Death Valley Photography Workshop, CA
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Death Valley & Joshua Tree National Parks
Photography Workshop

Stovepipe Wells, CA; Twentynine Palms, CA
February 17th - 23rd, 2020
Biennial Workshop

Instructor: Andy Cook

Andy will be leading a photography workshop to capture the stunning beauty of the lowest place on the continent and the unusual landscape of Joshua Tree NP. Join us as we photograph the best of each National Park.

During this workshop we may spend all day in the field, on other days we will have a small midday break. This workshop is geared for the intermediate to advanced photographer. However, beginners with a working knowledge of their camera can gain a lot of experience and instruction. Each participant is assisted at their level. We focus on helping participants create the most appealing compositions of each location we visit. We also delve into discussions on equipment, exposure, metering, filters, post processing and personal tips. This is a workshop environment, the instructor is present to aid in the field and teach his techniques for landscape photography. If you're an advanced photographer he is happy to help or stay out of the way. Additionally, for those who bring their laptops with Photoshop, Andy will be available during at least one midday break to answer processing questions.

Death Valley National Park Photography Workshop

Photo Workshop

Itinerary Outline

The workshop starts on Monday, February 17th, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. with an introduction and orientation. We start shooting on the morning of Tuesday, February 18th, 2020. The Death Valley portion of the workshop ends after shooting on Thursday evening, February 20th, 2020. Friday morning is a relocation period and no formal shooting is scheduled. This is a great opportunity for participants to re shoot a Death Valley scene that may have suffered due to weather or other issues. We regroup in the lobby of the Fairfield Inn in Twentynine Palms, CA at 2:30 P.M. on Friday, February 21st, 2020. Drive time to relocate is just over 5 hours. Workshop ends after photographing sunrise on Sunday morning, February 23rd.

First Lodging Location: Monday, February 17, 2020 (Check-in) - Friday, February 21, 2020 (Check-out): Stovepipe Wells Village, Hwy 190, Death Valley, CA. Phone # 760-786-2387.
In Death Valley, about a year before the workshop, we will have 11 rooms reserved. Before contacting Stovepipe Wells Village, please contact us at 719-635-6268 for the group code.

Relocate to
Fairfield Inn, 6333 Encelia Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA. 760-361-5000
Check-in Friday, February 21, 2020; Check-out Sunday, February 23, 2020.

Generally, one can expect to be at a shooting location for the start of civil twilight (about 5:45 A.M.) and we'll stay at that location through sunrise. We will go to a late breakfast after the morning shoot. On a few days we've scheduled a midday break allowing participants time to download, nap, process images... We will provide breakfast bars and water for the early mornings. In the afternoon we will head back out into the field and shoot through sunset (approximately 5:30 P.M.) and on some evenings we may photograph into the stars. We do have time for a late dinner in a restaurant scheduled for each evening.

Joshua Tree National Park Photography Workshop

COST: $1,459.00 per participant - Death Valley & Joshua Tree National Parks

Deposit Amount: $300.00 due at time of registration. This deposit becomes non refundable 90 days in advance of the workshop.

Full Payment of the workshop is due 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. If final payment is not received when due, we reserve the right to treat the reservation as canceled, please review the cancellation policy on the registration page.

Death Valley National Park

This workshop does involve some hiking into the dunes and cross country walking to arrive at certain shooting locations (some days the total distance walked is 2 to 5 miles, mostly level), while other shooting locations will be just beyond the parking lot. The hiking may be deemed easy to moderate activity based upon one's condition. Walking surfaces beyond the parking lot are generally uneven, hiking boots are recommended; bring old beat up boots as the environment is rough on shoes. One doesn't have to be in tip-top shape, but one's enjoyment will be enhanced by good health and preparation. Please consult with your doctor before attending our workshop.

Proper hydration is a must with outdoor activities. We will provide bottled water in the field.

Be prepared for possible temperature extremes and sudden changes in weather. Be aware that mornings can be cold and midday very warm. Often we will be out in darkness before sunrise and after sunset, please bring a flashlight.

More Information

LODGING: The workshop is being held during high season, lodging often fills to capacity months in advance. Participants need to contact lodging directly and reserve their room upon registering for the workshop, if not earlier. Even if one has not registered for this workshop but is considering it, we recommend making reservations (be mindful of the cancellation policy).

In Death Valley, about a year before the workshop, we will have 11 rooms reserved. Before contacting Stovepipe Wells Village, please contact us at 719-635-6268 for the group code.

TRANSPORTATION: Most people flying to this workshop will find flying into Las Vegas, NV (about 2.5 hours to Death Valley; about 4 hours to Twentynine Palms) to be the best choice.

Driving Conditions: We will usually be driving on paved roads and well maintained dirt roads, however, our itinerary takes us to The Racetrack to photograph "the moving stones". The road to The Racetrack is a bit rougher, sometimes requires an SUV or other capable higher clearance vehicle. For this reason we recommend renting a higher clearance vehicle. Note: Road conditions vary from year to year and roads can close due to rain (mud). Andy will provide participants with a hand radio to communicate while driving. When possible we prefer that participants car pool with each other to help limit our impact and get to know the other participants. If you wish to share a vehicle with another participant during the entire workshop, please let us know and we will put you in contact with others who wish to do the same; coordinate travel arraignments directly with them.

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley Photo Workshop Location

Equipment Recommendations: Bring all camera equipment including the camera's manual. We recommend using a polarizing filter with many photographs on this workshop. To blur cloud motion on a bright day, consider bringing a 9 or 10 stop neutral density filter, this filter can be the screw on type. Andy does not recommend variable ND filters. Andy combines images of various exposures in post processing (HDR). Andy will be happy to teach participants his field technique for capturing high dynamic range images (requires a cable release with some cameras). A lens range from 16 mm to 200 mm after the lens multiplication factor is recommended. However, we think participants should bring their entire range of lenses. We recommend shooting with a sturdy outdoor tripod that can adjust from standing height (without cranking up a center post) to very close to the ground. This type of tripod does not have attachments from part way down the legs to the center post; i.e. the legs can move independently. Please use a cable release or know how to work the camera's timer delay to avoid camera shake. If you have Photoshop questions, then please bring a laptop with Photoshop loaded and updated.

The Fine Print

We do not guarantee the weather. Workshop fee does not include transportation, lodging or meals. Maximum number of participants is 10.

Our itinerary does fluctuate year to year. We may not visit every location visited in previous years.

We require an acknowledgment of risks be signed before going into the field. We will send the acknowledgment of risks upon registration, please return it at the start of the workshop.

In the event Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. (RMRPI) cancels a workshop due to unforeseen circumstances such as inability to obtain permits, instructor injury, death… Then, RMRPI will refund fees collected by RMRPI for the affected workshop. In the event of a natural disaster, government closure or other happening of this nature that causes a workshop to be canceled, RMRPI may be unable to refund workshop fees. If this happens then funds collected by RMRPI will be applied as credit toward a future workshop of the participant’s choosing. RMRPI will not be held responsible for other expenses (airline tickets, hotel deposits, rental car…) that may be associated with any canceled workshop.
Death Valley Photo Workshop

Joshua Tree National Park

To be as prepared as possible for this workshop, please review the 2 videos, 7 lessons and 10 workshop handouts found at the link below:

Below please find the PDF handouts recommended for this workshop. One needs to print or download to a digital device these documents before the workshop from the link above.

For this workshop we recommend that participants:

*Print: Blank Workshop Locations Visited.

*Print or download to field digital device: Night Photography Rule of 400.

*Print or download to field digital device: Night Photography Instruction.

*Print or download to field digital device: CFDER Field Reminder (This is useful to those new to our workshops and/or trying to develop a useful field workflow.)

*Print or download to field digital device: Steps to Capture Panorama Photographs

*Print or download to field digital device: Hyperfocal chart for camera’s LMF. (Unless you already have a depth-of-field app on a smart phone.)

*Print or download to digital device: Andy’s Camera Settings (Only if unsure about what the camera’s settings should be.)

*Print or download to digital device: Tripod Tips and Techniques (Only if one is new to tripod use or are considering a tripod purchase.)


Series of video lessons teaching post processing for Landscape and Nature Photographers. Excellent for beginners and intermediate users of Adobe Photoshop.

Death Valley National Park
Spare Camera Batteries
Camera's Manual
Lots of Memory
Extra Shoes and Socks
Hiking Boots
Warm Clothes
Oh Yes! Don't Forget the Camera

Death Valley Photography Workshop

2018 Death Valley and Joshua Tree workshop group photo.
2018 Group Photo

2012 Death Valley Workshop Photo
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View workshop videos and photos.
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Death Valley Photography Workshop

Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. is authorized by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conduct services in Death Valley & Joshua Tree National Parks.