Lake Powell Houseboat Photo Workshop
Sept 7-11, 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 5 days aboard a houseboat, we'll cover a lot of ground. Trip is rated Moderate for physical ability as you'll need to be able to climb in and out of the boat and hike a max of 2-3 miles per day.
- 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 5 days together on a luxury 59-ft houseboat. Expect great food and even better company!
- 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. The itinerary is kept flexible so we can optimize your experience depending on lake levels, weather, and current conditions.
- Photography is the primary goal of the workshop, but there will be plenty of time during the day for relaxation, photo critiques, and post-processing instruction.
Take a Tour of the Houseboat
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 (Sept 7): Meet at Bullfrog Marina at 10AM for a mandatory orientation session (meetup details and exact location will be provided closer to tour time). Next, we drive over to the marina, load up the houseboat, and start making our way out 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. We use the smaller boats to access some stunning striped sandstone and hoodoos for sunset.
- Day 2 (Sept 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 continue down-lake in the houseboat. We make our camp at the end of a canyon with some stunning sunset views.
- Day 3 (Sept 9): 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. With high canyon walls and huge mossy alcoves, it is spectacular to say the least.
- Day 4 (Sept 10): We are up well before dawn to photograph Reflection Canyon. The exact viewpoint we reach will depend on the group's hiking fitness. In the afternoon we explore other nearby canyons and formations.!
- Day 5 (Sept 11): It's hard to believe our time together is almost over! We shoot our final sunrise and then start making our way up-lake, stopping at few points of interest along the way. We return the boat to the marina and unload all the gear.
- 59 ft Luxury Houseboat
- 1 Full Bathroom with Indoor Shower, and One Half Bath. There is also one outdoor shower.
- 2 Private and 2 Semi-Private Rooms
- Convertible Dinette and Sofa each with semi-private double bed.
- Modern Kitchen and Common Area
- Flat Screen TV with Satellite & Stereo System
- Upper Deck with Additional Mattresses
- 2 Smaller Boats for accessing the side canyons and hiking excursions.
Plan your travel so that you are ready for our orientation at Bullfrog Marina at 9AM on Sept 7. Details and location of our pre-trip meeting will be provided at a later date. Salt Lake International is the closest airpot, and you will need to rent a car to make the 4 1/2 hour drive southeast to Bullfrog. This area is very remote with few amenities, and only a couple of lodging options. The Defiance House Loge at Bullfrog is only a short drive to the marina. There is also one hotel in Ticaboo, about 20 miles north. Ticaboo Lodge If you choose to stay in Ticaboo, you will need your own transportation to Bullfrog the morning of the 7th. With limited options, things do fill up quickly, so we suggest making your lodging reservations well in advance.
We will provide all your meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages during the workshop from Sept. 7-11. 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 Sept 11th and be back at Bullfrog Marina no later than 3PM.
- 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 2 Private Rooms, and 2 Semi-Private Rooms. $650 surcharge for the private rooms, and a $400 surcharge for semi-private.
- 2 Semi-Private double beds in the central common areas (fold-out sofa and dinette). For those that want these beds, $200 surcharge.
- Everyone else will sleep on mattresses on the floor on the top deck. This is included in the base price.
$3895 PER PERSON
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- Four 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.
- Transportation to/from your home.
- Pre of Post trip hotel accommodations..
- Alcoholic Beverages.
Trip Does Not Include:
When you complete the checkout process, you will be given the option to either pay the full amount or put down a 25% 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.
- 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 charges 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.
Operations Expert - Evelyn Fu
Evelyn is our Chief Operations Officer. Although she is not a photographer, her natural business acumen and marketing insight are huge assets to our operation. Evelyn loves to spend time in nature and explore the outdoors and she is really excited to come along on our first ever Chicks Who Click Workshop!
Evelyn spent many years in medical school, residency, and fellowship and is now one of the most respected retina surgeons in the Pacific Northwest. During medical school, she worked as a business consultant. She loved consulting so much that is was difficult to go back to medical school.
Evelyn loves winter sports, especially backcountry snowboarding! During the summer, she uses her weekends to the max ascending mountains, backpacking, and climbing. She has traveled to many countries around the world and loves to experience new lands and cultures. Evelyn has a very artistic eye and enjoys sharing the love of photography and fine art.
Workshop Extension - Moonrise at Alstrom Point
On the night of Sept 30, the full moon will be rising right at sunset! This is the perfect time to visit Alstrom Point and get some amazing close-up shots of the moon as it rises above the distant red sandstone cliffs. When the moon gets a little higher, it will start casting light on the water. That coupled with the soft twilight hues is the recipe for an incredible photo experience!
The Alstrom Point experience departs at 4PM on Sept 30, so you'll have plenty of time after we get off the boat. It's a rough 4x4 drive up to the viewpoint and we'll pass through some pretty amazing badlands en route. We'll stay a good hour after sunset and then bring you back to Page, AZ after the tour.