Colorado Wildflowers and Waterfalls Photography Workshops
Join us in the dramatic San Juan mountains in Colorado for the ultimate mountain experience. We will be photographing during peak wildflower season and showing you our favorite locations. This will also be an educational experience with three professional instructors who will show you how to photograph everything from grand landscapes to small scenes. All of this plus transportation in Jeeps with experienced drivers.
Important changes to this workshop due to Covid
- Lodging is no longer at the Red Mountain Lodge, and you will need to reserve a room on your own in Silverton, CO. We recommend the Grand Imperial Hotel, which is where we will rendezvous each day. Please do this ASAP as it is a busy time of year. There are many other options in Silverton that are within walking distance. The Avon is a good choice as well.
- The shuttle is no longer included; you will need to arrange transportation from your airport of choice to Silverton.
- Meals are no longer included as the lodge provided these. But there are many dining options in Silverton.
- Post-processing and image critiques will not be in person; these will be held over Zoom after the workshop, along with a meeting before the workshop to get you prepared and excited.
- The group size has been reduced from 12 to 9.
- The price of the workshop has been reduced by $1000 to $1995
Our workshops are an intimate experience; we share classroom space, carpooling, group meals, and we like to be up close and personal in the field to give the best learning experience.
On that note, we want to ensure that everyone feels safe to relax and have a fun time above all else. None of us want the threat of COVID lingering in the back of our minds while trying to be creative and have a good time. Based on feedback from our participants and after consulting with other colleagues, we have come up with the following protocol going forward for our photography workshops:
We will require one of the following to attend our workshops:
- Proof of vaccine with the last dose at least 14 days before the workshop.
- …or a negative PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours of the start time of the workshop.
- …or a rapid test taken within six hours of the start time of the workshop.
We understand this is an ever-evolving situation, and we will follow the current CDC and local health department regulations and inform you before the workshop. David and Jennifer are vaccinated for your safety as well. Thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times, as we want our workshops to be a fun and safe experience for everyone!
Verdant valleys, basins full of wildflowers, endless rugged peaks and stunning hidden waterfalls make the San Juan mountains of Colorado a photographer’s paradise. This area has the state’s highest concentration of 14ers and numerous pristine glacial blue lakes. The monsoonal summer rains create a landscape mix that resembles the Scottish Highlands and the Canadian Rockies. The towering alpine peaks are covered in lush grass over a sea of forest and rocks, creating magical scenes. Join Exploring Exposure and Mountain Wild Tours on an exclusive photography trip. We’ll spend five days in the heart of the San Juans on Red Mountain Pass photographing our favorite locations and learning post-processing techniques. We’ll visit locations all around Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. We will off-road on the scenic 4WD Alpine Loop, Ouray’s famed Yankee Boy Basin, explore hidden waterfalls and lesser-known basins. Each instructor brings a different focus and instruction on photography techniques. David offers guidance on diverse perspectives and clean light, Jennifer teaches her passion for abstracts, smaller scenes and patterns; and Jason teaches the pursuit of grand scenics and video art.
Luxury Alpine Lodging Included
Important note: Depending on the situation with COVID at this time we may opt to not stay in the lodge as a group. If this happens everyone will be responsible for their own lodging in Silverton, CO. If this were to happen we will lower the price to accommodate the extra lodging costs.
For this workshop we will provide you the premier alpine experience at the Red Mountain Alpine Lodge which is 20 minutes North of Silverton, CO. We have rented the entire lodge, so it will just be our group sharing the lodge.
The Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is a brand new, premium off-grid timber frame backcountry lodge with amenities galore. The lodge features three private rooms and a large shared loft with privacy walls. Right when you walk in through the large entryway door, you’ll experience the sensation of rustic luxury as you gaze at the amazing exposed posts and beams of the custom timber frame structure. Constructed using 19th Century tools and processes with Douglas Fir timbers, it creates the unmistakable look and feel that are the hallmarks of this type of construction – cozy, rustic and soulful.
The lodge hosts a number of premium amenities and comforts to help you relax after a great day in the mountains so that you can rest and prepare for the next
If you are flying in, we have arranged for a shuttle to pick you up so you do not need to rent a car. The shuttle will transport you from Durango directly to the Alpine Lodge. Once at the lodge, we will be transporting you in Jeep Rubicons to incredible locations all over the San Juan Mountains. We all have many years of experience driving in these mountains and will ensure you arrive safely. The shuttle will return you to Durango at the conclusion of the trip.
Note: If you would like to use the shuttle you will need to arrive in Durango one day prior to the start of the workshop. You will be responsible for arranging a hotel in Durango for this night, and transportation from the airport to your hotel in Durango. The shuttle will be picking you up on the morning of the first day of the workshop to transport you to the Alpine Lodge.
What is Included
What is Not Included
What You Will Learn
In the Field
- How to read a scene to create compelling compositions using shapes, lines, visual mass, texture, and more
- Reading weather and lighting conditions to know when to go out on your own in the right light
- How to use apps to scout out your own locations and plan your next shoot
- When and how to use lenses to bring focus to your subject
- How and when to use a polarizer to make colors pop
- Depth of field and hyperfocal distance to help you create sharp photos
- Achieving maximum sharpness using focus stacking
- Creative use of ND Filters to create motion in clouds and water
- Creating panoramas without using expensive equipment
- How to take correct exposures for bright skies; to be later used for exposure blending
- Identifying the best light and how to expose correctly
Post Processing for Beginners
- Making dull RAW files pop in Lightroom and keeping files organized
- Use of local adjustments for dodging & burning, and many more creative opportunities
- Using white balance to create mood in your images
- Properly sharpen and reduce noise for maximum image quality
- Stitching panoramas easily in Lightroom
- Exposure blending using HDR for natural looking results
Post Processing for Advanced users
- Exposure blending using luminosity masks to create balanced, natural looking images
- Focus stacking using Photoshop and/or Zerene Stacker for maximum depth of field
- Blending different focal lengths to correct for wide angle diminishment
- Creative burning and dodging techniques to bring focus to your subject
- Using the Orton Effect to add glow to your highlights
- Creating drama with Light Bleed
- Using Midtone Contrast to make images pop off the screen
- Sharpening for web and print
Safe, Legal, Responsible.
We are proud members of Nature First Photography. This movement is dedicated to responsible nature photography. At its core are seven principles that we abide by and promote to our clients. We hope you will join the movement!
The Nature First Principles
- Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
- Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
- Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
- Use discretion if sharing locations.
- Know and follow rules and regulations.
- Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
- Actively promote and educate others about these principles
Concerned about your safety.
We understand how important your safety is when we’re in remote locations. This is why David and Jennifer are both certified Wilderness First Responders, we are prepared for any situation large or small. We also carry satellite communication devices should we need rescue assistance in remote areas.
We always run our workshops on the up and up. For this workshop Exploring Exposure operates under a Special Use Permit on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison and San Juan National Forests. We are also an equal opportunity service provider.
We encourage you to find your unique style of creativity with focused training based on your style and skill level. You will experience a rigorous learning experience in the field and the classroom to take your photography to the next level.
Our passion is seeing you grow in your photographic journey. We put your interests ahead of our own. Early on in the workshop, we will not photograph at all. Our focus is your learning experience, and we will not run off to chase the light and leave you behind. 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, demonstrate techniques, and create comradery with the group. Our focus will always remain with YOU.
We understand everyone comes to workshops at different points in their photography journeys. We will be there to guide and help you, whether you are a beginner or advanced shooter. There is always something to learn about photography, and we will do our best to help you find your creative vision.
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, and there is nothing that gives us greater joy than seeing our clients grow and find their artistic vision.
Almost anyone can do this workshop, but you should be aware of a few things before signing up.
- Many of the locations we will drive right up to, there will be beautiful flowers and views from the side of the road.
- The absolute best views at many of these locations require that you venture off the road for a short distance to find the best flowers. These spots are on somewhat steep hillsides that are not dangerous per se, but you do need to be sure-footed if you want these views.
- One of the waterfalls does require a short hike (1/2 mile roundtrip) with somewhat rugged terrain and a water crossing. Because we have many leaders on this workshop, it is no problem for us to split the group up on this hike. If you don’t want to do this hike, we can take you and anyone else to another location that isn’t as strenuous, but still fantastic.
- Altitude sickness is the biggest concern if you have experienced it in the past. Most people never have an issue with it, but it is something to be aware of, and it is ideal to arrive several days early to acclimate if possible.
We will be at extremely high elevations above 12,000 feet at times and sleeping at 11,000 feet. This workshop is not recommended if you get altitude sickness easily or if you are scared of heights, as many of the roads we are driving have steep drop offs and are not for the faint of heart.
Private Colorado Workshops
If you are looking for a private guide to show you around Colorado, look no further. As Colorado natives we have spent our lives exploring all Colorado has to offer. We can be your private tour guide or we can turn your experience into a full workshop training you on composition, vision, post-processing with Lightroom and Photoshop, all without the group.
Below are the locations we know intimately and would be more than happy to show you our favorite spots.
- Crested Butte
- San Juans Mountains (Telluride, Ouray, and Ridgway)
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Pawnee Grasslands
- Great Sand Dunes National Park