Arches Under the Stars Photography Workshop

The Night Landscape in Arches National Park with Tom Till

Nov 10-15, 2009

Join world-renowned landscape photographer, Tom Till, and Moab Photo Tours owner, Jon Fuller, in this unique opportunity to learn to photograph the natural landscape of Arches National Park and the surrounding area by night as well as by day. You will learn the techniques of light painting, and photographing both star points and star trails in the spectacular natural scenery of the Moab area. In addition to the night landscape sessions, you will have the opportunity to photograph Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in prime landscape sunrise and sunset light as well, while learning the techniques used by the pros.

Because we are conducting this workshop in November, sunset is early and allows us to shoot night landscapes and still get to bed at a decent hour. Sunrise is also later, so we’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep and still go out for sunrise landscapes in some of Tom’s and Jon’s favorite locations around Moab. Most people don’t realize that winter light is the best photographic light around Moab, and since it’s the ‘off-season’, you don’t have to fight the crowds for tripod space at iconic photo spots! November weather in Moab is usually quite pleasant and comfortable as well.

Both Tom Till and Jon Fuller are long-time Moab residents, and there are no photography guides who know the Moab area better. In addition to the iconic photographic locations in the area, you’ll get to photograph some of Tom’s and Jon’s favorite landscape spots, unknown to most of the photo guides who bring workshops to Moab.

During the mid-day hours, we will have photo critiques and technical discussions to improve your landscape photography skills. We will also discuss digital work flow and post-processing techniques in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and fine art printing. Tom and Jon are both very patient, friendly instructors, and everything will be done in a very non-critical environment. In addition to helping you learn to be a better photographer, we want you to have fun while doing it. If it isn’t fun, you aren’t doing it right!

Our base of operations for this workshop will be the Gonzo Inn, Moab’s premier lodging, conveniently located just off Main Street in downtown Moab. Workshop fees are based on single occupancy, since all rooms have a single king bed. Suites (some with fireplaces!) are available at additional cost. A discount is available for couples sharing a room.

Arrival day is Tuesday, 10 November and we will have an orientation get-together that evening. We will shoot both sunrises and sunsets on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and night landscapes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. Saturday night we will have a group dinner at one of Moab’s finest restaurants to end the workshop, included in the workshop fee. Lodging is included in the Workshop fee for Tuesday through Saturday nights, with departure on Sunday, 15 November.

Cost of this workshop is $1,470.00 and includes 5 nights lodging (single occupancy), 4 days and 3 night sessions of photography, instruction, and the dinner at the end of the workshop. We will be carpooling for transportation to and from the shooting locations. Workshop fees do not include transportation to, and from, Moab from your home, meals (other than specified), alcohol, or incidentals.

To ensure personal attention to each workshop participant, workshop size is limited to 10 participants. To reserve your place in this unique photography workshop, email info@moabphototours.com.

Cedar Mesa to Monument Valley Photography Workshop

Cedar Mesa to Monument Valley Photography Workshop

Ancient Native American Ruins & Landscapes

With Tom Till and Moab Photo Tours

September 20-27, 2009

Join Moab Photo Tours and world-renowned photographer Tom Till on this 7-day, 7-night photographic exploration of ancient Native American ruins and rock art in the Cedar Mesa region of southeastern Utah, including two full days of shooting in Monument Valley, the Land of the Navajo.

Cedar Mesa has the densest concentration of pre-Columbian ruins in all of the United States. The canyons that crisscross this rugged and beautiful high-desert mesa are lined with ancient Ancestral Pueblan cliff ruins. Many of these ruins make spectacular fine art images, set in alcoves in the sheer cliff walls and along the canyon rims. You will be able to walk among and photograph ruins abandoned more than 800 years ago when the Ancestral Pueblans left this area.

We will also spend two full days photographing in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, with Navajo guides who will take us to places visitors cannot otherwise go. We will have the opportunity to camp overnight on rugged Hunt’s Mesa and shoot both a sunset and a sunrise from this spectacular viewpoint overlooking Monument Valley.

Tom Till is an expert on Native American rock art and ruins, and while he is best known world-wide as a landscape photographer, Native American ruins and rock art are some of his personal favorite subjects. Tom has photographed some 200 days in Monument Valley alone over his 30+ year career as a landscape photographer, and he knows the area extremely well. Our Navajo Guide for the tour in Monument Valley is Tom Phillips, of Monument Valley Tours, a photographer himself and a very experienced photography guide and guide for the movie industry. Phillips understands what makes a good landscape photograph, and as he says, “I take you to the light.” Check out his website at www.monumentvalley.com.

The workshop covers seven days and nights and includes six days of shooting, lodging, transportation, some meals, park entrance fees, use fees, and guide fees. It also includes instruction in the field and evening photo discussions and critiques with Tom Till and Jon Fuller, owner of Moab Photo Tours, LLC. The workshop will start on Sunday evening, September 20, 2009 with an orientation meeting in Moab, Utah. Rather than waste a good sunrise driving, we will take the opportunity to shoot a sunrise on Monday at one of Moab’s signature sunrise photo locations before proceeding south to Cedar Mesa. Along the way, we’ll make a detour to photograph Newspaper Rock, one of the most famous rock art panels in the world. The next two nights we’ll be staying in Blanding, Utah, and photographing ruins on Cedar Mesa on Monday afternoon, Tuesday, and half-day Wednesday. We’ll then drive to the south end of Cedar Mesa for a picnic lunch at Muley Point, overlooking the Goosenecks of the San Juan River and Monument Valley to the south. After lunch, we’ll descend the famous Moki Dugway into the Valley of the Gods and photograph the buttes and monuments in this scenic valley in the late afternoon light. We’ll then proceed across the San Juan River to Monument Valley, where we’ll be staying in the newest, best-located lodging in the valley, the View Motel.

We will shoot a sunrise with our Navajo guides, and then after a midday break at the lodge, drive up the rugged 4WD track to Hunt’s Mesa, where we’ll shoot sunset and camp for the night. Camping gear and meals on Hunt’s Mesa will be provided by our Navajo outfitters of Monument Valley Tours. We’ll then shoot sunrise before descending from the Mesa and having lunch at the lodge. After the midday break, we go back out with Tom Phillips to explore and photograph Mystery Valley. We’ll spend Friday night at the View Motel and shoot sunrise over the Mittens on Saturday morning before starting back toward Moab. We’ll work our way back to Moab, photographing along the way and arriving there in the afternoon. Saturday evening we’ll have a group dinner at one of Moab’s best restaurants. Lodging is included Saturday night in Moab, and you can depart for home on Sunday or stay around for a few more days to photograph Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on your own.

The cost of this workshop is $2295.00 and includes 6 nights in motels (double occupancy — single supplement $550), 1 night guided camping, transportation from Moab to Cedar Mesa and Monument Valley, two days with Navajo guides in Monument Valley, all park entry fees & BLM use fees on Cedar Mesa, and some meals, including the farewell dinner. Not included are transportation to Moab or your return home, tips for guides, alcohol, and meals not specifically specified as included. If you’d like to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity, please send an email to info@moabphototours.com.

For images of ruins on Cedar Mesa, go to www.moabphototours.com and view the Cedar Mesa Album in the Gallery. For Tom Till’s images of Monument Valley, go to www.tomtill.com and type Monument Valley in the Search Box.

Disclaimer: Access to many of these ruins on Cedar Mesa can only be gained by hiking down steep trails into the canyons. These hikes will take up to an hour each way, some dropping several hundred feet in elevation, and are quite physically demanding. What goes down, must also come back up in order to get home, so you must be in very good health and physical condition to participate in this workshop. You must be able to hike these steep, rough, rocky primitive trails carrying all of your own equipment. The general elevation of Cedar Mesa is between 6000’ and 7000’, so the altitude makes hiking even more difficult. Please do not apply if you have heart or respiratory problems. This area is very remote, with no cell service, so prompt medical emergency services are not readily available. Additionally, the tour in Monument Valley will cover some extremely rough 4-wheel drive tracks. According to Navajo Guide Tom Phillips, people with bad backs should not attempt the drive up to Hunt’s Mesa. This workshop is truly an adventure into some of America’s most wild and rugged country.

Great 2008! What’s New for 2009?

2008 was a great year for Moab Photo Tours. We added many new clients this year, got to work with many returning clients again, and helped lots of people get some really great images of this area. Feedback from a number of this year’s clients indicated that they had won various photo competitions with images made on our tours. We were also able to help a number of people advance their photo skills to the next level as well. I personally had a full-page image published in the Showcase section of the May issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine, in addition to other publication credits through the year.

Chris Conrad, who was originally on the website as a guide, has moved on to other things, and we wish Chris well in his new endeavors. Replacing him is Dan Norris, a long-time Moab photographer and owner of Canyon Color Graphics. Dan has been published extensively and is a great instructor and guide. Dan functions primarily as my back-up when I am unable to do a tour, or on those occasions when we have more than one group wanting tours the same day. Dan also assisted me for our Moab Photo Tours Needles Back-country Photo Workshop in May 2008. Dan has been a good friend for the 16 years I’ve lived in Moab, and we’ve shot together a lot over the years. he is an outstanding photographer.

Moab Photo Tours is also expanding its reach outside the Moab area. I was able to take some tours down to the Cedar Mesa area, south of Moab, to photograph some very photogenic ancient native American ruins. You can see images of some of these ruins in the Cedar Mesa Album in the Gallery on the website. In November, I traveled to Panama and Costa Rica for a 3-week photo scouting trip to explore the possibility of taking photo tours to these two countries. Since I once lived in Panama for 3 years, I was already quite familiar with the area. I have done quite a bit of travel and photography throughout Latin America over the years, and love the photo opportunities to be had south of our borders. I had a great trip, coming home with 3200+ images to edit, and making some good contacts in the travel industry in both places. Panama and Costa Rica, while being neighbors, are quite different photographically. Costa Rica is primarily spectacular nature photography, while Panama has not only great rain forest photography similar to Costa Rica’s, but also old Spanish ruins, very photogenic indigenous tribes, French colonial architecture, and the Panama Canal itself. Keep an eye on future blog entries for details on these trips. I will be adding Albums in the Gallery for both these locations in the (near?) future.

Also upcoming for 2009 will be the addition of a Shopping Cart on the website. This will allow anyone to order a print of any image of mine that they see on the website. This applies only to my images, and not images in the Clients Gallery. (The images in the Clients Gallery do not belong to me, and I do not physically possess file sizes large enough to make prints even for the photographers who do own these images.)

We will be repeating the Needles/Canyonlands Back-country Workshop in May this year, expanding it to 4 days instead of three. We will have a surprise announcement concerning that workshop soon, so stay tuned. More on this upcoming workshop in a future blog. If you are interested in this workshop, please email me at info@moabphototours.com as soon as possible and I’ll send you more information. We actually only have two spaces still available, and the advertising in Outdoor Photographer has not even come out yet.

Stay tuned for more information. Best wishes for 2009, and Happy Shooting!