Monument Valley and Native Cultures

Apr 22-26, 2023 - Sold Out!

Experience the best of Monument Valley by day and by night! With several night shoots, we'll take advantage of dark skies and prime spring Milky Way.  To add interest to the landscapes, we'll have a couple shoots with some Navajo models and get to learn more about their culture.  And to cap it all off, we'll venture up the rough road to Hunts Mesa for some stunning sunset shots. Workshop fee includes lodging, transportation, models, and Navajo Guides.

Tuition

  • $3295
  • Includes Lodging, Models, & Navajo Guides

Max Group Size

  • 4 Students per Instructor
  • 8 Students Max

Instructor(s)

  • David Swindler 
  • A.J. Rich
Monument Valley Photo Workshop Night Photography Milky Way Pano David Swindler
Monument Valley Photography Workshop A.J. Rich

Highlights

  • Explore the best of Monument Valley and get off the beaten path!
  • Photograph the starry night skies and beautiful spring Milky Way amidst some of the most stunning landscapes in the Southwest.
  • Learn about the native Navajo culture and photograph models arrayed in traditional clothing in their homeland.
  • Expect plenty of individual attention with a small group of 8 participants and 2 instructors.
  • Post-processing and image critique sessions will help you make the most of your images!
  • Trip includes 4 nights hotel, all transportation, Navajo guides, Navajo models, and park entrance fees.

Itinerary

We keep our itineraries flexible to account for weather, current conditions, and group interest.  The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.

  • Day 1 (Apr 22):  Meet at 10AM at Goulding's Lodge in Monument Valley for a mandatory orientation session. After lunch, we are invited into some traditional homes to photograph the native people. As the light gets better towards the evening, we head outdoors and photograph them against the beautiful landscapes.
  • Day 2 (Apr 23):  It's a short night as we get up early to photograph Milky Way panos over the valley. After that, we venture into the backcountry with some spectacular foregrounds for night photography. We stay out through sunrise and photograph various spots before heading back for a midday rest break.  Mid-afternoon we meet back up with our Navajo guides and head into the backcountry for another landscape and model photo session.
  • Day 3 (Apr 24):  With clear skies in the forecast, we are up early again to photograph the Milky Way at a couple different alcoves. We then shoot sunrise at an impressive overlook and then return to our hotel for breakfast and a midday break. With many options on the table, we decide as a group where to go for our sunset shoot.
  • Day 4 (Apr 25):  We skip Milky Way shooting this morning as clouds are rolling in.  Instead, we capture a stunning sunrise over the valley.  We reconvene for a comprehensive post-processing and image critique session.  After lunch, we meet our Navajo guides and make our way up the incredibly rough road to the top of Hunts Mesa. This is such an amazing sunset location! If skies are clear, we'll stop at an arch on the way back for night photos.
  • Day 5 (Apr 26):  Depending on what time we get back the night before, we may skip sunrise this morning. If time permits we'll hold another classroom session.  The workshop will conclude no later than noon.
Monument Valley Photo Workshop Night Photography Totem Pole Milky Way
Monument Valley Hidden Gems Southwest
Monument Valley Photography Workshop Hunts Mesa David Swindler
Monument Valley Photography Workshop A.J. Rich

Logistics

Please arrive at Goulding's Lodge no later than 10AM Apr 22nd for the orientation session. Hotel stays for the nights of Apr 22, 23, 24, and 25th are included in the workshop fee.  The base price assumes double occupancy.  Single rooms are available for an additional fee (see the Pricing section below).

Participants should have their own transportation to get to/from Monument Valley.  We provide all transportation during the workshop to the shooting locations.

Everyone on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition.  We aren't planning any long hikes on this trip, but the uneven terrain, sand and uphill pitches can make short hikes seem much harder.  You should be comfortable walking at least a couple miles per day with your camera gear.

The weather can be variable in April. Sometimes cold fronts can come in and bring a lot of wind and precipitation. Other times it can be sunny and mild. Make sure you dress appropriately and bring warm layers and a rain jacket so you don't get cold while photographing at night.  Please see the gear list further down.

The workshop does not include any meals, beverages or snacks. You will be responsible for your own meals even if we are eating as a group.  The workshop will conclude by noon on Apr 26th.  It's up to you if you want to spend more time in the area or head off somewhere else.

We are using authorized Navajo guides for the areas we visit. They will be bringing Navajo models on some of our shoots. The cost of these guides and models is included in the workshop fee. They appreciate tips and gratuities if you feel so inclined.

Pricing

$3295/person + Tax

Single Occupancy adds an additional $450

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Trip Includes:

  • 4 nights of hotels with double occupancy.  Single occupancy adds $450
  • Navajo guides and access to the Monument Valley Backcountry.
  • Navajo models & model releases for at least 2 shoots.
  • Park fees
  • All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
  • Post-processing and image critique

 

Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Monument Valley
  • Meals, beverages, and snacks
  • Tips and 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, the remaining amount will be charged 90-days prior to arrival to the credit card we have on file.

Monument Valley Photo Workshop Mystery Valley
Monument Valley Photo Workshop
Hidden Gems Southwest Photo Workshop Monument Valley
Hunts Mesa Hidden Gems of the Southwest
Hidden Gems Southwest Photo Workshop Monument Valley Pano
Monument Valley Photo Workshop Forrest Gump Point

Recommended Camera Gear

  • Sturdy tripod and ballhead
  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
  • Wide angle lens in the 16-35mm range.  If you have an ultra-wide in the 11-14mm range, bring it along since there are many places we can utilize it. For night photography, it's best to have a lens that is f/2.8 or faster.
  • Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
  • Long telephoto lenses will come in handy in many locations. We really like the 100-400mm zoom lens.
  • 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.

Personal Gear List

  • Sturdy hiking footwear, hiking socks, and long pants .
  • A rain jacket and a warm layer.
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Warm Hat, Sun Hat, and Gloves
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder.
  • Hiking poles if you like having them.
Tear Drop Arch Monument Valley Photography Workshop
Monument Valley Night Photography Workshop Hunts Mesa
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 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. 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. Catch a glimpse of David's work in the slideshow, and follow the links below to see more!

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!   Just read what others are saying here: Trip Advisor.

AJ Rich Profile

A.J. Rich

Photography Instructor

Ever since he was young, A.J. Rich has had a passion for all things visual. Growing up on the edge of St. George, Utah, he often sketched his favorite sports players and designed logos for his youth sports teams. A.J. also spent countless hours around his childhood home climbing rock mesas and exploring the unknown, including at nearby Zion National Park.

After graduating with a degree in graphic design from Brigham Young University in 2001, A.J. worked in the graphic design field for 20 years. In 2006 A.J. picked up a camera and, drawing on his art background, he has been a successful Getty Images contributor. In recent years he has focused on landscape photography—where his true passion lies.

Today the quest for the “timeless story” drives A.J. on all his outdoor adventures. While out in nature he seeks the ethereal and spiritual planes, and if he can capture them in a photograph, even better.

Currently A.J. works by day as a graphic designer and art director for BYU Brand & Creative, always dreaming of and planning for his next photography journey.

Gallery  Facebook  Instagram


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