Moab Monsoon Mania

Aug 16-20, 2024 - Sold Out

When monsoon storms roll in, there's no better place to be than the scenic landscapes of Southeastern Utah.  Based in Moab, we'll spend 5 days getting off the beaten path and photographing hidden gems outside the national parks. But not to worry, we'll hit a few of the classic spots too!  Mid-August is ripe for monsoon moisture and when we usually get dramatic skies and atmospheric conditions.  With a flexible itinerary, we'll craft each day's outing based on the weather and conditions. Time will be set aside during midday hours for post-processing training and image critiques.  The degree of hiking is Moderately Difficult.  The longest distances are only 2-3 miles but the terrain can be rough and steep. Even better, we'll have a few opportunities to capture the full moon on our last two days together.


Max Group Size

  • 4 Students per Instructor
  • Max 8 Students


  • David Swindler
  • Nickolas Warner
Moab Monsoon Mania Southwest Moab Photography Workshop


  • Monsoon season is a great time to photograph the varied landscapes of Southeastern Utah with chances for dramatic skies and storms.
  • Get far off the beaten path and explore many locations outside the crowded national parks! A few classic locations will also be included.
  • Capture huge viewpoints, arches, rock formations, reflecting pools, etc.
  • The itinerary is kept flexible to allow us to chase the best weather and conditions.
  • If skies are clear, we'll capture the Milky Way on our first night. There will be full moon shooting opportunities on the last couple days.
  • Learn new photography skills, weather forecasting techniques, and post-processing tricks from pro instructors.
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm


The itinerary is being kept flexible to account for weather and current conditions. Expert forecasting and group consensus will dictate our final itinerary. The itinerary given below is just an example of what you can expect.

  • Day 1 (Aug 16):  Meet at 1PM in Moab, UT for a mandatory introductory session.  We'll cover logistics and make plans for our upcoming days together.  After an early dinner we hike out to an impressive arch for sunset. Nice clouds roll in and we get some great color in the sky.  As it gets darker, the clouds begin to dissipate and we stay out to shoot the Milky Way. It's a very late night by the time we return to Moab.
  • Day 2 (Aug 17):  With such a late night, we decide to skip sunrise this morning since skies are forecasted to be clear. After breakfast, we meet in the conference room to start learning some post-processing tricks for our blue hour and Milky Way images. That afternoon we head out to a remote viewpoint on rough 4x4 roads that will take your breath away! Even better, we are able to capture some distant lightning storms after sunset.
  • Day 3 (Aug 18):  We get up early and shoot sunrise at one of our favorite spots in Arches National Park. We hold an image critique session midday with some great personalized tips. For sunset, we decide to drive out to another remote viewpoint high above the canyon below. Our efforts pay off with a brilliant sunset and a rising full moon!
  • Day 4 (Aug 19): We plan our morning shoot to capture the full moon.  And then we explore some interesting rock formations and towers.  In the afternoon, we decide to hike out to a beautiful reflection pool. The distance isn't long but the terrain is rough so we take our time. Our efforts pay off with some incredible monsoon conditions and even a couple lightning bolts!
  • Day 5 (Aug 20):  It's hard to believe it's our last day!  We are out the door early to capture sunrise from an impressive overlook.  We may even get the full moon if skies are clear!  We return back to Moab for breakfast and the workshop will conclude by 11AM.
Moab Photo Workshop Night Photography
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm


Please arrive in Moab, UT no later than 1PM on Aug 16th for our workshop orientation session at the group hotel.  The workshop fee includes 4 nights of double occupancy lodging.  Single rooms are available for an additional fee.  Please see the Pricing Section for details. The workshop concludes around 11AM on Aug 20th.

Canyonlands Regional Airport serves the greater Moab area.  If you prefer a larger airport, you can fly into SLC International or Grand Junction and drive to Moab.  Having your own car will give you more options and flexibility in terms of restaurants and shopping.  Note that food, meals, and beverages are not included in the workshop fee.

All participants on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition.  We aren't planning any long hikes and the longest will be 2-3 miles round trip.  However, the terrain can be rough and steep, making it much more difficult. You should be comfortable walking these kinds of distances while carrying your camera gear and tripod. Bring your hiking poles if you like using them.

If skies are clear the first night, we'll be able to capture the Milky Way.  Each participant will need their own headlight. We also recommend everyone bring a fast wide angle lens (f/2.8 or faster) along with a remote cord for long exposures.  On the final two days we'll have full moon shooting opportunities.

Drones can be flown when we are outside the National Parks.  We are happy to help you take the best photos with your drone. However, you MUST be proficient at flying it yourself as our instructors cannot pilot your aircraft.

See the gear list further down for specific recommendations to ensure you are well prepared.  Make sure you bring a rain jacket and a warm layer since it can get cold if a storm moves in. You will also want a rain cover for your camera backpack. No matter what the weather does, we’ll get some awesome photos!

Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm


$2750 Per Person

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Trip Includes:

  • 5-Day Intensive Photo Workshop with 2 Pro Instructors.
  • 4-Nights Double Occupancy Lodging.  Single rooms are available for an additional $500.
  • All Ground Transportation in Lifted 4x4 Trucks.
  • Permits and fees for National Parks and all areas we visit.
  • Night photography and instruction.
  • Post-processing training and image critique
  • Pre-workshop zoom meeting


Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Moab, UT.
  • Meals, beverages, and snacks
  • Instructor Gratuities.


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, you will be sent a payment link for the remaining balance approximately 90 days prior to the workshop.  See the full Terms and Conditions.

Moab Photo Workshop Night Photography
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm

Recommended Camera Gear

  • Sturdy tripod and ballhead
  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
  • Wide Angle Zoom Lens (16-35mm on full frame, 10-22mm on crop sensor).
  • Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
  • Telephoto lenses are optional but are useful for distant storms, cloud patterns, and canyon details.  Suggest 100-400mm range.
  • Bring a circular polarizer filter and or 3-stop ND filter for your wide angle and mid-range zoom lenses.
  • Lightning trigger. We recommend the Lightning Trigger Brand LT-IV for best results.
  • Extra batteries for your camera and lightning trigger along with extra memory cards.
  • A blower and micro-fiber cloth for cleaning.
  • Remote cord for your camera.
  • Backpack or case for your gear.
  • When it starts raining, we will be packing up. Bring your lens hoods to help keep droplets off your lens!
  • Laptop if you wish to backup your photos or follow along during the post-processing instruction.

Personal Gear List

  • Sturdy footwear, hiking socks, and long pants.
  • A rain jacket since it can get cold when storms roll in.
  • Headlamp for when we are out at night.
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat
  • Water bottle.
  • Hiking poles (optional)
Moab Monsoon Mania Moab Photography Workshop Storm
Nickolas Warner Alaska

Nickolas Warner

Photography Instructor

Nickolas Warner is an award-winning photographer with recognition by the Epson Pano Awards, International Landscape Photographer of the Year, and Outdoor Photographer. He has 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.

Artist's Statement: "The more one travels, the more one sees how small our world is. Landscape photography is often an idyllic vision of nature that stretches the truth. While most of my photos are taken in the wilderness, the reality is that modernity and progress has shrunk the wild into small islands of untouched land, flanked on all sides by development and exploitation. Before becoming a full-time photographer, I pursued a career in sustainability. While I've since changed directions, I still have a strong sense of urgency to protect nature and keep the wild wild. I hope my photos can inspire others to explore and let our world be untamed."

See Nickolas' portfolio: Nickolas Warner Photography


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.