Mountains, Alpine Lakes and Wildflowers in Backcountry Wyoming
July 17 – 23, 2025
Aptly named, the Cirque of the Towers is a round glacier-carved valley ringed by towering granite mountains. Extremely remote, the cirque was rarely—or perhaps never—accessed before its naming by climber Orrin Bonney in 1941. Today, it is a fabled destination for climbers, backpackers, and photographers able to make the multi-day journey. Join us on an adventure into the wilds of Wyoming!
The cirque is located in Popo Agie Wilderness, accessed by a single trail that winds between numerous alpine lakes and among wildflowers. While many elect to traverse the trail on foot, we’ll be using horses to carry us high into the mountains. Don’t worry if you aren’t a skilled rider—our experienced outfitters will match each of us to our sure-footed horse, so you can just concentrate on enjoying the view. Our gear will follow us, safely packed on the pack horses. Once at our comfortable, fully-outfitted camp, we’ll have plenty of time to photograph this extraordinary area. You’ll have great views right from your tent, but we’ll also explore the nearby alpine valleys, lakes, and waterfalls on day hikes. Since it will be spring time in the mountains, meadows full of wildflowers are even a possibility. Both of your veteran landscape photography instructors will be teaching you a number of techniques: focus stacking, use of shallow depth of field, composition building, and more. You’ll also learn to create stunning nighttime images under some of the darkest skies in the country.
Ready for a wild photographic adventure? Read on!
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
July 17, 2025: We’ll meet up at the Diamond 4 Ranch at 4:00PM in the afternoon for an orientation about riding from one of the wranglers—we’re happy to help with any questions you may have on getting there. The Ranch is about a 4 hour drive from Jackson Hole WY, and the last hour is on a windy gravel road that ascends 3,000 feet in elevation. Afterwards, we’ll have an early dinner, finish our last minute packing, and get some much needed sleep ahead of the next day’s long ride. Diamond 4 Ranch is located at 9,000 feet in elevation, so this overnight will help our bodies acclimate for our 9,500 foot alpine camp.
July 18, 2025: We’ll begin the day with a hot cooked meal on the deck of the lodge followed by an introduction to our horses, and a review of rider safety. There will be sack lunches packed for the day and plenty of fresh filtered mountain water. Our ride will take most of the day—with frequent stops along the way for rest and photography—so we’ll plan on arriving into camp by 4:00 PM. Supplies will already be in camp, but everyone is expected to help set up the tents and fill water containers. Once settled into our private tents, we’ll have time to take a brief walk to photograph sunset. Dinner will be under the stars, around the warm glow of the campfire.
July 19–21, 2025: Each day will start well before sunrise with hot coffee and snacks. We’ll make our way to our sunrise shooting locations mostly in the dark, arriving just before the alpine glow begins. We’ll plan for a big hot breakfast in camp following each morning shoot, followed by some down time for rest. The afternoon hikes will begin at various times based on the location chosen. You will be required to walk to each location carrying your camera pack, water bladder or bottle, rain gear and lunch. Some days when the weather permits, you might walk more than 3 miles, especially of the group is all willing to explore more locaitons. On return, dinner will be waiting for us under the stars. On nights with clear skies, we’ll photograph the stars over glacial lakes and gnarled pines.
July 22, 2025: On this final morning in camp, we’ll enjoy the sunrise over a favorite small lake. Then, after a hot breakfast, we’ll pack up and begin the 15-mile ride back to the Diamond 4 Ranch. You’ll be a riding pro by now, so relax and enjoy the views from the saddle! We’ll be back before dark, with time to enjoy a hot shower before dinner.
July 23, 2025: We’ll have breakfast at the ranch, then meet for an extended image review and post-processing instructions. While there is no permanent electricity at the lodge, we’ll have a generator, projector, and large screen at our disposal. The workshop will wrap up at noon, at which point we’ll depart the ranch. If you’re driving back to Jackson Hole for your flights home, plan on 4 hours. It’s best to reserve a hotel that night and fly out on the following day.
The first and last nights are at the Allens Diamond 4 Ranch, and for four nights, you will be camping in the wilderness. You'll have hot meals prepared by two wranglers in our full-outfitted wilderness camp. There are mosquitos this time of year, and there are rain showers. The waterproof tents will keep you dry, and there is enough for everyone to sleep in their own tent. Bring your own pad, sleeping bag, and travel pillow for a comfy night out. You will also need the everyday items such as a camp towel, camp shoes/sandals (sandals if you would like to get into any streams or creeks), head net/bug mesh, and a small water filter to carry during hikes as we can away from camp for several hours. All other camping equipment, such as tents, chairs, mugs, plates, cups, and silverware, is provided. We will provide a complete list of items to bring in plenty of time before the trip. Remember, there's no power in wilderness camping, so plan accordingly. Also you will leave your laptop back at the Ranch.
Riding horses is fun and more comfortable than you might think. Diamond 4 Ranch will instruct each of us on how to mount, ride and dismount their horse safely. The horses they use are well-behaved and calm. We will ride single-file, and whenever you wish to dismount and walk, you may. Plan to wear denim and closed-toe shoes for the rides in and out. These prevent chafing and discomfort. We don't recommend hiking pants or shorts.
- You can do this! Even if you have never ridden a horse before.
- The Ranch loves its horses and has spent years training them for these specific trails to make the ride safe for you.
- The wranglers instruct you on the best ways to ride the horses.
- You can get off and walk your horse anytime you need to stretch your legs, and stopping for a restroom break is always possible.
- The scenery is beautiful, and the ride goes by fast.
Challenging: You are able to handle a strenuous 15 mile horseback ride in and out, and up to 3 miles of walking each day, at elevations of 9–10,000 feet.
Arrive Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), Jackson, Wyoming before 9:00 AM on July 17, 2025. Flights out can be made anytime on July 24, 2025. Air travel delays are common. Please arrive early, possibly even the day prior, so you don’t miss any of the workshop.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Shared lodging. Tents are single, cabins are shared.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
- All permits and park fees.
- All transportation during the workshop.
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides.
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros.
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to and from Allens Diamond 4 Ranch, Wyoming.
- Unscheduled airport transfers.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
“Exceeded my expectations. This was my first ever workshop of any kind and I did not know what to expect. Marc and Michael were extremely organized and motivated to make the experience a rewarding one for all, no matter the level of the participant. ”
“I would have rated it 5 stars even if i only had my iPhone camera. Apart from the photography the location and logistics was outstanding. Joseph was great. A wonderful workshop! ”