Death Valley Photography Workshops
Join us for an experience of a lifetime in the beautiful landscapes of Death Valley National Park. We will be showing you our favorite locations and it will also be an educational experience with two professional instructors who will show you how to photograph everything from grand landscapes to small scenes.
Note about COVID-19
We want to ensure you feel safe coming to our workshops above all else during these unprecedented times. We have implemented the following protocols to keep everyone safe and slow the spread of the virus. Our workshops will look a bit different until there is an effective vaccine or treatment, but we will still provide the same level of education and fun!
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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. These qualities make it an endless world of opportunities for beautiful photographs. Evidence of Earth’s forces can be seen all around the park with the carved canyons, never-ending salt flats, mud cracks, sand dunes, mountain ranges, and rock formations. We will be visiting and photographing this park when more pleasant cooler temperatures are occurring. We will photograph and chase the light across this varied and textured landscape, while also heading out one night to photograph under the stars for some night photography. We will be photographing areas such as the Mesquite Dunes, Badwater Basin, and Zabriskie point, and other locations that have become our favorites over the years, which are lesser known. We will photograph larger scenes, and take time to catch the details in more intimate scenes. During the workshop, we will also have classroom time to teach photo processing techniques, and workflow to help your photos stand out! 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 is Included
What is Not Included
* Please note that during the pandemic nobody can ride in our vehicle, and carpooling is discouraged unless from the same household. We will also not be partaking in group meals during this time. You can view our protocols for COVID-19 here.
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 Commercial Use Authorization with the National Park Service. 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.
This workshop will involve short hikes of 2-3 miles total daily. We will be hiking to sand dunes, but do not let this discourage you! The hikes are primarily to the dunes, not in them. They are 1 mile one-way over fairly flat, hard-packed sand that just about anyone in good health can do. Once we arrive at the dunes you can choose how far you want to go, they are fairly low, rolling dunes with just a bit of up and down. For those that want to go higher, we can split up the group since we have two leaders. If you have any doubts, please contact us before signing up to discuss further.
Are spouses/partners welcome?
Yes, but seating is limited. If they come out on location you will have to provide your own transportation, or pay the full price for another seat.
Will I have cell signal during the Workshop?
Cell signal is extremely intermittent in most of the locations we will visit, you should not expect to be connected all the time, at certain locations you may be offline for long periods, enjoy the silence. There is cell service in Furnace Creek, but expect the data to be extremely slow and potentially unusable. The hotel has wifi which is also extremely slow.
Will the instructors take photos during the Workshop?
The instructors will take a few photos in a limited manner, this is so you can see how we approach a scene, create comradery with the group, and to show you the same type of images you will be taking for our post-processing session. Our focus will always remain with you.
Will weather cancel the Workshop?
Dramatic weather is when the best photographs are created! Unless there are very dangerous conditions the weather will not stop us, in fact it will encourage us! No rain checks will be given for any weather related circumstances.
- If you cancel 90 days prior to the workshop we will refund your initial payment minus a $100 fee.
- 90 days before the start of the workshop, we will refund your initial payment only if we can fill your spot.
- The full balance is due 60 days before the workshop. There will be no refunds on the full amount owed. We will attempt to fill your spot, if filled there will be a $100 administrative fee charged and the rest of your payment will be refunded.
There are NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY, even for medical emergencies. All cancellation requests must be in writing and received either by US mail or E-mail. We encourage participants to purchase refundable airline tickets and trip cancellation insurance. We strongly recommend trip insurance to protect you in the event of an unexpected situation that prevents you from attending the workshop. We recommend Travelguard or World Nomads.
We reserve the right to cancel any workshop if the minimum student enrollment is not met. In the event we cancel a workshop, participants will be given the option to reschedule to a later date or receive a full refund. we are not, however, liable for expenses incurred such as airfare or accommodations, and for this reason we also recommend the purchase of trip insurance.
Private Death Valley Workshops
If you are looking for a private guide to show you around Death Valley, look no further. We spend every winter in Death Valley and are constantly exploring the incredible landscape to find all it 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.