Canyonlands, Monument Valley, & Arches
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Stand on the edge of sheer sandstone cliffs, rugged canyons, flat top buttes, and natural stone arches of Utah’s high desert in Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley, and Arches National Park!
Canyonlands National Park – Throughout the centuries, the waters of the Colorado and Green Rivers have sculpted the layers of rock of Canyonlands into the rugged landscape we see today. The park is divided into four distinct districts by the Green and Colorado Rivers. Each region has its own character and opportunities for adventure and photography. Our time in Canyonlands will focus on the Island in the Sky Mesa, a region that rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. Every outlook offers a different perspective on Canyonlands’ spectacular landscape, taking us to rocky rims and breathtaking overlooks in the backcountry. We’ll explore dramatic and rugged canyons including the famous Shafer Canyon, Dead Horse Point, Green River Overlook, Grand View Point, and White Rim Road. And, of course, a photo expedition to the Canyonlands would not be complete without a sunrise shoot at the Mesa Arch!
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park – This red-sand desert region on the Arizona-Utah border, is home to some of the most iconic images of the American West, and the Valley is also the sacred heart of the Navajo Nation. Combined with the towering sandstone rock formations, surrounding mesas, and flat top buttes that have been sculpted over time, the Valley is truly one of the natural wonders of the world. Some of the landmarks we’ll photograph include The Mittens and Merrick Butte, Elephant Butte, Three Sisters, John Ford’s Point, and Camel Butte.
Arches National Park – Home to over 2,000 natural stone arches, towering spires, precarious pinnacles, massive fins, and giant balanced rocks. In addition to spending a sunset with some night photography at the Delicate Arch, we’ll also explore the unique formations of the Double Arch and the Balanced Rock.
Itinerary & General Information
- Arrival – Arrival at hotel in Moab / 5 PM Meet-and-Greet and group dinner.
- Day 1 – We’re going to start our first day with sunrise at Dead Horse Point State Park featuring a dramatic overlook of the Colorado River, Shafer Canyon, and Canyonlands National Park. This is one of the most stunning views in all of the Utah high desert and we’ll spend several hours shooting the nuances of the golden light as the sun comes up. After breakfast, we’ll travel down to the Grand View Overlook at the southern-most spot on Canyonland’s high mesa. We’ll follow the contours of the mesa out to the Point and create spectacular canyon panoramas of the inspiring views to the east across Monument Basin toward the La Sal Mountains. After lunch, we’ll start to work our way back towards the entrance of the Park stopping along the way at the Green River Overlook and Buck Canyon Overlook. Our final location for the day will be the Mesa Arch – while we’ll use this opportunity to capture some daylight photos of the arch and canyon, we’ll also use this stop to familiarize ourselves with the trail and identify our camera positions for when we return in the dark to capture the arch at sunrise.
- Day 2 – Our second day will start with sunrise at the Mesa Arch. The day will start very early as we will need to be out at the arch to stake out our positions hours ahead of the actual sunrise. Putting our knee pads to good use, we’ll practice our settings and shoot through the sunrise. After breakfast, we’ll turn our attention to Arches National Park. We’ll spend the day photographing Park Avenue, the Three Gossips, Balanced Rock, Double Arch, North & South Window Arch, and Turret Arch. We’ll also go to two long-distance lookouts for the Delicate Arch.
- Day 3 – We’ll spend our third day at Monument Valley, shooting highlights throughout the day, some of which will include The Mittens and Merrick Butte, North Window, Elephant Butte, Three Sisters, John Ford’s Point, and Camel Butte. We’ll have an early dinner and then get ourselves ready for perhaps one of the most magnificent sunsets you’ll ever have the opportunity to photograph. Depending on the weather and the night sky, we may shoot the stars into the evening.
- Day 4 – We’ll use the morning of our fourth day to work on our images in the classroom and relax from the previous day. After lunch, we’ll head back over to Arches for a late afternoon and sunset shoot at the Delicate Arch. Again, depending on the weather and night sky, we may stay longer to shoot the stars.
- Day 5 – We’ll spend our final morning critiquing our images in the classroom before concluding our adventure.
John Bosma Fine Arts Photography is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.
What to Expect
The majority of our days will start early, before sunrise. After a quick cup of coffee or tea, we’ll be off to get into position at a location in the best light of the day with breakfast in the field in order to maximize our shooting time. We’ll often continue until mid-to-late morning before heading back to Basecamp.
Back at Basecamp, we’ll have time for off-loading memory cards, classroom lectures & instruction, working on our images, one-on-one guidance, or time to relax. Then, in the mid-to-late afternoon, we’ll head out again to capture the evening skies, getting the most out of the sunset and/or shooting the stars in the night sky.
More important than just getting you to some of the best and most remote locations at the best times of the day, this five-day landscape photography workshop will teach you how to visualize an image, how to plan your shoot, how to capture your image in the field, and how to bring your image to life using a variety of post-production techniques.
In the Field:
We’ll learn how to scout and visualize a scene, compose a ground/sky/sea landscape to show scale and tell a story, how to manage complex highlight and shadow scenes, how and when to use filters, how to plan your images for a blended blue hour composite, how to focus your camera at night to capture pin sharp stars and foreground, and how to use apps like PhotoPills to plan a shoot. We’ll also use techniques such as dynamic bracketing and exposure blending, focus stacking and focal length blending, neutral density filters, and stacking for noise reduction.
In the Classroom:
We’ll spend time developing your post-production workflow – learning when Lightroom is enough and when you need to move your work into Photoshop. We’ll learn how to use techniques such as luminosity masks to create and solve contrast, color, and blending issues; how to blend multiple images together in Photoshop to create blue hour blends, focal length blends, and exposure blends; how to use start stacking to create pin sharp starry night skies; how to create Orton glows and sharpen your final image; and how to use apps like ProPanel to increase your efficiency.
You’ll benefit from hours of capture time in the field with an instructor by your side, and classroom instruction as you learn new techniques and strategies for creating dynamic images.
Tuition & Payment Terms
What’s Included in Your Tuition:
- 5 nights lodging / 4.5 training days
- Field meals and snacks
- All ground transportation during the workshop
- Workshop course materials
- In-the-field photographic training
- Online prep & orientation classes prior to the workshop
- Post-production classes and techniques during the workshop
- Online post-production classes after the workshop
What’s Not Included in Your Tuition:
- Transportation to/from your home to Basecamp in Moab, Utah
- Lodging beyond the 5 nights included in the workshop
- Alcoholic beverages
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Personal expenses, gratuities, and anything not listed as included
What to Bring and How to Prepare for Your Workshop
Please see our How to Prepare For Your Workshop page for guidelines on workshop prep, gear, and packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.