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Southwest Landscape Photography With an Arizona Highways Photographer!

Program Number: 1046RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/16/2015 - 4/21/2015; 10/22/2015 - 10/27/2015; 11/9/2015 - 11/14/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Price starting at: $998.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography; National Parks; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Experience a rare opportunity to study with an Arizona Highways magazine photographer. Armed with your digital camera, share professional techniques through in-the-field, hands-on photo adventures and class critiques. Enjoy nature walks and other opportunities to capture memories of Arizona as you "develop" your skills and "shoot" it out with some of the best in the West.


• Shoot sunset in the Sonoran Desert and visit the Desert Botanical Garden to frame the natural habitat of wildlife, birds, wildflowers and exotic cacti. Discuss post production tips and techniques, and the use of programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom.
• Feb programs, enjoy a desert foray with 2 nights in Tucson shooting at the San Xavier del Bac Mission, Saguaro National Park and Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, and sites on the historic Presidio Trail.
• April - November programs: Shoot in Sedona and Grand Canyon National Park for iconic sunrise/sunset photo shoots and red rock splendor.

Activity Particulars

Walking and standing as far and as long as participant is comfortable. Photograph close to the bus or venture out.

Emphasis on digital photography. Traditional photographers welcome, but film processing not possible; only digital photos will be critiqued. Tri-pod recommended.

Date Specific Information

4-16-2015, 10-22-2015, 11-9-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Independent Arrivals Phoenix, 3 nights; Coach to Sedona, 1 night; Coach to Grand Canyon South Rim, 1 night; Coach to Scottsdale/Phoenix Airport; departures.

Coordinated by Northern Arizona University.


Phoenix is a thriving metropolis surrounded by majestic mountains. Along with the visual beauty of the land, the city has a rich heritage of Native American and Hispanic cultures. Native American and western expansion influences are seen in the art and architecture of Phoenix, and an abundance of museums and art galleries showcase the culture.


An affluent city adjacent to Phoenix, Scottsdale enjoys an annual average of more than 330 days of sunshine, a factor that, along with the area’s wide-open desert landscape, makes the city a haven for golfers. Scottsdale’s vibrant nightlife and busy hotel scene are balanced out by its proximity to mountain areas popular with outdoor enthusiasts.

Phoenix: Midtown hotel with gardens, pool and fitness center; Tucson and Sedona: hotel settings with outdoor pools; Grand Canyon: National Park lodge at the South Rim. See date specific notes for seasonal variations in itinerary.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Richard Stephens

Rich has been director of Northern Arizona University’s highly popular Road Scholar programs since 2001. He previously spent many years in the field as a program coordinator and group leader, where he honed his skills and learned the importance of detailed, pre-trip planning. Before making his home in Arizona’s spectacular red-rock country, Rich spent 10 years in Yosemite National Park and the Santa Cruz mountains as an environmental educator.
Jeff Strang

Jeff Strang's knowledge of the environment stems from over 35 years of hiking, paddling, and photography in the outdoors, his extensive experience as a naturalist, as well as from his education at the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. In 1987, Jeff filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against Oregon polluters under the Clean Water Act. Jeff has been leading Road Scholar programs since 2002. In his free time, Jeff enjoys biking to work, hiking, kayaking, outdoor photography and studying geology.
Meals and Lodgings
   Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown
  Phoenix 3 nights
   Hilton Sedona Resort
  Sedona, AZ 1 night
   Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges
  South Rim of the Grand Canyon 1 night
 Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown
Type: Hotel
  Description: Escape to the Valley of the Sun when you stay at the non-smoking Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown hotel. Set on 1.5 acres of lush gardens and with easy access to the Phoenix Convention Center, Chase Field, US Airways Center, and a wealth of Fortune 500 companies and government offices, this hotel north of downtown Phoenix boasts an enviable location close to businesses as well as attractions like the Heritage Square and Science Park, Desert Botanical Garden and Orpheum Theatre. And with an abundance of amenities, business and leisure travelers alike will find this upscale, yet casual hotel in Phoenix, Arizona a welcome respite during their travels. Full conference and event facilities are available at this Phoenix hotel, with four meeting rooms totaling 5,000 square feet to accommodate up to 300 people. Free Wi-Fi Internet access, audio-visual capability, catering and the services of the professional meetings team will ensure a successful event, whether it’s a business meeting, social event, seminar or conference.
  Contact info: 3600 N 2nd Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85013 USA
phone: 602-604-4900
  Room amenities: Spacious standard room with two queen beds, wireless internet, fridge, microwave, Iron, Ironing board and 37 inch flat screen television.
  Facility amenities: This Phoenix hotel boasts a myriad of amenities and leisure facilities. Relax in our heated outdoor pool or get active in the 24-hour fitness center. Or you can take to the tennis or beach volleyball courts for a different workout experience. Free Wi-Fi Internet access throughout the hotel keeps you productive, and ample free covered parking, a 24-hour business center, local shuttle service and same-day dry cleaning services are thoughtful extras. The Liberty Kitchen restaurant serves up a complimentary hot breakfast buffet every morning and savory American-style cuisine for dinner. Celebrate with friends and colleagues in the Lounge. Full conference and event facilities are available at this Phoenix hotel, with four meeting rooms totaling 5,000 square feet to accommodate up to 300 people. Free Wi-Fi Internet access, audio-visual capability, catering and the services of the professional meetings team will ensure a successful event, whether it’s a business meeting, social event, seminar or conference.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Seasonal - Call hotel direct Make advance bookings not with the national reservation system, but direct with the hotel. Call Group Sales at (602) 604-4905 and let the hotel staff member know you part of a Road Scholar booking to get the best rate.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Hilton Sedona Resort
Type: Resort
  Description: The Hilton Sedona Golf Resort & Spa is Sedona’s Luxury Golf Resort located amidst the spectacular beauty of Northern Arizona’s Red Rock Country in the heart of Sedona. Sedona. The location is simply magical and has been called "The Most Beautiful Place in America." Our Guests enjoy stunning views of the majestic Red Rock formations surrounding the Hilton Sedona Resort – giving the Resort a feeling of a High Desert Lodge.
  Contact info: 90 Ridge Trail Dr.
Sedona, AZ 86351 USA
phone: 928-284-4040
  Room amenities: Our Guest Rooms are beautifully decorated with Hand-carved Mexican Alder Wood and Wrought Iron furnishings. Each Guest Room features items from the Hilton Serenity Collection. The Serenity Bed includes an exclusive Suite Dreams Mattress, Super Topper Mattress Pad, Down-Filled Comforters, Touch of Down Pillows, 250 thread-count sheets and Duvet Cover, along with custom Southwest Decorative Bed Throws and Bolster Pillows. 32-inch LCD Flat Screen TV Small Refrigerators & Wet Bar High-Speed Internet Access is available Desk & Work Area with 2-Line Phone Small Sitting Area Cozy Gas Fireplace Private Patio or Private Balcony with spectacular views of stunning Red Rock formations or our perfectly manicured Championship Golf Course Fairways Microwave Oven
  Facility amenities: Fitness Center: 2,500 Square-Feet of Fitness Center, PreCor Equipment: Weight Machines, Treadmills, Ellipticals, Bikes, Olympic Free Weights, Rowers, etc. Spa: 1,300 Square-Feet Aerobic Room with Wood Floor; 25-Meter Heated Lap Pool; Outdoor Hot Spa & Wading Pool; 3 Lighted Tennis Courts; Luxury Men's and Ladies' Locker Rooms with Large Spas, Saunas and Steam Rooms Golf: Spectacular Championship Golf Course designed by Gary Panks to blend this challenging Golf Course within the natural beauty of the Red Rocks of Sedona. The Sedona Golf Course at The Hilton Sedona Golf Resort & Spa has been named, "Top 10 New Public Golf Course" by Golf Magazine, "Best Par-3 Golf Course in the State" by the Arizona Republic, and "One of the 100 Most Women-Friendly Golf Courses in America" by Golf for Women Magazine.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges
Type: Lodge
  Description: The South Rim lodges (Maswik, Yavapai or Bright Angel) are within a half mile of the S. Rim. The lodges are convenient to all the shops, museums and restaurants within Grand Canyon Village. Free shuttle buses stop at each lodge.
  Contact info: S. Rim Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023 USA
phone: 928-638-2631
  Room amenities: Television, phone, bath. Refrigerators available upon request for medications.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Brief on site program registration between 4:30 - 5:15 PM. Hotel rooms available after 4:00 PM. You will be staying at Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown that night.
  End of Program:
Pack up and depart to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, followed by a stop at the starting hotel. We should arrive to the airport by 12:30PM. You will be staying at Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
To Start of Program
  Location:  Phoenix
  Nearest city or town:  Phoenix
  Nearest highway: I-17 and I-10
  Nearest airport:  Sky Harbor Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departures
Travel Details

To Hotel From Phoenix Airport


From Airport




Apache Taxi; AAA/Yellow Cab; Mayflower Cab


Per Person/One Way:


See Below
Prices are subject to change.


For two or more travelers a taxi may be cheaper and more convenient than Super Shuttle. Call in advance for a quote. Rates remain the same regardless of company, number of passengers and number of bags. Taxi terminal access is as follows: Terminal 2: East of the North curb, outside door # 8. Terminal 3: North curbside, outside door # 7 and Terminal 4: Level 1, North curbside, outside door # 7. Apache Taxi, 480-557-7000; AAA/Yellow Cab, 480-888-8888; Mayflower Cab 602-955-1355.


Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport from Last Location


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
NAU Road Scholar


Per Person/One Way:


Included in program.
Prices are subject to change.


NAU transportation will stop at Phoenix Airport followed by a stop at starting location.


Wyndham Garden Midtown to/from Skyharbor airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-730-9267
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


About $18 one way ($16 if booked online), $2 discount with code "E3BBF" - Prices subject to change
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 




8.5 miles


Shuttles by reservation to and from the Phoenix airport. Upon arrival, collect your luggage. For Terminal 2 arrivals, exit Door 8, at the east end of the terminal, past baggage claim. Once outside, continue east to the middle island/median. Terminal 3, exit Door 6 (South Curb) or Door 9 (North Curb) and cross the street. Terminal 4, exit Door 3 (North Curb) or Door 4 (South Curb), cross the street to the median. Parties of two or more may find a taxi to be cheaper.


Wyndham Garden Midtown to/from Skyharbor Airport


From Airport




Light Rail


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


45 Minutes 




10 miles


Ride the free Sky Train from Term. 4 (Air Canada, American, British Airways, Southwest, US Airways, Volaris, WestJet) to the 44th St. & Washington Metro Light Rail station. In early 2015 Sky Train will be extended to Term. 3 (Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian Jet Blue, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country), with a short walk to Term. 2 (Alaska, Great Lakes, United). From the 44th St. & Washington stop, take the westbound train ($2.00 fare) to Osborn & Central. Walk one block west to 2nd Ave and turn right.

Driving Directions
  Leaving your car at the starting hotel You may leave your car at the starting hotel for the duration of the program. The NAU van will return to the starting hotel at the end of the program.
  Wyndham Garden Midtown Phoenix from points West (LA) Take I-10 East, Exit 7th Ave, Turn Left North onto 7th Ave, Turn Right East onto Osborn Rd, Turn Left North onto 2nd Ave, Hotel is on the left..
  Wyndham Garden Midtown from Skyharbor Airport PHX - Take I-10 West, Exit 7th Ave, Turn Right North onto 7th Ave, Turn Right East onto Osborn Rd, Turn Left North onto 2nd Ave, Hotel is on the left..
  Wyndham Garden Midtown from points north. Take I-17 South, Exit Indian School Road, Turn Left East onto Indian School Road, Turn Right South onto 3rd Ave, Turn Left East onto Osborn Road, Turn Left North onto 2nd Ave, Hotel is on the left..
Elevation Note: Elevations up to 7,000 feet. Check with physician if you have heart/lung conditions.

Equipment Requirements: - Bring your own camera. digital SLR recommended. Point and Shoot Cameras welcome, as are film users. We will not be able to process film for critique. - Wide angle (20-35 mm) lens, macro lens or close-up Extension tube useful. - Short to medium (80-200 mm) telephoto lens also useful. - Tripod and cable/remote release are invaluable. - USB Flash drive/jump drive at least 2 gig in size. To submit the images for the daily photo review. This device is important and only one device per couple or team is needed. A second memory card may be substituted. - Laptop computers are recommended. They are useful for participants reviewing their daily photos for submission for review, editing photos and organizing photo essay for the end of the week. I-Pads do not work as well as laptops due to difficulty in exporting files. - Printed copy of the Camera's full owner's manual - not just the Getting Start Manual, download from MFR's website if necessary; - Extra batteries, battery charger.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-In and Program Registration/Orientation
(Thursday, April 16)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-In: After 4 PM. Early check-in subject to hotel availability.

Program Registration: 4:30-5:15 PM. After You have your room assignment, Come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby or meeting room to register with the program staff,and pick up your name tag.

Orientation: 5:30-7 PM. We will gather in the hotel meeting room. We will review the daily schedule and any changes, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you have. We will follow with quick introductions.

Please be aware that the program activities and schedule times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel conference room at 7 PM. If you wish you may also order "adult" beverages at your cost.
 Evening: After Dinner, enjoy a free evening, get a good night's sleep for the full day ahead.
Accommodations: Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Photography Class/MacDonald Ranch
(Friday, April 17)

Note: Several walks, carry your own equipment up to one half mile each.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet catered by the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Anyone with one of today's cameras can take a picture; not everyone can be called a photographer. Many of today's cameras are so "smart" that a person can literally point and shoot with the results being very acceptable more often than not. The question regarding equipment is, do you run it or does it run you? Which route to take? Your path or the beaten path? Discover your own unique path to stunning photography under the guided tutelage of an Arizona Highways Photographer. Unlock the secrets of professional photographers and learn to capture the "soul" of a place as opposed to merely its physical appearance. View the world with the eye of a photographer and uncover the beauty and picturesque moments and scenes surrounding you during this photography class. Discuss Camera Basics and explore the controls on your camera. (Bring your Camera and printed manual with you to the session.)
 Lunch: Lunch is a delicious green salad and build your own sandwich.
 Afternoon: After lunch we head out to the "garden" area behind the hotel for a practice session with our new concepts and to learn the controls of your camera. Field trip to 1300 acre ranch in the lush Sonoran desert. Experience the magic of the desert in the true spirit of the west. Enjoy endless saguaros and fascinating wildlife.
 Dinner: Enjoy a cowboy cookout in a rustic old-west setting.
 Evening: Return to hotel upon conclusion of photo shoot and cowboy cookout.
Accommodations: Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Phoenix's Desert Botanical Garden and the Sonoran desert
(Saturday, April 18)

Note: Several walks, carry your own equipment up to one half mile each.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet catered by the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Photo shoot at the Desert Botanical Gardens. One of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums, this one-of-a-kind museum showcases 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, the Garden offers interesting and inspiring experiences to more than 250,000 visitors each year. The stunning exhibits provide endless photo opportunities.
 Lunch: Return to our hotel for lunch, Lunch is a delicious green salad and build your own sandwich.
 Afternoon: Gather in the hotel meeting room for an afternoon session on Post Processing. In digital photography, post processing describes work that is done on photos after taking them; using software like Photoshop, or Lightroom for instance. We’ll be devoting an evening to a basic intro to photo editing using Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. We’ll cover such topics as how to make adjustments to levels, color and saturation, exposure, cropping, and resizing, to name a few. We’ll also cover how to use some of the tools used most often in photography like selection tools, cloning and “clean-up” tools, for instance. Often, just a few minor adjustments is all that’s needed. Come join us for a fun filled evening as we discover how to improve and enhance your valuable pictures.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Gather in the hotel meeting room for a photo critique and review session.
Accommodations: Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Sedona all day photo field trip
(Sunday, April 19)

Note: Several walks, carry your own equipment up to one half mile each.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet catered by the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Pack up and load the vehicles. Enjoy a field trip to Sedona red rock country. Located in Arizona's high desert under the towering southwestern rim of the vast Colorado Plateau, the city of Sedona is blessed with four mild seasons marked by abundant sunshine and clean air. The rust-red color of the landscape, the burble of Oak Creek and the red mountains are an exquisite assault on the 5 senses. There is little wonder why the awe-inspiring views surrounding Sedona stir reverent feelings in its visitors. As the sun tracks across Sedona's turquoise-blue skies, the ageless mountains, spires, boulders, trees and occasional intermittent waterfalls that surround Sedona will display more colors than any ambitious rainbow, and provide endless opportunities for magnificent photos. We will spend time in the towering confines of Oak Creek Canyon photographing the flowing waters and riparian community of the creek as well as some of the historic structures left behind by homesteaders. Oak Creek Canyon was designated as Arizona's first official Scenic Byway and is considered one of the most dramatic drives of our state as it drops from the Ponderosa Pine country of Flagstaff to the high elevation desert of Sedona. Numerous stops capturing Sedona's famous red rock views as well as its beautiful high desert Flora. Visit Sedona's iconic Church of the Holy Cross.
 Lunch: Sack lunch in the field.
 Afternoon: Continue our visit to beautiful locations in Sedona.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Following an early dinner, we will head out to capture sunset photos of the red rocks and towering buttes/cliffs.
Accommodations: Hilton Sedona Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Drive Oak Creek Canyon to Grand Canyon/Sunset Shoot
(Monday, April 20)

Note: Several walks carry your own equipment up to one half mile each.

 Breakfast: Come down by the time indicated on the itinerary, just be sure to allow enough time to arrive promptly for the morning activity!
 Morning: Drive up scenic Oak Creek Canyon, and the San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field on the way to the Grand Canyon. View the grandeur of the Grand Canyon at various scenic view points.
 Lunch: Sack lunch on the rim.
 Afternoon: Continue our grand exploration of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Gather in a meeting room for a photo critique and review session.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Watch the Sunset over the Grand Canyon and maybe take a few photos, too.
Accommodations: Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sunrise Photoshoot on the rim of the Grand Canyon/Departures
(Tuesday, April 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Grand Canyon Lodge's Cafeteria. Enjoy a wide selection of choices.
 Morning: Get up early for a sunrise photo shoot at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Pack up and depart to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, arriving by 12:30PM, followed by a stop at the starting hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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