Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Under the Night Sky
June 17 – 23, 2025
Join us for a backcountry desert experience in White Pocket, one of the American Southwest’s most unusual and photogenic geologic formations. Located in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, White Pocket features incredible swirling sandstone formations revealed by thousands of years of erosion. The dramatic landscapes and remote location make this a perfect place to photograph the night sky.
Our first night will be out under the stars capturing images of ancient dwellings at Wupatki National Monument. This is a great introduction to night photography and a great time to learn necessary skills before our first image review the following morning.
Then we’ll spend a couple hours in a very unusual narrow canyon that is known as the “Secret Antelope Canyon,” on our way to our first camp in White Pocket.
We’ll spend three nights in our fully-outfitted high desert camp, where you’ll have plenty of time to explore the sandstone formations and the surrounding plains. We’ll also spend two nights in Flagstaff, where we’ll conduct our signature image reviews and provide instruction on post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop. You’ll learn techniques for composing your images, focus stacking, using neutral density filters, and more.
Our camp complies with all the standards of a National Monument commercial use permit.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
June 17, 2025: Fly into Flagstaff, Arizona, and catch the hotel shuttle to our hotel. We’ll meet in the lobby by 5:00 PM to review the workshop itinerary and set plans for photographing the night skies below ancient pueblo ruins on this night. We’ve timed this correctly to take advantage of the moonrise and the stars.
June 18, 2025: After an early breakfast, we’ll conduct our first image review in our private meeting space at the hotel. We’ll review images captured from the previous night, allowing you to learn the process of night photography so that you are well-prepared for the spectacular scenery out in White Pocket.
We’ll leave the hotel by 11:00 AM get some lunch and begin our drive to our White Pocket Camp. The drive is a few hours out to the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, and there are a few stops along the way. Depneding on the weather, we’ll visit a scenic overlook on the rim of the 2,000 foot high cliffs overlooking the Colorado River below. Once we arrive at camp, we’ll all settle into our tents and receive a snack before venturing into the formations for sunset photography and our first star shoot.
June 19–20, 2025: We’ll have three nights in camp at White Pocket, giving us plenty of time to capture the various compositions in different lighting conditions. We’ll also explore some of the surrounding locations covered with bonsai-looking juniper trees that grow from small cracks in the rocks.
Each day will be filled with warm and hearty meals, cool drinks, and warm afternoon sun. We’ll walk around to view rock art and large caves, and if the weather permits, venture out to the edge of the Vermillion Cliffs that overlook the Colorado River below.
June 21, 2025: After sunrise and a hearty meal in camp, we’ll pack a lunch and our personal items and begin our drive back to Flagstaff. After a nice warm shower and rest, we’ll meet in a private meeting room to review our images from the shoot.
June 22, 2025: After a refreshing sleep and hot shower, we’ll meet in our private room again to assemble the images that we selected the previous night. You’ll learn how to assemble night sky images, including masking and focus stacking. We’ll take a quick break for lunch and then conitinue until dinner. The workshop concludes after dinner.
June 23, 2025: Flights home anytime today.
Life in Camp
During this workshop, you will be camping for three nights in our fully outfitted wilderness camp. Each person will be in a large tent (large enough to stand up in) shared with another guest. Everyone is provided with a cot, thick comfortable pad, and sleeping bag, and some lighting is provided inside the tents.
A separate dining tent with tables for eating will be available for everyone at all hours. Plenty of cool or hot water is available at all times, along with snacks, including fresh fruits. The outfitters are trained in wilderness cooking and wilderness first aid. Sanitary hand washing stations are set up for use.
Moderate: Short walks on rocky terrain in the dark.
Arrive Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG), Flagstaff, Arizona before 5:00 PM on June 17, 2025. Flights out can be made anytime on June 23, 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.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $590 supplement. (Hotel only)
- 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 Flagstaff, Arizona.
- 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.
- Single rooming available for $590 supplement. (Hotel only)
“Excellent food! Sleeping under the stars was a treat (except for one evening sandstorm). I was particularly impressed with how everyone encouraged and supported those who had little or no camping experience. It was great to see their apprehension turn to utter glee! ”
“Excellent, Wayne works extremely hard helping all participants in the field and in the classroom. ”