Explore the intriguing landforms and expansive views of Death Valley in soft winter light.

© Stephen Johnson"Since 1979 I have led winter photography workshops to Death Valley. I keep returning to this desert because there is a magic here, a quiet and vast expanse of sensual and strange earthworks, remarkable in color, resting under the soft winter light of January," states Instructor Stephen Johnson.

The Place
Transformed from a searing 120 degree desert in summer to January's mild 60-70 degree weather, Death Valley is filled with intriguing landforms, delicate flora, strange mineral deposits and expansive views. Mile high Dante's View overlooks the patterned salt flats of Badwater and the Amargosa River below (the lowest point in the United States). Badwater's still water in turn mirrors the blue and white Panamint Mountains to the West. The lunar landscape appearance of Ubehebe Crater's black volcanic fields rises from the rolling desert at the valley's north end with the steep gorge of Titus Canyon and Red Pass to the southeast.

The Workshop
We will spend our first half day preparing for our outings. Topics covered will be optimal digital camera use in a variety of formats, file size and printing considerations. We will open files, review success and do some printing of the photographs made during the day, constantly going back in the field putting into practice lessons learned. Some field power and field printing will also be available.

The advent of photography's digital age provides unique opportunities for field photography instruction, for reviewing work on camera screens as it is made and on portable computers and for examining exposure, composition and emotional impact. Group evening reviews will also be conducted using digital projection. High resolution printers will be available to put some images to the ultimate test.

Digital exposure and dynamic range, color management, printers, papers and pigments, b&w and color, composition, and amazement - all will be part of our ambitious excursion into the evolving world of digital photography.

We will spend four activity-packed days in the valley, sometimes rising before dawn and lingering for the last moment of twilight. Vistas encompassing hundreds of square miles of desert and mountains, marble-lined canyons, multi-colored hills of yellow, purple and turquoise and a curved expanse of sand-swept dunes make the trip very worthwhile for photography.

This trip is designed to be a complete immersion into landscape photography and its digital evolution. We will discuss technical and aesthetic issues, tapping into your emotional response to this landscape, working toward images that are uniquely your own.

Individual problem solving is a high priority in this workshop. Classes are kept small to maximize individual attention. Plan to bring some of your work to show how you see, what you are happy with and to indicate problems you encounter.

Lodging can be arranged at Furnace Creek Ranch 760-786-2345. Camping is also available at Texas Springs Campground near Furnace Creek where sites are available on a first come, first served basis.

A full agenda is planned for this workshop, including dawn and dusk sessions. You will be doing a fair amount of walking in the canyons and on the dunes.

Death Valley NPS Website
Death Valley Map (pdf download)

Click for more information.

Terms and Conditions for Destinations Workshops

1. Reservations & Payments

A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop.  Final payment in full is due 45 days prior  to the date of departure for your workshop.  Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.

2. Cancellations

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark, or upon receipt of an email providing notice of cancellation. If you provide written notice of cancellation  60 days or more prior to the departure date for your workshop, your deposit, and any additional payment, will be refunded in full, less an administration fee of $55.00. If you provide written notice of cancellation less than 60 days prior to the departure date for your workshop, your full deposit will be forfeited; any additional funds paid to Maine Media for the workshop will be refunded.  No refunds of any amount will be made to persons who (i) fail to provide written notice of cancellation, or who (ii) begin a workshop, but fail to complete the workshop.

3. Basis of Rates

All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.

4. Insurance

It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries or illnesses.

5. Itinerary Changes

The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.

6.  Passports and Visas

A valid passport is required for all travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered. If you are a U.S. citizen, Maine Media will notify you if your destination requires a visa.  Non-U.S. citizens are required to contact the appropriate consular office for entry requirements for their workshop. Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.

7. Medical Issues

All participants must be in good health.   You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.  This document may be found on the course description page.

8. Liability Waiver

Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.   Click here to download.

9. Responsibility & Photography

To ensure a safe photographic experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations.  The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive; or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment.  No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop. 

Sign and Return Waiver Form


Course Dates

This course is not offered at this time.
Check our full workshop listing for other alternatives.

Please email us or call 1-877-577-7700 with any questions.




Class Size