• 2022 DEATH VALLEY & ALABAMA HILLS PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Dates

January 9-16, 2022

8 days / 7 nights

Death Valley and the Alabama Hills are two of California’s best locations for photography. Each offers an wide array of different kinds of landscapes, from epic grand vistas to intimate details.

Death Valley is the lowest, driest, and hottest place in North America. It’s also the largest national park in the contiguous US. Within its borders we will find sand dunes, colorful badlands, mind-bending patterns and textures, and unique plant and animal life. It’s a park that gives you more the more time you spend with it. That’s why on this tour we spend 4 days exploring the park’s nooks and crannies.

The Alabama Hills comprises a collection of decomposing granite boulders splayed across the western rim of the Owen’s Valley. These boulders range from the size of a pumpkin to the size of a school bus, and larger! Within the boulders you will find cacti, willows, lupine, and cottonwood trees. And towing above the boulders you can’t help but notice the grandiose Sierra Nevada. There are six 14’ers visible from the Alabama Hills: Mt Whitney (Tumanguya in Paiute), Mt Langley, Mt Muir, Mt Williamson, Mt. Russell, and Mt Tyndall. And we will have the opportunity to photograph all of them during the time we spend in this magnificent area.

pricing

Tour Tuition – $2,495

Tuition includes:

  • 8 days of guided photography in two of California’s greatest landscape destinations
  • Small, intimate group of 8 photographers
  • All guiding and instruction from two professional photography guides
  • Unlimited fruit, nuts, snacks, cookies, crackers, and water
  • Special surprises
  • Memories to last a lifetime

Lodging Supplement* – $1,100

Lodging supplement includes:

  • 7 nights lodging in comfortable private hotel rooms at the Furnace Creek Ranch and the Lone Pine Best Western

* The lodging supplement is optional. If you prefer to book your own accommodations you may.

Claim your spot on this trip!

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Itinerary and Details

Getting to the tour

This Death Valley & Alabama Hills photography tour meets in Furnace Creek, Death Valley and disbands in Lone Pine, California. Participants are responsible for their transportation to and from the workshop.

We recommend flying into Las Vegas and renting a car from there. We recommend renting an SUV or crossover like a Subaru. It is an easy 2-hour drive from the Las Vegas airport to Furnace Creek. From Lone Pine, returning to Las Vegas takes approximately 4 hours.

Transportation during the tour

Unfortunately, due to a very annoying California state law, we are unable to provide transportation for this tour at this time. All participants are responsible for getting themselves to and from Death Valley and Lone Pine. We will organize carpools within these locations.

Lodging

If you choose to pay the the lodging supplement you will have 7 nights of comfortable, private hotel accommodation during the tour. The first four nights are at the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley. The final three nights are at the Best Western in Lone Pine. You may also book your own accommodation at these locations (or nearby). You are also welcome to camp if that is your style. After you have paid your deposit for the tour we will discuss the lodging options with you.

Death Valley & Alabama Hills Photography Tour Itinerary

Our itinerary is organized to visit some of the most spectacular locations in these two special areas. The tour is 8 days total, giving us tons of opportunities to shoot. We’ll set a relaxed pace on the trip, with emphasis on shoots during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, with breaks in the middle of day for meals, optional side-trips, or transit between locations. Most of our locations are within a 30-60 minute drive. From Furnace Creek to Lone Pine is approximately a 2-hour drive along an incredibly scenic highway.

Day 1, Arrival Day. January 9th.

Arrive in Furnace Creek, Death Valley. Meet at our group’s hotel for orientation and introductions. We will plan to shoot sunset this night.

Days 2 – 5. January 10th – 13th.

We will spend the next three days and a morning getting deep into Death Valley. We will be exploring many iconic areas near Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells, along with off-the-beaten-path locations such as the Ibex Dunes, Lee Flat, Conglomerate Mesa, and more as conditions and time allows.

Days 5 – 7. January 13th – 15th.

After our final Death Valley adventure on the morning of the 9th, we will check out of the hotel and make the beautiful drive to Lone Pine. We will spend that evening and the next two full days seeing the best of what the Alabama Hills has to offer.

Day 8, Last Day and Departure. January 16th.

After a final morning shoot in the Alabama Hills or Owens Valley we will enjoy a last meal together before the workshop disbands.

Weather

January is one of the most exciting and dynamic times to photograph this corner of the globe. January brings winter storms to the area, greatly increasing our chances of seeing interesting light, fresh snow on the mountains, and even water in Death Valley’s parched deserts. In Death Valley you should expect warm days and cool nights, and in the Alabama Hills expect cool days and cold nights. Overall, temperatures could range from 75°F down to 25°F, so be prepared for a range of conditions. Expect wind (and possibly lenticular clouds) at any time in either place. 🙂

Who is this Photo Tour for?

Our Death Valley & Alabama Hills tour is for photographers who appreciate experiencing a wide array of landscapes and scenes. If you love intimate details of salt crystals and layers of colorful badlands as much as grand landscapes, then this trip is for you. There is such a wonderful range of subjects and scales to explore in these areas, and photographers open to all kinds of different shots will find great joy on this trip. This tour is open to photographers of all experience levels, from novice to experienced. In short, this tour is for anyone who wants to explore and photograph stunning scenery with a fun group of like-minded people. The trip is limited to 8 participants for a small, personal feel. And there are two leaders, giving the tour a 4-to-1 ratio.

What’s the difference between a photo tour and a workshop?

This is a photo tour, meaning that we are focused on getting you to the right places at the right times to create amazing images. We don’t have any classroom time, there are no dry lectures, and we don’t force you to learn the latest complicated processing techniques. This trip is about having the best possible experience in Death Valley and the Alabama Hills. That means in addition to shooting we are also enjoying meals together, learning the history of these areas, and allowing for down time so that you can stay rested and excited. This trip is FUN, not boot camp.

In the field your leaders are 100% available to you to answer questions, provide guidance and feedback, and give you ideas of how to approach your photography. The trip leaders will also be shooting their own photos so that you can see the scene through their eyes.

What you Need

Camera Gear

  • Digital SLR camera
  • Lenses. 16mm-200mm equivalent recommended. Lenses longer than 200mm are optional but can be a lot of fun!
  • A sturdy tripod
  • Comfortable camera backpack you can hike with
  • Filters (ND, Grad ND, Polarizer)
  • Remote shutter release
  • Rocket blower, lens/sensor cleaning fluid, lens wipes, sensor swabs
  • Extra batteries, charger, and memory cards
  • Creativity and a positive attitude

Recommended clothing

Due to variable conditions, we recommend bringing multiple layers of non-cotton clothing (Merino wool and fleece are highly recommended), a warm jacket and pants, a warm hat, gloves, warm socks, and sturdy footwear (waterproof boots or hiking shoes are recommended), with lighter layers for warm days. We also recommend bringing a windproof rain jacket and rain pants. A wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and a large water bottle will also be indispensable. Sunscreen is also a must.

Highly recommended items

  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Trekking poles

Fitness level

Our Death Valley & Alabama Hills photo tour is appropriate for photographers of medium fitness levels. We will walk approximately 2-8 miles over the course of each day of the tour. Expect walks of up to 1 mile to reach some shooting locations. This includes walking on hilly, uneven, and slippery terrain. Walking in the mountains and in sand dunes can be strenuous. All participants are expected to be able to carry their own camera, personal gear, and water during the tour.

Costs

  • Tour Fee – $2,495 USD

  • Lodging supplement – $1,100

    • Inquire about a reduced price for double occupancy lodging.

A deposit of $1000 required to reserve your spot. The balance is due 90 days before the tour. Payment can be made via check or bank transfer. Payments made via credit card incur a 3% fee.

Costs in the area

Lone Pine is a small, rural town and mildly elevated prices for food and drinks should be expected. Food in Death Valley can be quite expensive. Here are some approximate costs at Furnace Creek Ranch:

  • Coffee – $5
  • Packaged sandwich from the general store – $12
  • Omelet – $20
  • Burger and fries – $20
  • Pasta – $30
  • Steak – $45
  • Beer – $6-8

Your total daily budget for meals could be anywhere between $25 and $100 USD range depending on your choices. Prices will be higher in DV and more reasonable in Lone Pine.

WiFi and Cell Coverage

All our hotels have complimentary WiFi. Internet service in Death Valley is generally good but can drop at any time. Expect minimal cell coverage at Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells villages, and no service anywhere else in the park. Lone Pine has good cell coverage, and the Alabama Hills is hit or miss.

What’s Included

  • An incredible tour of some the most photogenic sights of the Death Valley and the Alabama Hills
  • Quality, professional, 1-on-1 photography instruction on par with your level as a photographer
  • 7 nights of comfortable, private hotel lodging (with lodging supplement)
  • Death Valley National Park Entrance Fee
  • Some meals
  • Secret surprises along the way
  • Delicious, endless snacks throughout the tour
  • A fun, positive, interactive learning environment
  • Small group size of 8 photographers maximum
  • Memories of a lifetime

What’s Not

  • Airfare / transportation to Death Valley / Lone Pine
  • Transportation during the workshop
  • Most meals, though the group often eats together throughout the tour
  • Personal items, souvenirs, passport/visa fees as applicable, and gratuities
  • Optional activities
  • Trip insurance

COVID-19 Policy

We will take all reasonable precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These precautions may include:

  • Requiring all participants to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Requiring all participants to obtain a negative PCR test prior to the tour.
  • Pre-workshop temperature checks, with subsequent checks every 3 days.
  • Wearing face masks when social distancing cannot be maintained.

All precautions will be finalized approximately 2 months prior to the tour and you will be notified. Photographers joining this tour acknowledge that we can not mitigate all risk with regard to COVID-19.

This policy will be updated as CDC, WHO, Federal, and state guidelines change.

Cancellation Policy

For this photo tour a deposit is required to reserve your spot. If you cancel at any time, this holding deposit is non-refundable; however if we are able to fill your spot before the tour we will refund your holding deposit, less any administrative fees or discounts given. If we cancel this tour for any reason, your entire registration fee will be transferred to another tour or refunded to you at your discretion. We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance to cover your costs in case of cancellation or withdrawal. If you have a personal emergency such as a medical emergency or a death in the family, please contact us. We are willing to work with you to reschedule or refund your fee on a case-by-case basis. This tour requires a minimum of 5 participants. In the case of under-subscription we reserve the right to cancel the tour, in which case your registration will be transferred to another tour of your choosing. Or we may conduct the tour with a single instructor.

Helping Mother Nature Through Photography

Fully Insured and Permitted, Leave-No-Trace Advocates

We take pains to ensure our activities are 100% above board. We obtain all the necessary permissions and insurances required in order conduct our workshops.

We are also strong advocates of Leave No Trace (LNT) wilderness ethics. We teach responsible photography practices and never sacrifice the environment for the sake of a photo. Our goal is to leave our photography workshop locations in better shape than the way we found them.

Carbon Offset and Planting Trees

We partner with the Give Back to Nature Project to plant trees to offset the carbon emissions generated by this tour. But we don’t stop there. In fact we plant enough trees to offset a further 50% of our emissions so that the tour ends up net carbon negative.

Your Tour Leaders

Josh Cripps

Josh has been visiting Death Valley as a photographer for over 10 years. He has had his tent collapsed by wind, accidentally given rides to hitchhiking scorpions, swam with the pupfish, and said “this place is so weird!” more times than he can count. For him the magic of Death Valley lies in the diversity of its landscapes as well as its wide-open majestic beauty. It’s also a park that guards its secrets; the more you explore the more you will discover.

Josh is also passionate about the Alabama Hills. It’s a stunning place for photography on its own, but the fact that these granite boulders lie beneath the highest peak in the contiguous US makes them all the more special. Currently Josh lives an easy 2-hr drive from the Alabama Hills and explores them every chance he gets.

Sarah Lyndsay Cederholm

Sarah Lyndsay is a landscape and portrait photographer based in the beautiful Canadian Rockies in the province of British Columbia. She is widely known for her breathtaking long exposure photography which adds drama and an edge to the landscapes she photographs. She also specializes in ethereal self-portrait photography, putting herself in the landscapes she photographs no matter the season or weather. Rain or shine, she will walk out in that lake in a flowing gown. Sarah has been professionally guiding and leading photo tours for over 3 years, and is deeply in love with the diversity and otherworldly landscapes of Death Valley and the Alabama Hills.

You can see more of Sarah’s stunning photography on her website and Instagram:

Why Choose Us

Spectacular Locations
Our workshops combine the very best scenery we can find along with in-depth knowledge of the areas we’re visiting. From the coast to the mountains to the desert, our workshops visit some of the most breathtaking landscapes you can imagine. And with hundreds of hours spent scouting and shooting in each location, we know the best times to visit, the best things to see, and the best shots to get. Plus we’re constantly adding new and cool locations to our line-up so you can keep expanding your photographic horizons.

1-on-1 Instruction at Your Level
We take a three-tiered approach to our photography instruction: Philosophy. Theory. Technique. This means that no matter what level of photographer you are, you can expect to walk away from a workshop with your head bursting with ideas about how to refine your vision and find your own style, an understanding of camera techniques and composition concepts that will springboard your photography, and the actual “How-To” of nailing a shot in the field. And with our relaxed, casual, 1-on-1 approach, you can soak up just the information YOU need to become a better shooter.

Small Class Size
Our international workshops have a 12 person maximum to insure you get ample one-on-one time with the instructors. Our small groups also help us build camaraderie, plus we can go places big photography tours can’t. And with two instructos running every single workshop, there’s never more than 6 students for every instructor.

A “Go Happy or Go Home” Attitude
We believe that photography is as much about enjoyment as it is about scoring a keeper for your portfolio. We create a fun and dynamic environment where you can meet other photographers, learn at your own pace, enjoy the beauty of nature, and have a great time while doing it.

We Never Stop Scouting
We’re never content to rest on our laurels. Before and after every workshop we are scouting, scouting, scouting. Whether it’s to find new and exciting locations to shoot or to provide a different view of the old icons, we strive to show you the absolute best places for photography.

Fully Insured and Permitted, Leave-No-Trace Advocates
We take pains to ensure our activities are 100% above board. We obtain all the necessary permissions and insurances required in order conduct our workshops.

We are also strong advocates of Leave No Trace (LNT) wilderness ethics. We teach responsible photography practices and never sacrifice the environment for the sake of a photo. Our goal is to leave our photography workshop locations in better shape than the way we found them.

Questions About This Trip?

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