Big Bend is hands-down one of my favorite National Parks. It's not flooded with millions of tourists, it's largely undeveloped, and the landscapes are vastly different than anywhere else in the country.  And as always, we will discuss and shoot landscapes & general nature.

Costs includes tuition for 5 days, nightly accommodations, transportation to-from El Paso and throughout the week, and all meals.

What’s Included - Five days/ four nights packed with photography, instruction, and adventure in Big Bend National Park!

  • Pre-workshop Personal Skype Session – Before all of our destination workshops, you can benefit from a personal Q&A Skype session at your convenience with Tom, to ask any questions you might have about your upcoming trip.  This is immensely helpful to get to know your instructor, and to making sure you feel prepared for the great adventure ahead!
  • Welcome Packet - You will receive your personalized welcome packet 2-6 weeks before the workshop with maps, helpful local info, nature facts, FAQ’s, technical photography information on what we will be discussing, a comprehensive list of what to bring, and more.
  • Park Related Fees – We believe in and support our National Parks system, so we are proud Commercial Use Authorization Permit holders with Big Bend National Park!  This provides us good standing with the Park and the rangers, and it helps to fund fantastic conservation projects that would not be possible without special use educators and their students!  So a portion of your tuition goes right back to help protect the park you love!
  • Numerous Guided Hikes – We will embark on at least one hike per day through the intensely beautiful landscape of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Chisos Mountains.  We will explore the myriad flora and fauna of both ecosystems, shooting anything and everything in nature, discussing a wide range of photographic tips and techniques.
  • Astro Photography - You’ll get very used to your siestas on this trip, as we will spend the first hour or two before sunrise and after sundown navigating the exciting night sky with our cameras.  We will discuss and execute several techniques including night landscapes, star trails, painting with light, and more!
  • 4 Nights Camping, water, and snacks – Other lodging is available at the expense of the student.  But If camping is your thing, then you will enjoy all three nights of group camping in the park with Andrew, giving you extra time to talk about photography!  All you need is to bring your own camping gear!  Regardless of if you choose to camp or stay at a nearby hotel, plenty of bottled water and snacks throughout the day will be provided.

Overview of Class Techniques // Including, but not limited to:

  • Composition
  • Color
  • Equipment
  • Filters
  • Exposure
  • Portraits
  • Camera Settings
  • Stock Photography
  • Drone / Aerial Photography*
  • Long Exposure
  • Time-lapse basics
  • Star Trails / Night Photography
  • Light painting
  • Photoshop
  • Lightroom
  • Camera Raw
  • Premier Pro

*the laws are constantly changing, so we'll fly only if the FAA allows it during our trips

Location - Big Bend National Park, Texas

Dates - Monday, TBD – Friday, TBD, 2017

Photography Skill Level - Beginner to Pro

Activity Level - Light to Moderate. We will be hiking 2-6 miles per day during this workshop, which will involve a few hours of physical exertion outdoors.

Price - $TBA which includes your pre-workshop materials and Skype Q&A, 5 days of photography instruction, all park fees, 4 nights camping (Thurs. – Sat.), bottled waters and snacks in the field, and photo feedback and discussion sessions.  Transportation to and from the park and within the park, lunch, dinner, and all other expenses are not included.

Deposit - A non-refundable $500 deposit is required to secure your spot.

Class Size - This class will have at most a 6 to 1 ratio of students to instructor. A maximum of 12 students.

Travel - Big Bend National Park is quite remote.  However, there are a few airports within a reasonable driving distance. The closest airports are Midland-Odessa Regional Airport (MAF), which is 220 miles away (3-4 hr drive) and El Paso International Airport (ELP) which is 315 miles away (4-5 hr drive). For reference, the drive from Dallas and Houston is approximately 10 hours for either.

Lodging - Group camping with instructor is included.  Lodging is also available in the Chisos Basin for around $125-175 per night, at the cost of the student.

Meals - All snacks and meals are provided, but impromptu gas station snacks, etc, are the responsibility of the student.  We'll eat the majority of our meals in camp, and take a packed meal whenever that's not convenient. On the drive to/from the airport, we'll stop at restaurants. Please let us know in advance if you have special dietary needs.

Transportation – Once in the park, everyone will follow Andrew in their own vehicles to each location.  Students are encouraged but not required to consolidate into as few vehicles as possible.  Additional fuel within the park is the responsibility of the student.

Itinerary - Due to unpredictable changes in weather and movement of wildlife, etc., our schedule remains flexible and subject to change.  However, our start and end times are set in stone so each student can plan their travel accordingly.

Monday -  Pick-up at El Paso Airport. We ask all students to try and arrive by 1pm. If they will be flying as an unaccompanied minor, we will provide you with the name of the leader(s) you can list as the guardian to pick them up before you purchase airline tickets. On the drive to Big Bend, we'll make multiple photography stops and arrive to the park around dinner time. After dinner, it's straight into our first evening expedition of the week.

Tuesday -  Rise early to photograph the sunrise, then back to camp for breakfast and The mid-day sun isn't always the best photography light, so this is the best time for us to go over editing lessons on our computers, and peer reviews of the previous day's photos. We'll also spend this time scouting locations for evening and sunset shots.

Wednesday -  We

Thursday -  We will be meeting in Big Bend National Park at Panther Junction promptly at 4:00pm, we will then head out into the field as quickly as possible to have some fun! Please be sure to give yourself enough time to check in (if lodging in the basin) prior to our initial meeting, as we will hit the ground running and not finish until later Thursday night, after an introduction to night photography.

Friday - Rise early to photograph sunrise in the Chisos.  Break for lunch together with discussion.  Nap time!  Regroup at 3 to head to the next location to shoot afternoon/ evening light.  Break for dinner together.  Head out to shoot star pictures in the mountains.

Saturday -  Rise very early to photograph the stars before dawn.  Shoot at several locations throughout the morning.  Break for lunch together with discussion.  Nap time!  Regroup at 3 to head to the next location to shoot afternoon/ evening light.  Break for dinner together.  Head out to shoot star pictures in the desert.

Sunday - Rise very early again to photograph the stars before dawn.  Shoot at several locations throughout the morning.  Break for lunch together with our laptops to discuss and critique our work from the trip!  We will then head out to shoot and learn throughout the afternoon and evening.  The workshop officially ends after sundown, but students are highly encouraged to stay in the park as long as possible to continue exploring the amazing landscape of Big Bend!

Lodging Information

Keeping true to the nature of Big Bend National Park, we'll be spending each night in three large tents. One for the girls, one for the guys, and one for the leaders.

Each day's editing lessons and peer reviews will be in our Home Base: a huge screen tent with tables for your laptops, and a big screen TV in the center for presentations. We'll have a gas generator nearby with cords going into Home Base to recharge everyone's gear so we're 100% ready to go out and make amazing photography the next day.

Bring:

Laptop with either Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom

Itinerary subject to change by Tom Baker