Mosida Pioneer Trek Photography: Shooting the 3-day Event

Family portrait handcart trek pioneer
One of 20 Handcart Families
Event photography includes weddings, parties, family reunions, school activities and much more.  This year I was asked to be an event photographer on a pioneer trek.  Youth groups from the LDS church sometimes will have an opportunity to join a commemorative trek, giving them a sample of what their pioneer forefathers experienced.  This particular trek took place in Mosida, Utah, and isolated but very beautiful place.  Temperatures were around 90 degrees, not a drop of humidity but occasional clouds gave us some shelter from the unrelenting sun.  The experience itself was wonderful.  I would like to share a little bit about what is involved as a photographer if you’re ever asked to do something like this.

Walking was involved.  Because I was trying to capture a little bit of everybody, I did more walking than the average person.  I would walk with and photograph part of the group and then moved to a different part.  Sometimes I would run ahead to get some pictures of the group as they were climbing a hill or going along a particular section of the path.

The 200 individuals involved in this were divided into 20 different family groups.  Just getting 10 members of each family together for a picture was a challenge.  Multiply that by 20 different families and you can see how getting the family pictures took me about 2 hours.  I would do that every morning after they would eat breakfast.

With 200 individuals, I hoped to have about 5 good photographs of each individual.  Some of these would be in group shots and others would be individual shots.  I estimated I would need to take about 1000 pictures each day to have some quality pictures for each individual to have after the trek was finished.  (I must say here that the kids were not allowed to bring electronic cameras or phones along, so they would not have any photos without my work.)

I brought a variety of lenses but the ones I used the most were my 16-35mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/4, 85mm f/1.2, and 24-105mm f/4.  I did not use my tripod.  People were moving too quickly for anything to be set up.  I did bring my flash and used a fill-in flash on my family portraits.  I did not use the flash at any other time however.

More intimidating and time-consuming than the track itself, processing 3000 photos afterwards and creating a yearbook took me 4 days of non-stop work.  Of the 3000+ photos, I threw out 2000, leaving me with 1000 good photos.  For the yearbook we created, I used Entourage Yearbooks Company.  Their online yearbook creation site does work well although it is very slow.  It took me about 30 minutes to create each page and I am not a slow worker.  I must say they were very nice to work with and got my printed books to me ahead of schedule.  And the books look amazing too!

Please see the sample of my pictures below but if you’re interested in seeing the entirety of the work, visit my website gallery for the trek:  Mosida Trek Gallery.  
Handcart trek sign in Utah
Mosida Trek Site is in Central Utah
Pioneer handcart trek in Mosida Utah
Walking 4-7 miles daily
Pioneer line dancing Mosida Trek
Dusty Dancing the first night
Pioneer youth Mosida Utah trek
Pulling the Handcart
pioneer young women on handcart trek
Pioneer Trek Fun
Women's pull mosida handcart trek
Women's Pull
two pioneer men carrying woman across river
Echo River crossing
Pioneer youth pulling handcart across river
Pulling Handcart across the Echo River crossing