Bisti Badlands Photo Workshop in New Mexico

Bisti Badlands Photo Workshop in New Mexico



Dates: December 13 - 15, 2019 (3 days, 2 nights)

Location: Farmington, New Mexico

Group Size: Maximum of 4 participants

Skill Level: Photographers of all skill levels welcome

Difficulty: Moderate. The highlights of this workshop will be accessed via hiking across relatively flat terrain. Some locations are less than a mile and some are 3 to 4 miles one-way. To maximize our in-field time, we will be out for large parts of the day to all day. Depending on group preferences and ability, participants will be encouraged to explore additional harder-to-reach areas of this vast location.

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Prepare to be blindsided by beauty as we hike through New Mexico's dizzying maze of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. As if being surrounded by an otherworldly landscape of hoodoos and who knows what else isn't enough, we'll be starting this workshop on Friday the 13th. Spooky. Plus petrified wood. Lots and lots of petrified wood.

So give yourself an early present and let’s head deep into the badlands. While it may not look like much at first, the extraordinary variety and sheer vastness of this land will excite your senses to no end. We will aim to build a connection with this beautiful landscape and discover its endless compositional opportunities. I will show you my approach under various lighting conditions and we will come away with multiple meaningful images.

The workshop is limited to four participants to allow for ample one-on-one instruction. My focus is on the participants and guidance will be tailored to each individual’s level of experience. Post-processing instruction will adapted for each one-on-one session.

I will share with you what I do and what I use for pre-planning and scouting, the thought processes I go through as I make compositional and camera setting decisions in-field, and my entire post-processing workflow starting in Adobe Lightroom and ending in Photoshop. You won't need to buy any extra plug-ins or panels in order to follow along.

Upon checkout, you will be asked some basic questions to ensure you have a great experience. A portion of the workshop fee ($250) is considered non-refundable. If the need for a cancellation arises, this deposit may be applied to a future group workshop or private instruction.

 The full moon rises above the Belt of Venus deep in the Bisti Badlands of New Mexico.



Day 1. Friday. Let’s step right into the action and meet at the main trailhead mid-day. I have a good idea of a spot you’ll enjoy. It’s a bit far out but we will see a lot and get to know each other along the way. I’m a large proponent of taking breaks, soaking in the scenery, and shooting when the opportunity presents itself. We will do all three. Upon reaching our final destination, there will be fantastic 360 degree views. Plan on a hike back under the moonlight and stars so don’t forget that headlamp!

Day 2. Saturday. The day will start in the wee hours of the morning for our first epic sunrise. This time we will take a shorter hike in the northern section of the badlands to a spectacular section of hoodoos that have a tendency to catch the morning light. Expect countless compositional opportunities. Since the goal of my workshops is to increase time in the wild and reduce motorized travel, plan on being out all day. Bring food, water, and maybe more importantly fully charged batteries. During the day, I’ll answer questions any and all questions you have. We will shoot. We will scout. We will get ourselves in position well in advance for our sunset location. This is going to be fun.

Day 3. Sunday. This is where we put our knowledge gained over the past couple of days to the test. Did we scout something that would be perfect for sunrise? Or do we want to re-shoot a location to catch epic light? We will be discussing options the day before. Of course I can guide you to a spot, but this is our chance to do something new and unique. If the light is good in the morning, we’ll keep on shooting. If not, we will plan on getting an earlier start on our one-on-one image review and post-processing instruction. Plan on a full day. This time we will relocate ourselves into town to set up our computers in a coffee shop or brewery. If you’re up for it, I welcome you to join me for another sunset in the field.

I’ll send a more detailed itinerary with some specifics upon purchase. But we’re going to stay flexible and opportunistic. And that’s all part of the plan.

The General




Transportation is not included. However, carpooling is encouraged and I will attempt to carpool as many participants as possible. Your own transportation is recommended to explore the surrounding parks and hidden gems of New Mexico beyond our time together.


Lodging is not included. If you are looking for a bed, I strongly recommend finding a place to lay your head in Farmington, New Mexico. There are multiple hotels in and around both of this lively town; however, expect around a 45 minute drive one-way. There are also plentiful campgrounds. I personally will be camping and you are more than welcome to join me. If you need specific recommendations, don’t hesitate to reach out.


The goal is to spend most of our time in the field shooting. For that reason, ample food to keep you going for a full day is highly recommended. Due to the potential for students to have food allergies, particular food preferences, or other dietary restrictions, I will not be providing meals of any kind during the duration of the workshop. It will be your responsibility to bring or purchase food for yourself from a local grocery store. However, I’ve learned how to share and will offer snacks during our in-field adventures, plus I’m sure I’ll have an extra can or two of soup laying around.

When Mars Attacks

Recommended Packing List

  • Camera (full frame recommended)

  • Wide-angle and short telephoto lenses (I exclusively use two lenses for my work: a 16-35mm and a 70-200mm)

  • Sturdy tripod

  • Cable or wireless remote release

  • Memory cards

  • Extra batteries and charger

  • Laptop with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop installed

  • Backpack with a rain cover

  • Appropriate clothing (including warm layers and rain gear)

  • Headlamp

  • Hat or sunscreen and lip balm