Bisti Badlands Spring Photo Workshop

Mar 31 - Apr 4, 2022 - Sold Out!!

May 23-27, 2022 - Sold Out!!

Let your imagination run wild in one of the most bizarre and alien landscapes! We will be visiting areas in and around Shiprock and the Bisti Badlands of New Mexico. The dates are optimized for prime Milky Way panoramics and possibly Spring thunderstorms! The workshop will be instructed by Kathleen Gardner.   The group will be accompanied by Navajo Guides while on reservation lands.


  • $1995/Person
  • 50% Deposit

Max Group Size

  • 4 Students per Instructor


  • Nickolas Warner
  • Nicole Pino
Alien Milky Way


  • The badlands of New Mexico are truly astonishing, with whimsical hoodoos, jagged spires, arches, fossils, and much more! The incredible diversity here will get your creative juices flowing.
  • Dates are timed for optimal Milky Way shooting. Expect to do lots of night photography as long as skies are clear!
  • We will be using local Navajo Guides to get off the beaten path and into some very unique areas.
  • Photography outings will be in small groups of just 5 students! Expect plenty of individual attention during the workshop.
  • Expect to learn many new techniques and come prepared to shoot a wide range of desert subjects.
  • Post-processing and image critique sessions will be scheduled throughout the workshop to help make the most of your images.
Shiprock Milky Way Pano Action Photo Tours


The exact itinerary will be kept flexible to account for the weather and current conditions. The itinerary below serves only as an example of what we might do.  For the April dates, we will be waking up early for Milky Way shooting. For May dates, we will be staying out late.

  • Day 1:  Meet at 1PM in Farmington, NM for a mandatory orientation session. We will cover many techniques you will be using during the workshop and discuss the itinerary in detail.  After a quick dinner, we head out into the wildnerness to photograph sunset and Milky Way.  We return to town around 2:00 a.m.
  • Day 2:  It's a short night and we are up early to photograph sunrise in the Badlands.  A quick half-mile hike puts us in an area with some incredible formations and hoodoos. We just can't get enough of the otherwordly shapes and spires. We return for breakfast and then meet together for a post-processing session. We take a well-deserved afternoon break and then head out for our sunset shoot. Some stormy clouds have moved in and we capture some dramatic light and glow!
  • Day 3:  We are up early again for golden light in a new area of the badlands. There is so much to explore and photograph here! We do another post-processing and image critique session when we return to town. Mid-afternoon we venture out onto the Navajo reservation with our local guide. He takes us to some really unique rock formations!  After sunset, we all group together at our favorite formations to capture the brilliant Milky Way.
  • Day 4:  Based on the forecast, we decide to revisit one of our favorite areas of badlands for sunrise. Mother Nature is kind to us and we get a couple hours of soft light and perfect clouds.  We return to the hotel for an image critique and post-processing session.  After lunch and a mid-day rest break, we head out for our sunset shoot, if skies are clear, we will stay out for Milky Way.
Shiprock New Mexico Bisti Badlands Photo Workshop
Bisti - John Haymore
Shiprock Simplicity

Itinerary, cont.

  • Day 5:  It's hard to believe it's the last day!  We wake up for our final sunrise at Shiprock, capturing the dramatic grandeur of the monolith as soft morning light illuminates the jagged ridges. We return to town in time for breakfast and check out of our hotels. We reluctantly say goodbye to all the new friends we have made! The workshop will conclude by 10AM so you can plan your return travel after that.


Please plan your travel so that you are in Farmington, NM no later than 1PM on on the first day of the workshop.  We will begin promptly with our orientation session and group meeting.

For those who are flying in, Durango, CO is the closest airport. It's a one hour drive from Farmington but the flight options are fairly limited. Albuquerque International Airport is a 3-hour drive from Farmington has much more availability.

Transportation will be provided during the workshop for all participants. You are welcome to follow us in your own vehicle, but we recommend everyone ride together since we may be out late at night or going on some rough or muddy roads . Each participant will need to get to Farmington, NM on their own.  If you don't want to rent a car, we may be able to arrange car-pooling with other workshop attendees.

Lodging is not included in the workshop fee so you have the option to stay wherever you like.  The group will be based at the Comfort Suites Farmington, NM and we have reserved a block of rooms for our guests.  Please call them at (505) 325-9414 and mention you are with the Action Photo Tours group to receive our group rate.  You will need lodging for the nights of Mar 31, Apr 1st, 2nd & 3rd (workshop 1), or May 23rd, 24th, 25th & 26th (workshop 2).

Our goal is to maximize your photography while you are here. This can mean long days and not a lot of sleep. We will utilize the middle of the day for rest breaks and post-processing sessions.

This workshop is rated Moderate for activity level. No long hikes are planned but participants should be able to hike 2-4 miles each day to get to the shooting locations.  The workshop will conclude by 10AM on Apr 4th or May 27th.  You can either head back home after that time or spend additional days in the area.

Bisti Badlands New Mexico Photo Workshop Shiprock
Bisti Badlands Photo Workshop
Bisti Badlands Photo Workshop Mobile Resized


$1995/person + Tax

Trip Includes:

  • All Ground Transportation
  • Local Navajo Guide
  • In-Field Photography Instruction
  • Post-processing and Image Critique


Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Farmington, NM.
  • Meals and Beverages.
  • Lodging


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. For night photography, you need a wide angle lens that is f/2.8 or faster.
  • An ultra-wide lens like an 11-24mm or a fisheye will allow you to make very creative compositions.
  • Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
  • Telephoto lenses are optional and there won't be much use for them.
  • 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.
  • 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 .
  • Warm jacket for cool mornings
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat.
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder.
  • Hiking poles if you like having them.
Bisti Badlands Photo Workshop New Mexico
Nickolas Warner

Nickolas Warner

Nickolas is a photographer and tour guide with a particular interest in extreme and unusual locations.  His travels have taken him to some fascinating locations, but the American Southwest is his favorite place to photograph.

Nickolas spent the past decade guiding in Alaska, where he provided instruction on photographing the aurora borealis, and shared his knowledge of the far north’s rugged terrain and resilient wildlife.

When not guiding, Nickolas enjoys long distance hiking and extended backpacking trips through remote wilderness areas.

Nickolas's portfolio can be found at Nickolas Warner Photography




Nicole Pino

Many of you will have already interacted with Nicole well before you go on your first tour or workshop.  As our front office manager, she is the glue that holds our operation together and ensures everything runs perfectly. We couldn't do it without her hard work and dedication!  But not only that, she is is a talented photographer and an attentive teacher.  As one of our photography experts, you may be fortunate to have her as one of your instructors on a workshop.

Having an interest in photography from a very young age, Nicole certainly found her home and "happy place" in the photographic community.

Nicole is also a licensed boat captain, and you will see her on our Lake Powell Houseboat Workshops and Reflection Canyon Tours.  Lake Powell being one of her favorite places on 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.

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.