PLEASE NOTE that this info is out of date – as it mainly applied to our Lake Powell workshop
Lake Powell, also known as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, is one of the most amazing places on the planet. It’s a riveting visual blend of deep emerald waters (parts of the lake are over 400 feet deep), towering Red Navajo Sandstone cliffs that have been beautifully sculpted by the wind over millions of years, and a rich blue sky above. There are many arches (the world’s largest natural arch – Rainbow Bridge National Monument – is part of our landscape workshop), Anasazi Ruins dating back to the 1200’s, 600 foot Waterfalls, Petroglyphs, Pictographs, massive natural amphitheaters/caves, pristine beaches, fossilized Dinosaur Tracks, beautiful Wildflowers, and some of the best and least accessed Slot Canyons available anywhere. The main lake channel is 186 miles long, and there is over 1900 miles of shoreline–more than the entire west coast of the United States. It also borders the Grand Canyon and shares the same dramatic and beautiful landscape.
It doesn’t matter if you are a complete novice or a professional photographer – because the workshops are designed to help you improve your photography regardless of your experience. Our world-class instructors can help aspiring photographers take their craft to the next level, or can give more space to attendees just wanting to relax and explore these amazing locations. You can get out of it as much as you like.
Yes. While we are not running any marathons, we will be spending seven days and six nights working, living and sleeping in the desert landscape. There will be a mix of shade and sun, and the temperatures can range from nighttime lows in the 40’s to daytime highs in the 90’s (F) – though we intentionally try to pick the best times of the year for nice weather, when it’s usually a more pleasant range from 50 to 80 degrees. We will be hiking distances on average of 1-3 miles per day (with two hikes closer to 6-8 miles roundtrip) and you will have to pack your camera gear in and out this distance. While the hikes are at a comfortable pace, it’s important that you are in adequate physical shape. If you currently have, or have had in the past, any impairing physical conditions or are taking required medications, please advise us in advance. If you have any concern about your ability to participate in a particular workshop, please consult a physician and submit a letter from them with your application stating that you are physically competent to endure the challenges of living and hiking in this desert environment. A recommended Body Mass Index (BMI) for attendees is between 19-29. If you are above or below these values, please consult us before you register. You can assess your BMI HERE. That said – we have participants that in their 30’s, as well as those in their 70’s – and everywhere in between.
Our Spring trip is a much smaller, more intimate trip – which covers about four times as much of the lake as the Fall trip. Each Spring we head south from Bullfrog, covering about 90% of the South Lake. We change camp every day – and because we have so much ground (water) to cover – we take our smaller and faster 26′ or 21′ boat(s). There is also more hiking at times on this trip. We get to see places like Rainbow Bridge (the world’s largest natural arch), a field of boulders full of ancient pictographs and petroglyphs, “Cathedral in the Desert”, and the most photogenic slot canyon on the lake. The South Lake lends itself visually to the landscape on a grand/immense level.
In the Fall, we cover about 30% of the North Lake, at a more relaxed pace, and have one central camp that we work out of, which also has a houseboat that serves as our on-location classroom. On this trip we get to see the best slot canyon and grotto on the north lake, an impressive deep canyon with towering walls, and the best preserved Anasazi ruins on the lake. The North Lake lends itself visually to the landscape on an impressive, yet more intimate level.
If you are more adventurous, like to hike, and like a more personal and intimate workshop setting – the Spring trip is a great option. If you prefer a slower pace, a few more creature comforts, and like the camaraderie and interaction of a larger group, the fall trip would be a better choice. Note that our fall workshops feature both instructors, and is more teaching-focused, as we have a mobile classroom at our base camp. Our spring trip is limited on space and features one instructor (Joel Belmont), and while still focused on teaching on an individual level with each photographer – is more about giving you as many opportunities as possible to create images.
We will travel to camp sites central to where we will be working. Each attendee will be provided with a tent and will be required to set it up and take it down at camp. We leave camp set up all week during our fall Dynamic Nude Workshop, and change camp every day during our Spring Workshop. Typical camp sites will be along a beach in the back of one of the lake’s many canyons. We can provide a comfortable inflatable air mattresses and a thick foam mattress topper for added warmth.
We have both a portable hot shower and a portable toilet in camp. With Lake Powell’s water temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees (F), many people prefer to bathe in the lake near camp (we have special bio-degradable soaps and shampoo that are lake friendly). If you prefer a hot shower, we will have a portable enclosed shower set up. There is a portable toilet (also enclosed) that is set up on shore.
We offer free lake transportation to attendees on our personal pontoon boat, ski boat, and/or houseboat, which may or may not be piloted by a USCG certified captain. Although most attendees prefer to travel with us, as an alternative you may rent your own boat from Bullfrog Marina. If you choose to arrange your own transportation, we will provide you with an itinerary and a map of the locations at no charge, as well as contact info for the Bullfrog Rental Dock.
Typically there is extremely limited cell reception on the lake (though we have additional means for communicating, such as CB radios which we can hail the marina or National Park Service with, and a GPS messenger). If you do bring your cell phone, we recommend leaving it off for the duration of the trip, though exceptions can be occasionally made.
Each workshop/trip includes at least 1-2 crew members with Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification. In addition, we travel with a Spot GPS locator, which can instantly alert emergency responders in the area to our exact location. We have two marine band radios on our boat (can be used to hail the National Park Service, who respond on the water) a first aid kit, an AED (defibrillator), and we are typically within a reasonable distance from a marina (by boat). While most of this is never needed, we take as many precautions as we can to ensure your safety.
Yes. The National Park Service requires us to carry liability insurance.
You are responsible for getting to and from Bullfrog Marina, UT (84533). When booking a flight, we recommend flying in to Salt Lake City, UT, (about a 6 hour drive to the marina – but more flight options), or Grand Junction, CO (about a 4 hour drive – but less flight options). We recommend flying in the morning before the workshop starts, to allow adequate time to get to the lake and to join us for an informal dinner at 7pm the evening before the workshop starts. You’ll want to arrive at Bullfrog Marina no later than the evening before the workshop, as we leave the marina between 8-9am the following morning. You will find the Defiance House Lodge (435) 684-3000 to be your best bet to stay the night before the workshop, and you may be able to share a room with another photographer if you’re on a budget. Camp sites are available nearby, but we recommend staying at the lodge since we’ll be camping all week. We recommend booking your return flight, at the earliest, for late in the evening the last day of the workshop – as we may not get back to the marina until 12- 2pm, and you still need to allow for drive time and check-in at the airport. Staying at the lodge the last day of the workshop is best, flying back the following afternoon – so you are not rushed and can leave at your own pace the following morning, well rested. If you would like to look into sharing a ride, we can help you contact other workshop attendees to arrange this.
Yes. Though we do our best to stick to the planned workshop dates, on rare occasion the dates may have to be shifted by as much as a week. If this were to happen, we would let you know as soon in advance as possible. Make sure to purchase ticket or travel insurance so that dates can be adjusted if needed.
After we receive your non-refundable deposit, you will be contacted within 3 days with an application. After returning the application, you’ll receive the following:
Once your deposit is placed to hold your spot on the trip, your remainder payment for the tuition should be sent in with your application (unless we’ve worked out another arrangement). Your remainder payment must be received no later than 90 days before the start of the workshop.
We are generally up early in the morning to capture the best light at the best locations for each workshop. In the middle of the day we may have a classroom session, a field session, a critique or a siesta, depending on the day. Afternoon and evening shoots typically take advantage of “golden hour” light. We have dinner back at the camp, often followed by a campfire. Some evenings we will make exposures of the night sky and/or work on “Light Painting”. Expect to shoot for at least 4-5 hours each day.
All meals, basic accommodations and instruction. You will be responsible for travel to and from the lake, for any lodging outside of the workshop, boat rental fees (if you prefer not to travel with us) and for the park entrance fee ($15). Gratuities for models, chef, and boat captain are not included (see below).
Every single year we have offered the Dynamic Nude Workshop – people have always unanimously raved about their experience with the models that we bring on our trips. There are two reasons for this. 1) We spend the rest of the year finding and hiring the absolute best fine are nude models available. 2) Because they know that tips are a part of their take home pay – they always have an incentive during the workshop to do the best that they can. This is not a way for us to subsidize what we pay models (we paid $17,000 in model fees last fall alone); what it is – is the best way we have found to encourage models to do their best – one on one with you – to help you achieve the images you want to create. If the tips didn’t exist, and the models made the same amount of money regardless of whether or not they did their best – our attendees probably wouldn’t experience the 110% that our models give to get ‘the shot’.
The only two other people on our team that we also recommend tipping are the chef – who works hard to make meals you enjoy, tailoring your dietary requirements if needed; and our boat captain – who also works really hard to make sure your stay is as comfortable as possible. It is recommended to plan on tipping at least $50-100 per person (typically 6 models, plus the chef and captain). You will be provided with an individual envelope at the end of the workshop (so the models, chef and captain know who to thank) and your contribution will be pooled and distributed to those individuals. Gratuities are not expected for anyone else on the trip (instructors, assistants, etc).
We secure model release forms from each model that attends The Dynamic Nude workshop. The releases cover all photographers and instructors present during the workshop, and grants them the right to copyright the images in their own name. Copies of the release forms are sent to the attendees after the end of the workshop. If you would like to see the release form we use, you can download a copy HERE.
Yes – we have full household (120) power on our trips, so you can charge batteries, laptop, etc.
Yes. Due to extremely high costs for putting on these fantastic workshops, they have to meet a minimum number of participants to cover expenses. For our spring workshop, the minimum number of participants is 2. For the fall workshops, the minimum number is 9. Though we have never canceled a workshop – if the workshop cannot commence because there are not enough attendees to make the trip happen – all monies paid will be applied to the next workshop of your choice.
Your deposit and remainder payment are non-refundable, due to the extremely high costs required in advance of the workshop for it to commence, and because once the spaces are full – people are turned away that otherwise could have taken your spot. If for any reason you can’t (or choose not to) make the dates, you must let us know in writing 90 days in advance of the workshop for which you are registered – so we can try to find someone else to fill your seat. If someone can be found to take your seat – we will apply your payment to the next available workshop of your choice within the next year (please note there may be cost/price increases in the workshop the following year). If you cancel less than 90 days before the workshop for which you are registered, and a replacement cannot be found, your payments will be forfeited to cover the expenses we have invested to accommodate you on the trip.
Only once in 17 years has Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell) been closed during our workshop dates. Even if we are not able to get on the lake during our workshop dates, we are fully set up for (and have successfully done) workshops close to the park, with equally stunning locations that share the same dramatic landscape – and some locations are even better than those on the lake. Some of the magnificent locations we explore on our alternate itinerary of the workshop are Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon, the epic grottos and slots of the Irish Canyons, huge Ancient Pictograph Panels, Stone Miner’s Cabins, stunning hidden parts of Goblin Valley, Little Egypt geologic area, pristine and scenic Sand Dunes, Massive Boulder Fields, and other spectacular locations – none of which can be found during our regular workshop on the lake. If the park happens to be closed during our scheduled dates, you will receive the alternate itinerary and meeting location. This workshop is not dependent on the locations on lake powell, and will go ahead as scheduled regardless of whether the lake is open or not.
What do I need to bring?
To give you the best possible experience, we will be camping in tents (which we provide) on location during the six nights of the workshop. All of the following items are required for you to bring: [Please Pack light. Make sure everything fits into one or two small waterproof duffel bags, and is ideally around 50lbs total. If you pack too much, we may have to have you consolidate before we leave the marina, due to potentially limited space – especially on our Dynamic Landscape Workshop.]
“Without a doubt – this adventure changed my perspective on life as a photographer and as a human being. Anyone interested in fine art photography should participate in this workshop.”
“The workshop was mind-blowing… incredible! If you have the opportunity to attend this workshop – do it! It was a truly magical experience.”
“I produced some of the best images I have ever taken and received very useful feedback from the instructors, models and other participants. Well worth the time and effort.”
“It’s one of the most spectacular places I’ve had a chance to shoot in.”
“This was my first visit to Utah and it will be with me for life. Fresh, crisp air, daily hiking, gigantic rocks growing straight out of the water – I was surrounded by amazing beauty everywhere. The delicious home cooked meals, lots of laughs by the campfire… I didn’t want to go home!”
“This is the “Great American Landscape” that you don’t get in Europe. Here you discover a completely new world, and it opens your mind to new ideas to be photographed.”
“It helped me advance my skills to a new level. It’s worth every penny. It’s the adventure of a lifetime, and you’ll love every minute of it.”
“The food is out of this world. We’ve been eating like we’re on a cruise ship every night. It was worth twice the price. You’ve got to experience it. These guys really know what they are doing… it’s awesome.”
“Whether you are a landscape photographer – whether you are a figure photographer – a newbie or experienced – you’ll have the experience of a lifetime. For me it was experiencing new ways of seeing and making truly fine art. I had a fantastic time!”
“The Dynamic Nude is one of the most unique photo workshops available. The combination of location, models, instructors, and group dynamics provide an experience you could not get anywhere else. You will leave the workshop with a different perspective on your photography and approach to figure imagery.”
“I’ve been to a half dozen workshops… it’s better than any workshop I’ve been to. It far surpassed my expectations.”
“If you are the kind of photographer who wishes they had more time with their camera, and more time to think and talk about photography and learn, you couldn’t find a better way to spend six days.”
“You are in for a treat! Joel was an excellent host – very knowledgeable of his trade and the surroundings. This was a thrilling trip through the grand landscapes of Lake Powell, a trip that I would definitely do again!”
“This is by far the best workshop I have ever attended. I invite those considering the workshop to sign up immediately so that you can discover the awe first-hand. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.”