The Wave and Beyond Photo Workshop

Feb 20-26, 2024 - sold out

Photograph the iconic Wave!  Explore the sandstone wonderlands of both Coyote Buttes North and South on this rarely offered photo workshop. When we're not hiking into remote corners of the desert, we'll be capturing the beautiful winter conditions throughout the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and more. With a flexible itinerary, we'll be able to take advantage of the best weather and conditions. This trip is physically challenging and is only for those with very good fitness and stamina.  But the rewards are well worth it as you'll photograph some of the world's most extraordinary sandstone formations!


Max Group Size

  • 5 Students Max


  • David Swindler
  • Ryan McGinty
The Wave Photo Workshop Coyote Buttes


  • Photograph the iconic Wave along with many hidden gems throughout the Coyote Buttes.
  • Spend one day exploring the vast South Coyote Buttes with its incredible diversity, colors, and hoodoos, and stripes.
  • The highly coveted Coyote Buttes permits have been acquired for our group.
  • Capture the desert Southwest in beautiful winter conditions. Our dates correspond to one of the best times for snow in Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon.
  • Learn new photography skills and post-processing techniques from pro-photographer instructors.
  • Transportation provided for all workshop outings so you don't have to worry about the rough roads.
Grand Canyon Winter Desert the Wave and Beyond Photo Workshop


In order to give our clients the best possible photography experience, we keep the itinerary as flexible as possible to account for weather, conditions, and group interest. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.

  • Day 1:  We meet in Kanab, UT at 7PM for a mandatory orientation session at the hotel. We'll look at the weather forecast and talk in detail about our proposed itinerary.
  • Day 2: We wake up early to photograph the beautiful snow-capped hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. If we're lucky, we'll even have some fog to complement our shots! We'll have a midday classroom session and that afternoon, we head into Zion National Park in search of some snowy landscapes.
  • Day 3: Get ready to wow your senses at South Coyote Buttes! This is a large area with lots to explore and hopefully some nice winter conditions. You'll photograph a plethora of sculpted hoodoos, pinnacles, stripes, and striking sandstone colors. As the golden light illuminates the formations, new textures and colors emerge. We stay out after sunset to capture the delicate twilight hues.
  • Day 4: This is the moment you've all been waiting for - the Wave!!  We hit the trail well before dawn to maximize your photography options. But we won't stop at just the Wave.  There are so many other hidden gems scattered throughout Coyote Buttes North.  The cool winter temperatures are perfect for hiking. We'll end the day capturing sunset light on the 2nd Wave before hiking back out after dark.  We are exhausted but absolutely ecstatic with the images we captured!
  • Day 5: Depending on how everyone is feeling, we may or may not do a sunrise shoot this morning.  After breakfast, we load up and head towards the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This will be our base for the next 2 nights. We venture out to the rim for a sunset shoot, hoping for epic winter conditions!
  • Day 6: Full day of shooting on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. With fresh snow on the rim, compositions are endless with snowy foregrounds and the dramatic canyon below.  A few short hikes are planned for today. Return to our hotel in Tusayan after sunset.
  • Day 7:  This is our final sunrise at the Grand Canyon, afterwhich we drive back to Kanab.  The workshop will conclude in Kanab, UT no later than 1PM.  You can plan your return travel anytime after that.
Winter in the Desert Photo Workshop
The Wave Photo Workshop Coyote Buttes
Bryce Canyon Winter Desert The Wave and Beyond Photo Workshop
The Second Wave Coyote Buttes North Action Photo Tours
Coyote Buttes North


Hotel accommodations are not included in the workshop fee, allowing you the flexibility to stay where you'd like.  Kanab has many great hotels such as the Holiday Inn Express (our central meeting point), Hampton Inn, La Quinta, etc.  You will need lodging in Kanab for the nights of Feb 20, 21, 22, 23. In Tusayan, we recommend booking 2 nights at The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon Feb 24th and 25th. The workshop will conclude in Kanab, UT no later than 1PM on Feb 26th.

Rough roads are the norm out here and transportation will be provided during the workshop. However, you will need your own transportation to get to/from Kanab.  The closest major airport is Las Vegas which is roughly 3 hours away. If you have your own vehicle, you are welcome to drive to/from Tusayan when we transition between hotels.

Excellent fitness, balance, and mobility are required to attend this workshop. Hiking to the Wave is serious business and we could cover 9-10 miles while we are out.  The terrain can be steep, loose, and uneven in places and you'll need to be able to carry your camera gear, tripod, food, and water. How much we hike on the other days of the workshop will depend on where we go but you can expect 1-6 miles each day.  The good thing is that temperatures are usually cool in Feb which makes the hiking much more pleasant.

David Swindler will instruct the workshop Feb 20-24 including The Wave and South Coyote Buttes. Amy Osness will instruct the workshop Feb 24-26 for the Grand Canyon portion.

Food is not included in the workshop fee but there are many restaurants in both Kanab and Tusayan along with grocery stores. When we're out all day, you'll need to pack a lunch and you'll have time to do that the day before.


$3195/person + Tax

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Trip Includes:

  • 7-Day Intensive Photo Workshop with Pro Instructors.
  • All Ground Transportation in Lifted 4x4 Trucks.
  • Permits for both North and South Coyote Buttes.
  • Post-processing instruction and image critique.
  • Park Entrance Fees


Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Kanab, UT
  • Hotel Accommodations
  • Meals, Snacks, and Beverages.
  • 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, the remaining amount will be charged around Nov 20th to the credit card we have on file.

The Wave Photo Workshop Coyote Buttes
The Wave
A cold winter day at the seldom visited western section of South Coyote Buttes. I'd better post a bunch of winter images before Feb is over.  Hard to believe spring will be here so soon.

Recommended Camera Gear

  • Tripod you can hike with but is also sturdy enough for photographing in windy conditions.
  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
  • Wide angle lens (16-35mm is perfect).  For crop sensor, you'll want 10-22mm. Ultrawide Angle Lenses in the 11-14mm range will also work nicely.
  • Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
  • Telephoto lenses may have some use for abstract shots and wildlife sightings. However, in the interest of keeping your pack weight light, we don't recommend bringing them on the hikes.
  • Circular polarizer filters are recommended.  There is no need for ND filters.
  • Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies.
  • Comfortable hiking backpack that can carry your camera gear, tripod, lunch, and drinking water.
  • Laptop if you wish to backup your photos.

Personal Gear List

  • Sturdy hiking footwear, thick hiking socks, and long pants.
  • Several warm layers. For the most comfort, we recommend wearing moisture wicking base layers.  A fleece or down jacket will help keep you warm and a waterproof shell or coat should be worn on the outside.
  • Snow pants or gaitors that you can seal around your boots to keep snow out.  If your snow pants aren't insulated, make sure you wear an insulating base layer.
  • Warm hat, thick gloves, and glove liners (useful to operate your camera controls).
  • Micro-spikes or micro-traction devices will help when walking on slick surfaces.  Snowshoes will not be needed for where we're going.
  • Headlamp in case we are hiking in the dark.
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder.
  • Trekking Poles - bring them if they help you.
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.

Ryan McGinty Profile Photo Olympics

Ryan McGinty

Photography Instructor

Ryan McGinty is a seasoned landscape photographer living in the Palouse area of southeastern Washington.  His first-hand experience in this unique agricultural area makes him the perfect instructor to lead people to out-of-the-way places for those once-in-a-lifetime rainbows, sunsets and sunrises in the beautiful rolling hills. He loves chasing the light and diligently checks weather apps to get the latest sun and rain predictions, cloud formations, wind and temperatures for the best locations and light.

His interest in photography started at an early age and continued in college with graduate work at Brooks Institute of Photography.  His experience in portrait, wedding, film, and medium and large format photography give him an extraordinary background for his award-winning landscape photography.

His passion for the Palouse is only exceeded by his passion for photography and his desire to show people his favorite places.  He takes a legitimate interest in his clients and strives hard to ensure they get the best shots. His photographs have been published in books, calendars and travel guides.