Death Valley Photography Workshop
Dates - December 13-17, 2017
Investment - $1,195 (Initial Payment of $495)
Lodging Not Included
Availability - Limited to 6 People
Death Valley is one of the hottest, driest, and lowest National Parks in the United States. Even with this distinction, it is a landscape that encompasses many dynamic scenes. Evidence of Earth’s forces can be seen all around the park with the carved canyons, never-ending salt flats, mud cracks, great sand dunes, mountain ranges, and rock formations. We will be visiting this park when more enjoyable cooler temperatures abound, and with the rains that will have fallen, the landscape will come alive with wildflowers. There will be opportunities to chase and catch the light over this vast landscape, and maybe catch a reflection or two in the salt basins. We will be visiting areas such as the Racetrack, the Mesquite dunes, Badwater Basin, Zabriskie point and other areas that we find interesting along the way. With over 3.4 million acres to explore, there is always something to photograph, and you will not be disappointed. Come photograph and explore this incredible landscape of many faces!
WHAT TO EXPECT
First and foremost, we are not in this to extend our portfolio or get a free paid trip, we visit and explore the areas we teach workshops in regularly. This is not a vacation for us, we are on the road full time and spend plenty of time in these areas on our own.
Early on in the workshop we will not photograph at all, our focus is on you and your learning, we will not run off to make our own photographs. As the workshop progresses, we will take a few photos in a limited manner, this is so you can see how we approach a scene, and create comradery with the group, our focus will always remain with you.
Above all, we want this to be a fun experience for you, with our small group size we get to know our clients very well, and we feel like they are part of our extended family. We do this for the love of photography, there is nothing that gives us greater joy than seeing our clients grow and find their artistic vision.
Day 1 - We will meet in front of the General Store at Furnace Creek for introductions at 2:00pm, there is a large outdoor seating area. We will then drive out to our first location for sunset which is at 4:30pm, after sunset we will return for a group dinner. This night is the peak of Geminids meteor shower! We will get out in an attempt to capture meteors in a fantastic dark sky location.
Day 2 - In the morning we will wake early to catch sunrise and the continue photographing in the soft morning light. We will then come back to town for brunch as a group. In the afternoon we will have image critiques and an introduction to my post processing methods. We will then go out for sunset and come back for dinner.
Day 3 - Similar to day 2, except during the afternoon we will dive into advanced post processing methods in Photoshop.
Day 4 - In the morning we will wake early to catch sunrise and the continue photographing in the soft morning light. We will then come back to town for brunch as a group. We will take a break and then explore the park in the afternoon, as the light gets better we will go to another spectacular location for sunset, and then return to town for dinner.
Day 5 - We will rise early for sunrise and be back at the hotel by 10am, at which time you are free to go.
WHAT IS INCLUDED
- Transportation from the hotel to the park
- Small class size of 6 maximum
- Water and snacks
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- Meals - we will be eating together as a group often though
- Park entrance fees, please stop at the visitor center to pay for a pass when you come in
- Transportation to the hotel in Furnace Creek
In Furnace Creek the temperatures will be very pleasant in the 60-70 degree range, but many of the locations we will visit are at higher elevations and can be very windy. Be prepared for temperatures ranging from 30-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Hiking boots or trail shoes are recommended.
This workshop will involve short hikes of 2-3 miles, they are across generally flat land, but hikes into the sand dunes can be strenuous. Being in good physical condition is a requirement for this workshop, if you have any doubts please contact us before signing up to discuss further.
Finding your vision will extend into post processing, I feel this is one of the most important aspects of finding your creative vision. We will cover topics ranging from basic raw development in Lightroom to advanced burning and dodging using Luminosity Masks in Photoshop. You will be amazed at what can be achieved when you know the how and why of advanced post processing.
We will be doing critique sessions for those interested in an honest critique. These can be past images, or those taken during the workshop. Please limit to 10 images that you truly want feedback on, and have them ready on a jump drive.
WHAT TO BRING
Bring a variety of lens from ultra wide angle, standard and telephoto. . A tripod will be needed as well. If you bring a suitcase full of lenses, plan on bringing a secondary bag for taking out on shoots and only bringing a couple of the lenses, we will advise what to bring for each location. Bringing too much gear only weighs you down and gives you too many options, not a good scenario for exploring your creativity.
We will be photographing on Cottonball Basin which is a salt flat with water fed by a spring, this area is usually a bit muddy and the salty mud can be detrimental to footwear. If you don’t want your nice shoes ruined plan on bringing an old pair of sneakers for this.
For post processing please bring a laptop with the current version Lightroom and Photoshop. We will be covering Luminosity Masks, we use the TKPanel created by Tony Kuyper, if you are interested in using this you may download the panel from http://goodlight.us/panels-and-videos.html
Please bring materials for taking notes as well.
Lodging is not included, I have rooms held at the The Ranch at Death Valley. Please call (760-786-2345) and tell them you are with Exploring Exposure (Block Code:782222) to get a special rate. Rooms will only be held until November 13th, so please book right away.
You may also choose to camp while here, reservations can be made at the Furnace Creek Campground, which is in walking distance of the hotel, albeit a long walk. The Sunset and Texas Spring campgrounds are a great option across the street from the hotel, they do not accept reservations, but it is extremely rare for them to fill up.
You are responsible for getting to Furnace Creek, after that we will be traveling as a group in our 4x4 vehicles. You are welcome to follow along in your own vehicle if preferred.
HOW TO GET THERE
Please visit this site for directions. GPS can be unreliable so be sure to print out a map/directions.
This workshop is not focused on night photography, but for those interested we will go out at least one night to photograph the stars over the playa. If we have clear skies we can spend more time out at night, these will not be long nights. Note: In December the core of the milky way is not visible, but the workshop is planned around a new moon so you can experience the incredibly dark night skies of Death Valley.
Of special interest for this workshop is the Geminids meteor shower, which peaks the night of the 13th, in which we will try to capture some meteors!
Death Valley has a lifetime of photographic opportunities. Our schedule will be flexible so we can visit these locations at the best times based upon the weather. Below is a list of potential locations, which we go to will depend upon the weather.
- Mesquite Dunes
- Badwater Basin
- Ibex Dunes
- Cottonball Basin
- Eureka Dunes
- Dante's View
- Zabriskie Point
- Lee Flat
- Aguereberry Point
- Mud Cracks
- Many other possibilities
FOOD AND DINING
Food is not included, we will be enjoying all meals together as a group (or you may choose to dine by yourself if preferred) at the local restaurants in Furnace Creek or Stovepipe Wells. Options at these restaurants are extremely limited if you have a restrictive diet. There are no grocery stores to speak of, only a small general store with limited options. If you plan to eat on your own please plan on picking up food and a cooler in Las Vegas.
We will provide a cooler with water and some snacks for the group, you are welcome to keep a few items in the cooler as well. If you have dietary restrictions please plan on bringing your own snacks to sustain you throughout the day.
Access to the internet is limited, do not plan on staying connected during this trip. Wifi is available at Furnace Creek, but is typically so slow it is unusable. Verizon and AT&T work in Furnace Creek. Enjoy your time away, disconnect.