By a very serendipitous set of circumstances I was able to attend my first UTadventure tour in September of 2019. Like so many, I had dreamed of one day going on a trip like this. The opportunity to shoot with world class models in the beautiful Utah desert was a bucket list item. I had heard of similar tours and followed a few, but had yet to act. I will never regret the decision to attend as it has created lifetime memories, friendships and images I'll cherish forever.
So if you're reading this... What are you waiting for? For me, I kept telling myself I'll do this sometime soon... or next year... or when the time is right... But there's always things that come up. Life happens. But when all the pieces started to fall into place, I didn't make another excuse, I acted. I booked a tour months before and it gave me the time to prepare for it.
My first contact after applying was getting a phone call from Dima. He was excited that I was attending and he could tell what a big deal this was for me. He answered all my questions I had prior to departure - in that call and a few follow up emails I sent. When I flew into SLC, he happily picked me up from the airport and brought me to my hotel. Accommodations throughout the tour were comfortable and clean. I was there to work and shoot, but having a clean, comfortable place to crash at the end of the day is a huge benefit. Meals were always good as were the on-board snacks.
One concern I had prior to going was that I didn't know the type of photographers that go on tours like this. I was fearful that I'd be competing with camera club type photographers that gather in little groups to shoot over each others shoulder, or hoard the time of the models. I was assured that the participants were carefully selected and that this was not going to happen. Everyone was kind and attentive. Models weren't pushed to go beyond their limits, and the other photographers were looking out for each other. I rotated vehicles each day so that I could spend time with everyone on tour. The leaders, the guides, the models and the photographers all worked so well together. We became a little tribe of creatives - a family if you will - on that trip.
I have already booked my second tour with UTadventure.
So if you're still reading this, what are you waiting for? I'll remind you that we only live once and sometimes we need to take that little leap of faith and follow our hearts. You won't regret it!
Joe Symchyshyn - Windsor, Ontario - Canada
Going on a UTadventure tour feels like attending an art nude theme park at each spectacular shooting location. Each model on the shoot is their own stop for professional art nude amazingness, and you get to create with every one at every shoot.
On my tour, I expected the opportunity to capture breathtaking photos, but I did not realize it would also help me grow so much as a photographer. Being able to watch how other photographers approach getting “the shot” showed me ways I can improve my own techniques. I definitely left the tour a better, more confident photographer, and I highly recommend for anyone to attend a UTadventure.
Alan Sy - Austin, Texas
This is the tour that changed my mind about group shoots. I have now done both the Yucatan and Utah tours offered by UTadventure, discovering just how well organized they are and the incredible value in location scouting Dasha and her partner Dmitriy offer. And I discovered that it is still possible to capture your own special vision when working in these small groups while at the same time experiencing a wonderful camaraderie and new learnings from the dedicated art makers these tours attract. You will make new friends, new model and photographer contacts, have an unforgettable time, and come away with images that will take your portfolio to the next level. There’s a reason so many participants come back for more. Discover it!
Randall Hobbet - Walnut Creek, California
If you’re interested in UT Adventure but your schedule doesn’t map to one of their Utah/Mexico tours, think about a private tour. I’ve had the chance to do all three and each one presents a different set of opportunities.
Specifically the private tour provides a few days of one-on-one opportunities – 2 models with 2 photographers. So plenty of time for one-on-one with each model in each location and then 2 photographers shooting the 2 models together. We had Kate Snig with Dasha - both with much different posing styles - but when working together they complimented each other. Way too much fun for those few days!
Our private tour was based out of a shared condo providing both the privacy and the shared group experience. And of course – the great locations that Dmitriy and Dasha always scout out for all of their tours. They’re always looking for new/different locations. Since I’ve done both the group and private Utah tours, the evolving locations provided some of the same settings revisited with different photo thought processes for capturing the images while getting to newer locations to add to the experience.
How much do I enjoy UT Adventure? I’m signed up for Mexico again!
Steve Dent - Eden, New York
Thank you for a memorable tour. Your dedication, planning, organization and "just plain fun to hang out with" personalities made this a very special tour indeed. All the models were fantastic individuals and professionals. Each worked tirelessly to ensure that we photographers created the images we wanted, and I especially appreated and enjoyed the very creative enviornment within our whole group. Everyone was fun to know, and each a very creative artist.
Dasha - thank you for your creativity when we worked together, and for noticing midway in the tour that we hadn't worked together much, and making sure that we did have opportunities. Our collaborations, both at Bonnieville & Salt Lake produced some very nice images. I'm still going through my images and know I'll find many more.
Dmitriy - thank you for your incredible talent for organization and problem solving. Your travel playlist was awesome! If I had one regret, it was that I didn't know about the great beers on tap until AFTER our first day's lunch. ;-)
John Chatoian - San Francisco, California
Having just completed the September 2017 UTadventure Utah tour, I can happily say that this was one of the very best experiences of my life. The group was just the right size and gelled well together. The models were superbly talented and of course, very beautiful. Dima is an amazing tour leader who gently, but firmly runs a very tight schedule (organising photographers as we all know is like herding cats). We never missed a sunrise or sunset destination. Dima literally knows every back road as well as every highway and beautiful, out of the way destination in Utah. He and Dasha selected a remarkably diverse and outrageously stunning group of shoot locations. The restaurants were always great and the accomodation was perfect. I will certainly be doing more adventures with Dasha and Dima and unreservedly recommend UTadventures to photographers of all skill levels.
Rod Cadenza - Australia
The trip was truly amazing!
The locations were spectacular and I cannot give enough praise you and models. All three were not only wonderful to photograph but an absolute pleasure to spend time with. In addition to their marvelous beauty and talent, their intrepidness was extraordinary and greatly appreciated. I also appreciate the organizational work that went into making the trip such a success.
UTadventure exceeded my expectations! I was excited about the trip but worried I might get a little burnt out on shooting the same models for several days, or not finding enough diversity in the settings. Quite the contrary - the talent and diversity of the models selected and the great diversity of the locations made me feel as though I was getting a very different shoot at each spot.
The guides know their stuff and the trip was well organized. Would do again!
Theresa Manchester - Everywhere
My UTadventure Tour was, by far, the most organized photography workshop I have ever attended—and I have attended many. I appreciate all of the logistical planning it takes to move models, photographers and equipment not just to a location, but to locations all ever the state, many in remote places. Dasha, Floofie and Olive are outstanding art nude models, talented and professional from early morning shoots to the last shots at sunset. Anyone with any interest in “nude in nature” art nude photography should sign up.
David Pruett - Chicago, Illinois
It's been two weeks since returning home from UTadventure. I'm finally getting the feeling back in my butt after spending all that time in the van. The camera has had a thorough cleaning, the pants I wore the holes in sliding down rocks have been thrown away and I'm overwhelmed by the number of photos I have to choose from and process.
This was a unique photo experience, so different from any other photo event I had ever been on. If I were to describe the event with a single word I would say "demanding". The adventure packed a lot into five days. The time demands were such that we were on the road before sunup and not getting back until well after dark. Hiking or walking, with equipment, through the desert or canyons was physically demanding. And finally, the opportunity to work with three talented models in the locations we visited was demanding on our skills and creativity - you knew you just had to deliver your best work!
Having attended many model workshops I have seen first hand how easy it is for events like this to go "off the rails". Usually, organization, while critical, is always lacking. An event where the organizer is also one third of the model lineup just seemed like an invitation for disaster. And I had concerns about this going in. But with UTadventure everything was well planned and executed. The team worked well together and Dasha was free to do her model thing as Dmitriy kept the behind the scenes running.
The three models worked hard and made sure everyone was getting what they needed. A special Thanks to Dasha for making sure I got my glamour fix taken care of. I had been concerned over how we would "rotate" but over the course of the event this really turned out to be a non-issue.
Fred Prose - Glendale, Arizona
This was my first group workshop/event. It has opened me to a whole new range of possibilities. I plan to be back again and again. Dmitriy and Dasha almost make it too easy.
My favorite thing about UTadventure is the people. We are committed to art and we bring the best out of ourselves and those we work with. We help and support each other when things aren't working. We are a community that cares about each other. I enjoyed spending time with Dasha. I feel we have a lot in common ... I'm very glad I got to know Dmitriy, Gwen, Craig, Tanya, Ed, Gerry and Kira. I love you all!
UTadventure has some of the best models that I have ever worked with. Kira is like water. She perseveres and thrives in a harsh world but her softness, vulnerability and innocence are unchanged - her weakness is her strength. She brings this across most strikingly in the Utah landscape. I completely relate to Dasha's big ideas and bold theatrics. I look to her to push me to do everything bigger, better and bolder - too much is never enough! Gwen is fearlessness and adventure. She helps me to live life fully in this place and in this moment. I will follow her anywhere, because the best shots are always at the TOP of the mountain! ;-)
I have had very few photographer friends, but I recommend UTadventure without reservation. The most unexpected thing is that I am meeting people and making friends through UTadventure. There is a real sense of community around UTadventure. I feel support and encouragement in my photography for the first time.
Jason Galla - Pleasant Grove, UT
In June of 2016 I had the amazing opportunity to travel around the state of Utah to seemingly out-of-this-world locations with three top models for a nudes in the landscape photography tour. Over the last eight years I have attended nearly a dozen or so of these photo workshops/tours and The UTadventure hosted by Dasha Usova and Dmitriy has been by far the most productive and worthwhile to date.
The incredible amount of planning, the securing of quality hotel/restaurant reservations, the scouting of to-die-for photo locations and the superb model selection were all in place to make for a stellar photography tour. Long days of posing, hiking in to locations, crawling over red rocks and through slot canyons never once seemed to put a damper on the models being ready to work with photographers to get the best shots possible.
Dasha, Gwen and Jen … thanks for the incredible images!
Edward R Vidinghoff - Ridgefield, WA
As an advanced(ish) amateur I initially had reservations that joining a photo tour would result in a bunch of photographers gathered around a posing model, all taking the same photo. I jumped in after Dasha assured me that I'd have plenty of one-on-one time to create my own photographs. I'm very glad I did. My work turned out to be unique, and frankly, some of the best I've ever done. Much of that success, of course, can be attributed to the incredible talent of the models! (That said, I still took far too many crappy shots, and will be sure to slow down next time.)
As others have mentioned, the organization was top-notch, with everything planned and executed very well. Good accommodations, great restaurants, and a big comfortable vehicle to cart us all around. I will be returning to the Mexico tour in 2017, and expect that it will be just as well organized. Dasha has already had me drooling over the sites they have scouted.
As for Utah, if you've never been there, let me assure you that it is bigger, better, more beautiful and more astounding than what you see in photos. I highly recommend you extend your trip and take in more of the state while you're there.
Robert Farnham - Kitchener, Ontario - Canada
I found was that everyone on the tour cared a great deal about their results and about getting better. In most other group events I've been to, there's a lot of people who are just there to goof off, casually take a few photos, and move on. Everyone on the tour cared about what they were doing, which I think made an enormous difference in the overall experience.
The photography locations were absolutely amazing. I was hesitant to make the trip because I come from the desert originally (12 years in Phoenix) and I never really felt inspired by the desert. It could be oversaturation because I lived in it too long, who knows? I felt very inspired by the location selection which is really good.
I think the tour offers a lot of opportunities to learn about styles of photography you might not be otherwise exposed to and is an excellent opportunity to get some really great material, plus it's sorta like a vacation at the same time! Great job guys! You're both awesome!
Michael Lerch - Portland, OR