Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that some of this information pertains to our Lake Powell workshop

  • We’re committed to helping you rapidly advance your photography skills.
  • You will learn, have fun and relax in some of the most beautiful places on earth.
  • This is a unique opportunity to make new friends and to share your passion with others who are as passionate about photography as you are.
  • You will receive positive reinforcement of your photography skills and images.
  • We limit available spaces in our workshops to provide you with the highest level of access to instructors, locations and models.
  • Because no other workshop offers you this level of guided access on our Lake Powell or Washington-based adventures.

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.

Lake Powell Workshop: We are generally up early in the morning to capture the best light at the best locations. In the middle of the day we may have a classroom session, a field session, or a critique, 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.

Olympic Peninsula Workshop: We generally start early to capture morning light, including models if the temperature allows. We typically work for 3 hours in the morning, work on image review sessions mid day, and then head out for another 3 hour shoot in the afternoon until dusk. After dinner we an evening presentation each evening.

Rochester Studio Workshop: Since we’re working mostly with artificial light, and do not have travel times between locations, we generally work from 8-12 each day, then break for lunch for an hour, edit images and complete our image review session by 3, and then work from 3-6 for our afternoon session, followed by an evening presentation after dinner.

Lake Powell Workshop: 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 are not included (see below).

Olympic Peninsula Workshop: Accommodations and some meals are included; meals at restaurants are not included. You will be responsible for travel to and from Rochester, WA and for any lodging before or after the workshop. Gratuities for models are not included (see below).

Rochester Studio Workshop: Some meals are included; meals at restaurants are not included. You are responsible for accommodations locally (a hotel list will be provided), and travel to and from Rochester, WA. Gratuities for models are not included (see below).

Every year we have offered our workshops – people unanimously rave about their experience with the models that we hand select. 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 the models 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 pay over $17,000 each year in model fees); 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’ time and time again.

It is recommended to plan on tipping at least $100 per model (typically 2 on the Lake Powell trip, 3 on the Olympic Peninsula Trip and 2 in the Studio Workshop). You will be provided with an individual envelope at the end of the workshop – so the models know who to thank.

Yes – if you’re attending our Lake Powell workshop. While we are not running any marathons, we will be 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 4-5 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. That said – we have participants that in their 30’s, as well as those in their 70’s – and everywhere in between. Our Transformative Nude (studio workshop) is our easiest, and our Epic Nude (Olympic Peninsula) involves short hikes around a mile to beaches and in rain forests.

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.

Lake Powell: 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.

Washington Workshops: Our trips start in Rochester, WA, which is 1.5 hours from either Portland (PDX) or Seattle (SEATAC) so either one works.  You’ll want to arrive no later than the afternoon of the orientation dinner. We recommend booking a flight out the day after the workshop concludes so you are not rushed, and have time to process some of what you’ve learned. We recommend having a rental car, and we can some times arrange ride shares with other other photographers if your arrival and departure times coincide.

Yes. Though we do our best to stick to the planned workshop dates, on rare occasion the dates may have to be shifted if there’s a closure by the National Park Service or other extreme circumstances. 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 payment is received, you’ll be contacted within 3 days with an application. After returning the application, you’ll receive:

  • An itinerary, and all contact information.
  • Complete information about all aspects of the workshop, including a pack list, general weather to expect, and more.

We secure model release forms from each model that attends. The releases cover all photographers 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.

Yes – we have full household (120) power on our trips, so you can charge batteries, laptop, etc.

Yes. Due to extremely high costs involved with our workshops, they have to meet a minimum number of participants to cover expenses.

Lake Powell: minimum is 2 participants.

Olympic Peninsula: minimum is 5 participants.

Rochester Studio Nude: minimum is 5 participants.

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.

Lake Powell and Olympic Peninsula Workshops: payments 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. 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.

Rochester Studio Workshop: Due to the lower costs involved with this workshop, payment can be refunded if you let us know 90 days in advance, so we can make your spot available to another participant. If you cancel less than 90 days before the workshop, tuition will be applied to the next available workshop of your choice.

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 commence as scheduled regardless of whether the lake is open or not. In the unlikely event that Olympic NP is closed, we will commence with alternate itinerary as well.

What do I need to bring?

  • Camera: Digital SLR or traditional 35mm film cameras are what most workshop participants bring, although we frequently have medium and large-format photographers as well.
  • Lenses: We recommend that you bring a lens from each lens family: Wide angle, Normal and Telephoto. The types of lenses in each category depend on your personal preferences.
  • Memory Cards/Film: Bring more memory cards and/or film than you think you will need. Film: for landscape photography you will do best using slide film with an ASA of 50 to 100 for brighter lit landscape scenery, and higher ISO (200 to 400) for more dimly lit scenery deep in canyons. Contact us for any specific film type recommendations.
  • Tripod and Cable Release: A sturdy tripod is highly recommended, especially for camera steadiness during long exposures. Bring at least one cable release and/or electronic shutter remote control if possible (very useful for night exposures)
  • Filters: The light in the Southwest is unique, and proper filters will allow you to achieve results that are otherwise impossible. A polarizing filter will reduce reflections and saturate color. Warming filters will enhance browns, gold and oranges (examples: 81A, 81B, 81C, KR3 and KR6). A protective filter such as a “skylight” or “haze” filter is good to keep on the lens at all times.
  • Digital Equipment: You will be in the field shooting for a good part of the day. Having sufficient memory cards and battery power will keep you shooting. Shooting 200 or more images in a day is very possible, especially if you bracket. Be sure to bring a battery charger and, unless you have an ample supply of memory cards, a device for downloading.
  • Laptop: We recommend bringing a laptop to review your day’s images in a larger format and compile them to submit for the feedback sessions each afternoon. These help provide feedback and reinforce the positive elements in your images.
  • Batteries: Many of our workshop locations are in remote areas. Therefore it is imperative to bring at least one spare set of batteries for each piece of equipment (flash, meter, etc.) If you are shooting digital exclusively, bring at least 1 extra battery for your camera. Also, don’t forget that some digital SLRs use a button battery to power the LCD, so be sure to bring an extra one of those if needed.
  • Cleaning Equipment: The Southwest is beautiful but dusty. Come prepared to clean your camera/sensor in the field. Consider bringing canned air, a lens cloth, liquid lens cleaner, a soft blower-brush, and a sensor cleaning kit if you are proficient with them.

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]

  • Olympic Peninsula and Rochester Studio Workshops:  No bedding is required as you will stay in hotels during the workshop.
  • Lake Powell Workshops:
  • Sleeping bag: (rated around 0-15 degrees should keep you warm; nights can be in the 40’s, but sleeping bag temp ratings are always over-rated (i.e. a 0 degree bag might keep you warm in 30 degree weather… though probably not)). We can bring one for you if needed.
  • Air Mattress: We provide you with an air mattresses and a foam mattress pad unless you prefer to bring your own.
  • Pillow: Bring a comfortable pillow (you might consider a camp pillow if you are tight on space)
  • Shorts (2) quick dry fabric
  • Short sleeve shirts (2) quick dry fabric
  • Long sleeve shirt – light color – quick dry (SPF shirts like Columbia or Exoffocio)
  • Warm pullover – quick dry, fleece, etc
  • Light weight long pants (SPF pants are ideal, especially ones that convert to shorts)
  • Warm night pants
  • Hiking boots (Comfortable and sturdy)
  • Thick socks (2) Moisture-wicking socks, like Smartwool
  • (Lake Powell Only) Water shoes – something sturdy that will attach to your foot (ie not flip flops)
  • (Lake Powell Only) Neoprene Socks -(very important) keeps your feet warm and pebbles from grinding your feet when we hike in Slot Canyons with water/mud/sand (NRS HydroSkin Socks are great… make sure they fit snug around your leg so sand won’t come in, and that they fit inside your water shoes)
  • Rain jacket/pants (light weight)
  • Warm Jacket – one that compresses well/not big and bulky
  • Big sun hat (Columbia makes a great sun hat – make sure to get one w/a chin strap)
  • Cool weather hat/beanie
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Warm gloves
  • Sunglasses (Polarized are ideal)
  • Toothbrush/ toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Sunblock – spf 30 minimum
  • (Lake Powell Only) No soap as we only use lake-friendly camp soap (biodegradable)
  • Other items as you need (pack light, small containers)
  • Headlamp (w/extra batteries)
  • Water bottles (2) (one backpack/Camelbak type, and another Nalgene-type bottle)
  • (Lake Powell Only) Camp towel (get the big soft one)
  • Moisturizing lotion
  • Bug spray
  • Kneepads or a cloth to kneel on
  • Soft cloth to wipe the exterior of your equipment
  • Shower cap or Saran Wrap elastic covers to put over your camera if there’s wind and dust.
  • Cash to tip models (see Tips above)
  • Something to take notes with

Testimonials


“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.”

Andrea

Grand Junction, CO

“I recently had the pleasure of spending a week with Joel Belmont on and around Lake Powell for one of his Photographic Workshops. The closest thing to a complaint I can think of is that I wish it could have lasted longer. That said, I have so many beautiful and varied photos that I don’t know that I needed more time. I recommend that anyone with an interest in photography not to miss this opportunity.”

Greg Fullmer

Bakersfield, CA

“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!”

Randa Morgan

Seattle, WA

“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.”

Jay Watkins

“Participating in the Fall Workshop was one of the most enriching experiences of my life! Joel and Lili are both so knowledgeable about the Lake Powell environment and all the intricate details of how to shoot there and produce the best possible images. They are also experienced hosts who can cook delicious food and provide diverse entertainment throughout the trip. What more could you ask for?”

Lily Kennedy

Carbondale, CO

“I’ve been to a half dozen workshops… it’s better than any workshop I’ve been to. It far surpassed my expectations.”

Peter Laursen

“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.”

Bert Pasquale

Baltimore, MD

“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!”

Keith Harper

“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.”

David Wagner

Arizona

“If you want to get away from the hectic day to day grind and experience a tranquil week along the remote back waterways of Lake Powell, then Joel Belmont has a great trip for you. If you also want to learn or improve your ability to take fine art photographs of the nude figure in this remote environment, then Joel’s Dynamic Nude Workshop is definitely something you should consider. Not only did we all get some great images – but I learned how to take my photography to the next level from Kim Weston and Joel. We worked in small groups and Kim and Joel showed us some of their special tips and techniques, especially how to work with the models. The models were great and it was a pleasure to get to know them and the other students and instructors over the course of a very special week. Just imagine yourself in a boat full of excited students and talented models moving deeper into the various turns of the waterway with cliffs rising several hundred feet above the water line. Then, after arriving where few people can go, you hike to scenic locations to direct energetic models and create a fine art image. The scenery, the peaceful environment and the friendships you will experience are alone worth the trip.”

Randy Persinger

Los Angeles, CA

“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.”

Lonnie

Palisade, CO

“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.”

Miguel

Soler-Roig, Spain

“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!”

Tish

Los Angeles, CA

“It’s one of the most spectacular places I’ve had a chance to shoot in.”

Hank Niles

“Joel did a great job of scouting out the best locations for photography, being aware of local conditions, access and photographic opportunities at each site. He was available to provide help and guidance to those who needed it, and generous with his time, while leaving more experienced photographers free and unencumbered to pursue their own photographic inspiration. The locations covered a wide range of photographic possibilities, from the grandiose to the intimate: sand dunes, slot canyons, panoramic vistas, monolithic sandstone cliffs, lake reflections, night skyscapes and light painting.

The atmosphere on the trip was friendly, relaxed and informal. There was a full and demanding schedule of activities for every day of the trip, morning and evening, but with ample time for relaxation, sport, socializing, introspection, sharing and discussion. The group size was small enough to be intimate, and most of us now consider each other friends for life. I would have no hesitation in going on this trip again or recommending it.”

Dr. N. Sukumar

Troy, NY

“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.”

Greg Edwards

Half Moon Bay, CA

“The workshop was mind-blowing… incredible! If you have the opportunity to attend this workshop – do it! It was a truly magical experience.”

Gwen

San Francisco, CA

“This is a workshop I would definitely recommend to other photographers. The setting was exquisite even without the models, but the models brought another dimension to the entire photographic experience. My skill level has grown as a result, specifically working more toward consistency. I also learned a great deal in how to best communicate with a model – thus improving my images. I was very impressed by the willingness and flexibility of the models as they did their best to help me achieve the images I was envisioning. I also appreciated the camaraderie and willingness of the other photographers to share experiences and technical information. I consider the week a great success.”

Richard Hannon

Orange, CA

“This workshop was an amazing opportunity to learn not only the art of photography but also to see and experience the beauty of Lake Powell. I really had no idea what was in store for me, other than camping under the stars, and lots of photography. This workshop would have been worth the time and expense if that was all there was. But there is so much more. Joel really built my self-confidence in my photography skills, and I learned years’ worth of self-taught experience in a weeks’ time. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone at any level of your photographic journey.”

David Oldeen

Plano, IL

“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.”

Salvador Andalon

New York, NY

“This was one of the best experiences I have had in photography…ever! I fell in love with photography again and it sustained me and enriched my desire to do more with it. Not only did I come away with a thousand spectacular images but also the most relaxed attitude for life. I have attended other workshops since then, and can’t help but judge based on the experiences at Lake Powell and can honestly say there is no comparison.”

Steve Fowler

Auburn, WA

“This was one of the best experiences I have had in photography…ever! I fell in love with photography again and it sustained me and enriched my desire to do more with it. Not only did I come away with a thousand spectacular images but also the most relaxed attitude for life. I have attended other workshops since then, and can’t help but judge based on the experiences at Lake Powell and can honestly say there is no comparison.”

Steve Fowler

Auburn, WA

“The workshop was mind-blowing… incredible! If you have the opportunity to attend this workshop – do it! It was a truly magical experience.”

Gwen

San Francisco, CA

“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.”

Salvador Andalon

New York, NY

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