Colorful Landscapes in the Heart of the Rocky Mountains
July 15 – 20, 2023
The San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado contain some of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Picturesque off-road trails lead into the alpine tundra and snow-capped 13,000 to 14,000 ft peaks that surround the area. July is peak time in the San Juans for wildflowers—Colorado columbine, lupine, fire weed, Indian paint brush—and these will provide compelling accent to clear streams, rolling meadows, and rugged mountain peaks. We will use all-access 4WD jeeps to get where we want to go, but you’ll also need to bring your hiking boots! Short scenic hikes will take us to some of the lesser-known meadows and views. We will also photograph historic mining villages and abandoned structures. All of this makes for great subject matter during the day, and if the skies are clear we will photograph at night as well.
We will make sure everyone has a safe, enriching, and fun learning experience. Special techniques we will cover include focus stacking, shutter speed blending, and lighting scenes at night. Mornings, late afternoons, and nights will find us out in the field. During the day, back in town, we will hold image reviews and we will learn new post-processing skills while working on the images we have captured.
We will be staying in the historic Imperial Grand Hotel that was constructed in 1883 in the lively mountain town of Silverton, Colorado. Silverton is located in Southwestern Colorado. At over 9,300 feet above sea level, it is an outdoors lover’s paradise. Surrounded by mountain peaks and located on the Million Dollar Highway, it is always bustling with adventurers and thrill-seekers.
For two of the nights we’ll be staying at our outfitted camp in the high alpine setting at 11,800 feet. The camp is fully outfitted, including stand up tents, cots, sleeping bags, blankets, and hot meals.
This workshop requires that you are capable of reaching an altitude of over 12,000 feet. We will be camping in tents at this altitude, so it’s best that you spend a night or two acclimating in Colorado somewhere at an altitude of 7-8,000 feet prior to the begining of the workshop. Please contact us for some ideas of where to visit prior to the workshop.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
July 15, 2023: Meet at 2:00 PM inside the Imperial Grand Hotel in Silverton, Colorado. We’ll be having an early dinner tonight where you’ll be briefed on how to prepare for our first evening shoot. We will leave Silverton and head up the canyon in search of wildflowers and high mountain peaks. If the weather cooperates, we will stay out late and shoot into the night—this time of year is ideal for capturing the galactic center of the Milky Way!
If you’re flying into Durango, please contact us regarding an available shuttle service, or consider taking the Durango Silverton Railroad.
July 16–18, 2023: This morning we’ll head up in our jeeps to our outfitted alpine camp. Camp is at 11,850 feet in altitude and contains 1 large dinner tent, 4 large double tents (tall enough to stand up in), cots, pads and sleeping bags. We’ll have time to settle in to our tents and enjoy some hot food. Our time will be filled with photography, and we’ll work to find intimate photographs as well as grand vistas. Our nights will consist of learning lighting techniques for abandoned mining camp buildings with the stars as a backdrop. Of course, we will be photographing the wonderful snow-capped mountain peaks with the Milky Way behind them! On occasion, there will be short hikes up to two miles from the jeeps, but nothing too steep or rugged. We will take our time, but be advised we’ll be at high elevation (up to 13,000 feet). Acclimation before the workshop is necessary for all participants traveling from homes near sea level.
July 18–19, 2023: After returning from our alpine camp, we’ll enjoy the comfortable Imperial Grand Hotel, in Silverton. We’ll have time to post-process our images of the Rocky Mountains. After some time spent reviewing and processing, we’ll have time in the afternoon and evening to photograph again. We’ll load up in the jeeps and head up into the mountains.
July 20, 2023: After breakfast, we will have a last image review session to enjoy the amazing images we captured throughout the week. The workshop concludes at noon, after which you are free to make your way back to local airports and home. We will help you arrange a ride, just let us know.
Camping in a high alpine location
You will be staying in the historic town of Silverton Colorado for several nights. But, you will also be spending two nights up at 11,800 feet in elevation in tents. The camp is fully outfitted with tents, cots, pads, and sleeping bags. You will be sharing a tent with another person, but the tents are large enough to stand up in and have sufficient space for two cots. There is a gear vestibule that makes a nice porch as well. It's best to be prepared for this altitude. If you do not know about how you handle the altitude, and even if you do, it's best to arrive in Durango a few days early and spend some time at 8,000 feet. There are plenty of places to visit in this area and we are more than happy to recommend some sights to see.
Moderate: You should be able to do short walks in alpine country at elevation up to 13,000 feet
Arrive Durango–La Plata County Airport (DRO), Durango, Colorado before 10:00 AM on July 15, 2023. Flights out can be made after 6:00 PM on July 20, 2023.
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.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $450 supplement. (For hotels only )
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
- All permits and park fees.
- All transportation during the workshop.
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros.
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to and from Durango, Colorado.
- 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.
- Single rooming available for $450 supplement. (For hotels only )
- Your deposit of $2,995 will hold your space in this workshop.
- The balance is due not later than April 1, 2023.
- All of our standard Terms and Conditions apply.
- Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.
“Wayne is a superb photographer and a superb teacher. One does not necessarily lead to the other, but he is most definitely both. He was generous with his praise and his critical feedback, both much appreciated. ”
“The preparation for the workshop was very thourough, Greg knew where the flowers were, what the lighting conditions would be each day, and made the ecxursions very satisfying. ”