Bears Ears Cliff Dwellings & Rock Art Photo Workshop

Oct 18-22, 2021
Blanding, Utah

Spend 5 days in Utah's newest National Monument exploring canyons for cliff dwellings, rock art, and other ancient Native American structures.  Learn a little archaeology while capturing images of these photogenic ancestral pueblos.  This will be an active workshop, with several miles of hiking each day. This will be the first time I have offered this workshop, and I am really excited to share some of my favorite places in this remarkable place!

About the Photographer: Colin is an award-wining photographer who has spent the past  decade exploring the red rock Canyonlands of Southern Utah.  As a part time resident of Moab since 2011, he has spent several weeks a year exploring the photographic riches in and around Southern Utah in every season.  He is a certified photography travel guide in Arches, Canyonlands & Bryce Canyon national parks, as well as Bears Ears & Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.He is the owner/operator of Rock Light Photo Tours based in Moab, Utah.

8 photographers max

Registration Fees:           
Full 5 day Workshop $795

Prices do not include applicable sales taxes

(then click add to cart to pay your $250 deposit to reserve your slot)

Housing options TBA

I promise to donate 5% off all registration fees from this workshop to Utah Diné Bikéyah and the Natural Resources Defense Council to support the legal battle to restore the original boundaries of this unique resource illegally reduced by the outgoing administration.

Feel Free to Contact Me with questions

Field lessons will include tips and techniques for:
  • How to make your red rock images pop
  • How to capture good images in challenging lighting conditions
  • How to analyze a scene for compositional options
  • Using filters to improve artistic results
  • How to photograph and document ruins and rock art using a Leave No Trace approach
Indoor sessions will be spent viewing and critiquing participants’ images.  In addition, presentations will include:
  • Photographic techniques for shooting the red rock sandstone of the Colorado Plateau
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography
  • Shooting and Stitching panoramic images
  • Adobe Lightroom workflow for getting the most from your images
  • Creating great black and white images from digital color captures
  • A presentation on the archaeology and history of Bears Ears by a special guest!

     Skills Needed

All skill levels are welcome.  Participants who have a basic understanding of digital workflow and knowledge or exposure to Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom will get the most from this workshop.

     Other Considerations

Though locations visited during this workshop are readily accessible, the hilly terrain requires some moderate hiking (typically 2-5 miles round trip). Participants MUST BE IN GOOD PHYSICAL SHAPE and able to climb and descend moderate to steep inclines. They should wear sturdy boots and use caution on slippery and rocky slopes.  Keep in mind that the elevation in the area ranges from 5000'-7,000' above sea level.

Group Size:   The workshop will be limited to 8 photographers

     Dates and Times

Workshop begins Monday afternoon, Oct 18, and ends Friday, Oct 22 at Noon.

     Where to Meet

Participants will gather and be based at a vacation rental property to be announced in Blanding, Utah (about little more than an hour South of Moab). Directions and details will be sent well in advance of the workshop.

    Registration Fees:          

Full five day workshop: $795  

Limited housing options available (not included in registration fee)
Prices do not include applicable sales & room taxes

(then click 'add to cart' to pay your $250 deposit required to reserve you slot.

Feel Free to Contact Me with questions about the workshop or housing.


Meals are the responsibility of the participant and their cost is not included in the registration fee.  We will work with the group to organize meal times and locations.  Fully stocked kitchens are available at each rental house, and we will likely plan to eat at least one meal per day there.


There will be a limited number of housing options at our home base vacation rental property in Blanding, Utah - to be announced. Directions and details will be sent well in advance of the workshop.

     Park Admissions

All park admissions are included in the registration fee.  Colin is a certified and insured tour operator in Bears Ears National Monument. 

     Airfare & Local Transportation

Airfare and local transportation is NOT included.  There is not much in the way of public transportation in the area, and the closest major airport is about 3 hours away in Grand Junction, CO (GJT), and a smaller airport outside Moab (CNY). Note: due to COVID-19, please plan to drive yourself difficult to social distance in enclosed spaces such as vehicles.  We will reassess the COVID situation as the dates get closer.

     Program Schedule:

Rather than adhering to a set itinerary, we will stay flexible so that we optimize our time in the field, giving you the best chances to capture great images based on weather and lighting conditions. The cliff dwellings and rock art are best photographed during the day, leaving time in the evenings for instructional sessions, and down time.  We will probably take advantage of the full moon Oct 20 to do some night hiking as well.

Workshop Cancellation Policy
  • More than 120 days in advance - full deposit will be returned
  • 60-120 days in advance - deposit can be used for a later workshop
  • 30-60 days in advance - 50% refund.  If we manage to fill all the workshop slots, then the remaining 50% can be applied toward future workshops
  • COVID-19 - if a COVID-19 related travel ban or quarantine directly affect you, or if the workshop is cancelled due to travel restrictions - 100% refund (or apply 50% toward a future workshop with a 10% discount)


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