Lake Powell Houseboat Photo Workshop
Oct 7-13, 2021
Hidden treasures abound all along Lake Powell's diverse shoreline! Fall is a beautiful time to be on the lake as winds tend to be calm, temperatures are moderate, and the busy tourist season is over. With 7 days aboard a houseboat, we'll cover a lot of ground. Trip is rated Difficult for physical ability as you'll need to be able to climb in and out of the boat and hike 2-4 miles per day, some of it being over uneven terrain with inclines
- Lake Powell is one of the most iconic locations in the desert Southwest and there is no better way to see it than by boat!
- We will spend 7 days together on a luxury 62-ft houseboat. Expect great food and even better photo ops!
- Smaller boats will be used to access side canyons and places where the houseboat can't dock.
- Moderate hiking will be required to reach some of the viewpoints and canyons (2-4 miles max each day). The itinerary is kept flexible so we can optimize your experience depending on lake levels, weather, and current conditions.
- We will utilize the evenings to either relax or do image critiques and post-processing. If skies are clear, we'll do some night photography!
Note: The exact itinerary is kept flexible to account for the current lake levels, weather, and group interest. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.
- Day 1 (Oct 7): Meet in Page, Arizona at 9AM for a mandatory orientation session. Next, we drive over to the marina, load up the houseboat, and make our way into the wide-open waters of Lake Powell. We stop at a few points of interest along the way and enjoy lunch on the boat. We dock the houseboat late-afternoon and use the smaller boats to access some stunning striped sandstone formations and hoodoos for sunset.
- Day 2 (Oct 8): We shoot sunrise at some nearby buttes with interesting rock foregrounds. Next, we use the small boats to access a narrow canyon. We have to hike in a little ways, but our efforts are rewarded with some of the most amazing sandstone textures and stripes you will see anywhere in the Southwest! In the afternoon, we explore several narrow side canyons and photograph a giant reflecting pool.
- Day 3 (Oct 9): At sunrise, we capture the warm morning light as it illuminates the high cliffs above us. After breakfast, we hike out to Rainbow Bridge, one of the largest natural bridges in the world! Returning for a quick lunch, we explore Anasazi Canyon and photograph the sandstone arches. We make our camp near Reflection Canyon and photograph that area for sunset.
- Day 4 (Oct 10): We are up well before dawn to shoot Reflection Canyon. The exact viewpoint we reach will depend on the group's hiking fitness and the water levels. We spend the afternoon exploring several spots along the San Juan Arm.
- Day 5 (Oct 11): We shoot sunrise near the mouth of the San Juan River and then make our way up into the Escalante River Arm. We spend the day exploring the famed Cathedral in the Desert and other amazing spots and hidden alcoves. With high canyon walls and huge mossy enclaves, it is spectacular to say the least. We may do several hikes on this day depending on the group's interest.
- Day 6 (Oct 12): After an early sunrise shoot, we hike out to a photogenic canyon complete with trees, clear running water, a reflecting pool, and towering walls. We start making our way back down-lake this afternoon. We shoot sunset at an area with very unique striped sandstone formations!
- Day 7 (Oct 13): We shoot sunrise at a stunning group of small hoodoos and then enjoy our final breakfast on the lake and begin our return journey to the marina. We unload the boat and then enjoy our final group lunch in Page, AZ. The workshop will conclude no later than 3PM.
Plan your travel so that you are ready for our orientation in Page, AZ at 9AM on Oct 7. Our pre-trip meeting will be held at the Best Western View of Lake Powell Conference Room. Contour Airlines has inexpensive flights between Page and Phoenix and Las Vegas. Alternatively, you can drive from either Phoenix or Las Vegas which will take approximately 4.5 hrs. If you are coming in the night before, you will need to book your own lodging in or around Page, AZ.
We will provide all your meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages during the workshop from Oct 7-13. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions ahead of time. We won't be providing alcoholic beverages, but feel free to bring your own!
Fall is the perfect time to be out on Lake Powell. The summer crowds and heat are gone. Temperatures are much more pleasant and you can still take a midday dip in the lake. It also tends to be much less windy on the lake during the fall months. However, we will take all necessary precautions should any inclement weather come our way.
We are licensed and permitted to operate in Glen Canyon NRA and carry the necessary insurance to ensure your safety and well-being. We will have several crew members helping to prepare the food, drive the boats, and keeping things clean so you can concentrate fully on your photography.
All participants on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition and have good balance. Although we aren't planning any long hikes on this trip, the uneven terrain, steep sandstone, and heat can make short hikes seem much harder. You should be comfortable walking around 2-3 miles per day while carrying your camera gear.
We will finish the workshop on Oct 13th and be back in Page, AZ no later than 3PM.
- 62 ft Luxury Houseboat
- 2 Full Bathrooms with Indoor Showers. There is also one outdoor shower.
- 4 Private Rooms with Queen Beds
- Convertible Dinette and Sofa each with semi-private double bed.
- Modern Kitchen and Common Area
- Hot Tub and Slide
- Flat Screen TV with Satellite & Stereo System
- Upper Deck with Bar, Tables, and Additional Mattresses
- 2 Smaller Boats for accessing the side canyons and hiking excursions.
Take a Tour of the Houseboat
- When you check-out, you will be asked to select the sleeping arrangement you want. Depending on how many spots have already been booked, not all options may be available by the time you book. None of these options include a private bathroom.
- There are 4 Private Rooms with Queen Beds. For those that want one of these rooms, there is a $650 surcharge. There is room to store your gear and personal belongings under the bed.
- 2 Semi-Private double beds in the central common areas (fold-out sofa and dinette). For those that want these beds, there is a $300 surcharge.
- Everyone else will sleep on mattresses on the floor or the top deck. This is included in the base price.
$4900 PER PERSON
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- All ground transportation to/from Page, AZ.
- Six nights lodging aboard the houseboat. Private and semi-private rooms add an extra surcharge.
- All meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Small boat transportation for side excursions.
- All entrance fees
- Photography guiding and post-processing training.
- Final group lunch in Page, AZ.
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to Page, AZ.
- Pre or Post trip hotel accommodations.
- Alcoholic beverages
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 180-days prior to arrival to the credit card we have on file.
Recommended Camera Gear
- A midweight tripod and ballhead you don't mind hiking with.
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
- Wide Angle Lens in the range of 16-35mm or wider. An ultra wide angle lens can be especially useful.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-70mm.
- Telephoto lens of any length. We find a 100-400mm to be especially useful.
- Bring circular polarizer filters for your wide angle and mid-range lenses. Bring any ND filters if you have them for creating long exposures.
- Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies. Don't forget to bring your battery chargers and cords!
- Remote cord for your camera.
- Dry bag to hold your gear while in small boats.
- Laptop if you want to back up your photos or work on post-processing.
Personal Gear List
- Sturdy hiking footwear, hiking socks, and long pants.
- Several changes of clothes and socks.
- Comfortable backpack that can carry your camera gear and tripod.
- Overnight toiletries, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.
- Swimsuit (for the lake or the hot tub)
- A rain jacket and some warm layers since it can get cold at night.
- Warm gloves and hat.
- Water bottle or hydration bladder.
- Extra footwear that you can get wet and muddy. This can include water shoes, sandals, or old tennis shoes. There may be places with deep mud that we may have to hike through. Neoprene socks can come in handy.
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.
Captain - Nicole Pino
Lake Powell is one of Nicole's favorite places on planet Earth. She has spent many years exploring the lake and its side-canyons and knows it very well. She has a plethora of experience piloting boats both large and small. With her Captain's License, she will be driving our houseboat to ensure the safety and well-being of our group. A woman of many talents, Nicole is also our front office manager and helps take care of many of the day to day aspects of our operation. It is very likely she was the one answering your emails and phone calls.
Having an interest in photography from a very young age, Nicole certainly found her home and "happy place" in the photographic community.
Nicole is a Utah native and self-proclaimed "Gypsy at heart." Having an incurable wanderlust and a love for the outdoors, she spends the majority of her free time traveling and exploring . She enjoys sharing her passion for photography and love of nature with others.
View some of Nicole's work below and visit her on Instagram.