Nature & Landscape Photography - Exploring Exposure
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Ultimate Southwest

Death Valley Photography Workshop

Dates - February 22-26, 2017

Investment - $1,195 (Initial Payment of $495)
Lodging Not Included

Availability - Limited to 6 People


Death Valley is vast and stunningly beautiful. During the winter the desert is a pleasant respite with temperatures in the 60's and 70's. This workshop is a unique opportunity to experience the best of Death Valley, some of these areas that are only accessible by 4x4.

In this workshop my goal is to help you find your vision. This starts in the field by taking you to incredible locations, some of which are only accessible by 4x4. While out in the field we will discuss composition and seeing in a different way by immersing yourself in the landscape. I will show you techniques of contemplative photography and exercises to help your creativity flourish.

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.

There will also be critique sessions for images taken during the workshop and I will provide critique for a small selection of images you provide from the past, please have these ready on a jump drive.


Day 1 - We will meet in front of the General Store at Furnace Creek for introductions at 1:00pm, 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 to check in to the hotel, and reconvene for a group dinner at7:00pm. If clear skies allow, we will go out for some night photography.

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.



  • Transportation from the hotel to the park
  • Small class size of 6 maximum
  • Water and snacks


  • Lodging
  • 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


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. Do not sign up if you are not in good health.


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, I 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. I will be covering Luminosity Masks, I use the TKPanel created by Tony Kuyper, if you are interested in using this you may download the panel from
Please bring materials for taking notes as well.


Lodging is not included, I have rooms held at the The Ranch at Furnace Creek. Please call (760-786-2345)  and tell them you are with Exploring Exposure to get a special rate. Rooms will only be held until the end of January, 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.


You are responsible for getting to Furnace Creek, after that we will be traveling as a group in my 4x4 van. You are welcome to follow along in your own vehicle if preferred.


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.

Racetrack Stars


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.

  • Racetrack
  • Mesquite Dunes
  • Badwater Basin
  • Ibex Dunes
  • Cottonball Basin
  • Eureka Dunes
  • Dante's View
  • Zabriskie Point
  • Lee Flat
  • Aguereberry Point
  • Many other possibilities


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.

I will provide a cooler with water and some snacks for the group, you 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.


If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via the form below.

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