In spring of 2021, one of my favorite photographers posted that she was attended The Hybrid Collective in Park City, Utah in September. For those who may not be familiar, The Hybrid Collective is a conference that celebrates film and digital photographers and brings our community together to learn and collaborate. After looking over the schedule for the conference and discovering that several photographers I admire were keynote speakers and workshop hosts, I decided to take a leap of faith and buy a ticket.
If you’ve been around this space for awhile, you know how much I love to travel. Traveling alone was something I’d never done before and I won’t lie, it was extremely intimidating. Heading west where I knew no one into a room full of strangers? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve had an anxious dream about that at some point. But after all the travel restrictions and disappointments of 2020, I felt ready for the journey regardless of how nervous I was. I flew out bright and early at the end of September into Salt Lake City’s airport. I decided to rent a car for the conference so I had the freedom to explore a bit more of Utah while I was out west. I’ve done plenty of driving in the Appalachian Mountains, so I expected the Rockies to be similarly full of steep inclines and sharp corners. Instead I was greeted by rolling hills and vibrant greenery beginning to show signs of fall, and one of the prettiest drives I’ve ever taken. After about forty five minutes, I arrived in Park City.
While known for being a ski town, Park City in the fall is simply stunning. The downtown area is full of buildings designed to mimic lodges and capture some of that main street charm. I spent the first afternoon grabbing an iced coffee with a friend I’d ran into at the airport and walking through the farmer’s market going on downtown. To say I was taken with Park City would be an understatement. The mountain charm was undeniable and to be surrounded by such stunning views was truly breathtaking. After walking around for a bit, I headed back to The Grand Summit Hotel. If you’re looking for a place to book in P.C., this resort offers a ton of convenience both in its proximity to downtown and the ski slops, but also with its dining options and inspiring views.
I was fortunate during my time at the conference to meet some really incredible photographers that have now become friends. While putting myself out there was really intimidating at first, taking this trip is one of the best decisions I have ever made. My second night in Park City was spent with these wonderful humans taking lots of film photos in a whimsical field and chatting about our dreams for our businesses. Honestly, even as I write about it the memory makes me smile, because I truly value the connections I make with others. The people I met at The Hybrid Collective each left their own impact on me, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of such an amazing experience. So to anyone unsure about booking the ticket and taking the chance, do it. I promise you won’t regret it.
While most of my cohorts packed up and flew out Thursday morning, I had one last styled shoot to attend and some adventuring to do. I packed up my Pentax and headed to Salt Lake City, about a forty drive from Park City. Salt Lake reminded me a lot of Columbia with its perfect mix of modern and historic architecture. I visited the Mormon Temple and an incredibly Instagram worthy bake shop called Eva’s Bakery. Spending time walking around cities on my own with my camera is honestly one of my favorite past times; I really find these moments to be true pockets of peace for me.
After about an hour and a half exploring Salt Lake, I grabbed a coffee and continued my exploration west to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Located about an hour and a half outside of Salt Lake, this stunning geographical phenomenon will truly take your breath away. Walking on the Salt Flats felt like walking on the moon, and I hung out for about an hour just taking it all in. And of course, spending time getting some pictures with the help of my trusty tripod. Taking this time before leaving northern Utah was so good for my explorative soul and reminded me just how much I had missed traveling. If you have the opportunity to travel out west, Utah is truly one of the prettiest states I’ve seen yet.
Helpful Links for Park City and Salt Lake
The Grand Summit Hotel and Resort | https://www.parkcitymountain.com/
Harvet Cafe | https://harvestparkcity.com/
Caffé Molise | http://www.caffemolise.com/
Eva’s Bakery | http://www.instagram.com/evasbakery/