Beyond the Badlands

Oct 24-28, 2021 - Sold Out!!

Join us in Hanksville, UT for a 5-Day adventure into some remote and seldom photographed parts of the Utah desert.  Dates are timed for optimal fall color and when skies are clear we'll be out shooting the Milky Way. Come witness one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth!

Beyond the Badlands Utah Photo Workshops

Highlights

  • The badlands of central Utah are filled with spectacular photo locations that will blow your mind!  This workshop is designed for those who truly want to get off the beaten path and improve their photography.
  • The workshop dates are optimized for the best fall color and dark skies for Milky Way photography.  The galactic core won't be visible but we can still get great shots of the River of Darkness.
  • With 2 instructors and a maximum of 8 participants, we guarantee plenty of individual attention.  You will learn many new camera skills and techniques.
  • Transportation is provided so you don't have to worry about navigating the rough roads.
  • Post-processing and image critique sessions will be scheduled throughout the workshop to help make the most of your images.
  • The itinerary is kept flexible so we can chase the best weather conditions. Our job is to get you the best photos possible!

Itinerary

  • The itinerary is being kept flexible to allow us to chase the best conditions. If skies are clear, we'll stay out later to photograph the Milky Way. If storms and clouds are moving through, we'll spend more time photographing during the day. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.
  • Day 1 (Oct 24):  Meet at 2PM in Hanksville, UT for a mandatory introductory session.  Next, we head out to photograph the brilliant yellow cottonwood trees against the stark background of the badlands. Soft sunset light illuminates the subtle textures and ridges. With clear skies, we photograph the Milky Way at one of our favorite locations!
  • Day 2 (Oct 25):  We wake before sunrise to photograph some impressive hoodoos in golden light. After breakfast we photograph a beautiful slot canyon, looking for that soft reflected light. In the evening we hike out into the badlands and capture some impressive light and clouds!
  • Day 3 (Oct 26):  It's another early morning departure to an amazing viewpoint of the badlands. This place is almost like being on a different planet!  We photograph more of the golden cottonwood trees and then return to Hanksville mid-morning for a rest break. In the afternoon we head up to Capitol Reef and photograph the fall colors up that way. We head into Cathedral Valley for sunset and stay out to capture the Milky Way.
  • Day 4 (Oct 27):  We're out again at dawn to capture first light on stunning sections of badlands. The angled light will make the landscape come alive!  During the day, we meet for post-processing and image critique.  At sunset, we'll get out our telephoto lenses and shoot abstract compositions of the blue hills.  Since it's cloudy tonight, we skip night photos and get to bed early for some much needed rest.
  • Day 5 (Oct 28):  We head out for our final sunrise shoot and then regroup after breakfast for a post-processing session. We'll use your own images and show you handy tricks to improve your photos. We enjoy a group lunch (included) and then return to the badlands in the afternoon to shoot through sunset. The workshop will conclude after our sunset shoot.
Utah Badlands Arch
Utah Badlands Fall Colors

Testimonials

"Just finished a 5 day Utah Badlands Tour with Dustin and David. It was amazing!! The landscapes were phenomenal and the instruction was great!! The tour was professional and well organized. Now to process all those photos! "

- Jen - Ohio

"My experience on the Utah Badlands Photo Workshop singularly changed my outlook on landscape photography. Being a professional commercial photographer for the past decade, I thought I knew the boundaries of photography. However, David and Dustin generously and eloquently shared their photographic vision and helped push me beyond my limits to a place I had never been before. "

- A.J - UT

"Exceptional trip to the Utah Badlands with Action Photo Tours and trip leaders David Swindler and Dustin Lefevre. They know and care about the land and when to be where to observe and photograph this stunning area. I learned a ton of photography and connected with a great group of people."

- Meg, CA

"David and Dustin are passionate about getting you to unique and unknown locations and make sure they get you there for the best lighting conditions. They give you as much attention or independence as you need to have a successful workshop. David and Dustin also do a great job of balancing time in the field with time spent on photo editing."

- Ken, CA

"Just finished the Beyond the Badlands Workshop and it was awesome! David and Dustin were upbeat and know this area like the back of their hands. They were knowledgeable and always ready to help, no matter what your experience level, both with shooting and with post processing questions! "

- George, FL

"David and Dustin do an amazing job of both instructing and guiding clients to the most amazing and undiscovered places in the Badlands of Southern Utah. If you want to travel with real pros who get you to the best shots, in the best places and most importantly at the right times - go with the team at Action Photo Tours." 

- Richard, TX

"Fantastic trip, taken to places the normal person would not find or have the opportunity to photograph. If you like landscape photography, this is the group to travel with."

- James, GA

"The guides knew the best places and times to get some great photos. I learned a ton of tips to improve my photography."

- Jaime, CO

"Just finished the Beyond the Badlands Workshop and it was awesome! David and Dustin were upbeat and know this area like the back of their hands. They were knowledgeable and always ready to help, no matter what your experience level, both with shooting and with post processing questions! "

- George, FL

Beyond the Badlands Photo Workshop Utah Photography Tours

Logistics

Please arrive in Hanksville, UT prior to 2PM on Oct 24th for the orientation session. We didn’t include hotel stays on this trip to allow you the flexibility of a lodging option of your choice.  We highly recommend you book a cabin at Whispering Sands.  You can get our special workshop rate by calling them at 435-542-3238 and mentioning Action Photo Tours. We recommend booking a room for the night of the 28th, as the workshop will end late in the evening after sunset.

Participants should have their own vehicle to get to Hanksville.  All transportation during the workshop is included. Everyone on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition.  We aren't planning any long hikes, but the uneven terrain, sand, and steep uphills can make short hikes seem much harder.  You should be comfortable walking around 2-4 miles per day.

We timed this workshop for optimal fall colors and night photography. The galactic core of the Milky Way won't be visible this late in the year but we can still get some great shots of the River of Darkness. No matter what the weather does, our job is to get you the most stunning photos and help you learn as much as possible!

This time of year the temps are mild during the day with cooler nights.  There is always a chance rain and cold temps may move in. You'll need to bring warm layers to ensure you don't get cold photographing at night.  Please see the gear list further down.

This area definitely has potential to become the next photography hotspot. We don't want to see that happen since it is such a delicate area that can't handle a lot of traffic. We will ask all participants to not the reveal the locations of many places we shoot when posting their photos.

Additional Notes

 

Many of the areas we visit are perfect for using a drone camera.  It's up to you if you want to bring a drone on this trip.  However, the focus of this trip is on still camera shooting and Milky Way photography. We may not have a lot of time for participants to be setting up and dismantling drones.  Please let us know if you will be bringing a drone on the workshop. Contact us for more info.

Both David Swindler and Dustin LeFevre will be your instructors on this workshop. Dustin has photographed this area probably more than anyone else.  Both he and David have a lot of experience leading photo workshops and will help you learn new photography skills and techniques.  You can read David's and Dustin's bios below.  Dustin has his pilot's license and is an expert in aerial photography techniques.

The workshop is capped at 8 participants so that we can give you adequate individual attention.  We are licensed commercial guides for the areas that we'll take you too. We carry a satellite communication device and safety equipment in case we run into any emergencies in the backcountry.

 

Badlands Photo Workshop Utah Photo Tours
Beyond the Badlands Action Photo Tours
Mud Cracks

Pricing

$1995/person + Tax

 

Trip Includes:

  • All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
  • Post-processing and image critique
  • Lighting equipment and fixtures for night photography.
  • Park entrance fees.
  • Final Group Lunch or Dinner (depends on itinerary)

 

Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Hanksville, UT.
  • Hotel Accommodations.
  • Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Meals and snacks with exception of final group lunch or dinner.

 

When you complete the checkout process, you will be given the option to either pay the full amount or put down a 50% deposit.  If you pay the deposit, the remaining amount will be charged 60-days prior to arrival to the credit card we have on file.

Recommended Camera Gear

  • Sturdy tripod and ballhead
  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
  • Fast Wide Angle Lens f/2.8 or faster.
  • Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
  • Long telephoto lenses will come in handy for creating abstract images. We recommend lenses in the 100-400mm range. You can even use lenses in the 600mm range!
  • Circular polarizer filters are useful.  Bring any ND filters if you have them.
  • Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies.
  • Remote cord for your camera. An intervalometer will be especially useful for doing long exposures at night.
  • Laptop if you wish to backup your photos or follow along during the post-processing instruction.
  • We may be able to rent you gear if you don't have everything you need.

Personal Gear List

  • Sturdy hiking footwear, hiking socks, and long pants .
  • A rain jacket and several warm layers since it can get cold at night.
  • Headlamp for night photography.
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat.
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder.
  • Hiking poles if you like having them.

Beyond the Badlands Photo Workshop Slot Canyon
Upper Cathedral Valley Beyond the Badlands Photography Workshop
Dustin LeFevre

Instructor - Dustin LeFevre

 

Dustin LeFevre is a Utah based landscape photographer with a deep appreciation for the diverse landscapes of the arid Desert. While exploring unique locations in the Southwest, Dustin spends a good amount of time sleeping on the ground or in his truck seeking the conditions that make for unforgettable images. His expertise ranges from traditional landscape and aerial photography to post processing.

 

As an avid outdoorsman he is most comfortable in the extremes that are inherent to the high desert and has an enthusiasm for sharing the geography he has come to love. Dustin’s images capture not only what he sees in nature but also how it makes him feel.

David Swindler

David Swindler

David Swindler is a National Geographic award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer. He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. Back in 2014 he quit his day job to follow his true passion. He has traveled to many locations around the world and has extensive experience photographing a wide variety of subjects and conditions. He finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT.  David is an expert in night photography and loves to get out and shoot the starry night skies. Catch a glimpse of David's work in the slideshow, and follow the links below to see more!

Gallery   Media Coverage    500px     Flickr

David has been leading guided photo tours for many years. He is very familiar with many different types of cameras and how to capture the best photos. And most importantly, his clients are the top priority while out in the field.  Just read what others are saying here: Trip Advisor.

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