The American West is an iconic place. Our photo tour will take you to locations that are some of the most visually stunning landscapes within the United States if not the world. We will make great use of golden hour so that the best lighting will be available to capture the scene. If weather conditions are favorable, we will also shoot at night, the stars bright in the crystal clear desert sky. This workshop is designed to give you the chance to expand your own creativity within an atmosphere of like minded photographers. Each person will be worked with according to their photographic skill level with personal desires taken into account so that everybody can strive to achieve photographs that will stand apart, expanding your portfolio immensely. This tour will be an adventure, showing you more than just how to use your camera, it will show you how to emulate professional photographers, using their tricks and techniques. From the Bonneville Salt Flats to deep within the Zion Narrows, we will be exploring exceptional photographic possibilities and learning how to scout out locations to make the best use of the available light.
While we will try to keep to the set schedule, conditions may arise that will make it necessary to alter our plans. Weather is the most variable aspect that we will need to contend with but as long as we all realize that the adventure continues. This photo tour is all about capturing amazing images. Frankly, bad weather often leads to more dramatic photos.
Itinerary: arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah
Day 1 – Arrive in Salt Lake City by early afternoon. We will first meet in the hotel at 3pm to discuss photographic styles and the desires that each of us is hoping to achieve on this trip. Photography is a very personal endeavor with each of us being able to look at the same scene and yet see something completely different. We will travel to the famed Bonneville Salt Flats. The Flats are the remnants of a massive Pleistocene lake that evaporated, leaving only the Great Salt Lake and the Salt Flats. They have been used as the location for movies, TV shows, advertising photography and numerous commercials. We will stay until just after sunset then back to the hotel for our Welcome dinner. (D)
Day 2 – After breakfast we leave Salt Lake City as our photo tour heads towards Moab. On the way there, we will stop by Heber Valley photographing the meadows and classic farm scenes against the Wasatch Mountains. In Moab we will check into our hotel eat lunch then head into Arches National Park. This park is home to more than 2000 natural arches. There we will photograph Turret Arch, Double Arch and the Windows. If conditions are right, we can stay after sunset and capture some night sky shots using handheld light sources to paint the arches with light. (B) (L)
Day 3 – We get up early then take a short hike to take dawn photos at North Window. Afterwards we will capture the morning light as we hike up Park Avenue, then rest at the hotel. After lunch we head back to photograph more arches with a sunset shot of Delicate Arch. Getting to Delicate Arch is about a 75 minute hike along a mostly easy trail. This iconic arch is an awe-inspiring site and with the evening light making it glow, it will turn into an awe inspiring photograph.(B) (D)
Day 4 – We get up early once again and head to Canyonlands National Park. There will we take a 30 minute hike to Mesa Arch where we will take photos of the morning sun as it peaks through the arch. We will then spend the day exploring the mighty vistas of Shafer Canyon, Grand View Point, Buck Canyon Overlook with our sunset photos to be taken at Green River Overlook. (B)(L)(D)
Day 5 – We leave Moab after breakfast heading south towards Newspaper Rock. These 2000 year old petroglyphs feature over 650 different designs. An amazing collection all in one place. We then continue the photo tour into Valley of the Gods, an often neglected area with stunning red rock formations. We will eat lunch in Medicine Hat before traveling into the Navajo territory and Monument Valley. After checking into the hotel we will head into the Valley, one of the most spectacular geographical areas in the world. The unique vistas have been used in movies, commercials and, of course, still photography ads. (B)(L)(D)
Day 6 – Sunrise comes early but if you are interested in getting spectacular lighting across the vast landscape then just outside the hotel, in the parking lot (Yes! The parking lot!) is the first photo location of the day. The sun will rise behind the Mittens, silhouetting them against the brightening sky. After a nap or breakfast, we then head into valley for the rest of the day with a Navajo guide who will take us to visit locations that are off limits to regular tourists like Ear of the Wind, Big Hogan, Sun’s Eye and the Sand Dunes.(B)(L)
Day 7 – After breakfast we will drive towards Page, Arizona. Just outside of this city, still within the Navajo Nation lands, are the famous Antelope slot canyons. We will be exploring the Lower Antelope Canyon. The trip into the canyon requires descending via a series of ladders down into the earth. These canyons were carved by a millennium of storms slowly etching away at the rocks. Due to the extreme danger of flash floods, this portion of the photo tour will only take place if the conditions are deemed safe. After leaving the slot canyons we will eat lunch then proceed to Horseshoe Bend where the mighty Colorado river makes a 180 degree turn. From Page we continue the photographic adventure by heading further west to Zion National Park. We will then shoot The Watchman as the sunset glimmers off of its face with the Virgin River in the foreground. After checking into hotel we then head off for dinner.(B)(L)(D)
Day 8 – This will be a more strenuous day but also one with great rewards. You will be able to turn around anytime you want but once you are in the canyon, I don’t think you will want to. We will be hiking up the famed Zion Narrows, on either side of us will be thousand foot high canyon walls. This hike starts on a simple trail alongside the Virgin river then when the trail ends, we will be hiking in the river or along its shore. The water levels can be knee to waist deep. The rocks underneath can be slippery with some scrambling over boulders. We will be taking a slow pace, allowing plenty of time to stop and photograph the spectacular canyon. (B) (L)
Day 9 – We travel out of the park to the lesser known Kanarra slot canyon. Here we will again be trekking through water as we make our way up the canyon. It is not nearly as wide as The Narrows but the enclosed walls make for wonderful photographic opportunities. Again, since slot canyons can be extremely dangerous due to flash flooding, we will only be able to do this if the weather holds up for us. After lunch, back in Zion, we take a hike up to the Emerald Pools. There are waterfalls and even a trail where you can photograph from behind the falls. Back in Springdale, we will all gather for a farewell dinner. (B) (L) (D)
Day 10 – After breakfast we will head south to Las Vegas. If you plan to fly out immediately, make sure your flight does not leave before 3pm. (B)