COLORADO: GREAT DUNES & FALL COLORS PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Colorado
26 September, 2019

TOUR FOCUS
PHOTOGRAPHY

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SCHEDULED TOURS

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $4,350 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Durango, CO (DRO)

GROUP SIZE

3 - 5 Participants

AVAILABILITY

2020: 5 spaces available

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of COLORADO: GREAT DUNES & FALL COLORS PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

  • Maximum group size of only 5 participants
  • Beautiful scenery and autumn colors
  • Tallest sand dunes in North America reaching 750 ft!
  • Starry night photography possible at dunes

Description of COLORADO: GREAT DUNES & FALL COLORS PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

Southwest Colorado is a photographer’s dream and you will not want to miss the incredible opportunities this workshop will offer. We will begin by driving from Durango over Wolf Creek Pass and down into the San Luis Valley where the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve sits nestled at the bottom of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The tallest sand dunes in North America are found here and the tallest reaches 750’ in height! This park also features some nice, dark skies where we will spend one night trying to capture some night images of the dunes. We will spend time in and on the dunes photographing with an eye toward black-and-white images as well.

Once our time in the dunes has come to an end, we will make a scenic drive to Ouray, Colorado which is known as the “little Alps” due to the steepness and shape of the mountains around town. This will be our home base as we shoot the spectacular fall colors and mountains in the area. Mount Sneffels, the San Juan Mountains, Telluride, Silverton, and national forest service roads will be our shooting locales for the next several days. If the weather cooperates and an early snow falls on the high elevations, we will be blessed with some amazing colors and snow-capped peaks. Aspens, oaks, and even shrubs has spectacular color in 2019! So, what will 2020 have in store for us? After we finish our time in Ouray, we will head back to Durango for departures the following day.

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Length of Tour

9-Days/8-Nights

DAY 1 ARRIVE IN DURANGO (NIGHT IN DURANGO)

Fly into Durango before 4:00 pm if possible where we will check into our rooms and then meet this evening for dinner and a meet and greet. We will discuss the coming days, photography strategies, logistics, safety, and expectations.

DAY 2 DRIVE FROM DURANGO TO GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE (NIGHT IN ALAMOSA)

An early departure and we will drive along the scenic route between Durango and the park. Arriving in Alamosa, we will grab lunch and check into our rooms. After that, we will then head out to the park for some black-and-white photography in the afternoon, then focus on sunset. After sunset, we will return to Alamosa for dinner and some rest.

DAY 3 GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE (NIGHT IN ALAMOSA,)

Since we will be doing some night sky photography this evening, our start will not be as early and we will discuss some post processing at the hotel after breakfast. We will head out to the park in the afternoon for some black-and-white imagery, possibly some macro with insects and flowers, and then another sunset shoot. This evening, we will remain in the park to shoot some nightscapes and then return to Alamosa. Fortunately, the sun sets a bit earlier so we will be able to return for some rest at a reasonable time.

DAY 4 DRIVE FROM ALAMOSA TO OURAY WITH POSSIBLE PHOTOGRAPHY STOPS ALONG THE WAY (NIGHT IN OURAY)

We will depart early morning for Ouray, Colorado traveling through some very scenic locations and if conditions are right, we will stop and take some images. Our route to Ouray will take us north to Curecanti National Recreation and then past Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park where w may make a brief stop depending upon our time. We will head into Ouray so we can check into our rooms.

DAY 5 – 7 OURAY FALL FOLIAGE (NIGHTS IN OURAY)

We will spend both mornings and evenings photographing several locations in the San Juan Mountains, the Telluride area, along the Million Dollar Highway, the Silverton Area, and Mount Sneffels. We will follow the color and the light! Participants will be given some time to walk around the historic main street for shopping and photography on at least one day, and time may be had in Telluride. Meals will be at various locations depending upon where we photograph that morning and evening. We will do at least one optional night sky photography outing. Mid-day time will be spend on post processing tips and techniques.

DAY 8 DEPART OURAY AND HEAD TO SILVERTON AND THEN DURANGO (NIGHT IN DURANGO)

We will depart early and head out on the Million Dollar Highway and head to the Silverton area where we will photograph in the morning, have a late breakfast/early lunch, and then depart for Durango stopping along the way if the foliage is beckoning. For those that want, photo critiques will be available in the evening.

DAY 9 DEPART FOR HOME

We will shuttle participants to the airport for the trip home.

Our schedule will be somewhat flexible as foliage color can vary greatly in a short distance. We may revisit earlier sites if light conditions or weather conditions change providing outstanding photographic opportunities as well. The starting time for each day will be discussed at dinner the night before. If you have a US National Parks Pass, please bring it along.

Cost

Cost is $4,350 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Durango, CO (Airport code DRO.
This trip ends in Durango, CO (Airport code DRO).

NOTE: Although we will eat meals as a group, meals costs are not included in the tour fee.

 

Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $750 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.

 

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

 

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

Expected Hotels

Best Western Mountain Shadows
3255 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
3418 Mariposa St, Alamosa, CO 81101

Ouray Chalet Inn
510 Main St, Ouray, CO 81427

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

There will be some walking on the sand, which can be strenuous for short distances. The elevation in the park is around 7,500 ft. and in the Ouray area, we will be at higher elevations with moderate to minimal walking as we can drive to most places for our images. Participants will want to stay very well hydrated during the tour as conditions are dry and high elevations.

Gear for Bird & Wildlife Viewing

  • Good quality binoculars
  • Spotting scopes are not typically needed as we will be photographing much of the time, unless you plan to do some digiscoping.

Photography Gear Recommendations

The best camera is the one you have with you! That said, we will help you get great photos no matter what camera you use.

This photo tour is geared toward those using DSLR or Mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses, here is what we recommend that you bring:

  • Bring at least 2 camera bodies – to reduce changing lenses and just in case of accidental damage to one

Recommended Lenses for Birds & Wildlife

  • 100-400mm (or equivalent) for birds in flight
  • 500mm lens or longer for birds and wildlife

Recommended Lenses for Landscape Opportunities

  • 24-105mm (or equivalent) for landscape and general purpose
  • In addition you may also want to have an ultra-wide lens equivalent to about 16-35mm which may be used for fun landscapes and night sky photography.

Recommended Lenses for Macro (Bugs, Frogs, etc.)

  • 100mm Macro is fine for general purpose macro photography
  • 150mm Macro is best for small, quick moving subjects like frogs

Filters (Mainly for Landscape Photography)

  • Polarizing Filter for removing reflections (screw in for wide-angle lenses)
  • Filter Holder for 4×6″ (or similar) filters
  • 2-stop Neutral Density Filter
  • 8-stop (or more) Neutral Density Filter
  • 2-stop Hard and/or Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Other Accessories

  • Tripod for long exposures, big lenses and steady video
  • Flash for low light, fill light and stop action
  • Better Beamer or MagMod flash extender
  • Rain cover for camera
  • Weather resistant Camera Bag (Backpack style is best)
  • Batteries and chargers
  • Lots of memory cards!
  • Laptop or other downloading device

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

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