Death Valley Photo Workshop

Dec 2-8, 2023

Experience the rugged beauty of Death Valley National Park and the Alabama Hills as you stand atop soaring vistas, trek through pristine sand dunes, photograph towering canyon walls, and gaze upon otherworldly colors and textures! During this 7-day workshop you'll learn many new photography skills from wide-angle close-ups to long lens techniques.  Post-processing instruction is included to help you make the most of your images! We aren't planning much hiking on this workshop, but to photograph the dunes you will need to walk around 2 miles in the sand with your camera gear.


  • $2650
  • 50% Deposit

Max Group Size

  • 8 Photographers
  • 1 Non-Photographer


  • David Swindler
  • Amy Osness
Badwater Salt Polygons Death Valley Photo Workshop


  • Photograph an amazing diversity of desert landscapes in Death Valley, the Eastern Sierras, and Alabama Hills!
  • Take your photos to the next level with in-field instruction and digital darkroom training by pro photographers.
  • Transportation is provided to/from Las Vegas. There is no need to rent a car.
  • Itinerary is flexible to chase the best weather conditions.
  • Expect a good assortment of classic locations and off-the-beaten path spots!
  • Post-processing and image critique sessions will be scheduled throughout the workshop.
Death Valley Photography Workshop Sand Dunes


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:  Meet at 1PM for pickup in Las Vegas.  We'll drive over to Death Valley, check into our hotel, and head out for our first sunset shoot in the sand dunes.
  • Day 2:  With nice clouds in the sky, we wake up early to photograph the salt polygons at Badwater. We venture further afield to colorful badlands and slot canyons. In the afternoon we photograph old cars, waterfalls, joshua trees, ghost towns, and finish at sunset with Badwater Basin stretched out below us.  We decide to stay a couple hours after sunset to do some night photography!
  • Day 3:  We drive out to some remote sand dunes for sunrise, capturing the ripples, curves, and textures of the dunes. We return to the hotel for lunch. Late afternoon we reconvene for an intensive post-processing session and then photograph a nearby location for sunset.
  • Day 4:  It's another early morning departure for a sunrise shoot. With dramatic clouds, we opt for a high sweeping view and then photograph some crazy mud cracks.  We return for lunch and an afternoon post-processing session. We decide on our sunset location based on the weather and then decide to stay out late again for night photography!
  • Day 5:  Some clouds rolled in overnight and we get an absolutely a brilliant sunrise over the sand dunes as we find ripples, curves, and leading lines to amplify our compositions! We check out of our hotel and head to Lone Pine. That evening we photograph some beautiful aerials along with sunset amongst the Joshua trees.  We may even do some night photography if conditions are good.
  • Day 6: We are up early to photograph some beautiful arches in the Alabama Hills.  We return to the hotel and spend time doing some post-processing and image critique. We head out for sunset at one of our favorite places in the Eastern Sierras!
  • Day 7:  We decide to shoot sunrise at some new locations in the Alabama Hills.  After breakfast, we pack up and begin the drive back to Las Vegas. The workshop will conclude mid-afternoon.
Sand Storm Death Valley Photo Workshop


Please arrive at in Las Vegas prior to 1PM on Day 1. We will coordinate pickups with all participants before starting the drive into Death Valley.  We have a pre-arranged lodging package that will be added to your final payment unless you let us know that you have made your own arrangements.  If you make your own lodging arrangements, you are responsible for getting to/from our central meeting point each day for the workshop outings.

The lodging package is $650/person for double occupancy or $1350/person for single occupancy. It comprises 4 nights of deluxe rooms at Stovepipe Wells (much nicer than standard rooms) and 2 nights at the Best Western in Lone Pine.

Everyone on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition.  We aren't planning any long hikes on this trip but you should be comfortable walking 2-3 miles per day while carrying your photo gear.  The sand dunes are the most physically taxing location and we may be walking a couple miles in the sand.

Food is not included as part of the workshop.  You are free to bring your own food or eat at nearby restaurants. If needed, we can make a grocery store stop on our way into Death Valley.

Expect high temps in the 50's-70's and lows in the 20's-30's (could be even colder in the high elevations), so be sure to bring warm layers. Rain and snow are always a possibility, so bring a rain jacket and something to cover your backpack. High winds are common in Death Valley and it's helpful to have a cover for your camera in the event of a sand storm.  Please see the gear list further down.

Death Valley Photo Workshop
Death Valley Sand Dunes Nickolas
Death Valley Nickolas Mud Cracks
Death Valley Photo Workshop Badwater Flooded


$2650/person + Tax

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Trip Includes:

  • 7-Day intensive photo workshop with max of 5 students.
  • All ground transportation to/from Las Vegas.
  • Photography guiding and instruction throughout the trip.
  • Post-processing and image critique sessions.
  • Night photography.


Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Hotel accommodations.
  • Transportation to/from your home to Las Vegas.
  • Meals, beverages, and snacks.
  • Instructor gratuities.


The pre-arranged lodging package is $650/person for double occupancy or $1350/person for single occupancy.  This will be added to your final payment unless you let us know you have made your own arrangements.

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 14-30mm range. For night photography, you will need a lens that is at least f/2.8 or faster.
  • Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
  • Long telephoto lenss for landscape compression and wildlife encounters.  We recommend something in the 100-400mm range.
  • Circular polarizer filters for your lenses.  If you like shooting with grads, bring them along.
  • Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies.
  • Remote cord for your camera.
  • Cover for your camera/lens to protect against high winds.
  • 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 hiking pants.
  • A rain jacket and several warm layers.
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat, Warm Hat, and Gloves
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder.
  • Hiking poles if you like having them.
Death Valley Photo Workshop
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Eastern Sierras Photo Workshop Death Valley California Alabama Hills Lathe Arch
Sand Dunes Death Valley Photo Workshop
Badwater Salt Polygons Death Valley Photo Workshop
Sand Dunes Death Valley Photo Workshop
Death Valley for Grid2
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David Swindler Photographer

David Swindler

Founder - Photography Instructor

David Swindler is an award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer. Among others, he has been recognized by the International Photography Awards, Siena International Photo Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, International Landscape Photographer of the Year, and National Geographic. He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. In 2014, he left his day job to follow his true passion. He has traveled to some of the most remote regions of the world and has extensive experience photographing a wide variety of subjects and conditions. As the founder of Action Photo Tours, he finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT. David is an expert in night photography and loves to get out and shoot the starry night skies.

Gallery    Awards and Media Coverage

Having guided photo tours for years, David is very familiar with many different types of cameras.  He is a master with light and composition. But most importantly, his dedication to his clients is what really sets him apart! But don't take our word for it - read what others are saying: Trip Advisor.

Amy Osness

Amy Osness

From an early age, Amy knew she had a wandering spirit. Her desire for adventure and passion for nature, stayed with her into adulthood, prompting her to pursue photography as an expressive art form.

The moments captured by Amy's camera are far removed from the "point and click" variety. She often spends hours and even days scouting possible shoot locations.

Amy loves exploring and photographing all the natural wonders that surround her hometown of St. George, Utah.

See more of Amy's work here:  Gallery  Instagram