South Dakota Badlands Photo Workshop
Join our South Dakota Badlands Workshop for an adventure into some of the most stunning geologic formations! Dates are timed to take advantage of spring conditions with best chances for lush green grass, storms, and dramatic clouds. Big vistas, sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires will keep you pressing that shutter button! And that's not all - plentiful wildlife sightings will give us additional shooting opportunities with species like bison, pronghorn, whitetail deer, coyotes, hawks, eagles, and much more! The workshop includes single-occupancy lodging and post-processing instruction.
- 5 Nights Single Occupancy Lodging
Max Group Size
- 5 Students per Instructor
- Kevin McNeal
- Photograph a wonderland of otherwordly spires, pinnacles, massive buttes and deep gorges.
- Dates are timed for best chances of lush green grass, dramatic clouds, and storm activity!
- Wildlife is plentiful with many species such as bison, pronghorn, deer, coyotes, hawks, and eagles.
- We have many locations planned to maximize your photographic opportunities. The itinerary is kept flexible to account for the best weather and conditions.
- Expect plenty of individual attention and instruction with our small groups.
- Tuition includes 5 nights lodging and all transportation during the workshop.
- Post-processing and image critique sessions will be scheduled throughout the workshop to help make the most of your images.
- The itinerary is kept flexible to allow us to chase the best weather and conditions. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.
- Day 1: Meet at 2PM at the Microtel by Wyndham in Rapid City for a mandatory introductory session. Airport shuttle service is available by reservation through the hotel. After a quick dinner, we load up the rig, and head for Wall where we will spend our first night. We end our evening with a brilliant sunset from a view high over the valley below.
- Day 2: We wake early to capture a colorful sunrise over the Badlands. We explore many spires, buttes, and grasslands as we take advantage of the warm morning light. We even get some great wildlife sightings! After lunch and a short rest break, we meet for an afternoon post processing session before heading out for our sunset shoot. Dramatic clouds have built up during the afternoon, giving us views of distant storms.
- Day 3: It's another early wake-up call for sunrise at Panorama Point. The light doesn't disappoint as it accents the otherwordly textures and shapes of the badlands. After breakfast we reconvene for post processing and enjoy dinner as a group. We head out a little earlier for our sunset shoot today to take advantage of great weather conditions!
- Day 4: After sunrise at a nearby overlook, we return to town in time to grab a late breakfast and check out of our hotel. We relocate to another town with brand new photographic opportunities! We spend the afternoon photographing both landscapes and wildlife throughout the badlands. Our day finishes up with a colorful sunset over a beautiful lake.
- Day 5: It's hard to believe this is our last day together! After sunrise and breakfast, we check out of our hotel and spend the day exploring the Needles Region, the Wildlife Loop, Iron Mountain Road, and more. We end the day with dinner in Rapid City. Lodging is included for the last night, so you can plan your return travel the following morning. Airport shuttle service is available through the hotel.
Plan to arrive in Rapid City prior to 2PM on the first day of the workshop for a mandatory orientation session at Microtel by Wyndham in Rapid City. We will cover many photo techniques you will use throughout the workshop and go over logistics and our daily plans.
Five nights of single occupancy lodging and all transportation during the workshop is included in the tuition. If you would like double occupancy, we can give both people a $400 discount. You will need to arrange your own transportation to and from the airport in Rapid City. Airport shuttle service is available, as well as Uber, Lyft and taxi services.
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 or 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 while carrying their photo gear.
We are keeping the itinerary flexible since we can't control the weather. Don't worry - we'll make the best possible use of our time. Our job is to get you the most stunning photos and help you learn as much as possible!
The weather is highly variable in spring. It could be sunny and warm or a cold front might come in and bring some rain, wind, and storms. Nights can be chilly, so you will want warm layers. Please see the gear list further down. More detailed information will be send out prior to the workshop.
$2995 per Person
- All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
- 5 Nights Single Occupancy Hotel Lodging. For double occupancy, we can give a $400/person discount. You must book two spots to get the discount.
- Post-processing and image critique
- Park entrance fees.
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to Rapid City, SD
- Airport transfers to and from the hotel
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Meals and snacks.
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. Ultra-wide angle lenses may allow you to be more creative in your compositions.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Telephoto lenses in the 200-600 range for wildlife.
- Circular polarizer filters and ND filters for your lenses. If you like shooting with grads, bring them along.
- 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
- Rain gear (jacket), and protection for your camera gear.
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat.
- Water bottle or hydration bladder.
- Hiking poles if you like having them.
- Headlamp for night photography.
Kevin McNeal is a Washington-State photographer who is passionate about photographing grand landscapes that reflect the most unique places on earth. Capturing moments of magic light and transferring this to print is the ultimate goal. His images hold a combination of perseverance, patience, and dedication to capture landscapes in fresh ways. The stories of how these images are rendered come across in the feelings the images convey. He has traveled all over North America, shooting diverse landscapes and finding remote places with the hope that we can convey to the public that this earth is worth caring for. His award winning images can be seen in galleries and showings across the United States. He was recently invited to the Art Wolfe Art Gallery for the Environmental Photography Invitational. Kevin was the grand winner of the Landscape category for the Natures Best Magazine and was selected for the Smithsonian National Museum of History in Washington D.C.. He is a regular contributor to publications like Outdoor Photographer.
“I believe that the Earth shares secrets with us that only can be discovered by trying to understand our position on this planet. We are never fully intimate with the planet but are given brief moments that make our souls want more. These glimpses of nature’s power are fleeting and never the same twice. I also believe it is important to share with those who want it. The treasures that await us given the patience that is out there. What I try to do is bring some of that magic to my images to share with the rest of the world. Each of my images tells a story that everyone can relate to in some way whether it is success, fear, or challenging oneself to overcome obstacles
Kevin's portfolio can be found at www.kevinmcnealphotography.com.