James Kay Photography: Photo Workshops in Grand Staircase Escalante Monument, Boulder, Utah.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument / Escalante Canyon Headwaters, Utah October 25-30, 2013
While perhaps not as well known as the Hole-in-the-Rock region south of the town of Escalante, the canyonlands surrounding the village of Boulder, Utah (located 15 miles NE of Escalante) contain some of the most spectacular and diverse canyon country within the entire Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. From the 11,000-foot volcanic summit of the Aquarius Plateau to the deep, well-watered, sheer-walled sandstone canyons which form the headwaters of the Escalante River; this region offers unparalleled opportunities for photography far from the madding crowds. Located in the pastoral village of Boulder at 6,000 feet on the south slopes of the Aquarius Plateau, weâ€™ll use the very comfortable Boulder Mountain Lodge with its award-winning restaurant as our base of operations. The Escalante River and its tributaries have carved a 2,000 square-mile network of deep, narrow, well-watered canyons into the thick bedrock of the Colorado Plateau and today forms the heart of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Jim has spent more time exploring and photographing the Escalante Canyons region than anywhere else on the Colorado Plateau. During the last 25 years, he has walked the entire length of the Escalante River from its headwaters on the Aquarius Plateau to where it enters Lake Powell nearly 100 river miles to the south and has explored and photographed countless side canyons along the way. Late October is also the time of year when the thick groves of cottonwood trees lining many of these canyons take on their brilliant yellow autumn hues. As we spend our days exploring this region at the headwaters of the Escalante, Jim will not only provide you with inspiring photographic opportunities; he will also pass along his in-depth knowledge of the geologic history of this region and provide insight into how this remarkable landscape came to be.
4-Day Version: $1,275.00 - 4 full days in the field
5-Day Version: $1,540.00- 5 full days in the field
Lodging, meals and transportation to and from Boulder not included.
ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT
Register now with a $200.00 deposit.We will charge your card for the balance 30 days prior to the workshop. (See our cancellation policy at the bottom of this page.)
(Note: When you register, choose the option "Ship to this Address" in the Billing Information section and then in the next window, choose the option "Workshop - No Shipping Fee".)
WORKSHOP DETAILS Weâ€™re offering two versions of this workshop; a 4-day version which will involve easy to moderate hikes and an extended 5-day version which will involve one additional day with more strenuous and demanding hikes. Please see the "Physical Difficulty" section below as well as the workshop itinerary for more details.
Dates 4-Day Version: October 25-29, 2013 5-Day Version: October 25-30, 2013
Based in: Boulder, Utah
Maximum # participants:8
Photography Skill Level: All levels - novice to semi-pro - Jim will work with each participant based on his/her individual skill level. Each participant needs to be familiar and comfortable with the functions and operations of their camera.
Lodging:Not included in the price of this workshop so each participant is responsible for booking his/her own room in Boulder. We're using the very comfortable Boulder Mountain Lodge as our base of operations and we highly recommend it. As they say on their website, "Boulder MountainLodge is an oasis of calm,comfort, and luxury in the middle of Utahâ€™s scenic red rock canyon country and mountain forests." Most of their rooms go for $160.00/night. * IMPORTANT *The town of Boulder is very small and BML provides the highest-quality accommodations in the area. In order to guarantee a place to stay in this beautiful setting, we strongly recommend reserving your room ASAP. If they don't have any rooms left when you call, please contact us; we have reserved a block of rooms in our name and we will call them to transfer it into your name. Boulder Mountain Lodge also hosts one of the finest restaurants in the state; the renowned Hell's Backbone Grill
Ground Transportation: You are responsible for your travel arrangements to the town of Boulder, Utah. Once on location, we will share vehicles and carpool to our various locations.
Accessing our photography vantage points during this workshop will require some hiking. The 4-Day version will involve easy to moderate on and off-trail hikes, often over uneven terrain. Each participant will need to be in good physical condition and feel comfortable hiking off-trail. While many of our vantage points will involve short walks of less than 1/4 mile from our vehicles, we will also have two moderate round-trip hikes of 5 miles each. In addition to this, the extended 5-Day version will involve one additional day with one moderate and one strenuous hike over a total distance of 8 miles with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. For additional details, see the workshop itinerary below. If you have any concerns or questions about the level of fitness required to participate in this workshop, please contact us. We will be happy to discuss the details with you.
Upon registration, participant will receive a detailed clothing and gear list and other pertinent information.
Friday October 25, 2013 6:00pm â€“ Meet at Boulder Mountain Lodge in the town of Boulder, Utah. 6:30pm - Dinner and orientation.
Saturday October 26
6:30am â€“ Depart Boulder to capture first light as it illuminates an expansive landscape of fortress-like cliffs and colorful formations at the headwaters of the Escalante River. 9:00 - Breakfast at our lodge in Boulder. 10:30 â€“ Depart Boulder to explore a beautiful water-sculpted canyon we refer to as Monkâ€™s Alcove. We gave this glowing chamber this name because we once encountered a group of chanting Tibetan Buddhist monks clad in long flowing robes taking advantage of the wonderful acoustics here (yes, we were surprised). Before entering the canyon, weâ€™ll find a comfortable spot to relax for a while so Jim can discuss some of the important techniques weâ€™ll be using over the next few days. After that we'll spend the next few hours photographing the canyon and the surrounding area with its brilliant yellow cottonwood trees and colorful sandstone walls.
4:30 â€“ Arrive back in Boulder to regroup before our sunset photo session. 4:50 - Depart Boulder for our sunset photo location along the Burr Trail. The Burr Trail is one of the Westâ€™s great backcountry roads. It slices through a maze of wild cross-bedded Navajo sandstone domes and formations and provides easy access to countless photographic opportunities. Weâ€™ll climb a shoulder of one of these formations to capture low-angle last light as it accentuates a virtual sea of cross-bedded sandstone patterns. This will involve a moderate hike of less than Â½ mile from our vehicles. 7:30 - Dinner in Boulder.
Sunday October 27
6:00am â€“ Depart Boulder to capture first light from the edge of a high promontory with a breathtaking view out across some of the wildest and most remote canyons in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Accessing this vantage point will involve a short off-trail hike from our vehicles.
9:30 â€“ Breakfast at our lodge in Boulder.
11:15 â€“ Depart Boulder for one of the most impressive waterfalls in the American Southwest. Plunging 150 feet into a deep pool from the lip of a narrow canyon, this beautiful waterfall nourishes a kaleidoscope-colored garden of mosses, plants, and ferns. We'll spend a couple hours photographing the area around the waterfall before beginning the hike back to our vehicles at the trailhead. Along the way, we'll see ancient petroglyphs, beaver ponds, brilliant yellow cottonwood trees and, if we're lucky, some of the wild turkeys which inhabit this deep canyon. Accessing this location will involve hiking along a well-maintained trail with a total round-trip distance of 5.5 miles and an elevation change of 500 feet. 5:00 â€“ Arrive back at our vehicles and proceed to our sunset photo location high on the rim of a deep gorge where weâ€™ll capture last light as it illuminates the multi-colored sandstone walls of the canyon. This will involve an easy hike from our vehicles. 7:30 â€“ Dinner at our lodge in Boulder.
Monday October 28
6:40am â€“ Depart Boulder for our sunrise photo location where weâ€™ll capture first light as it illuminates colorful formations at the edge of a vast sandstone amphitheater. With an unobstructed view to the east, these formations will glow with the very first warm rays of sunrise. This will involve a short stroll from our vehicles. 9:30 â€“ Breakfast at our lodge in Boulder. 11:15 â€“ Depart Boulder for another beautiful location in the canyons surrounding Boulder where Jim will conduct gear demonstrations and discuss some of the specialized digital techniques he uses to capture images in the field. After having lunch at one of the best restaurants in the region, weâ€™ll take a short walk to a vantage point overlooking the Escalante River Canyon where weâ€™ll photograph its wall-to-wall groves of brilliant yellow cottonwood trees.
3:45 - Arrive back in Boulder to regroup before our sunset photo session.
4:45 â€“ Depart Boulder for our sunset location from the top of a high dome of Navajo Sandstone covered with intricate patterns of cross-bedded sandstone. Weâ€™ll photograph these formations as they become accentuated in the last rays of warm, low-angle sunlight. Accessing this location will involve a short, steep climb. 7:30 â€“ Dinner in Boulder.
Tuesday October 29
6:50am â€“ Depart Boulder for a short drive and hike to our sunrise photo location overlooking the upper reaches of one of the Escalante Riverâ€™s main tributary canyons. We'll capture first light as it illuminates massive white domes of Navajo Sandstone in a large amphitheatre beneath the volcanic rim of the 11,000-ft high Aquarius Plateau. This will involve a short hike from our vehicles.
9:15 - Breakfast at our lodge in Boulder.
10:45 â€“ Depart Boulder for our hike into the Escalante River's main canyon just below its headwaters at the base of the Aquarius Plateau. This moderate hike will involve multiple shallow (calf deep) stream crossings as we walk beneath a canopy of brilliant yellow cottonwood trees enclosed by soaring walls of Navajo Sandstone. Weâ€™ll photograph arches, ancient ruins and high sandstone walls covered with beautiful patinas of stripes and patterns. This moderate hike will involve a total round-trip distance of five (5) miles along a sandy trail with minor elevation change.
5:00 â€“ Arrive back at our vehicles and proceed to our sunset photo location at the edge of a small mesa where weâ€™ll capture last light as it illuminates a unique sandstone formation.This will involve a short climb across slickrock.
7:30 â€“ Dinner at our lodge in Boulder. End of 4-Day Version.
Wednesday October 30 - Beginning of Optional (Strenuous) 5-Day Version
While the previous 4 days of this workshop involved easy to moderate hikes to our photo locations, this day will involve two strenuous and demanding hikes to remote locations deep in the canyons. People signing up for this extended version will need to be strong hikers in very good physical condition. If you have any concerns or questions about the level of fitness required for this optional 5th day, please contact us.
7:00am â€“ Quick breakfast at our lodge.
7:30 - Depart Boulder for our trailhead where weâ€™ll hike into a deep, secluded, well-watered canyon. Filled with luxuriant vegetation, water-sculpted pools, and large sandstone alcoves, this is truly one of the Escalante regionâ€™s gems. Our early departure will insure that we'll capture warm reflected light deep in the canyon before the harsh rays of direct sunlight flood its depths later in the morning. We'll relax for lunch in one of the canyon's many alcoves before we continue our day of exploration and photography. This strenuous off-trail hike will involve multiple calf-to-knee-deep stream crossings over a total distance of 4-7 miles with an elevation change of 700 feet on moderately-steep slickrock terrain.
4:00 â€“ Weâ€™ll return to our vehicles for a short drive to our next trailhead where weâ€™ll start a moderate/strenous hike to a stunning overlook on the precipice of a deep canyon with a large waterfall. Accessing this vantage point will involve hiking across moderately-steep uneven slickrock terrain over a total round-trip distance of 1 mile with an elevation change of 350 feet.
7:00 â€“ Dinner at our lodge in Boulder. End of Workshop.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN IN THIS WORKSHOP
Photography: This workshop is not about Jim simply taking you to spectacular photography locations and then turning you loose to figure out how to compose and capture it; and it isn't about Jim taking photographs for himself. This workshop is about Jim working with you one-on-one at each and every photo location we visit. The subjective process of trying to decide which elements to include in the frame and which to exclude is the most difficult aspect of landscape photography. Jim will work closely with you throughout this workshop, every time we set up our tripods, to provide you with instant feedback during this process. He will also offer insight into every aspect of landscape photography based on his 30 years of experience as a professional photographer. He will provide detailed instruction in all the technical aspects of camera functions, histograms, exposures, depth of field, white balance, filters, etc. as well as the most important but more subjective areas of lighting and composition. He'll also provide instruction on specialized digital techniques such as merging files to create high-resolution panoramas; what to look for when shooting for B&W conversions; using Live-View to enhance pre-visualization; HDR techniques; focus stacking to achieve extreme depth of field; night photography; and how to guarantee razor-sharp images every time. Based on the desires of the group or if we have inclement weather conditions which prevent us from getting out into the field, Jim can also provide instruction on image-editing techniques using Lightroom or Photoshop. He will also discuss his personal philosophy of photography; what inspires and motivates him and will help each participant begin to develop a philosophy and style of their own.
Geology: In addition to explaining the technical and artistic details of landscape photography, Jim will also pass along his in-depth knowledge of the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau region and provide insight into how this remarkable landscape came to be. The vast outcrops of Navajo and Wingate Sandstone exposed in this portion of the Escalante Region have produced some of the most photogenic landforms on the Plateau. At each of our photography locations, Jim will take the time to explain the history behind the rocks. Use this knowledge, as Jim has, to improve your landscape photography by helping you locate some of the Colorado Plateau's most spectacular formations. For a quick overview of the geologic history of the Plateau region, see Jim's recent article in Outdoor Photographer Magazine.
JIM'S BACKGROUND Jim has been a professional advisor to Outdoor Photographer Magazine for more than 20 years now. During his 30+ year career, his photographs have been published in countless magazines, books, calendars and commercial advertising projects around the world and his images have been featured in the Nikon Legends collection. If you'd like to know more, you can also view his full biography.
OUR CANCELLATION POLICY If you cancel more than 90 days prior to this workshop, we will refund 100% of your deposit. If you cancel between 61 & 90 days, we will refund 50% of your deposit unless the workshop ultimately fills up; in which case we will refund the balance of your deposit less a $75.00 processing fee. If you cancel between 31 and 60 days prior, we will refund 25% of your deposit unless the workshop ultimately fills up; in which case we will refund the balance of your deposit less a $75.00 processing fee. 30 days prior to the workshop, we will charge your credit card for the balance due. If you cancel less than 30 days prior, and the workshop fills up, we will refund 95% of all monies collected from you. If we cannot fill your spot, we will refund 70% of all monies collected from you. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we reserve the right to cancel this workshop on short notice for any reason. In this event, we will refund 100% of all monies collected from you, but we will not be responsible for or held liable for any costs incurred by you involving your planned participation in this workshop, including, but not limited to: all travel-related costs, camera & other photography-related equipment purchases, clothing, luggage, etc.
TRAVEL INSURANCE We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance in the event you need to cancel on short notice or in the event we need to cancel a workshop; especially if you will be purchasing airline tickets.
OUR FRIENDS & SPONSORS
WE ARE A FULLY-LICENSED AND PERMITTED OPERATOR ON OUR NATION'S PUBLIC LANDS.
Photographer James Kay hosts photography workshops in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument based in the town of Boulder in southern Utah during October. Join us for this photography workshop where we will photograph many locations within the Escalante Canyons of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument including Burr Trail, Aquarius Plateau, Boulder Mountain, Calf Creek Falls, Circle Cliffs, Death Hollow and the Escalante River. This photography workshop in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah is open to photographers of all skill levels.
All photographs Copyright James W. Kay. All Rights Reserved.