Needles / Canyonlands Photo Workshop

Photographing the Backcountry of Canyonlands National Park

Instructor:  Jon Fuller

May 4-11, 2014 
The Needles is a beautiful but very rugged and relatively inaccessible section of Canyonlands National Park, characterized by many red sandstone spires which give the area it’s name, along with arches and Native American rock art. It is accessible only by serious 4WD or by long hikes. Our Workshop will provide that serious 4WD access. It should also be prime wildflower/cactus blossom time as well at this time of year. In addition to giving participants the opportunity to photograph in Arches NP and the Moab area prior to traveling to the Needles District, we will also have two days of more formal classroom instruction at the beginning of the workshop.

Day 1: Travel to Moab.  We will meet for a pre-workshop orientation at 6:00pm on Sunday, 4 May.  Overnight at the Moab Valley Inn. 

Days 2 & 3:  Sunrise photo shoot in the Moab Area.  After the shoot, we will return for breakfast and then our first classroom session.  After a lunch break, we will reconvene for an afternoon classroom session before heading out again to shoot a sunset.  Overnight at the Moab Valley Inn.  Breakfast included.

Day 4:  Leave Moab by 8am. We’ll head out for the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, which takes about 1.5 hours to initially reach, stopping to photograph Newspaper Rock (a famous petroglyph panel) on the way in. We will spend the rest of the morning exploring Shay Canyon, with its  prehistoric rock art and beautiful varnish-patterned walls. We’ll then photograph our way up the Cottonwood Canyon Road to our first camp on Cathedral Point, overlooking the spectacular Big Pocket for a sunset shoot.  Camping overnight.  B, L, D included.

Day 5: For sunrise, we’ll again photograph the Big Pocket from Cathedral Point. Both sunrise and sunset are breath-taking from the Big Pocket Overlook. After breakfast, we'll travel up into Beef Basin and Ruin Park to photograph ancient Native American ruins. After lunch, we'll make our way down the infamous jeep road into Bobby's Hole and into the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park via the back way. We'll camp that night at Horsehoof Campground and shoot sunset from there.  Camping overnight.  B, L, D included.

Day 6: After the sunrise shoot and breakfast, we load up and move on through the Grabens towards our next camp at the Devil's Kitchen, stopping to photograph Indian rock art pictographs on the way. Sunset and sunrise shoots will be in this extremely photogenic area.   Camping overnight.  B, L, D included.

Day 7: After our sunrise shoot and breakfast in the Devil's Kitchen, we'll go over the Silver Stairs and Elephant Hill to exit the park. We’ll be back late afternoon of that day.   We'll meet for dinner that evening at one of Moab's best restaurants for a closing dinner together.  Overnight at Moab Valley Inn, B, L, D included.

Day 8:  Depart for home.  Breakfast included.

Our Needles back country outfitter will provide three 4WD vehicles with experienced 4WD drivers, (who will also be our cooks), and sleeping bags, pads, and tents, etc. This is primitive camping, with pit toilets (outhouses) available at most of our camp sites, but no showers. The old outfitter’s trick is to bring Wet Wipes with which to take a spit bath every evening. It works great and takes the worry out of being close!

Cost for the Needles Backcountry Workshop is $2495.00 per person, double occupancy.  Single supplement for a private hotel room is an additional $300.

Workshop Fee Includes:

- 6 days of photography and personalized instruction

- 4 nights lodging in Moab w/ hot breakfast in the motel

- 4WD transportation from Moab through the Needles and back to Moab

- park entrance fees

- camping gear

- all meals for three nights of camping in the Needles

- farewell dinner

Not Included:

- Lunches and dinners are not included on Days 1-3.    

- Gratuities for the driver/outfitter guides (which is usually about $100 and makes up a major part of their income)  

- The workshop fee also does not cover the cost of transportation to and from Moab nor any lodging or meals before or after the workshop.

We have room for a total of 6 photographers in the Needles Workshop, plus myself as the photo guide, in addition to our driver/outfitter guides.  For images of prior years' Needles Workshops, go to and go to the Workshop Album on the Gallery Page. If you are interested in this workshop, contact me by email at to reserve a spot. This workshop sells out early, so if you are interested, don't hesitate too long.