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James Kay


Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument & Hole-in-the-Rock Road, Utah    April 28 - May 4, 2019



" We want to thank you guys for ANOTHER incredible workshop; this time along Hole-in-the-Rock Road. We've traveled to many places around the world but the locations you took us to were just unbelievable. This workshop should be on every photographer's bucket list!"    Wayne & Heidi Inkpen - Edmonton, Alberta  See all testimonials


When most people think of the visual wonders of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this is the area they're dreaming about. As the living heart of the monument, the Escalante River and its tributaries have carved a 2,000 square-mile network of deep, narrow, well-watered canyons into the thick layers of sandstone which blanket this region in south-central Utah. Join us to discover waterfalls; arches; sensuous water-carved slots; cottonwood-lined streams; enormous alcoves; and soaring natural bridges. Compared with many other national parks & monuments where roads have been carved into the landscape to provide easy access to their most beautiful locations, the gems of the Escalante do not give up their secrets easily and it requires legwork to access the most beautiful formations tucked away in the remote corners of its watershed. In other words; this is a very adventurous, hiking-oriented workshop. From sunrise to sunset, with our small group of 8 participants, we'll maximize our time out in the field for 5 very full days. If you love to hike and want to thoroughly explore and photograph all the major gems of the Escalante, this is the workshop for you. With more than 25 years of experience  photographing this remarkable region, few know these canyons as well as Jim.  READ MORE

$3,695.00 - Single Occupancy
$3,295.00 - Double Occupancy
Includes 6 nights accommodations in Escalante's extraordinary new Entrada Lodge plus 5 full days of photography instruction in the field.


Register now with a $750.00 deposit. We will charge your card for the balance 2 months prior to the workshop. We will email you a detailed information package once you register Spouse/Partner Policy   Cancellation Policy


Dates: April 28 - May 4, 2019
Based in: Escalante, Utah
Maximum Number of Participants: 8
Accommodations: Included in the price of this workshop - We'll use the very comfortable Entrada Lodge which opened in 2016. This new accommodation is truly a diamond in the rough and offers a high level of sophistication & comfort, unlike anything Escalante has seen before. It was designed and built by our friend Mark Austin; the designer/builder of the renowned Boulder Mountain Lodge located in the nearby village of Boulder, Utah. We provide single-occupancy accommodations for our guests but offer a double-occupancy discount to couples or other guests who have found another person willing to share a room with them. As with all our workshops, we've reserved the most desirable rooms in the lodge.
Meals: We'll have our meals both in town and in the field during our excursions. We will handle all meal reservations and we'll dine together as a group. All meals in the field included in the price; restaurant meals will be the responsibility of each participant.
Ground Transportation: You are responsible for your travel arrangements to the town of Escalante, Utah. Once on location, we will share vehicles and carpool to our various locations. High-clearance 4WD or AWD vehicles are highly recommended.  
Photography Skill Level: Novice to advanced - Jim will work closely with each participant based on his/her individual skill level.
Physical Difficulty: MODERATE/STRENUOUS  The strenuous aspect of this workshop comes from the back-to-back days of moderate hikes involved. 3 days will have moderate hikes with round-trip distances of 3-5 miles each with 300-500 feet of elevation gain. 2 days will have moderate hikes with round-trip distances of 7 miles each and an elevation gain of 800 feet. One of these hikes will involve a 130' descent down a sandstone ramp inclined at an angle of 45 degrees. Many people scramble up and down this ramp without the assistance of a rope but we will tie you into one and belay you down to ensure your safety. At the end of the day, we'll scramble back up this ramp while tied into a rope from above. Previous rock-climbing experience is not necessary. For additional details on each day's hike, see the itinerary below.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Rollback Proposal: We've had many former and future guests ask us about the current efforts by the Trump Administration to reduce the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 46%. As a long-time resident of Utah, I've provided some comments on this proposal which you can view here: Grand Staircase Rollback



As a field workshop, we'll maximize our time out in the canyons for 5 full days capturing images in a wide diversity of locations throughout the region. We will likely need to adjust this itinerary to accommodate weather and field conditions.
Sunday April 28, 2019
5:30pm - Opening-night reception at Entrada Lodge in the town of Escalante, Utah.
6:45pm - Dinner

Monday April 29, 2019
5:30am - We’ll rise early and depart our hotel to capture sunrise from the rim of a deep canyon. This will involve an easy, short hike from our vehicles with minor elevation change.
7:30 – Breakfast
8:45 – Depart Escalante. We’ll spend the day photographing two of the most beautiful slot canyons in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. This will involve an easy/moderate 4-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 300 feet.
4:30 - Early dinner.
6:00 - Depart our lodge to capture last light on a beautiful assortment of wind and water-sculpted sandstone formations. This will involve an easy, short stroll from our vehicles.
9:00pm - Arrive back at our lodge.

Tuesday April 30, 2019
This will be one of our 2 long days in the field.
7:00am - Breakfast
8:00 - Depart our lodge for our day of photography in one of the Escalante River's major tributary canyons with its treasure trove of pools, waterfalls, alcoves, and Navajo sandstone narrows. Accessing this canyon will involve a moderate 4-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 500 feet. 
5:00 – Arrive back at our vehicles for a dinner snack before departing for our sunset location overlooking the canyons at the base of 50-Mile Mountain along Hole-in-the-Rock Road. This will involve an easy 2-mile round-trip hike with little elevation change.
10:15pm – Arrive back at our lodge.

Wednesday May 1, 2019
7:30am –  After two long days in the field, we'll regroup this morning with a relatively late breakfast. After breakfast, we'll have the option of either photographing another deep Navajo Sandstone canyon or reviewing some of the images we've captured over the last two days. 
12:00 - Lunch at a remote restaurant in the heart of the monument.
1:00 – After lunch, we'll begin our hike to one of the most impressive waterfalls on the Colorado Plateau. 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 several hours photographing here. Accessing this location will involve an easy/moderate hike along a well-maintained trail with a total round-trip distance of 5.5 miles with an elevation gain of 500 feet.
6:30 - Arrive back at our lodge.
7:30 - Dinner
Thursday May 2, 2019
7:00am – Breakfast
8:15 – Depart our hotel to explore two of the monument's most unique water-sculpted slot canyons. Accessing this region will involve an easy/moderate round-trip hike of 4 miles with minor elevation change.
5:30 - Arrive back at our lodge.
7:00 – Dinner 
Friday May 3, 2019
This will be our second long day in the field with 4.5 hours of hiking and 7.5 hours of photography. It will involve a moderate 7-mile round-trip hike with a total elevation gain of 800 feet. As one of the most remarkable canyons on earth, it is not possible to overstate the wonders we'll discover in its depths; it will simply take your breath away. Part of this hike will involve a 130' descent down a sandstone ramp inclined at an angle of 45 degrees. You will be tied into a rope and belayed down this ramp. At the end of the day, we'll climb back up this ramp - with its many hand & footholds - while tied into a rope from above. If you'd like to see a photo of this ramp, please email us. 
5:30am – Continental breakfast in our room.
6:00am – Depart for our trailhead.
10:15pm – Arrive back at our lodge.
Saturday May 4, 2019
7:30am - Breakfast. End of workshop.



"Now that we're back home we would like to thank you guys for ANOTHER incredible workshop. We've traveled to many places around the world but the locations you took us to were just unbelievable. This workshop should be on every photographer's bucket list!" Wayne & Heidi Inkpen - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
"Hole-in-the-Rock was my second workshop with you and it will not be my last! You set a very high standard on the first workshop I took with you and my expectations on this one were exceeded. As usual, the trip was well organized and the photographic opportunities from sunrise to sunset were exceptional. Your web page promises a lot and you and Susie deliver on your word. You both work very hard to ensure that the entire workshop, beginning with the introduction dinner on the first night and ending with the after-dark dinner on the last night is the best possible experience. I can't imagine a better workshop and look forward to joining you and Susie on another."  Ted Truex - Valencia, CA
"Thank you so much for a truly outstanding adventure. I had a blast. The Escalante is one of my favorite places, and I loved exploring, photographing, and learning about it with you. Thank you so much for all the instruction and support -- I definitely could not have made my way out of those canyons otherwise! I will highly recommend you to anyone who is looking for a top-notch workshop. Thank you for some great photography and memories."   Deanna Peters - Sykesville, MD
"I want to thank you both again for a fantastic week in Escalante. I had an amazing time, learned a ton, got 500+ amazing pictures, and had a blast. It was a life-changing week; I feel re-invigorated with my photography and have taken it to the next level with your help. I promise you will see me again on a future workshop. I just don't know if it will be possible to top this one though!"  Jason Van Ark - Plain City, Utah
"Thank you for a terrific week!! Susie, I wouldn't have made it into Zebra without your coaching and assists over those narrow and high places!!! Jim, as always, thanks for your expert compositional support in the field. You both make these workshops a delight of fun, friendship, learning, and challenge!!"   Lynda Holman - Marietta, GA
"What a wonderful memory I have of last week! The whole week was one delightful adventure after another. I can certainly understand why you have such a high percentage of repeat clients. You can count me among them!  Nanci Danna - Lafayette, CO
"This was one of the most memorable trips I've experienced and I look forward to joining you again in the future. Thanks for sharing your impressive knowledge of both landscape photography and the landscape itself. Your down-to-earth humor and warmth, together with the collegiality of our entire group, made for a very special week."  Alan Aviles - New York, NY

"Thank you both for running such a fantastic workshop and bringing us to such fabulous places. This trip was one of the best photography experiences I've ever had, bar none."   Josh Trudell - San Antonio, TX


"I had a great time last week! What a wonderful bunch of people to spend the week with. Once again, you did a superb job of coordinating an amazing experience for all of us. I've only just started editing, but I definitely got some great images. Thanks again!Judy Wright - Colorado Springs, CO

"Thank you once again for a memorable and enjoyable week! Your hospitality and professionalism were truly exceptional and I can definitely say that the entire workshop experience was first class. I look forward to joining you on future workshops!"  Andrew Steptowe - Houston, TX
"I had a great time last week. As always, you and Susie exceeded all expectations. Common thoughts throughout the week were "I can't believe we're doing this" and "this is incredibly beautiful". I really enjoy shooting with you and appreciate your help in the field. I've taken workshops with other photographers but you and Susie are simply the best and it's not even close!  John Morrison - San Diego, CA
"I first visited Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 2007 and always wanted to go back. After a little research, I decided to sign up for Jim's Hole-in-the-Rock workshop. This turned out to be a great decision. In addition to being an outstanding photographer with a long list of published work to his credit, Jim is an expert outdoorsman, geology and meteorology buff, and one of the world's nicest guys. His talented and beautiful wife Susie shares his love of nature and does an amazing job of making all the photographers on the workshop feel like part of their extended family."   Dr. Mark Laussade - Las Vegas, NV
"I had a fabulous time on your Hole-in-the-Rock workshop. I loved the format and you were both amazingly gracious hosts. I will indeed be back. Love your work!"  Michael Blanchette - Bedford, NH
"Thanks a million to you both for a truly well organized and enjoyable experience. I had an absolutely wonderful time!"  Carol Greenslade - Charlevoix, MI



Jim is a regular contributor to Outdoor Photographer Magazine and has served as one of their professional advisors for more than 25 years. His work has been featured in the Nikon Legends Collection and 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 landscape photographs have been displayed in the Utah Museum of Art & History; the Natural History Museum of Utah; and in the US Capitol Rotunda in an exhibit advocating wilderness protection for Utah's Colorado Plateau region. 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 the ongoing drought in the American Southwest. See his full biography.



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Photographer James Kay hosts photography workshops in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument based in the town of Escalante in southern Utah during the month of May. Join us for this photography workshop where we will use Hole in the Rock Road to photograph Calf Creek Falls, Metate Arch, Devils Garden, slot canyons and other narrow canyons in the Escalante Canyons region of Utah. This photography Workshop in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah is open to photographers of all skill levels.