Winter In The Desert Photo Workshop
Feb 21-25 2019, 5 Participants
Photograph the Southwest's stunning red rock scenery ringed with soft winter snow. Billowing fog, icicles, storms, and dramatic clouds are all in store! Last year, the best snow came towards the end of Feb, so we're hoping for a repeat performance.
- Winter is the ideal time to visit the desert. With most of the tourists gone, you'll fill your lungs with fresh, crisp air each day. Enjoy the silence as the snow dampens all sound and highlights the wonders of the landscape.
- The itinerary is being kept flexible so we can hit the best places for snowy landscapes.
- Photograph magnificent vistas in the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and beyond! Intrepid travel and fresh perspectives are what we specialize in.
- Small group size capped at 5 people to ensure personalized instructions and individualized attention.
- Post-processing sessions and image critique throughout the workshop.
- Trip concludes at one of the best restaurants in Kanab to celebrate this novel experience and the new friends we've made.
- Day 1 (Thurs Feb 21): Arrive in Kanab for a mandatory orientation that starts at 8AM. If coming from Las Vegas, know that you will lose an hour when driving to Utah. Address will be sent in orientation package upon booking. After the session, we'll grab lunch, load up and drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for sunset.
- Day 2 (Friday Feb 22): Full day of shooting on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We'll head back to Tusayan, AZ after sunset.
- Day 3 (Sat Feb 23): We'll snag our final sunrise opportunity at the Grand Canyon, check out of your hotel, and drive back to Kanab, Utah. From here, the itinerary will be kept flexible to ensure we photograph the best conditions! The evening will conclude with either a post-processing session or a sunset shoot.
- Day 4 (Sun Feb 24): With our flexible itinerary, we'll decide as a group where we want to photograph. The options are endless and include places like Bryce Canyon, Zion, White Pocket, South Coyote Buttes, and the Grand Staircase Escalante. Expect a full day of shooting and a post-processing session in the evening.
- Day 5 (Mon Feb 25): This is our final day of shooting where you can apply all the techniques and skills learned throughout the workshop. We'll conclude with a group dinner at one of the most celebrated restaurants in Kanab before we say goodbye.
We’ll spend most of our time in the field taking photos but are including some image critique and editing sessions throughout the workshop. With the exception of the Grand Canyon, the schedule will be flexible for the days we are based in Kanab. We'll go wherever we deem to have the best conditions based on group consensus. Night photography is also an option if that is something the group wants to do.
Please arrive in Kanab, UT prior to 8AM on Thursday Feb 21st for the orientation session. We didn’t include hotel stays on this trip to allow you the flexibility of a lodging option of your choice. Hotel prices are much cheaper during the winter and they rarely fill up. For the nights of Feb 21st and 22nd, you'll want to book accommodations in Tusayan, AZ. Please book hotel reservations you can cancel without penalty. If there is no snow in the Grand Canyon, we will change the itinerary and go elsewhere. We recommend the Red Feather Lodge & the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn. For the nights of Feb 23rd and 24th, you will need to book a room in Kanab. We recommend staying at the Best Western Red Hills which will give our participants a 10% discount if you call them. We will finish the workshop around 8PM on Feb 25th. It's up to you if you want to stay in Kanab that night or head somewhere else.
All participants on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition. We aren't planning any long hikes on this trip, but the presence of snow can make short hikes seem much harder. You should be comfortable walking around 2-4 miles per day.
We timed this workshop for the best chance of good snow (we always seem to get a good dump in mid-late Feb). However, we can't control the weather and it's always possible we won't have snow at some of these locations. The weather can vary quite a bit in Feb. We could have sunny weather and highs in the 40's. But most likely it will be colder. It's not uncommon for morning temps to be in the sub-zero range in Bryce Canyon. That being said, please come prepared for the cold. See the gear list further down for specific recommendations. No matter what the weather does, we’ll get awesome photos. If it’s exceptionally wet, some of the dirt roads may be impassable. We'll modify the itinerary accordingly should that be the case. Transportation will be provided in 4WD trucks so we can handle most conditions.
$1795/person + Tax
- All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
- Post-processing and image critique
- Any necessary permits for places like South Coyote Buttes.
- Group dinner on our final day in Kanab. Please note alcoholic beverages are not included.
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to Kanab, UT.
- Hotel Accommodations.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Meals and snacks with exception of the 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 departure.
Recommended Camera Gear
- Sturdy tripod and ballhead
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
- Wide Angle Lens. Frame frame - aim for 16-35mm range or wider. Crop sensor, 10-22mm.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Telephoto lenses will come in handy in Bryce and the Grand Canyon. Anything in the 70-400mm range.
- 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.
- 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, thick hiking socks, and long pants.
- Several warm layers. For the most comfort, we recommend wearing moisture wicking base layers. A fleece or down jacket will help keep you warm and a waterproof shell or coat should be worn on the outside.
- Snow pants and or gaitors that you can seal around your boots to keep snow out. If your snow pants aren't insulated, make sure you wear an insulating base layer.
- Don't forget a hat, warm gloves, and glove liners (useful to operate your camera controls).
- Micro-spikes or micro-traction devices will help when walking on slick surfaces. Snowshoes will not be needed for where we're going.
- Headlamp in case we are hiking in the dark.
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat
- Water bottle or hydration bladder
Your Photo Guide
David Swindler is a National Geographic award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer based in Utah. 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.
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!