Workshops & Tours

Utah: Red Rocks, Blue Sky and Desert Blooms

Burr Point Overlook, Utah
Burr Point Overlook, Utah
Bentonite Formations
Bentonite Formations

Utah: Red Rocks, Blue Sky and Desert Blooms

Newer Format - Perfect Duration (8 Days) and Smaller Group Size - Limited to Ten!!
Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase / Escalante National Monument, Utah
April 24 - May 1, 2019 (Tour Begins Wednesday PM - Ends following Wednesday PM)

View our photographs from this location

Download Brochure: Word Doc

We have designed this special 8 day tour of southern Utah for those interested in seeing more of this spectacular region. By staying 4 nights in Torrey and 4 nights in Boulder, we'll be able to delve deeper into the region.

Tour Location Description

Canyon Narrows, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Canyon Narrows, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Over the years we have spent months exploring places to photograph within the southeast Utah region. During that time we have developed a deep appreciation for the stark contrast of colors and habitat that the area is known for. The slickrock country of southern Utah contains some of the wildest areas remaining in the lower 48 states. Landscapes and close-up subjects in this fascinating land are the focus of this tour. This is an exciting land of buttes, arches, mesas, deep canyons, and vast desert vistas. We'll examine the subtle striations of Navajo sandstone and the brighter red hues of Wingate sandstone. The low sunlight of morning and evening saturates the spectacular slickrock formations, intensifying the multiple shades of beige, orange and red.

Tufted Evening Primrose, Capitol Reef National Park
Tufted Evening Primrose, Capitol Reef National Park

We'll explore dry canyons with gnarled cottonwoods that have withstood late summer flash floods for hundreds of years. Here you'll photograph the intricate patterns of Navajo sandstone, the purple stains of desert varnish on Wingate sandstone, giant cottonwoods, and (if it has rained recently) canyon reflections in small pools of water.

We also will photograph in Long Canyon in the slickrock wilderness of the Grand Staircase / Escalante National Monument. Here is where we'll discover how the phenomenon of "canyon kick" bounces warm light off one side of a canyon to the other. We'll also work within the spectacular Chimney Rock Canyon and Fluted Hills areas of Capitol Reef National Park and visit the monolithic form of Factory Butte just outside the park along with other options.

The patient nature photographer using a longer focal length lens may even be able to capture images of side-blotched and desert spiny lizards scampering over the rocks. If the weather is warm enough we may see the more reclusive collared lizard.

Wildflowers require optimal weather to bloom in this dry country. If we're fortunate, conditions could provide slickrock paintbrush, penstemon, desert primroses, and prickly-pear and claret-cup cactus to photograph. Even without wildflowers, there is other plant life in the canyon country, such as the extensive stands of budding quaking aspen in the higher elevations of the Dixie National Forest.

Opportunities to make spectacular images are limited only by your imagination as we explore the varied and remarkable terrain of southern Utah.

Indian Paintbrush, Utah
"My experience on your Photo Tour of Capital Reef National Park and the Grand Staircase / Escalante National Monument was magnificent. I have hiked and backpacked the area for more than forty years and I have to tell you - I feel like I saw it for the very first time." Robert E. Finley ~ Emeritus ~ University of Utah

Tour versus Workshop

This tour is designed to provide maximum time in the field when weather conditions are good for photography. Since this is a photographic tour, not a workshop, Rod will be making photographs alongside the participants. However, Rod will share his photographic expertise in the field. (There will be no instructional presentations.)

Who Is This Tour Designed For?

This tour is designed for intermediate - advanced photographers. During the tour emphasis will be placed on landscape and close-up photography. No effort will be made to photograph buildings or animals in poor coat. If you're not sure if this tour is right for you, please contact our office and we'll discuss it with you.

Factory Butte at Dawn, BLM, Cainville, Utah
Factory Butte at Dawn, BLM, Cainville, Utah

Health and Logistical Concerns

Participants for the tour must be in good general health. They must be agile enough to walk over uneven terrain at an average elevation of five thousand feet. Though the pace will be very relaxed and the distances relatively short, participants must still be capable of hiking up to 1/2 mile round-trip over uneven, rocky terrain while carrying their camera gear and water.

Tour Fee

Desert Spiny Lizard, Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Desert Spiny Lizard, Capitol Reef National Park, UT

$1995 per person, limit of 10 participants. A deposit of $250 is required with registration. The balance of $1745 is due 120 days prior to the tour. If you need to cancel with less than a 120 day advance notice, we will issue a refund only if we are able to fill your space. All refunds incur a $50 processing fee. Transportation to Torrey and Boulder, Utah, lodging and meals is not included. Before the trip we will send a detailed confirmation letter outlining check-in time, directions, suitable photographic equipment and recommended clothing. Prior to the tour we will provide a list of participants to facilitate joint travel arrangements.

Due to logistics, we are not offering a reduced fee for a non-participating spouse. If you wish to have your partner share this experience with you, we encourage you to do so. This location provides enough variety to please many non-photographic partners. They must, however, attend as a tour participant at the regular rate if they would like to join the group in the field. If your partner is content to be on their own they may do so as a totally non-participating partner but expect to pay $185 per day for four days while the group stays at the ranch in Boulder. This will cover their share for accommodations, 3 meals per day, tax and gratuity.


High clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are a must to reach some of our backcountry destinations. If you are willing to use your vehicle during the tour, please let us know. If we do not have enough participants bringing their own four-wheel drive vehicles, participants will be required to subsidize the rental of additional four-wheel drive vehicles in addition to splitting the cost of fuel for the tour. (Costs have ranged from $65 to $125 p/p in the past.)

Accommodations and Group Rates

Ancient Juniper in Long Canyon
Ancient Juniper in Long Canyon

The first leg of the tour is based in Torrey, where we'll stay at the Capitol Reef Resort. Our group rate is $425 for four nights (single/double); includes tax - does not include, breakfast, lunch or dinner. We will handle the room reservations for the group and bill you $425. Please plan to check-in on April 24 and out on April 28. If you wish to arrive a day early please let us know we'll book the extra day and bill for the additional cost.

The second leg of the tour involves a stay near the town of Boulder, which is nestled between Dixie National Forest and Grand/Staircase National Monument. Here we'll stay as a group at a Guest Ranch just outside the town of Boulder. Our group rate of $225 per day per person (single occupancy) $185 per person per day (double occupancy (1 queen bed or bunk rooms) includes accommodations, breakfast, lunch (main meal), and a picnic dinner prepared at special times to accommodate our group, tax and gratuity. The food is very good at this location! We will check-in as a group on April 28 and check-out on May 2 since the tour goes through the evening of May 1. We will handle the reservations for the group and bill you $900 pp (single occupancy) $740 pp (double occupancy) with your final payment for the tour.

Small Print

A signed release and assumption-of-risk form is required prior to the tour. We reserve the right to make changes in itinerary based on weather and other conditions beyond our control.

Registration Information

Tour Cost: $1995 per person (Plus $425 for accommodations while at the Capitol Reef Resort) (plus $900 per person (single occupancy) (food and 4 nights' accommodation at Boulder Guest Ranch) or (plus $740 per person (double occupancy)). A deposit of $250 is required with registration. The tour balance of $1745 plus $425 plus $900 (single) or $740 per person (double) is required 120 days prior to the beginning of the tour. If you cancel less than 120 days prior, a refund is issued only if we are able to fill your space. ALL cancellations incur a $50 processing fee. Participants are responsible for meals while staying in Torrey, Utah.


Early reservations are recommended. By phone: Call (906) 293-3339. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5p.m. EST. We accept credit cards for deposits only, or we'll hold your space for 7 days, while awaiting your check.

You can register online using PayPal by clicking the "Add to Cart" button below. You do not need a PayPal account to pay by credit card.

You can also register by downloading and completing a registration form (Word Doc) and mailing with payment to:

Rod Planck Photography
PO Box 100
McMillan, MI 49853

By Phone: Call (906) 293-3339. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9a.m. to 5p.m. EST. For reservations made by phone, we accept credit cards (for deposits only), or we'll hold your space for 7 days, while awaiting your check.

2019 Workshops & Tours