Raft Down the Colorado River Through the Grand Canyon
August 27 – September 6, 2023
The Colorado River winds through massive canyon walls in one of the most scenic wonders of our world, the Grand Canyon. Join Muench Workshops for this photography workshop and expedition. The workshop will begin in Flagstaff, two days before the expedition, where you will be given lessons on composition, technique, and image making in the field. Then, Arizona Raft Adventures will guide us on this eight-day expedition, rafting on the Colorado River. Following our eight days on the river, we will conduct a full day of image reviews, combined with post processing lessons, all with the images just captured on the expedition. This will be held in a private meeting space in our hotel, with classroom-style seating so that everyone can participate, working on their own laptops.
A motorized raft offers a great way to experience the Colorado River. Safe and comfortable, with plenty of room for camera equipment, it allows for more time to explore and photograph. Our river guides will share canyon geology, early river running history, river ecology, and many other facts and river lore. When you embark on this journey, everything needed for the entire expedition is carried on the raft. Arizona Raft Adventures pioneered the use of quiet engines and they are just big enough to steer our 32–34 foot long rafts. Their custom designed boat is comfortable, yet still offers excitement through the rapids. Our group size is small, allowing for everyone to spend time photographing in all the amazing locations. You will see 225 miles of the river from “put in” at Lee’s Ferry to “take-out” at Diamond Creek. Daily itinerary includes rafting, camping, hiking, swimming, and, of course, photography.
This will be a great opportunity to float through the deepest canyon on earth, and capture images of beautiful caverns, waterfalls, streams, and so much more. We will eat like royalty at every camp, where the guides will prepare amazing meals with fresh local meats, vegetables and herbs. All camping equipment will be provided.
You will come away with a much deeper knowledge of landscape photography, having spent an intense ten days around many like-minded aspiring photographers in a spectacular location.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
August 27, 2023: Meet and greet at 5:00 PM in hotel followed by group dinner.
August 28, 2023: Sunrise shoot at Wupatki, National Monument. This will be a great time to learn landscape techniques before you begin your journey down the Colorado River. Breakfast back at hotel followed by downtime then lessons in post processing and composition in our private meeting room. Dinner followed by 7:00 PM orientation meeting with Arizona Raft Adventures guides.
August 29 – September 5, 2023: Early breakfast at the hotel, then we’ll load a school bus and ride to the input location along the Colorado River. The bus ride will take about 2 hours.
For seven nights, you’ll be sleeping under the stars in one of the most dramatic locations in the world. Our guides and leaders will discuss locations, logistics, and plans each day. Be prepared to enjoy the cool waters of the river, fantastic side canyons with streams, waterfalls, and pools, and hot afternoons with cool refreshments. Everyone gets tents if they choose, portable showers are available, and portable toilets are provided. All cooking and food will be prepared and handled by our guides.
September 5, 2023: This will be our final morning on the river. After another great breakfast and a short drift downstream, we’ll arrive at Diamond Creek takeout. We’ll spend time transferring all our personal items to the bus and begin our drive back to Flagstaff. Lunch will be served in a park along the way, and once we reach our hotel, we’ll have plenty of time to check in, clean up, and rest before dinner. If the guides can join us for dinner, they will. This is a great time to reminisce about our adventure and thank them.
September 6, 2023: Breakfast at the hotel, and at 9:00 AM, class begins. You’ll be asked to share samples of your images from the expedition and receive valuable critiques from your pros. Bring your laptop, as there will be tables and power to follow during the post-processing lessons. Learn how to make simple yet powerful edits to your images, crop, and set the white point to reveal all the colors of the Grand Canyon. 4:00 PM break for the day followed by final group dinner and goodbyes. This night’s stay at the Little America Hotel is included.
September 7, 2023: Flights home anytime.
We highly recommend considering and discussing any physical challenges with your doctor. Beyond the active itinerary, camp safety is essential. Camp life may entail moving around and over rocks, climbing steep, sandy beaches and cautiously crossing slick or sticky mud. In addition, living outdoors for several days in a desert environment can quickly impact one's health and stamina. Weather conditions vary from extreme heat to extreme cold, heavy rain, strong winds and blowing sand. We encourage you to use the following questions to help think about the ideal level of endurance and stamina needed. Can you:
- Ascend and descend two flights of stairs carrying a 20 pound bag without using a handrail? This is similar to getting around camp with your dry bags.
- Get up on top of a kitchen counter, stand up, and return to the floor without using a stool? This is similar to getting on and off the boats (particularly the motor boat if that's the adventure type you're on).
- Climb several sets of stairs while urgently needing the bathroom? This is similar to locating and getting to the groover (toilet facilities) in camp.
- Balance a plate of food on your lap while eating? If you choose to sit in the provided camp chair while eating dinner, your food will be on a plate in your lap.
- Suspend your weight from a pull up bar for 15 seconds? This is similar to holding onto the raft during the rapids. Sometimes you're holding with all of your strength.
- Do a UPS delivery person's job from 6 AM-8 PM? This is similar to the activity level you'll likely experience on your Grand Canyon rafting adventure. You'll be sitting down and getting up multiple times a day, walking around with heavy bags, hiking and exploring, maneuvering around camp, etc.
If you feel you cannot do one or more of the above scenarios, it does not preclude you from participating in your rafting adventure. However, it does mean that some aspects of the trip may present more of a personal challenge and/or risk. Feel free with any questions or concerns you have after reviewing this information. We're always happy to explain these in more detail.
Moderate: Rafting is easy. Setting up and tearing down camp is moderately physical. Side canyon hikes can be challenging. All hikes are optional.
Arrive Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG), Flagstaff, Arizona before 4:00 PM on August 27, 2023. Flights out can be made anytime on September 7, 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 $660 supplement. (Hotel only.)
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
- All transportation during the workshop.
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros.
- Waterproof dry bags (not for your camera gear), sleeping bag and liner, sleeping pad, tarp, tent, camp chair, mug, Colorado River Guide Book, life jacket, and eating utensils.
- Full day seminar pre and post river trip. Technical photography lessons, Image reviews, critiques, and post-processing instruction.
- River guiding and geology lessons.
- Travel to and from Flagstaff, Arizona.
- 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 $660 supplement. (Hotel only.)
- Your non-refundable deposit of $3,995 will hold your space in this workshop.
- Further non-refundable payment of $3,000 is due by January 1, 2023.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than May 1, 2023.
- In addition to our standard Terms and Conditions, for this workshop all payments are non-refundable, and this is why we recommend comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancelation.
- Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.
“This workshop was beyond all expectations. It was a challenging but rewarding adventure. This trip tested me both physically and mentally but ended with lifelong rewards. Completing the experience made me a better photographer and I was helped with much assistance from two very talented instructors Marc Muench and Michael Strickland. ”