Southern Utah Fall Colors
Fall brings gorgeous displays of color to the diverse landscapes of Southern Utah. We journey through Capitol Reef, Escalante, and Zion in pursuit of the perfect autumn colors. This workshop has some moderate hiking requirements of up to 6 miles each day. David Swindler and Juan Pons will be your instructors on this action-packed adventure!
- 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-photographers David Swindler and Juan Pons.
- With permits to guide all over the Southwest, 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.
- Workshops 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 17: The Workshop begins at 11AM in Kanab, UT with a short orientation session and classroom style instruction. After lunch, we head into Zion and the fall color is at peak! 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.
- Day 2 – Oct 18: We return to Zion for one last sunrise and then load up the rig and head north towards Escalante, UT. 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.
- Day 3 – Oct 19: After a sunrise shoot in Escalante, 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 along the way. After photographing sunset from a beautiful viewpoint, we arrive in Torrey, UT after dark to check into our hotel.
- Day 4 – Oct 20: 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 nightscapes before retiring to bed.
- Day 5 - Oct 21: We shoot our final sunrise in Capitol Reef and then check out of our hotel to begin the return journey to Kanab. We arrive back in town mid-afternoon and have our final post-processing and image critique session. The workshop will conclude with our final group dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town.
The trip will begin and end in Kanab, UT. We will provide transportation to workshop participants but you also have the option to follow us and drive your own vehicle. The roads we will be driving between Kanab, Escalante, and Capitol Reef are suitable for passenger cars. We will ride together in our 4WD trucks whenever we venture off-road. If you do decide to ride with us between Kanab, Escalante, and Capitol Reef, just make sure you don’t pack too many things since cargo space is limited.
The workshop fee includes single occupancy lodging. If you would like double occupancy, we can give each person a $300 discount. If you are traveling alone and want double occupancy, we may be able to pair you with another workshop participant. However, cannot be guaranteed. We will be in Kanab the night of Oct 17th, in Escalante Oct 18th, and in Torrey Oct 19th and 20th. The workshop will conclude by 8PM on Oct 21st. It's up to you if you want to spend the night of the 21st in Kanab or head off somewhere else.
We aren’t planning any difficult hikes on this workshop, but we may have some days where we’ll hike up to 6-miles over easy terrain. 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.
$2595/person + Tax
- 5-Day Intensive Photo Workshop
- All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
- 4 nights of single-occupancy lodging. If you would like double occupancy, we can give you a $300/person discount.
- Post-processing instruction and image critique
- Park entrance fees.
- Final group lunch.
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to Kanab, UT.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Meals and snacks with exception of final group lunch.
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 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 (16-35mm is perfect). For crop sensor, you'll want 10-22mm.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Telephoto lenses will come in handy for creating abstract images and isolating the fall colors.
- 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.
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 - Juan Pons
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Juan is a nature and wildlife photographer, whose passion is photographing our worlds magnificent wildlife and natural features. Juan is a strong supporter of wildlife and natural habitat conservation and is a member of several conservation organizations. Though private individuals purchase photos directly from him, Juan donates his images to non-profit organizations with nature and wildlife preservation missions. Juan never ceases to be amazed by the natural subjects he photographs and hopes that sharing his photographs will inspire others to appreciate and respect natural life.
With more than 30 years experience in photography, Juan has also become a recognized expert in Wildlife Photography, Lightroom and on maximizing the capabilities of DSLRs when shooting video.
Juan travels extensively capturing nature’s beauty, and has been teaching photography out in the field and the classroom for more than 18 years. Listen to an interview with Juan on The Candid Frame Podcast.
Juan’s work has been featured on numerous publications, including: Sierra Magazine, Nature Conservancy, Audubon Magazine, American Photo, Audubon North Carolina, Wildlife in North Carolina, The Independent, and many others.
Juan has been the founder of numerous popular photography podcasts and most recently started a new YouTube channel features all things photography.