Arches/Canyonlands FAQ - Don Smith Photography
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  • Arches/Canyonlands FAQ

What’s the closest airport? Grand Junction, Colorado is a 2-hour drive from Moab, Utah. Salt Lake City would be the next closest airport (238 miles, approximately 4 hours drive time). Moab does have a tiny airport but flights are very limited.

How much time will be spent in the field? I will have you on location 30 minutes prior to sunrise and up to 30 minutes after sunset. Depending on weather, we will add secondary shoots on both ends of the day (optional). There will be one evening for star photography in Arches (time TBA - weather dependent).

Will you be discussing composition? Yes, and more. With each location, The instructors will offer suggestions and go over technical (craft) questions. We will be there to assist you in finding and fine-tuning your compositons.

What are the times for the class sessions? We will start with an orientation and some classroom training on the first day of the workshop (at 1 pm), followed by a sunset shoot. Class times for the remaining three days are: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm (class tutorials).

What topics will you cover? We will discuss RAW conversion, basic workflow, HDR, HDR with layers and masks, and vision related presentations which will emphasize composition techniques.

Will the latest software be discussed? Yes, both Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 will be shown as part of workflow demonstrations.

Will there be student image reviews? Yes, two review sessions are scheduled where instructors will offer review and advice for improvement.

When do we eat? The River Canyon Lodge is located one block off Main Street where many restaurants and cafes are located. We generally eat breakfast following the morning shoots, and dinner following the sunset shoots. We tend to eat as a group, but this is not mandatory. I advise bringing snacks and drinks with you on location. The hotel does not offer meals (coffee is available each morning).

Will there be night training sessions? No (one night photography session is scheduled). What’s the weather like? Typical weather for late October is a high of 57 degrees and a low of 28 degrees. Average rainfall is .7 inches for the month and .4 inches of snow.

What camera should I bring? Most participants will have a digital SLR, but bring the camera or cameras with which you’re most comfortable shooting.

Do I have to shoot digitally? Much of the training will assume you’re shooting digitally, but digital isn’t required.

What lenses do you recommend? Lens choice is a very personal thing. You could probably find a use for every lens in your bag. So bring as much as your luggage will hold, even if you won’t take it in the field for every shoot. We suggest at the minimum you have the range from 24mm to 200mm (full frame) covered.

How far will we be walking? Our longest hike is aobut a 1-mile loop over relatively flat terrain to Landscape Arch. All other walks are less than a quarter-mile.

What filters should I bring? Polarizers are the number one recommendation. Beyond that, GND filters are useful but not necessary. We will show you alternate ways of solving expanded dynamic range without filters. A variable neutral density filter can be useful for motion blur with water, but is nor required.

Is a tripod required? While not required, a tripod will greatly enhance your opportunities and your images.

Will I need a laptop? Without a laptop you won’t be able to participate in most of the interactive classroom training sessions. A notebook is recommended.

I’m a beginner—is there a minimum skill level required? All skill levels are welcome. Some of the material may be beyond your current level, but much will benefit photographers of all abilities.

Can my wife/husband/friend join me? You’re welcome to share your room and all meals and non-workshop activities with a friend or loved one at no charge. Only paying participants will be able to join the workshop activities. With all there is to see and do in the area, there will be plenty to occupy any non-participating guest during workshop hours.

How much hiking will there be? There will be some walking to and from our shooting locations, with the longest being a 1-mile hike to Delicate Arch (I allow for plenty of time and will give an alternate shooting position that requires very little hiking). Mesa Arch is a gentle 1/4 mile hike. Headlamps or flashlights are recommended as we will be hiking in the dark at times.

Will there be time for sightseeing? Each day will be pretty full, but there will be a little down time too. And no workshop activity is required.

Will I need to rent a car? While not required, a car will give you the most mobility and flexibility. We do not provide shuttle service to and from the airport - participants are required to make their own arrangements.

Can I carpool with another workshop participant? Any carpooling needs to be arranged by the carpoolers themselves.

Can I share a room with another participant? You’re welcome to share a room with another workshop participant, but we’re not able to arrange that for you.

Will accommodations be made for people with mobility limitations? The host hotel offers full handicapped access in accordance with Utah law. Many of the locations we’ll photograph are close enough to parking that very little mobility will be necessary. We’ll do our best to offer alternatives.

Will we be staying at Monument Valley? No, we will leave at noon for the drive to Monument Valley - approximately 2 1/2 hours - we will caravan. We'll shoot the inner loop (included in the price of your workshop) then reconvene on the rim for the moonrise shoot. We will then drive back to Moab.

Liability Disclaimer: Due to the inherent nature of outdoor photography, participants agree to join the workshop at their own risk. We will never lead you to an area that is dangerous, and certainly, we need to know if you don't feel comfortable at any time.

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