Rocky Mountain and Sand Dunes National Parks – September 2016

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park and Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado
When: September 16 – 20, 2016
Cost: $1,400

Deposit: $300

Class Size: 12

Registration: If you have any questions or wish to register, please email David Johnston (

Dream Lake under a fresh coat of snow
Dream Lake under a fresh coat of snow

The Destination

Join renowned photographers, David Johnston and Dan Ballard, on a photography workshop to the famous Rocky Mountain National Park and Sand Dunes National Park. Dan Ballard is extremely familiar with the two parks we will be visiting, and knows where the best light is at each time of the day. You’re sure to shoot some of the best photos of your life in this amazing area with the guidance of David and Dan.

Great Sand Dune National Park
Great Sand Dune National Park


Throughout each day, David and Dan will help you reach your full photography potential by helping you develop your technical photography skills, as well as your creative vision for photography. You will be taught composition strategies, focus stacking, and how to shoot in dramatic light of early morning, sunsets. During any downtime during the day when light isn’t particularly interesting, David and Dan will show you different post processing techniques that will help you take your editing skills and your overall photography to the next level.

Large sand dunes in the Great Sand Dune National Park
Large sand dunes in the Great Sand Dune National Park

Even though we will go over post processing, the focus of this workshop is to work on your photography in the field. That means we will be spending the majority of the time shooting outdoors. With that in mind, it should be known that we will remain flexible due to the uncertainty of weather. Here is a tentative schedule that we will be going by during the workshop:

Day 1 (September 16): Arrive at our home base hotel near the Rocky Mountain National Park (see below) for a meet and greet. We will then head out to shoot in the evening at Lily Lake.

Day 2 (September 17): Morning shoot on the Dream Lake hike with an evening shoot after some midday classroom sessions.

Day 3 (September 18): Sunrise shoot in the morning with a sunset shoot in the evening. We will have classroom sessions during periods when the light is poor.

Day 4 (September 19): Sunrise shoot in the morning at Rocky Mountain National Park. After the Sunrise shoot, we will be driving to Great Sand Dunes National Park. It’s a decent drive to Sand Dunes. We will then have an evening shoot at Sand Dunes.

Day 5 (September 20): Sunrise shoot in the morning at Great Sand Dunes National Park followed by a photo critique session with David and Dan. The workshop will conclude after the sunrise shoot and critique session so participants can check out of the hotel and travel home.

Lily Lake in great light
Lily Lake in great light

Host Hotel

Rocky Mountain National Park: 

Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

927 Moraine Avenue

Estes Park, Colorado 80517

To reserve your room at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, you must call 800-233-5023.

Great Sand Dunes National Park:

Great Sand Dunes Lodge

7900 State Highway 150

Mosca Colorado 81146

To reserve your room at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge, you must call 719-378-2900.

Although we will use these two hotels as our base of operations, you should feel free to stay somewhere else in or near these two locations if you wish. Feel free to choose another property to suit your budget and needs.

Dream Lake
Dream Lake

Physical requirements

This is an outdoor nature photo workshop, so general good health and fitness will help maximize your comfort and enjoyment. That said, the activities we have planned should be well within the ability of people in decent to good shape. Participants should be able to hike a two mile round trip trail at high elevations. All participants are required to sign a standard medical and waiver form.

High wind in the Great Sand Dune National Park
High wind in the Great Sand Dune National Park

What’s included

Tuition covers guiding and instruction by David and Dan only. Transportation, lodging, meals, park entrance fees, and all other costs are the responsibility of workshop participants.

Tuition and cancellation policy

A deposit of $300 is required to secure a space on this workshop. Full tuition is due 60 days before the workshop starts.  A full refund minus a $100 processing fee is available if you cancel within 60 days before the workshop starts. Within 60 days, we will only issue a refund if we can fill your spot.

Email David if you wish to register for this workshop

All photos copyright Dan Ballard

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