Death Valley Masterclass Workshop 2019
December 1–7, 2019 (7 days)
with Erin Babnik
Death Valley Masterclass Workshop 2019
December 1–7, 2019 (7 days)
with Erin Babnik
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- About the Workshop
- Airports and Car Rentals
- What to Bring
- Physical Requirements
- Safety Preparation
- What's Included
- Payment and Terms
- How to Reserve Your Spot
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
THE FIRST MASTERCLASS SESSION SINCE 2017
Join Erin Babnik for seven days of photography, education, inspiration, and adventure set within the diverse scenery of Death Valley National Park. This special Masterclass edition of Erin’s popular Death Valley series will include a substantial program of indoor seminars in addition to outdoor excursions to an incredible variety of desert locations. The temperate December weather will make our outings especially comfortable in addition to bringing a high potential for unique conditions on the ground that provide especially photogenic opportunities.
Our locations will include spectacular areas in Death Valley National Park, one of the largest and most photogenic parks in the United States. We will have opportunities to visit badlands, diverse desert playas, dune fields, ancient canyons, salt flats, Joshua Tree groves, mountain overlooks, and geologically unique basins. The precise locations of most outings will be determined according to seasonal developments and weather conditions in order to maximize the photographic potential of each day.
This Death Valley Masterclass Workshop is intended for photographers with a spirit of adventure who would like to further their potential by learning more about the creative concerns and techniques of fine-art landscape photography. Participants will leave this workshop with a great understanding of composition, aesthetics, color theory, creativity, and visual storytelling. In addition, you will receive technical training in a wide variety of in-field and post-processing techniques.
On five of our seven days we will make the most of the midday hours with a program of unique seminars held within the comfort of a hotel conference room. These seminars will cover topics including composition, personal voice, color theory, the history of landscape photography, visualizing post-processing options, and Erin’s favorite techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop. This program will focus on both the art and the craft of producing compelling landscape photographs for end uses ranging from online content to fine-art prints.
This special Masterclass session does have one prerequisite: you must be familiar enough with your camera that you are unlikely to require help in operating its basic controls.
Erin Babnik has developed international recognition for her expressive style of photography, for her adventurous approach in the field, and for her thought-provoking writing and public speaking. Her enthusiastic support of creative photography expressed in her articles and talks has made her one of the most notable voices among the current generation of landscape photographers. She brings this joy of discussion and encouragement to interactions with her workshop participants, offering a unique dimension to the workshop experience. Her work has appeared in well over a hundred publications, including books, magazines, and travel guides. Erin is also a member of the illustrious nature photography team Photo Cascadia.
We will begin our trip on December 1 at 1:00pm with an orientation seminar in the Boardroom of the Inn at Furnace Creek, located on the hill above the Furnace Creek area of Death Valley National Park. Following a short break, we will rendezvous for a sunset outing.
Each of these days will include sunrise and sunset outings, in addition to indoor seminars on December 2, 4, and 5 running from 10am-12pm on each of those days.
Each day will be its own adventure with as much photography as we can pack in and covering as much ground as is possible. Some days may involve more driving than others, with some destinations requiring a drive of up to two hours each way. I will encourage and facilitate carpooling arrangements between participants for each outing of the workshop.
Sunrise on this day will be optional and self-guided so that I can set up for the post-processing seminar. This seminar will be substantial and will take up most of the day, both morning and afternoon. After its conclusion, we will all meet for an optional farewell dinner (no-host) at the Furnace Creek Saloon (located in the Ranch area).
• The nearest airport is in Las Vegas. McCarran International Airport (LAS) is about two hours away from Furnace Creek, where the workshop will begin and end.
• Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is about five hours away from Furnace Creek.
Many options are available for renting a vehicle of any kind from either airport listed above. Any car will be sufficient for most of our outings, but a vehicle with higher clearance will make driving easier on some dirt roads. A vehicle with AWD or 4×4 is not necessary but is always recommendable in remote areas. Because we have many options on any given day, we will consider a road requiring AWD only if there are enough capable vehicles in the group to accommodate everyone in car pools.
We have a block reserved at the Ranch at Furnace Creek for December 1–8 (7 nights) at the rate of $135 per night before taxes and fees for a room with two queen beds. Room sharing can be arranged through the workshop forum (registered participants will have access to the forum). Registered participants will receive the block code.
The weather is usually quite comfortable for camping in Death Valley during this time of the year. It can be very windy sometimes, but the temperatures are usually quite nice. My favorite campground, Texas Spring, is a first-come, first-serve campground. If you get there in the morning around 9-10am, you can usually score a nice spot, even on busy days. Furnace Creek Campground is my next favorite, and it takes reservations in advance online and by phone. There are also options for backcountry camping nearby if your vehicle has at least 9 inches of clearance (no 4WD necessary, but somewhat high clearance is). Showers are available for $10 per person at the Furnace Creek Resort.
Your Camera. You can choose to use any camera you like, but a digital camera with full manual control and interchangeable lenses is highly recommended in order for you to have the best experience.
Lenses. There are opportunities to use any and all focal lengths, so bring a good range of them.
Tripod. A tripod is essential for low-light stills and for timelapse photography.
Filters. Polarizing or neutral density filters can be very useful, but it is possible to get great results without them. Having a UV filter can be handy to protect the front element of a lens in high winds.
Other photography gear. Several batteries, plenty of memory, a remote trigger, lens cleaning supplies. Some people prefer to use a rain cover on their camera to protect against dust in windy conditions, but other people find flapping covers to be more trouble than they are worth in high winds.
(Optional) Laptop. If you would like to follow along or take notes during the two processing sessions, then you may want to have your laptop with you.
Clothing & shoes. Weather conditions in Death Valley can vary a lot, but temperatures in early December are usually quite comfortable. The coldest temperatures could drop close to freezing before sunrise, and in the Furnace Creek area we could see afternoon temperatures reaching into the mid-70’s. Bring insulating layers: layers for warmth such as fleece and down, in addition to lightweight clothing that breathes well in hot weather. A shell jacket and hiking pants will help to protect against the elements as well. Good hiking boots are advised, along with a sun hat for midday periods and gloves to make you comfortable during frosty mornings.
Willingness to learn and discover.
Hiking on this workshop will be minimal. Some locations may require a hike of up to one mile, but most are not far from a parking area. The most strenuous hikes will be those that we do to photograph sand dunes. These hikes will still be about one mile out, but walking on sand dunes is relatively strenuous compared to most other outings.
While adventure and great photos are our main goals, your safety is a priority. Erin is certified by Wilderness Medical Associates as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), but safety begins with you. In order for participants to have a comfortable experience where they can concentrate on the photography, it is highly advised that you have proper attire consisting of non-cotton outdoor dedicated clothing, including an assortment of layers to keep you warm.
• In-field instruction on the art and craft of fine-art landscape photography.
• A program of four indoor seminars.
• A substantial post-processing instruction session.
• Guidance to unique photography locations.
• Flights and transportation.
• Park entrance fees.
• Travel and cancellation insurance.
COST: $1895 ($550 deposit)
PAYMENT: Payment may be made using a credit card or via PayPal directly through this web page using the sign-up button in the right column. A non-refundable deposit of $550 will reserve your spot in this workshop. The final balance of $1345 is due by Thursday, October 19, 2019.
INDEMNITY WAIVER: All participants are required to sign a standard workshop indemnity waiver: here.
CANCELLATIONS: Deposits are non-refundable. Cancellations require us to re-open enrollment and/or to engage in additional promotional efforts to fill the workshop on short notice, so our policy is that there will be no refunds on the final balance after October 19, 2019, with one exception: if we find another participant to fill your space and the workshop is ultimately full when it begins, then you will receive a refund of your final balance, (the deposit is non-refundable). All refunds are subject to a 4% processing fee. We highly recommend that you obtain travel/cancellation insurance for all workshops.
Use the sign-up button on this page (in the right side column) to place a deposit with a Credit Card or via PayPal. If you would like to pay by another method, use the contact form on this page to ask Erin about options for sending a personal check or bank transfer.
- December 1–7, 2019 (7 days)
- In-field instruction on all things creative and technical in landscape photography
- A program of seminars on composition, creativity, color theory, and the history of landscape photography
- A substantial seminar on pre-visualizing post-processing and Lightroom and Photoshop techniques
- Guidance to unique photography locations
- Limit of 8 participants
This workshop is currently sold out, but you may request to be put on the waitlist using the form below:
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about this workshop:
You can download the Indemnity Waiver for this workshop here: