My first experience as a tour leader for Ayres Adventures, the well-known Premium Motorcycle Tour company, couldn’t have been any more exciting. I took part in the “Empire of the Incas” 2-week tour which started in Salta, in the north of Argentina, and our route crossed the fantastic Atacama desert in Chile, the arid and beautiful Chilean coast to Iquique and Arica, and ended up with a whole week in Peru, stopping in Arequipa, Cusco (Machu Picchu) and Puno (Lake Titicaca). These two weeks were full of incredible roads and views, and also full of new challenges, as I got used to new responsibilities in the role of a tour leader: a lot of paperwork for the border crossings, making sure all the bikes were running perfectly, arranging and confirming the hotels and restaurants bookings, plus solving the unexpected (and unavoidable) surprises of each and every day. A ton of work for sure, but also something I felt absolutely comfortable doing, as the main goal of a good motorcycle tour leader is to make sure the guests are having the time of their lives while visiting new distant places. It’s actually a quite simple equation: you help them have the smoothest possible experience, and by doing that, you have an equally enjoyable time yourself!
Ayres Adventures, as some of the readers here may already know, is the company I partnered with for the PhotoMoto series of photography workshops combined with fine motorcycles tours, the first one scheduled for this September in South Africa. The company is recognized worldwide for its unique premium trips, offering a different, high-end tour concept which includes top-class accommodations and meals throughout each trip. The tours take place on all continents, with several offerings for each area. On the PhotoMoto tours, my role is that of a photography instructor, passing my experience as a professional photographer to the guests. As their newest tour leader, I won’t be conducting photography classes during the regular tours I will help lead, so these are two completely different activities, even though both involve riding motorcycles through great roads around the whole world. Be it a PhotoMoto or a regular tour, it goes without saying that I’m extremely happy with this new activity and I’m feeling it can perfectly complement my own travel photography plans for the years ahead.
Below are a few first shots from the recent tour, all of them taken with the 645z, a gem of a medium-format camera from Pentax. This was also my first time away with the new camera, and I’m very happy to confirm it is everything I was hoping it to be. It’s a bit heavy and bulky, of course, but considering the image quality and size one is able to extract from it, it’s definitely worth the effort, and from now on the 645z will be my camera of choice for all future trips. As one can imagine, there’s not much time left during a regular tour to take lots of images, but I still managed to take the Pentax out every now and then. Hope you will enjoy the images!