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James Kay



Best of Buckskin Gulch & Paria Canyon, Utah    May 31 - June 4, 2014

  "Thanks so much for the great weekend in Buckskin Gulch. I can't believe what an awesome time I had. I look forward to more photo trips with you in the future. Thanks again for a great trip!!"   Dustin Johnson - June 2013   See all testimonials


Carving a narrow, serpentine gash through a vast plateau of Navajo Sandstone for more than 12 miles, Buckskin Gulch has often been referred to as the ultimate narrow slot canyon in the world and ranks as the longest narrow canyon on the entire Colorado Plateau. A remarkable confluence of geologic events occurred here in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness to create a truly unparalleled location for photography. During this workshop, we'll visit the most spectacular sections of Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon where we'll discover; around virtually every bend, unlimited opportunites for dramatic compositions as we're presented with warm, luminous light reflecting off glowing water-sculpted walls. We will backpack into the canyon to establish a base camp at one of the most dramatic backcountry sites in southern Utah. From there we'll use small day packs to explore and photograph the most dazzling sections of both canyons over the next three days. READ MORE


$1,250.00 - Single Occupancy
$1,190.00 - Double Occupancy
Includes first night's lodging plus 3.5 days in the field. Meals and transportation not included.

Dates: May 31 - June 4, 2014

Based in: This is a backpacking trip where we'll set up a backcountry base camp for 3 nights in the canyon.

Number of Participants: 4-5

Photography Skill Level: Novice to advanced - Jim will work with each participant based on his/her individual skill level. Each participant needs to be familiar with the functions and operations of their camera.

Lodging:  Included in the price of this workshop. The night before heading into the canyon, we'll stay at the newly-remodeled and beautifully-appointed Canyons Lodge in Kanab, Utah.

Ground Transportation: You are responsible for your travel arrangements to the town of Kanab, Utah and from there to the trailhead for our hike.

Physical Difficulty: This is a backpacking trip and is only for people with backpacking and backcountry camping experience. Each person will need to know how to set up camp and prepare meals in the backcountry. As far as backpacking trips go, this is a relatively easy trip since our route will be along a virtually level canyon with less than 50 feet of elevation change over 7 miles. The only time during this 4-day workshop where we will be carrying our full backpacks will be on the mornings of the first and last days where we will be walking for 4 hours over a distance of 7 miles. For the remainder of time, we'll be exploring the canyons with lightweight daypacks along level canyons floored with hard, compacted sand over a distance of 7 miles each day.

Customer Testimonials 




For this workshop, we will backpack into the canyon and set up a base camp and then employ day hikes with lightweight day packs to explore and photograph the best parts of Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon.

Saturday May 31, 2014
6:00pm - Meet at Canyons Lodge in Kanab, Utah.
6:30pm – Dinner & orientation

Sunday June 1
6:30am – Breakfast in Kanab
7:15 - Depart Kanab. We’ll drive to our trailhead where we’ll shoulder our backpacks for our 4-hour; 7-mile walk into the canyon. As we walk down canyon, the walls of Navajo Sandstone will grow progressively higher and higher until we arrive at one of the most dramatic backcountry campsites in southern Utah.
12:15 - Arrive at our base camp for the next 3 days. We'll have lunch and set up camp surrounded by soaring sandstone cliffs, shade trees, and a small stream. 
2:30 - We’ll grab our day packs and cameras and spend the next few hours photographing the spectacular narrows of Buckskin Gulch. We’ll soon discover why this canyon has earned its reputation as one of the most photogenic canyons on earth. We'll be enclosed by sheer sandstone walls 400 feet high averaging 10-15 feet wide.
6:00 – Arrive back at camp.

Monday June 2
7:00am – We’ll climb out of our tents to prepare breakfast and load our day packs for an entire day devoted to exploring and photographing the most dramatic section of narrows along Buckskin Gulch. We'll wander along inside the womb of the canyon's glowing, water-sculpted walls and set up our tripods wherever the light catches our eye. Depending on how many setups we encounter along the way, we'll walk between five and seven easy miles. We'll explore as far as possible before turning around to head back to our base camp.
6:00 – Arrive back at camp.

Tuesday June 3
7:00am – We’ll climb out of our tents to prepare breakfast and pack our day packs for a full day devoted to exploring Paria Canyon. While not as narrow and dramatic as Buckskin, Paria Canyon is deeper and contains a small stream which creates pools and reflections beneath sheer walls of water-streaked N
avajo Sandstone. We'll walk approximately 3 easy miles along the canyon to our lunch spot in an enormous alcove before beginning our walk back to camp. Along the way, we’ll take advantage of the different afternoon lighting conditions to frame new compositons.
5:00 – Arrive back at camp.
Wednesday June 4
5:30am – We’ll climb out of our tents early to have breakfast, break camp, and load our backpacks for the 4-hour hike back to our vehicles at the trailhead. Our early departure will help us avoid the heat of the day in the wider portions of the canyon near our trailhead.
11:00 – Approximate arrival time at our vehicles. End of workshop.
Jim is a regular contributor to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and has been one of their professional advisors for over 20 years. His work has been featured in the Nikon Legends Collection. His photographs have been published in a wide variety of magazines including Nikon World, Los Angeles Times, Arizona Highways, Sunset, National Geographic Adventure, and Time. A short list of his commercial clients would include, The New Zealand Tourism Board, VF Corp, American Express, Sundance Institute, Nikon USA, Visa, and The Nature Conservancy. His fine-art landscape prints have been displayed in the Utah Museum of Art & History, the Natural History Museum of Utah, the US Capitol Rotunda in an exhibit advocating wilderness protection for Utah's Colorado Plateau region, and are currently displayed in private and corporate collections worldwide. His recent book, Resurrection Glen Canyon, published by Mountaineers Books, showcases his ongoing project to document the legendary canyons of Glen Canyon as they have emerged from the waters of Lake Powell due to drought. In 1994, he served as expedition photographer for Expedition Inspiration, a group of courageous breast cancer survivors who summited Aconcagua. See full biography.









Photographer James Kay hosts photography workshops in the Paria Canyons Wilderness and Buckskin Gulch on the Colorado Plateau of southern Utah in late May & early June. This 4-day photography workshop begins in Kanab, Utah and then travels into the narrows of Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon where we will photograph slot canyons and narrow canyons carved in the Navajo Sandstone of the Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area. This James Kay Photography workshop is open to photographers of all skill levels.