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Death Valley in Winter

A Digital Photography Field Workshop

4 days $1250
January 18-21, 2020

Or register by phone 650 355-7507.

Enrollment limited to 10 people.


Since 1979 I have led winter photography workshops to Death Valley. I keep returning to this desert because there is a magic here, a quiet and vast expanse of sensual and strange earthworks, remarkable in color, resting under the soft winter light of January.

The Place
Transformed from a searing 120 degree desert in summer to January's mild 60-70 degree weather, Death Valley is filled with intriguing landforms, delicate flora, strange mineral deposits and expansive views. Mile high Dante's View overlooks the patterned salt flats of Badwater and the Amargosa River below (the lowest point in the United States). Badwater's still water in turn mirrors the blue and white Panamint Mountains to the West. The lunar landscape of Ubehebe Crater's black volcanic fields rise from the rolling desert at the valley's north end with the steep gorge of Titus Canyon and Red Pass to the southeast.

Death Valley Gallery

Death Valley Gallery

Death Valley from Dante's View.

Death Valley from Dante's View.


The Workshop
We will spend our first half day preparing for our outings. Topics covered will be optimal digital camera use in a variety of formats, file size and printing considerations. We will open files, review success, constantly going back in the field putting into practice lessons learned. 

The advent of the digital age of photography provides unique opportunities for field photography instruction, reviewing work on camera screens as it is made and on portable computers, examining exposure, composition and emotional impact. Group evening reviews will also be conducted using digital projection.

Digital exposure and dynamic range, discussions of color management, printers, papers and pigments, b&w and color, composition, and amazement-all will be part of our ambitious excursion into the evolving world of digital photography.

We'll spend four activity packed days in the valley, sometimes rising before dawn and lingering for the last moment of twilight. Vistas encompassing hundreds of square miles of desert and mountains, marble-lined canyons, multi-colored hills of yellow, purple and turquoise, and a curved expanse of sand-swept dunes, make the trip very worthwhile for photography.

The trip is designed to be a complete immersion in landscape photography and its digital evolution. We will discuss technical and aesthetic issues, tapping into your emotional response to this landscape, working toward images that are uniquely your own.

Individual problem solving is a high priority in my workshop program. Classes are kept small to maximize individual attention. Plan to bring some of your work to give me an idea of how you see, what you are happy with, and photographs that indicate problems you are encountering.

Lodging can be arranged at Furnace Creek Ranch 760-786-2345, camping at Texas Springs Campground near Furnace Creek where sites are available on a first come, first served basis.

A full agenda is planned for this workshop, including dawn and dusk sessions. We will be doing a fair amount of walking in the canyons and on the dunes.

Death Valley NPS Website
Death Valley Map

Geology of the Death Valley Area