Southern Utah Fall Colors

Oct 16-20 2018, 5 Participants

Southern Utah Fall Color Capitol Reef


  • Mid-October brings peak fall color to many of Southern Utah’s most scenic destinations. The workshop will focus on Capitol Reef, Escalante, Zion and all areas in-between!
  • Learn new photography skills and receive image critique from pro-photographer David Swindler. Small group size will give you plenty of individual attention.
  • We have permits to guide all over the Southwest, so the itinerary will be kept flexible to allow us to chase the best fall colors. Our job is to get you the best photos possible!
  • Post-processing instruction is included throughout the workshop to improve your skills in Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • We provide the transportation during the workshop so you don't have to worry about the rough roads.
  • Includes a final group dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town to celebrate this novel experience and the new friends we have made.


In order to give our clients the best possible photography experience, we keep the itinerary flexible to account for autumn color, weather conditions, and group interest. The workshop dates coincide with peak fall color in places like Capitol Reef, Escalante, and East Zion. However, fall color can be a fickle thing and it sometimes comes earlier or later than predicted. We reserve the right to change the itinerary and shooting locations accordingly.

  • Day 1 – Oct 16:  The Workshop begins in Kanab, UT with a short orientation session and classroom style instruction.  After a lunch break, we load up the rig and head north towards Capitol Reef National Park. This drive is incredibly beautiful and there’s little wonder why it’s deemed one of the most scenic highways in America.  We’ll stop to photograph the prime fall colors all along the way.  After photographing sunset from a beautiful viewpoint, we arrive in Torrey, UT after dark to check into our hotel.
  • Day 2 – Oct 17: We are up well before dawn to photograph sunrise at a dramatic arch. Next, we visit several spots along the river with clusters of cottonwood trees in peak fall colors.  Their yellow color really pops in the mid-morning light and is the perfect complement to the blue sky above. We spend the rest of the day photographing areas in and around Capitol Reef National Park. After dinner, we elect to go out and shoot some moonscapes before retiring to bed.
  • Day 3 – Oct 18: The clouds are looking good this morning, so we decide to visit one of the most dramatic viewpoints in the greater Capitol Reef area.  Our luck holds as the sky fills with color and soft morning light filters across the rugged landscape. We can’t stop talking about our great photos from the morning as we start our journey back to Escalante. After checking into the hotel, we begin the afternoon with a hike through a tree-filled riparian area.  The fall colors deep in this canyon are simply incredible and we take our time photographing both grand and intimate scenes. The waterfall at the end of the canyon is just icing on the cake!  We shoot sunset overlooking the brilliant fall colors of the Escalante River.
East Zion Southern Utah Fall Colors
East Zion Fall Color

Itinerary Cont.

  • Day 4 – Oct 19: We decide to visit Bryce Canyon this morning, so wake early to be out on the rim before sunrise. We photograph the incredible reds, oranges, and pinks of the hoodoos throughout the morning before stopping for lunch. We return to Kanab in the afternoon for a post-processing session.  Based on the weather patterns, we decide to shoot sunset at a remote and seldom visited viewpoint of the Grand Canyon.
  • Day 5 – Oct 20: Today is our Zion day and we’re up early again for sunrise.  The fall color in East Zion is at peak and we can’t get enough of the brilliant red maples, orange scrub oaks, and yellow cottonwoods.  We also visit a slot canyon where the trees are just beginning to change color.  The conditions are perfect for both big landscapes and more intimate abstracts.  We return to town after sunset and finish with a group dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town.  The workshop will conclude by 8PM.



The trip will begin and end in Kanab, UT.  We will be offering transportation to workshop participants but you also have the option to follow us and drive your own vehicle.  Most of the roads we will be driving are suitable for passenger cars.  If we venture off-road, we’ll just have you jump in our 4WD rig.  If you do decide to ride with us, just make sure you don’t pack too many things since cargo space is limited.

We did not include hotel stays in the workshop package to give you the flexibility to stay where you’d like.  For the nights of Oct 16th and 17th, we will be staying in Torrey, Utah.  The night of October 18th we’ll be in Escalante, UT.  We recommend you stay at the Circle-D Motel where you’ll get a 20% discount if you call and say you’re with Action Photo Tours.  For the night of Oct 19th, you’ll want to book in Kanab.  If you call the Best Western, they will give you a 10% discount if you mention our workshop. It’s up to you if you want to stay the night of the 20th in Kanab or head off somewhere else.  The workshop will be done by 8PM.

We aren’t planning any difficult hikes on this workshop, but we may have some days where we’ll hike up to 6-miles.  All participants should be in good physical condition to be able to hike with their camera gear. Make sure you bring cold weather clothing in case we get some nippy mornings in the high country.

Drones are prohibited in the National Parks, although there are some areas outside of the parks they can be flown.  You are welcome to bring a drone, but please be cognizant of other workshop participants and their enjoyment.

Fall Colors in the Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Zion Sunset


$1495/person + Tax


Trip Includes:

  • 5-Day Intensive Photo Workshop
  • All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
  • Post-processing instruction and image critique
  • Park entrance fees.
  • Final Group Dinner.


Trip Does NOT Include:

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


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 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.
  • Wide angle lens (16-35mm is perfect).  For crop sensor, you'll want 10-22mm.
  • 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 Sigma/Tamron 150-600mm lenses.
  • 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.

Capitol Reef Fall Color
David Swindler

Instructor - David Swindler


David Swindler is a National Geographic award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer.  He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked many years in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. Thus, the technical side of photography came very easy to him. Back in 2014 he decided to quit his day job to follow his true passion. As a photographer, he has traveled to many locations around the world and has extensive experience with landscape, wildlife, night, and macro photography. He finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT.  Follow the links below to see more of Mr. Swindler's work.

Gallery    Media Recognition    500px     Flickr

Mr Swindler has been leading guided photo tours for several years and knows many different camera systems and how to capture the best photos. On his trips, you'll travel to impressive locations and receive photography instruction at the same time! Unlike many other photo guides, his clients are his top priority while out in the field. Read what others are saying about his trips here: Trip Advisor. Mr Swindler has extensive outdoor experience and will ensure your safety and well-being. If you have any questions, please Contact Us and we'll be happy to assist. Happy travels!

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