Mt Rainier Wildflowers
Aug 5-8, 2020 - 2 Spots Left!!
Mt Rainier National Park is truly a paradise with one of the most spectacular wildflower blooms in late summer. Wildflowers of all types fight for space in the sub-alpine meadows against the snowy backdrop of majestic Mt Rainier. The scenery is punctuated by sparkling lakes, waterfalls, plentiful wildlife, and much more! Join pro photographers David Swindler and Kevin McNeal on 4 action-packed days in the mountains!
- Photograph the wildflower eruption at Mt Rainier National Park in late summer. Dates are timed for best chances for peak wildflowers!
- The workshop itinerary is kept flexible so we can make best use of the wildflower blooms and weather. Our goal is to maximize your photography!
- Hiking is required to reach the best wildflower areas. Participants should be able to hike 2-4 miles per day on mountainous terrain at altitude. The more hiking the group is able to do, the more places we'll be able to photograph!
- Wildlife is plentiful at Mt Rainier with deer, marmots, pikas, and even the occasional black bear!
- Learn many new photographic techniques from pro photographers David Swindler and Kevin McNeal. Expect plenty of individualized attention with only 5 participants per instructor.
- The workshop will conclude with a comprehensive post-processing and image critique session to help make the most of your images.
The exact itinerary will be kept flexible to account for the weather and current conditions in the park. We will optimize our time for the best possible photography. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.
- Day 1 (Aug 5): Meet at 8AM at our conference room in the Hilton Garden Inn SEA-TAC Airport for a mandatory orientation session. For those flying in, we recommend staying the night before (hotel information will be provided after you register). After lunch, we drive up to the park and shoot the beautiful wildlfowers and waterfalls until sunset. A block of rooms has been reserved at the historic Paradise Inn which is where we will be based for the next three nights.
- Day 2 (Aug 6): We leave Paradise Inn well before dawn to hike to some spectacular sub-alpine meadows carpeted with lupine, paintbrushes, asters, bistort, and alumroot! Early morning fog adds to the mystery as first light hits Mt Rainier. After a lunch break, we do several short afternoon hikes to some lakes and waterfalls and finish with a sunset shoot at one of our favorite wildflower meadows.
- Day 3 (Aug 7): Based on conditions, we decide to photograph the wildflowers on the other side of the park. We hit the road extra early and are ready for first light! We do several hikes this morning to some stunning vistas before taking a much needed midday break. In the afternoon, we hit the trail again and get to photograph some wildlife in the flower-filled meadows. Clouds roll in for sunset and we are treated to colorful skies and warm light!
- Day 4 (Aug 8): This is our last sunrise opportunity in the park and we make the most of it with a hike up to a spectacular valley lined with waterfalls and flowers! We return to the hotel for breakfast and then begin our drive back to town. After lunch, we do a comprehensive post-processing and image critique session to help make the most of your images. The workshop concludes with a final group dinner (included).
Plan to arrive at our conference room near SEA-TAC International Airport no later than 8AM on Aug 5th. We will begin the workshop with a mandatory orientation session where we'll cover many techniques you will be using during our time together. If you are flying in, we recommend arriving the night before. We will provide you with the hotel information after you register for the workshop.
We will provide all transportation during the workshop so there is no need to rent your own car unless you want to. The hotel offers free 24-hr shuttle service to and from the airport.
While we are in the park, the group will be based at the Paradise Inn. We have reserved a block of rooms for our attendees. You may reserve your room by calling 360-569-2275 and tell them you are with the Action Photo Tours group. You are welcome to stay elsewhere if you like (or even camp), but you will need your own vehicle to get to/from the daily meetup locations.
Everyone on this trip should be in good physical condition due to the steep mountain terrain and high altitude. None of the hikes we are doing will be long, but all the shorter hikes we do during the day will add up. Everyone will need to be capable of carrying their own camera gear. If necessary, we may divide the group up by hiking abilities.
Food is not included as part of the workshop. There is a restaurant at the Paradise Inn or you can bring your own food. The final group dinner once we return to town is included in the workshop price. The workshop will conclude by 8:30PM on Aug 8th and you can plan your return travel after that time. We recommend you stay one more night near SEA-TAC airport before flying out the next day.
The temperatures in August are pretty temperate. But it can be quite cold in the morning especially at the higher elevations. Please ensure you bring plenty of warm clothes. Rain is always a possibility, so come prepared with a rain jacket and a cover for your backpack. Finally, where there are wildflowers, there are usually mosquitos. Don't forget some bug spray!
$1795/person + Tax
- All Ground Transportation to/from SEA-TAC Airport
- Park Entrance Fees
- In-Field Photography Instruction
- Post-processing and Image Critique
- Final Group Dinner
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to SEA-TAC Airport.
- Overnight accommodations.
- Meals and snacks except for final group dinner.
- 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 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.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Long telephoto lenses in the 100-600mm range will come in handy for wildlife encounters.
- Circular polarizer filters and ND filters for your lenses. If you like shooting with grads, bring them along. A 9 or 10-stop ND filter will be useful for creating very long exposures.
- Backpack to carry your gear along with a rain cover for the pack.
- 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.
Personal Gear List
- Sturdy hiking footwear, hiking socks, and long pants .
- A rain jacket and several warm layers.
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat, and Gloves
- Water bottle or hydration bladder.
- Hiking poles if you like having them.
- Bug Spray
Instructor - David Swindler
A carefree childhood amongst the rolling landscape of Iowa ignited David Swindler's passion for the wild and his unquenchable thirst for exploration. "I am the oldest of five kids so I was a bit of a ring-leader. We were always up to something." From crafting an improvised raft to sail down a local river to biking the vast countryside, young David realized that he is happiest when surrounded by nature. At age ten, he saw the Grand Canyon for the first time and that experience changed him forever. "My grandpa and I were camped at the edge of the North Rim. I got out of the tent at night and saw the Milky Way for the first time. I think all I managed to say for the next 30 minutes was WOAH...while my jaw was hanging open. It's impossible to describe how one feels when they see the Milky Way for the first time. Any words feel like an understatement."
Years later, while feeling restless as a chemical engineer, the memories of that starry night inspired David to start Action Photo Tours, a boutique photo-workshop operation. Trained as a classical pianist, David has always been artistic. But his engineering background in optics and photolithography give him an edge in understanding the technical aspects of photography. When on tour with David, you can expect in-depth discussions on composition, photographic techniques, and post-processing tricks. Yet the real gem is his boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm for exploring the great outdoors!
Instructor - Kevin McNeal
Kevin McNeal is a Washington-State photographer who is passionate about photographing grand landscapes that reflect the most unique places on earth. Capturing moments of magic light and transferring this to print is the ultimate goal. His images hold a combination of perseverance, patience, and dedication to capture landscapes in fresh ways. The stories of how these images are rendered come across in the feelings the images convey. He has traveled all over North America, shooting diverse landscapes and finding remote places with the hope that we can convey to the public that this earth is worth caring for. His award winning images can be seen in galleries and showings across the United States. He was recently invited to the Art Wolfe Art Gallery for the Environmental Photography Invitational. Kevin was the grand winner of the Landscape category for the Natures Best Magazine and was selected for the Smithsonian National Museum of History in Washington D.C.. He is a regular contributor to publications like Outdoor Photographer.
“I believe that the Earth shares secrets with us that only can be discovered by trying to understand our position on this planet. We are never fully intimate with the planet but are given brief moments that make our souls want more. These glimpses of nature’s power are fleeting and never the same twice. I also believe it is important to share with those who want it. The treasures that await us given the patience that is out there. What I try to do is bring some of that magic to my images to share with the rest of the world. Each of my images tells a story that everyone can relate to in some way whether it is success, fear, or challenging oneself to overcome obstacles
Kevin's portfolio can be found at www.kevinmcnealphotography.com.