6150
Moab
Advanced Nature Photography in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
Find out what makes Utah’s national parks a must-explore for photographers as you join experts for extended field sessions focusing on light, composition and advanced techniques.
Rating (4.93)
Program No. 6150RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,199
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 2 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Moab, UT
D
River Canyon Lodge

Activity note: Moab is ideally situated next to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. A number of theories about how Moab got its name float around local book stores and coffee shops. The most accepted explanation is that in the Bible, the name Moab occurs frequently referring to a dry, mountainous area east of the Dead Sea and southeast of Jerusalem. This explanation seems to fit in both its geographical relationship to Salt Lake City (and the Great Salt lake) and the geologic characteristics of the area.

Dinner: We will travel to a local restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal and continue getting to know one-another.

Evening: After dinner, we will wrap up our orientation back at the hotel with a short lecture on nature photography. Get some rest afterwards, we start before dawn tomorrow!

DAY
2
Arches National Park & Colorado River Canyon Photography
Moab, UT
B,D
River Canyon Lodge

Activity note: Our daily schedule for today and the next two days consist of a pre-dawn breakfast followed by travel to our early morning light photo location. We photograph one to three locations until lunch time when we return to Moab for our main meal of the day at local restaurants. Following lunch there is time for individual consultations with our instructor, free time to sort photos, or a quick rest. We depart mid-afternoon for our evening, sunset photo site. Evening meal is a box lunch in the field.

Breakfast: Each morning we have a full order off the menu breakfast at the "Moab Diner", a Moab favorite. There's no doubt you'll walk away satisfied with extensive menu choices and prompt, friendly service. The Diner opens early for us to facilitate our early morning photo excursions.

Morning: We depart from the Moab Diner to Arches National Park. Our early morning light stop is at LaSal Mountains and Courthouse Towers Overlook. We will remain until well after dawn experiencing the amazing light and then travel to Devil's Playground. We will walk the 1.2 mile trail to Landscape Arch with many photo opportunities along the trail. All daily schedules are subject to change due to unforeseen factors such as weather, interests of the group, etc. Arches National Park is a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The Park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.

Lunch: Lunch today is on your own to enjoy restaurants and shopping or browsing the downtown of Moab. Some participants choose this time to review their photos.

Afternoon: Midday rest after lunch with opportunities for individual appointments with our instructor. Mid afternoon we depart for the Colorado River Canyon north of Moab. We travel a Utah Scenic Byway with stops to photograph and view the LaSal Mountains, the bends of the river and dramatic canyon walls, and finally our sunset destination, the dramatic Fisher Towers. The Fisher Towers are one of the most outstanding scenic features of Utah's Colorado Riverway. These rock pinnacles soar above a maze of red and purple hued canyons. We eat our box dinner in the field to allow for continued photography until dark when we return to Moab.

Dinner: A local market prepares our fresh box meals each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. The lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and water.

DAY
3
Deadhorse State Park & Arches National Park Photography
Moab, UT
B,L,D
River Canyon Lodge

Activity note: Dead Horse Point State Park provides a beautiful mesa where you can look for miles into Canyonlands National Park or 2,000 feet down to the Colorado River. There are a few short hikes around the edge of the mesa with stunning views into the deep canyons.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Moab Diner

Morning: We depart from the Moab Diner and travel to Deadhorse Point State Park for our early morning photo location. The dramatic landscape of the canyon walls become illuminated as the early morning sunbeams work their patterns down to the Colorado River 2,000 feet below. The Road Scholar website has featured photos from this program and past participants! Before the turn of the 19th century, mustang herds ran wild on the mesas near Dead Horse Point. The unique promontory provided a natural corral into which the horses were driven by cowboys. The only escape was through a narrow, 30-yard neck of land controlled by fencing. Mustangs were then roped and broken, with the better ones being kept for personal use or sold to eastern markets. Unwanted culls of "broomtails" were left behind to find their way off the Point. According to one legend, a band of broomtails was left corralled on the Point. The gate was supposedly left open so the horses could return to the open range. For some unknown reason, the mustangs remained on the Point. There they died of thirst within sight of the Colorado River below.

Lunch: Prior to our return to Moab, we stop along the Colorado River to look at ancient petroglyphs and a view of the distinctive Jug Handle Arch. Prepare your taste buds for the full dining experience, we plan our midday meals at different locally owned restaurants to give you a nice variety and plenty of choices.

Afternoon: Midday rest after lunch with opportunities for individual appointments with our instructor. Mid-afternoon we depart Moab and after a beautiful and dramatic drive through the entrance of Arches National Park, we have a one-way photography hike on the “Park Avenue” Trail. (1 mi) This dramatic hike is a participant favorite as it winds through 1,000 feet towers of red sandstone. Vans pick us up at the lower trailhead. We stop next at our sunset location, a picnic area with a view of Balanced Rock and the background rugged red rocks and distant LaSal mountains in the background. We eat our box dinner in the field to allow for continued photography until dark when we return to Moab.

Dinner: A local market prepares our fresh box meals each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. The lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and water.

DAY
4
Canyonlands National Park & Arches Photography
Moab, UT
B,D
River Canyon Lodge

Activity note: Canyonlands National Park encompasses a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The Rivers divide the park into districts: Needles, Island in the Sky, and the Maze. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different photo opportunities. The Island in the Sky District is so named because of sheer canyon cliffs that surround a plateau that dominates the sky rising out of the surrounding high desert.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Moab Diner

Morning: We leave from the Moab Diner and drive one hour to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. Our early morning destination is the iconic Mesa Arch, a famous stop amongst the leading photographers of the world. With it's sunrise glow and framing of the peaks beyond, it captures the essence of this region. A trip to Island in the Sky would not be complete without the short hike 1/2 mile round trip short hike to the amazing Mesa Arch. We next travel to Green River Overlook for a glimpse into the canyon of the Green, on it's way to the confluence with the Colorado River. we will be treated to an expansive view of the Canyon and you will be able to see all the way across to the Needle's District where we will photograph tomorrow. We return to Moab by noon.

Lunch: Lunch today is on your own to enjoy restaurants and shopping or browsing the downtown of Moab. Some participants choose this time to review their photos.

Afternoon: Midday rest after lunch with opportunities for individual appointments with our instructor. Mid-afternoon we depart Moab for our third visit to Arches National Park. Two options are offered for our afternoon photo opportunities. Participants may choose either option based upon their ability for hiking and also ability to carry photo gear for the distance of the hike. The first option is to the base of Delicate Arch (Utah's official symbol), a roundtrip hike of 3 miles with an elevation gain and loss of 800 feet hiking over the rock sandstone surface. For those who choose the second option, a viewpoint that observes Delicate Arch from below will be visited followed by a short 1/2 mile roundtrip walk for sunset to Skyline Arch. The group that travels to Delicate Arch will eat their box lunch on the trail, while the Skyline Arch group will eat their box lunch in a picnic area. Both groups will return to Moab after sunset.

Dinner: A local market prepares our fresh box meals each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. The lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and water.

DAY
5
Canyonlands National Park, Needles District Photography
Moab, UT
B,L,D
River Canyon Lodge

Activity note: The Needles District forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands National Park and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. The views back to Island in the Sky dominate the views to the North and give meaning to the cryptic name.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Moab Diner

Morning: We depart the Moab Diner this morning for a 1 hour drive south of Moab along the Spanish Valley to our destination in Canyonlands National Park, the Needles District. Turning west we enter Indian Creek and after passing several ranches, enter the National Park. Our first photo stop is at a view of "Six Shooter Peaks" and then we visit the Visitor's Center. We then drive through the Park landscape stopping to photograph Wooden Shoe Arch, and then our third stop of view of the "Needles" themselves. We finish the morning at a scenic picnic area for lunch surrounded by the "Slickrock" formations.

Lunch: A local market prepares our fresh box lunches each day so that we can enjoy them in the scenic outdoors. Lunch will include your choice of sandwich, fruit, chips, dessert, and water.

Afternoon: We drive after lunch to a short trail and walk that ends at an ancestral puebloan granary. This ancient repository was built nearly 800 years ago by tribes that raised corn and stored it for future use in the granary. We then travel back along Indian Creek Highway leaving the National Park but surrounded by massive cliffs that are a world-class destination for rock climbers. We will try to catch a glimpse of these athletes high on the massive cliffs. Do you know the difference between a pictograph and a petroglyph? We will stop at Newspaper Rock State Park on the drive back to Moab to view and photograph one of the best examples of petroglyphs in the area. We return to Moab in late afternoon.

Dinner: Tonight we have a special closing dinner with a "million dollar view" at the Sunset Grill. The Sunset Grill is in the former home of Uranium King Charlie Steen. In the early 1950’s Moab was a small farming community. Arches and Canyonlands were places only a lucky few experienced. In 1952, Charles A. Steen, geologist and prospector, put Moab on the world map. Y

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Moab, UT
B

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Moab Diner

Morning: Independent departures after breakfast. Room check-out is 10:00 am.