Photo bloggers are boosting Plumas County tourism


Suzi Brakken - Plumas County Visitor's Bureau

The promotion of Plumas County’s fall foliage has attracted unprecedented numbers of visitors and inquiries this year, but there’s been an additional benefit, thanks to technology. The changing leaves have been attracting more and more photographers and photo clubs who post their pictures online via websites, blogs and Facebook, thereby adding to the viral marketing effort.

Through Google alerts, the Visitors Bureau is able to track these photographers and make contact, which has led to various photo sharing arrangements or purchases, future photo shoots and even friendships.

Tony Mindling is a great example. Mindling is a talented amateur photographer-geologist who was discovered by local photographer Richard McCutcheon when both were out shooting fall foliage in Indian Valley a few years ago. We contacted Mindling, who lives a few hours away, and asked if he could come back up to shoot some images with models. Mindling’s productive visits have resulted in cover shots for the Plumas County Visitors Guide for the past three years. Mindling’s shots also were featured in VIA magazine and led Tom Stienstra’s outdoors column in the San Francisco Chronicle this month. In exchange for Mindling’s talent, we’ve offered modest compensation and a couple of free RV camp spots donated by local businesses.

Last year, we found another photographer through Google, Marichu Pereira, who donated some images used in the Visitors Guide. In exchange, we arranged for a cabin (donated by Chalet View) last weekend, which she shared with two other photographers she brought along from her Livermore Valley camera club. Pereira is a delightful, talented photographer that we had the pleasure of meeting in person last weekend. Her fellow photographers – one of whom is a “master” (in the photo competition world) – shot images across the county all weekend, and will likely be back, perhaps even as a club field trip. Photography is a huge social network, and turns out there are some 30 camera clubs just in Northern California!

Meanwhile, Pereira, who works in a Stanford Hospital laboratory, herself used social media to spread the word about Plumas County. She was so excited to become an “official photographer” for us that she blogged and Facebooked the news, linked the online Visitors Guide, and encouraged her hundreds of friends and fans to visit Plumas County.

This upcoming weekend, two photo groups are coming to Lake Almanor/Lassen Park as the result of a web-based tool known as “meet up.” This worldwide social network allows people with common interests to organize group functions, in this case, a photo trip to Plumas County. The invite is illustrated with Pereira’s photos, so we know that’s how they got the idea. We’ve already been in touch with the group leader from Sacramento who’s gathering 30 photographers; the other group from Tehama County is bringing seven. Local tourism businesses will benefit of course, but we’re hoping to form some new relationships with photographers as well.

For more information on the current status of Plumas County's fall foliage, go to and click on "Leaf Peeper Reports" or call the Plumas County Visitors Bureau at 530-283-6345.

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