Low and behold, as I was
walking back to the golf cart the caretaker said, “Hey, my friend Pedro is the caretaker at this house up the
beach. Here is his cell number. He can help you out.” The caretaker said it is not too far from here, it is called
“Still Waters”, just keep walking up the beach and you will see the sign.
I started walking up the beach and saw nothing. Stopped and asked a few people and they said I have no idea
where it is. Well, duh! I had the guys number, so I made the call. A nice gentle voice answered the phone and I
told him who I was, and he said, “Oh yes, my friend called and said you were coming.” I described where I
was, and he said you are not too far, and I will meet you down on the beach.
And there it was! OMG! The beach house of all beach houses! My expectations were a Hemmingway fishing
shack but after arriving, I found myself standing in front of a small two-story beach front villa. This is it! After
taking a quick tour of the house and a phone call to the owner, all I could do was hope we had a deal! Now
back to the resort with a better outlook on my decision to stay, I felt I was going to be okay.
The last day at the resort had arrived. My security blanket was being dismantled! The staff was at my door
early to make sure I was packing and ready to leave by noon. Geez! I still had no place to go and bingo! The
phone rang! It was the owner of the house and it was a done deal. The beach house was a GO! YIPPIE!
Suddenly, I was ready to leave the resort and embark on a new adventure! The resort was amazing in offering
some food and water to get me by for a few days. So, packing up the golf cart with luggage, dive gear, camera
gear, a crate of eggs, meat, fish, bread and water…a new chapter in my life had just begun! Now it is “Gucci
Survivor” at its best! LOL!
I quickly found myself more comfortable with my surroundings around the house, the beach and about town,
but a new task came with each day! As the virus was rapidly spreading in the US and especially California, I
too was facing my own crisis on the island as we had our first outbreak which lead to more people testing
positive. They were soon placed in quarantine and isolated from the rest of the islanders. Franticly a new wave
of anxiety kicked in when I heard the local markets and vegetable stands were closing indefinitely. I did not
have enough food to last a week and made a quick reaction to go to town and follow the herds and stock up!
Now that the “beach sand” has settled, I am happy with my decision to shelter in place in Paradise! Even
though our beaches are open, who would have thought the Caribbean Sea would be closed! No diving, no
fishing or swimming in the ocean. It is extremely hard on the locals as they depend on fishing and on tourism
for survival. We are all faced with some sort of difficulty!
Making the most of my time, I am learning more about the Belizean and Island culture, which is fascinating.
The Ambergris Caye (pronounced “key”) Island is one of more than 200 islands. It is just over a mile wide and
runs for 25 miles along the barrier reef. The only town is San Pedro which has a very relaxed ambiance.
Cooking has always been an enjoyment for me, so I’m learning all sorts of ways to cook with fresh coconuts
that either fall in the yard or I pick up on my walks. Husking a coconut is not an easy task either! I’m also
finding out that by not being able to go to the market as often as I did, it is a treat to stroll down the aisles of the
local markets and vegetable stands!
One of the highlights of my day is watching all the wildlife venture out of the jungle from
the side of the house into the yard. It is a bird watcher’s feast to see Yellow Crowned
Night Herons, Ospreys, Azure-crowned Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Great
Kiskadees, Frigates, Pelicans and Egrets to just name a few species. Then you walk into
the bedroom and a beautiful owl butterfly has landed on your patio screen door. And on
top of that, there is the cutest family of ringtail racoons that drink right from the swimming
pool several times a day. One day I heard a lot of splashing and one of them had fallen in.
It had to be rescued! Each day from sunrise to sunset brings a new memory!
When the sunny day fades into the night I get extremely excited to sit out on the deck with
a glass of wine and stare endlessly into the night sky of a thousand eyes! Thank goodness
for my Sky View app on my phone as it has helped me identify so many stars, planets and
constellations! I will be an expert on the tropical sky when this is all over!
As a nature, landscape, wildlife, surf, ocean and travel photographer or matter of fact - any type of
photographer, the world seems a bit out of reach right now. I understand more than ever that it is the time to get
inspired while we are all “sheltering in place” by being productive, getting creative, organizing our photos or
learning a new photo program. But it is also important to keep our photography and travel dreams intact and
our bucket list full!
I only came on my trip with my dive camera, my Nikon D500 and one 18-200 lens, an intervalometer, one ND
filter and 2 batteries. It’s amazing what you can do with only what you have. Remember…this was only a 10-
I’ve been on the Island for 42 plus days now and
I don’t know when I will return to California.
While I’m regrouping and reinventing myself, I
know the future will be totally different. How
we work and travel will never be the same.
Don’t hate me when I say it’s a hard decision to
either walk left or right on the beach or just hang
out under a coconut tree and watch the beautiful
clouds drift over the turquoise waters. It’s also
worrisome not only to be concerned about
myself but for my family and friends. It’s the
fear of the unknown.
We all thirst for too much time on our hands and
when we have it… well, do we really know what
to do with it? Since I only have my laptop with
me and not my backup drives, I will continue to
follow my passion with my camera in hand and
make the most of this new and exciting situation
creating new images!
I would love to hear from you so, if you would
like to reach out and chat, I’m available on
What’s App, 818-802-7597 or via my email,
ShutterBugSharon@aol.com. Let’s flatten the
curve and quickly move forward! Wear a mask,
do social distancing and be safe!
by Larry Skibiski M.Photog.CR., CPP
There are a multitude of options currently available for wireless
“tethering” of our cameras to phones, pads, and computers. Many
cameras have either built in wireless, or optional proprietary,
external modules to perform image transfers. There are also a
number of manufacturers who have products with which to
accomplish wireless tethering. These include offerings from Vello,
Tether Tools, and the most popular since 2012, CamRanger. The
focus of this article will be the latest version of CamRanger, which
is CamRanger 2.
Many of you may own the original CamRanger, or, you might have seen one being used by an instructor
at a workshop or seminar. My own success rate using the original CamRanger, as well as those
instructors I have observed at several workshops or seminars, was limited. Sometimes it worked great,
and other times not. However, it may not always have been the fault of the CamRanger unit, because
among other things, operator error was often a factor when the unit was not correctly set up with the
CamRanger application in the receiving hardware. Other things which affect performance include going
beyond the range of the CamRanger, cameras or computers going into sleep mode, and interference
from other devices nearby transmitting on the same frequency.
I found myself frustrated trying to achieve an expected 100 percent success rate using the original
CamRanger, so I was pleased to learn that CamRanger had developed a new version of their flagship
product named CamRanger 2. Some of the things that make the CamRanger 2 new and different are the
form factor, the battery, more supported cameras, additional camera mounting options, five times faster
image transfers, dual band Wi-Fi, three times the range, an onboard SD card slot, and all new upgraded
Physically, the CamRanger 2 is noticeably larger than the old version. The battery too is now larger and
provides up to 5 hours of stated usage. Nikon, Canon, Fuji, and Sony cameras are all supported;
however, you should check the CamRanger website for a full list of which models are supported.
Mounting options now include a ¼ inch 20 screw mount, a hot shoe mount, and my personal favorite, an
Arca Swiss compatible quick release clamp (I use this for secure mounting to the vertical arm of my L-
bracket). The dual band Wi-Fi has options for either 2.4 GHz for extended range, or 5 GHz for faster
transfer speeds. CamRanger 2 has two available applications; one for the camera control/ saving and
editing, the other for Client viewing.
In a studio setting the fastest image transfers are usually accomplished by hard wire tethering directly to
a computer. However, wired tethering is not without its negatives and is definitely not a solution for all
Who can benefit from tethering their camera wirelessly?
• Photographers who need remote control of a camera mounted in a difficult, not easily accessible
• Studio Photographers needing to see a full-sized preview on a calibrated monitor to check focus,
composition, color, etc.
• Photographers needing immediate downloading of images to a hard drive.
• Photographers needing immediate collaborative feedback from clients, assistants, and art
• Sports Photographers needing FTP transfer to clients.
• Wedding and Event Photographers creating live slide shows for guest viewing.
• Pole Photographers (not necessarily Photographers of Polish descent. Actually, Pole
Photographers are the ones who create aerial images by boldly putting thousands of dollars of camera
and lenses on top of flimsy, hand-held poles).
• Photo workshop instructors. (Note to instructors: Please stop trying to show off your amazing
workshop images on that tiny LCD on the back of your camera! It just doesn’t ever work!)
You will most likely come up with your own ideas as how to incorporate CamRanger 2 tethering into your
own workflow. I often shoot youth baseball action images of my grandson’s team. My idea for a use of
the CamRanger 2 was that I would shoot images at his games and allow parents of the players to view
images live on their devices using the CamRanger Client application as they sat in the bleachers. It
would be kind of like an “instant replay”, but with still images instead of video.
Well that was my big plan, but my CamRanger 2 arrived just in time for the Covid-19 isolation orders to
take effect. All sports activities have been halted. But I still plan to try my plan once life returns to some
semblance of normal, or whatever the new normal will be.
This article is but a brief overview of the CamRanger 2. I have only covered a handful of the many
features and specifications. I hope that I have sparked in you an interest to explore more about the
device and perhaps even add one to your own collection of photography gadgets. Take care, be safe,
(For the full list of features and specifications please review the website at https://camranger.com. For a
side by side comparison of the CamRanger 2 vs. CamRanger Mini vs. CamRanger click here.
Using What You Have
Michelle Norris Pennings, CPP
As a photographer I am constantly thinking about how can I create images that have impact. Of course,
I want my images to be technically good. I think about what kind of lighting am I going to use to create a
particular kind of feeling. Or maybe I know the expression I want to extract from my model and I need to
create the right lighting to enhance it. And what kind of pose do I want for my model? I think these are
questions we all ask ourselves when creating images with impact.
Well, I like to take it a step further and add creative styling to the mix. Now this can sometimes make me
feel overwhelmed. Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough money to rent or create an elaborate
costume? Or do you see other photographer’s images and think how did they do that? Well, call it trash
to treasure or crap to creative or whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be that hard.
I have done simple things to create style. A black tank top and jacket shirt with protective knee pads on
Black trash bags wrapped and taped can look
For my image of Lydia in Blue, I had just picked up these silk flowers at a garage sale for 50 cents. I
went to my dress closet to look for a dress that would match. I have a closet of old dresses that friends
have given me. I did that by creating a post on Facebook asking if anyone had old prom or bridesmaids
dresses they wanted to get rid of. I ended up with a whole closet full.
I found a dress with the perfect colors. The problem was Lydia is about a size 8 and the dress was a
size 18! No worries, I made it work.
I started with the dress upside down. I had Lydia step into the bodice and I pulled the skirt up over her
shoulders, starting in the back, pulling, and stapling. Yes you heard it, stapling. Just be careful not to
staple your models skin. You can do all kinds of things with tape and a stapler. Remember, your model
doesn’t have to really wear it to the prom, she just has to wear in a photo. You can fake a lot of things
for an image.
I created a leprechaun image when I first started my photography journey. I made leprechaun’s shoes
with old tap shoes and a couple toilet paper rolls. I used brown duct tape and wrapped the shoes so
they looked like long pointy toed shoes. I cut off the buckles from an old purse for shoe decor and
attached velcro under the duct tape straps.
The belts, well I couldn't find kids belts so I used regular adult size belts. I cut them down the back and
sewed them together on the sewing machine so they were smaller. But you can use duct tape and
staples. I used the fabric from old curtains to make ascots. I cut them up and wrapped it around their
necks and tied it like a scarf.
I bought the jackets at the thrift store. I first tried dying them with fabric dye but that didn't work. So, I
resorted to spray paint. Then I washed them because I didn't want the children to be breathing toxic
spray paint fumes. The spray-painted fabric actually washed pretty well. It was a little stiff. But the smell
The knickers were sweat pants I cut off and used puffy paint to make a textured brocade pattern.
So you see, you can take little things you have around the house and repurpose them. Staple them, paint
them, go crazy! I can’t wait to see what you do with all those empty toilet paper rolls, cellophane or the
stuffing out of old pillows.
Spring 2020 23
Stuck at Home Photo Contest
by Larry Skibiski
Thank you all so much for submitting what you have been up to and to Larry Skibiski for capturing
the true essence of Smart Marketing in these unprecidented times.
by Sharon Lobel
by Kimerly Olker
y Dan Holmes
by Michael Collins
Photoshop - Zero to Sixty
Michael Collins, M. Photog., CR., CPP, M-PPC,
S-PPC, BA-PPA, F-PPC
In this first edition of “Photoshop – Zero to Sixty” we are going to work on the layout of our desktop/
workspace. It may seem simple but there are a couple of things you can do to make your life in Photoshop
The first thing you want to do is landscape the heck out of it. Only keep the panels and tools you really
need and use on your desktop and the rest are hidden away. “But I might use that tool someday….” Don’t
be a hoarder. Keep only what you need and hide the rest! If you haven’t used it in six months will, you in
the next six? I would rather have space for my image I am working on than a whole bunch of garbage on
Me personally, I like History, Actions and Layers on the right side attached to each other. I have Brushes,
Brush Settings and Properties minimized but ready to go. I use these all of the time. But make it so that
YOU are happy with it. Some people like to have their toolbar on the right side next to the Layer etc.
Panels. Me? It doesn’t matter as I pretty much use keyboard shortcuts for all of the tools as it saves me
Once your desktop is how you like it, save the Workspace as your own. Go to Window to Workspace to
“New Workspace”. Title it with your name or other way to remember it and save it. You can always save
it as “Collins Workspace” so you remember what a great guy he is.
Next go to preferences, the keyboard shortcut is Cmd/
Ctrl K. Cmd for Mac and Ctrl for PC. The first thing to
do is go to “Interface” and pick the shade you want your
workspace to be. I like the medium shade of grey but
this is all personal taste. Next to the Color Theme is
Highlight color. I chose blue as it stands out more
especially in the Layers Panel. You can keep the
default color of Gray or you can also pick Grey as your
color. So, which is it Grey or Gray??
Spring 2020 29
One more thing before you start getting up and running, Photoshop default in the layers panel is to have
small Thumbnails. I am in the ancient category so I like mine a little bigger. All you have to do is click on
the dropdown icon which looks like a stack of four pancakes in the upper right corner of the Layers
Panel. Go almost to the bottom and click on “Panel Options”. Pick the size of the icon you would like to
have. Thumbnail Contents, click on entire document.
And there you have it - you’re ready to rock and roll.
FROM THE SMOKER……..
by Mel Carll, S-PPC, BA-PPC
Let’s make some Homemade Berry Curd!
During this Stay-at-Home order I thought it would
be a great time to try something new. I love a
good curd, whether it be lemon, berry or
raspberry. I just love the texture and the flavor it
gives. So on one of my trips to the market,
strawberries and raspberries were both looking
really good, and even better, on sale.
So now, the adventure begins. I am going to make
a Berry Curd for the first time EVER!!! It’s either
going to be epic or worst case, an epic fail.
So here are the instructions I did, while somewhat
following a recipe, and somewhat changing it for
my own tastes:
1. I placed a cup of fresh raspberries in the
food processor until basically smooth.
Then I pressed it through a fine mesh
strainer into a bowl, and discard the seeds
when I was done.
2. I then took a cup of chopped strawberries
and did the same thing. Into the food
processor, and then pressed through the
strainer, again discarding the seeds.
3. In a saucepan, I mixed 1/2 cup sugar and 1
Tbsp of cornstarch. Then I whisked in 3
large egg yolks and the berry puree until all
of this was blended in the pan.
4. Next I added 2 tbsp of butter, and cooked this over a medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture
was just thick enough to coat a spoon, but also using a thermometer and letting the mixture reach a temp
of 170 degrees.
5. Once there, I added a tsp of vanilla extract and mixed well, but making sure not to boil.
6. Once done, remove the pan from the heat.
7. Now transfer the mixture to a bowl, and let it cool slightly.
8. Press some plastic wrap onto the surface, and refrigerate until cold.
9. After chilling, it is ready to serve, or transfer to a glass jar for storage in the fridge.
This mixture was amazing. I will be making this again soon. If was amazing on a English muffin. But even more
amazing over a warm brownie.
A F F I L I A T E S H I G H L I G H T S
CIPPA - Channel Islands Professional Photographers
GCPPA - Gold Coast Professional Photographers
IEPPV - Inland Empire Professional Photographers
PPLAC - Professional Photographers of Los Angeles County
PPWC - Professional Photographers of Wine Country
PPOC - Professional Photographers of Orange County
1st Vice President
PPSDC - Professional Photographers of San Diego County
PPSV - Professional Photographers of Sacramento Valley
PPSCV - Professional Photographers of Santa Clara Valley
A Dream Come True
In the late 1950’s while living in Miami, Florida, I recall anxiously waiting for mom’s friends to share
their stories of their weekend escapes to Cuba’s night clubs; the Las Vegas of those days. Mom and her
friends, from the Colombian and Peruvian Consulates, loved to travel. It was their stories of their trip to
Peru that ignited my passion for travel. That trip to Peru was full of excitement, adventure, and wonder,
especially for a child. However, as for many, school, work, and helping at home took precedence, so
travelling around the world had to wait until my 40’s. So for my 65 birthday in 2019 I finally landed in Peru.
The excitement was overwhelming as I retraced mom’s steps with my husband, William, savoring Peru’s
culinary world, and embracing its famous city, Machu Picchu.
Peru is located in western South America, bordered on the North by Ecuador and Colombia (my
native country); the East by Brazil; Southeast/South by Bolivia and Chile; and the West by the Pacific
Ocean. It is rich in seafood and enjoys arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of
the Andes mountains. To ensure our excursion was comprehensive we booked through Marriott / G-
Adventures National Geographic Journeys. The outcome was amazing, the tour was simply perfect!
Los Angeles, CA to Lima, Peru. We arrived two days before the start of our tour to experience the
city on our own. Our hotel “Antigua Miraflores” was formerly the mansion of a prestigious Peruvian family,
the decor was stunning, and it was perfectly located close to Lima’s best restaurants, ocean board-walk,
and must see sights.
We celebrated my birthday at ‘La Rosa
Nautica’ a gourmet restaurant with an exquisite menu
and expansive ocean views. We visited the “Centro
Cultural Ricardo Palma” and saw the breathtaking
Black & White “Homo Urbanus Europeanus” exhibit of
French photographer Jean-Marc Caracci whose work
is inspired by Henri Cartier Bresson, Elliot Erwitt and
Raymond Depardon, and influenced by American
Painter Edward Hopper.
Heeding recommendations, we took 1 camera
each; William carried his Nikon D750 with the Nikon
50mm and 28-300mm lenses. I carried my Nikon D810
with my 14-24mm and 24-120mm lenses; extra
batteries, SD Cards, etc. We traveled light knowing up
front that this tour was all about walking, climbing, and
hiking. Yes, this trip was quite an endurance test and
one we prepared for at the gym! We walked between
9,000-19,200 steps per day. And it was all worth it!
Drink plenty of water, stay hydrated, take hiking shoes,
and wear layers. You will need them.
Ana Montgomery, BSBA, CPP
Our 8-day travels included Lima to Cusco,
Urubamba, Aguas Calientes, Cusco, back to Lima then
home to Los Angeles. The tour officially started on
Sunday when we met the balance of our group of 7
couples plus the local guide, Mauricio who was
exemplary as a leader and a true historian. We were a
small group of Americans, Canadians, and Australians
who got along beautifully the entire trip. That evening
we enjoyed a wonderful city tour of Lima and a delicious
seafood dinner at a local restaurant.
On Monday morning we flew to Cusco where we
toured the Urubamba Valley also known as the ‘Sacred
Valley.’ There we toured the Moray Ruins known for its
archeological ruins of extensive works of terracing and
irrigation, and the Maras Salt Mines where salt
evaporation ponds are situated at an altitude of 3,380
meters above sea level. Although I was experiencing
these cultural wonders with my own eyes, I was still in
disbelief. I couldn’t fathom the engineering and
architectural wonders created without modern
This particular evening we ate a traditional
“Pachamanca Dinner” at the ‘Inkalicious Restaurant’,
located walking distance from our hotel, Villa
The servers were always dressed in beautiful
traditional colorful handwoven clothes.
And, as a side note, our hotel looked very
much like a traditional Colombian Finca ‘Hacienda’
surrounded by green plush gardens. Each morning’s
breakfast included a variety of local grains, Quiwicha
Pop, Quinua Pop, freshly baked breads, eggs, and
fruit yogurts. The service was impeccable and truly
Once again on the road we toured the Pisac
Ruins, Ollantaytambo Ruins, and enjoyed a
fabulous meal at the ‘Parwa Community
Restaurant’. Peru is known as the largest potato
grower in the world with over 4,000 varieties of
native potatoes varying in size, texture and colors.
While at Ollantaytambo we enjoyed a detailed
explanation of the traditions of planting and
harvesting the vast variety of potatoes in the region.
We also enjoyed a colorful demonstration of
how wool is spun, tinted with nature’s different plants
to produce consistently gorgeous colors then woven
into works of art by the Inca women.
On the following day, after a 30 minute
train ride we arrived in Aguas Calientes and stayed
at Taypikala Hotel Machu Picchu. The staff at the
hotel was warm and welcoming, the rooms were
perfect, and each morning there was a lovely buffet
with more than you can eat. It was perfectly located
near shops with a variety of handmade articles for
the home, amazing restaurants, and the bus that
takes you up a very steep, narrow and winding road.
The bus drivers go up and down all day long from
the bottom of the mountain to the top where Machu
Picchu is actually located. Those drivers are true
masters of the wheel as many of us only held our
breath in fear with every curve – afraid to look out
the window down the 10,000 ft precipice;
nevertheless, we made it safely each time we went
up and down.
Machu Picchu was breathtaking, inspirational and more than I could have imagined. You felt the
presence of the Gods, the energy of its history, the power of its warriers, and the glory of its beauty. It
indeed was a trip that was full of wonder, excitement and new ‘lifelong’ friends. Thanks mom for your
stories, I finally made it here.
The tour continued with other city sights and shows like at the Planetarium, several performances, and
equestrian shows. But it was this moment that brought it all together for me. To witness such beauty
from up high, and to share it with my husband and our new ‘Aussie’ friends Sue and Colin Newman,
was truly a dream come true.
Photo by Colin Newman
Saying goodbye to Peru was truly fun too!
Written By: Ana Montgomery
Photos by: Ana Montgomery & Colin Newman
Photo by Colin Newman
West Coast School is a Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Affiliate School founded in
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Are You ready to register?
June 6 - 13, 2021