Hidden Gems of the Southwest
Sept 16-20, 2021
Get off the beaten path and explore some of the most geologically diverse lands on the planet! We have special access to some unique and seldom photographed places! Trip also includes a fully outfitted trip to Hunts Mesa with the most incredible views of Monument Valley. Trip is rated Moderately Difficult for physical exertion since we will be walking around 2-4 miles each day.
- Photograph some of the most remote and stunning landscapes in the Southwest! We have acquired special access to many of these areas.
- Trip includes 3 nights hotel and a fully outfitted camping trip on Hunt's Mesa, which is one of the most spectacular views of Monument Valley!
- This workshop is designed for those who truly want to get off the beaten path and improve their photography and camera skills. The dates are optimized for the best light and conditions.
- Enrollment is capped at 5 people, ensuring plenty of individual attention.
- We provide all the transportation during the workshop so you don't have to worry about the rough roads.
- Post-processing and image critique sessions will help you make the most of your images!
- Day 1 (Sept 16): Meet at 10AM in Page, AZ for a mandatory introductory session. After lunch, we'll check into our hotel and head out to our sunset spot. We decide as a group to hike out to a rarely visited bend in the Colorado River for sunset. We get some great light and everyone is thrilled with their photos. We return to Page for dinner.
- Day 2 (Sept 17): We wake well before sunrise to photograph the gigantic monolith of White Mesa Arch. The light is spectacular and the sky fires up for an incredible show. In the afternoon, we load up for a rough ride to the top of Hunt's Mesa. The vistas from up here are simply stunning! This is the part of Monument Valley not many folks get to see. We stay up after dark to capture some nightscapes before retiring to our tents.
- Day 3 (Sept 18): We wake up early to capture a brilliant sunrise on Hunt's Mesa. After a hearty breakfast we break camp and make our way over to Tuba City. We check into our hotel and then spend the rest of the evening exploring a dramatic canyon with formations of all sorts of odd shapes and colors. The views here are nothing short of impressive!
- Day 4 (Sept 19): It's another early morning as we head out to photograph one of our favorite views of the Grand Canyon. The drive is long and rough, but the solitude we have at such an amazing view more than makes up for it. In the afternoon we explore another remote canyon with intricate geology and astonishing rock formations. As an added bonus, we get to capture the full moon with the formations!
- Day 5 (Sept 20): We wake up well before dawn today to check out of the hotel. We make our way back to the Grand Canyon and arrive at a huge viewpoint to capture the full moon as it sets behind the distant cliffs with soft twilight illuminating the canyon below. We return to Page, AZ for lunch, have an afternoon post-processing session, and then load up for the rough drive to Alstrom Point. We finish the workshop photographing the full moonrise over Lake Powell at one of the best viewpoints in the State of Utah!
Please arrive in Page, AZ prior to 10AM on Sept 16 for the orientation session. Hotel stays for the nights of Sept 16, 18, and 19th are included in the workshop fee. The price assumes single-occupancy lodging. If you would like double occupancy, we can give you a $250 discount.
Participants should have their own transportation to get to/from Page, AZ. We provide all transportation during the workshop to the shooting locations. Since luggage space is limited in the workshop vehicle, we encourage you to follow us in your own vehicle as we travel between Page, Monument Valley, and Tuba City. Everyone on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition. We aren't planning any long hikes on this trip, but the uneven terrain, sand and steep uphills can make short hikes seem much harder. You should be comfortable walking at least a couple miles per day.
Our focus is to get you the most stunning photos and help you learn as much as possible! This workshop is rated Moderately Difficult for physical exertion. Participants should be able to walk 2-3 miles each day over rough and uneven terrain while carrying their camera gear.
The weather is tough to predict in September. Usually, temps are fairly mild with lots of sun during the day. However, it can get very hot and monsoon storms are always a possibility. Make sure you dress appropriately and bring a warm layer so you don't get cold in the mornings. Please see the gear list further down.
We will provide food during the Hunt's Mesa Overnight Camping portion. All other meals will be on your own, even if we are eating as a group. To give you flexibility in your travel plans, we are not including the final night of hotel on Sept 20th. It is up to you if you want to stay in the Page area or head elsewhere. But keep in mind we won't be returning to town until close to 10PM the night of Sept 20th.
$2895/person + Tax
Price assumes Single Occupancy. If you would like Double Occupancy, we can give you a $250 discount.
- 3 nights of hotels. Single occupancy is assumed.
- Fully outfitted overnight camping trip to Hunt's Mesa.
- Navajo guide fees.
- Park entrance fees and Navajo permits.
- All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
- Post-processing and image critique
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to Page, AZ.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Meals and snacks with exception of the Hunt's Mesa Overnight portion.
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 90-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.
- Wide angle lens in the 16-35mm range. If you have an ultra-wide in the 11-14mm range, bring it along since there are many places we can utilize it.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Long telephoto lenses will come in handy for creating abstract images. We really like our 100-400mm zoom lens.
- 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.
- 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 a warm layer.
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Warm Hat, Sun Hat, and Gloves
- Water bottle or hydration bladder.
- Hiking poles if you like having them.
- Please don't overpack, as we'll only have enough room in the vehicle for everyone to have one suitcase.
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!
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.