Grand Canyon Panoramic Photography Workshop
The Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing landscapes in the world. With a depth of 6,000 feet, it offers countless vistas and photographic opportunities. The wide expanse of the canyon is an open invitation for panoramic photography, which is exactly what we are going to focus on during this workshop. Exploring the South Rim, we'll chase the light from one end of the canyon to the other.
This workshop is held in the winter to increase our odds of capturing snow on the rim and beautiful storm light. While the Grand Canyon is one of the busiest National Parks in the United States, there is only a fraction of the visitors in the winter time. Another benefit of photographing the Grand Canyon in the winter is the freedom to use our own vehicles as opposed to the mandatory and over crowded shuttle system that is required in the summer months.
This workshop is designed for everyone from beginner to advanced photographers. Having a basic understanding of exposure and manual settings will allow you to get the most out of the course though. Over the course of three days you'll learn the basics of panorama photography, how to find the no parallax point, the best practices for shooting, and multiple techniques to assemble your images in Lightroom and Photoshop.
- How to find the "nodal" point to eliminate parallax
- Critical camera settings required for the consistency needed for high quality panoramic photographs
- How to capture single and multi-row panoramic scenes -- we will visit multiple locations!
- How to prepare your images for "stitching" (combining them into one single image)
- Best practices for stitching to ensure the highest quality end result
- Final post processing (You will need to bring in your own computer with Adobe Lightroom Classic & Photoshop CC installed)
Orientation: We'll meet at the Bright Angel Lodge for orientation at noon.
Intro to Panorama Photography & Nodal Exercise: After orientation we'll go over the basics of panorama photography with a detailed presentation. After the presentation is over and all of your questions have been answered we undertake the nodal point exercise where we find the no parallax point in your lenses. If the last sentence sounds like gibberish to you, don't panic. Everything will be explained in detail during the workshop.
Evening Shoot: After the classroom session, we'll head out into the field to put the techniques to practice during the best light of the day.
The second day of the workshop will be dedicated to in-field shooting all day. We'll conduct a morning shoot and an evening shoot in an attempt to capture the best light of the day. During the middle of the day we'll take a break when the light is not ideal. This will allow us to catch up on some rest, get some lunch and review images from the morning shoot. If a storm system happens to move in during the middle of the day, we'll head back out and shoot that as well.
On the final day of the workshop we'll head out for one last shoot at sunrise.
Breakfast Break: We'll have a quick breakfast break our sunrise shoot.
Post Processing: During the last portion of the workshop we'll stick our panorama images together to creature ultra high resolution panoramas. You'll also learn some helpful editing techniques to get the most out of your images.
Conclusion: The workshop will wrap up at noon after our post processing session is complete.
To get the most out of our time in the Grand Canyon we'll be staying within the park boundaries at the Bright Angel Lodge. This lodge is centrally located within the park which will put us within striking distance of any part of the south rim. Accommodations are not included in the price of this workshop. We will do our best to set-up a discounted group block for our students.
Getting to the Bright Angel Lodge
The south entrance is the way to access the Grand Canyon in the winter time. The South Gate is located just outside of the town of Tusayan, AZ. Via Hwy 64 from Williams AZ. If you put Tusayan into your GPS, it should take the appropriate route. Once you get to Tusayan, you can enter the Bright Angel Lodge into your GPS.
Equipment To Bring
DSLR or Mirrorless Camera
DSLR or Mirrorless Camera (Full frame preferred but crop sensor will be fine)
Prime lenses are recommended in order to prevent zoom slippage. 50mm, 100mm and 200mm lenses would be a great set to bring to this workshop. Zoom lenses will work in a pinch but primes are better. If you do not own a prime lens you can rent them from Lensrentals.com.
While you may not need it, a wide angle lens is never a bad thing to have in the bag just in case.
A sturdy tripod that will allow you to adjust for horizontal as well as vertical compositions.Don't forget your base plate!
Be sure to bring your shutter release cord or intervalometer (Ideally a corded model that plugs in as remotes are notoriously problematic.)
- Panorama Rig that will support a telephoto lens such as Really Right Stuff or Nodal Ninja.
- Extra memory cards.
- Extra batteries & your charger. We'll be shooting in the cold which has a tendency to eat up batteries rather quickly.
- While we typically do not use polarizer filters in pano photography, it's not a bad idea to have one or two in your bag in case you want to shoot a single frame shot. Sometimes heavy cloud cover will allow us to use PL filters in situations where we normally couldn't.
- Bring a laptop with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC installed.
- Lots of warm clothing & hand warmers.
- Camera rain jacket, just in case.
Need Gear? Visit BorrowLenses for a special package designed specifically for Aperture Academy students for this workshop.
Meet Our Workshop Pro Instructors...
Meet our master instructors and learn what qualifies them to give you a great experience during your workshops! While you're joining us, you will receive comprehensive digital photography instruction and tutoring by our team of award-winning photographers.
→ Stephen W. Oachs
Stephen W. Oachs is an award-winning photographer, successful entrepreneur and technology veteran, who began his journey in photography the moment he picked up his first camera.
Completely self-taught, Stephen's unique and distinctive style has earned him recognition as one of today's finest nature photographers. He was recognized in 2007 as wildlife photographer of the year by the National Wildlife Federation and was awarded best nature photographer in 2008 by National Geographic.
Stephen has received many other awards and achievements. His work has graced the pages of such notable publications such as National Geographic, Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer, National Wildlife Magazine and many others.
In 2009 Stephen founded The Aperture Academy, a unique combination of fine art photography gallery in conjunction with classroom and workshop instruction. Students of the Aperture Academy receive hands-on instruction designed for their individual skill levels, which includes everything from learning to shoot in the field to digital post-processing techniques.
Whether trekking through the wilds of Alaska, enduring the raw challenges of nature or experiencing the thrill of life on the edge, Stephen captures rare and breathtaking moments of light and time. His exceptional eye is filtered only by his passion for life, deep affinity with nature and love of adventure.
→ Brian Rueb
Brian Rueb has been photographing for the better part of 21 years. Combining a degree in photography and a degree in art, he has worked the two together to create powerful and dynamic landscape images. His love and passion for photography is evident in each and every image he shoots. In addition to his passion for art,Brian has a passion for education and has spent almost 21 years teaching art and photography in the public high school system. During that time he has developed an art and photography program that has seen numerous students win awards and go on to major in the profession. His goal is not only to be great himself, but to instill that knowledge and passion into his students.
In addition to being an internationally recognized photographer, Brian also writes for several websites sharing his interesting often comical adventures into the wilderness in search of new images, and has released a book depicting his two month adventure around the country of Iceland titled Me, Myself, and Iceland. Brian is a volunteer in Lassen Volcanic National Park and working on a five year project compiling images for a book on the park and its changes throughout the seasons.
Rueb's work has appeared in numerous magazines including Shutterbug and Photographers Forum. His work has won numerous awards and merit at the Local, State, National, and International levels.
Brian currently resides in Northern California with his wife, two boys, and two dogs.
Note: In the event a scheduled instructor for a particular workshop is unavailable, a replacement instructor will be scheduled.
While we make every effort, there is no guarantee that the assigned instructors for a scheduled workshop will be present.
This is a workshop but it is best if you are familiar with the basic settings of your camera because you don't want to be figuring out basic exposure while the action is unfolding in front of you - that would probably not be the best situation for getting the "shot," nor for learning. However, our instructors will be available in the field with suggestions about exposure, composition and technique; but in general, its best to come with a working knowledge of your camera gear. Back at the hotel, we have options that are more of a workshop format where we focus specifically on Photoshop post-processing techniques to bring out the most in your images.
Is this a tour or a workshop?
Do you recommend trip insurance?
YES! We recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover any non-refundable registration fees, travel, lodging, equipment rental or any other related expenses.
What type of clothing and shoes should I pack for the trip?
The rim of the Grand Canyon is over 8,000 feet high in elevation. All participants should be prepared for winter conditions including rain, snow and ice. Bring multiple layers and waterproof clothing in case it rains or snows. You will want to bring a warm hat and gloves as well as good winter boots. The paths can get icy so some sort of slip control like yaktrax could be helpful. Hand warmers can be very helpful to keep your hand warm when we are shooting.
What will the weather be like?
The weather at the Grand Canyon can be very unpredictable but be prepared for winter conditions. The average high is 48 degrees with the average low around 18 degrees. That means it will be chilly when we are shooting in the morning and evening. It could rain or snow so be prepared with waterproof clothing.
I've got a bunch of little questions. Who should I contact?
Always feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do our best to answer all your questions.
Workshop Price and Deposit
The workshop fee is $1,695. Due to the exclusivity of this trip, and the limited number of seats available, refunds are as follows:
- 100% refundable: 150 days (five months) or greater
- No refund within 150 days or less of the start date
- Seats are transferrable
What is/isn't included?
The workshop/tour price includes:
- Professional photography instruction.
The workshop/tour price DOES NOT include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Instructor gratuities
- Travel insurance