Verdant valleys, basins full of wildflowers, endless rugged peaks and stunning hidden waterfalls make the San Juan mountains of Colorado a photographer’s paradise. This area has the state’s highest concentration of 14ers and numerous pristine glacial blue lakes. The monsoonal summer rains create a landscape mix that resembles the Scottish Highlands and the Canadian Rockies. The towering alpine peaks are covered in lush grass over a sea of forest and rocks, creating magical scenes. Join Exploring Exposure and Mountain Wild Tours on an exclusive photography retreat at Red Mountain Alpine Lodge. We’ll spend five days in the heart of the San Juans on Red Mountain Pass photographing our favorite locations and learning post-processing techniques. The private lodge includes meals prepared by a personal chef, space for resting and relaxing between shooting, and quick access to some of the best photography spots. We’ll visit locations all around Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. We will off-road on the scenic 4WD Alpine Loop, Ouray’s famed Yankee Boy Basin, explore hidden waterfalls and lesser-known basins. Each instructor brings a different focus and instruction on photography techniques. David offers guidance on diverse perspectives and clean light, Jennifer teaches her passion for abstracts, smaller scenes and patterns; and Jason teaches the pursuit of grand scenics and video art.
Luxury Alpine Lodging Included
For this workshop we will provide you the premier alpine experience at the Red Mountain Alpine Lodge which is 20 minutes North of Silverton, CO. We have rented the entire lodge, so it will just be our group sharing the lodge.
The Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is a brand new, premium off-grid timber frame backcountry lodge with amenities galore. The lodge features three private rooms and a large shared loft with privacy walls. Right when you walk in through the large entryway door, you’ll experience the sensation of rustic luxury as you gaze at the amazing exposed posts and beams of the custom timber frame structure. Constructed using 19th Century tools and processes with Douglas Fir timbers, it creates the unmistakable look and feel that are the hallmarks of this type of construction – cozy, rustic and soulful.
The lodge hosts a number of premium amenities and comforts to help you relax after a great day in the mountains so that you can rest and prepare for the next
If you are flying in, we have arranged for a shuttle to pick you up so you do not need to rent a car. The shuttle will transport you from Durango directly to the Alpine Lodge. Once at the lodge, we will be transporting you in Jeep Rubicons to incredible locations all over the San Juan Mountains. We all have many years of experience driving in these mountains and will ensure you arrive safely. The shuttle will return you to Durango at the conclusion of the trip.
Note: If you would like to use the shuttle you will need to arrive in Durango on July 26th. You will be responsible for arranging a hotel in Durango for the night of the 26th and transportation from the airport to your hotel in Durango. The shuttle will be picking you up on the morning of the 27th to transport you to the Alpine Lodge.
Had a wonderful experience with David and Jennifer in Silverton, CO. Great location for wildflower, waterfall and nature photography. Both David and Jennifer are terrific people who run a good workshop and are attentive to there customers. They offer great advice and their first priority is that everyone in the workshop has a safe and enjoyable experience. I really appreciated them, their knowledge and their help.
This was my second workshop with David & Jennifer and I continue to learn and grow with each workshop. The experience of exploring and photographing the higher elevations of the San Juan Mountains was very special for someone who loves the mountains as I do. David & Jennifer provide a low pressure learning environment for photographers of all levels. They allow you the space to be creative and find your own style while also offering helpful suggestions and technical assistance. In addition to being very accomplished professional landscape photographers, David and Jennifer are very generous, thoughtful and fun people to spend time with. I look forward to attending my next Exploring Exposure workshop! Alan
I had never attended a photography workshop. My experience was minimal but I was able to learn much and gain a perspective of how photography will fit in my future life. The other participants at the workshop were great and many had attended an Exploring Exposure workshop previously. David and Jennifer were highly supportive but also encouraged me to try things on my own. This was a great life experience.
What You Will Learn
In the Field
- How to read a scene to create compelling compositions using shapes, lines, visual mass, texture, and more
- Reading weather and lighting conditions to know when to go out on your own in the right light
- How to use apps to scout out your own locations and plan your next shoot
- When and how to use lenses to bring focus to your subject
- How and when to use a polarizer to make colors pop
- Depth of field and hyperfocal distance to help you create sharp photos
- Achieving maximum sharpness using focus stacking
- Creative use of ND Filters to create motion in clouds and water
- Creating panoramas without using expensive equipment
- How to take correct exposures for bright skies; to be later used for exposure blending
- Identifying the best light and how to expose correctly
Post Processing for Beginners
- Making dull RAW files pop in Lightroom and keeping files organized
- Use of local adjustments for dodging & burning, and many more creative opportunities
- Using white balance to create mood in your images
- Properly sharpen and reduce noise for maximum image quality
- Stitching panoramas easily in Lightroom
- Exposure blending using HDR for natural looking results
Post Processing for Advanced users
- Exposure blending using luminosity masks to create balanced, natural looking images
- Focus stacking using Photoshop and/or Zerene Stacker for maximum depth of field
- Blending different focal lengths to correct for wide angle diminishment
- Creative burning and dodging techniques to bring focus to your subject
- Using the Orton Effect to add glow to your highlights
- Creating drama with Light Bleed
- Using Midtone Contrast to make images pop off the screen
- Sharpening for web and print
Almost anyone can do this workshop, but you should be aware of a few things before signing up.
- Many of the locations we will drive right up to, there will be beautiful flowers and views from the side of the road.
- The absolute best views at many of these locations require that you venture off the road for a short distance to find the best flowers. These spots are on somewhat steep hillsides that are not dangerous per se, but you do need to be sure-footed if you want these views.
- One of the waterfalls does require a short hike (1/2 mile roundtrip) with somewhat rugged terrain and a water crossing. Because we have many leaders on this workshop, it is no problem for us to split the group up on this hike. If you don’t want to do this hike, we can take you and anyone else to another location that isn’t as strenuous, but still fantastic.
- Altitude sickness is the biggest concern if you have experienced it in the past. Most people never have an issue with it, but it is something to be aware of, and it is ideal to arrive several days early to acclimate if possible.
We will be at extremely high elevations above 12,000 feet at times and sleeping at 11,000 feet. This workshop is not recommended if you get altitude sickness easily or if you are scared of heights, as many of the roads we are driving have steep drop offs and are not for the faint of heart.
$2995 - (Initial Payment of $795)
Availability: Spots Available
What is Included
What is Not Included
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How To Get There
- Option 1 (Recommended, and required to take the shuttle) – Fly to the Durango airport and take the included shuttle (1.5 hour drive) Note: you must arrive July 26th and stay a night in Durango, the shuttle will pick you up the morning of July 27th.
- Option 2 – Fly to Denver International Airport and rent a car to make the 7 hour drive
- Option 3 – Fly to the Montrose Airport and rent a car to make the 1.5 hour drive. Airlines that frequent this airport vary but service through Denver is available year-round through United
Safe, Legal, Responsible.
We always run our workshops on the up and up. For this workshop Exploring Exposure operates under a Special Use Permit on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests. We are also an equal opportunity service provider.
We understand how important your safety is when we’re in remote locations. This is why David and Jennifer are both certified Wilderness First Responders, we are prepared for any situation large or small.
We are also committed to keeping the locations we visit pristine. This is why we helped develop the Nature First movement. Nature First is dedicated to promoting principles amongst nature photographers to keep our lands beautiful for generations to come. We hope you will join the movement too!