Southwest Photo Workshops by Ian Whitehead
Blushing Hoodoos (c) Ian Whitehead 2008Mesa Arch (c) Ian Whitehead 2008Elemental (c) Ian Whitehead 2008
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Workshop Calendar


Sedona  and Antelope Canyon
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Hunts Mesa (Monument Valley), Antelope Canyon and Alstrom Pt
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Rafting the Grand Canyon
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Page Arizona:  Slot Canyons, Horseshoe Bend and Alstrom Point 
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Big Sur California Coast
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Beautiful Lake Tahoe
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Sedona Monsoon two day workshop
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One Day Sedona
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Havasupai Falls - an Oasis in the Grand Canyon
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Eastern Sierras
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Sedona Fall Color and Antelope Canyon
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Navajo Lands to Canyon Lands
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Intro to Photography and the Digital SLR
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Also coming up...
Bryce Canyon & Escalante Utah,
and Kauai Hawai'i!





Workshop Descriptions

All workshops feature the following:

    • Personalized instruction - most workshops have no more than 8 students!
    • Tailored to both film and digital users
    • All levels of experience welcome (beginner, intermediate and advanced)
    • Flexible itineraries based on light and weather
  • Custom workshops are available!  Please contact Ian 

Custom Workshops

Custom workshops are a great way to meet your exact needs, and with very personalized instruction. You may want to consider a custom workshop if:

    • You want to visit some of the great locations shown here, but on different dates
    • You want an even more individualized teaching experience, for you or your small group
    • You live near one of the areas you want to photograph and want to meet at the destination instead of Sedona.
    • You need to work on one or more specific areas of photography
      that you're having trouble with
    • You have a limited amount of time, and need a shorter workshop
    • You have lots of time and want a longer workshop!
    • You want to see other iconic locations in the southwest not listed here (trust me, there are many and I've photographed most of them)
    • You want to try out large format film photography, but want to explore how it works before you outlay a large amount of cash for equipment.  Try it using mine!
    • You have even more ideas than what I've listed above...

I try to keep all of my rates very reasonable, even for custom workshops. Exact pricing will depend on the length and sites visited. Please contact me today and I'll be happy to design something to suit your particular needs.

One Day Sedona Photography Workshop

Limited on time but still want to photograph some of Sedona's iconic locations? This workshop is for you.

We will carpool to a number of beautiful Sedona locations (including one rarely visited spot) and discuss how to approach your composition along with the technical aspects of photography such as focusing for depth field and/or how to properly expose a photograph. We will start before sunrise to capture the "golden hour", take a midday break and then reassemble in the afternoon for photography and instruction until sunset. 


To register, or for more information, click here

Ian taught me to see again after many years away from photography, I now have this renewed interest in enjoying and photographing beautiful landscapes. - Brent, Florida

Introduction to Photography and the Digital SLR

Just get a new digital camera and not know where to begin? This half day workshop is for you.

We'll start at my house for about an hour and a half where we will learn the basic terminology and components of a digital slr. We will learn how to set up the camera along with understanding the function of the following: shutter, aperture, exposure meter, iso settings, histograms, picture quality, file size and focus settings. Once we have the basics down we will head out on location around Sedona to begin capturing images with our cameras. After this session you will be able to set up your camera and take photographs with predictably great results. 


To register, or for more information, click here

Navajo Lands Explorer (4 Day):  Antelope Canyon, \Flaming House Ruins, Hunt's Mesa and Monument Valley

A slightly shorter version of the longer 4 Day Navajo Lands, you'll still photograph some of the most spectacular locations within the Navajo Nation, including rarely visited Cedar Mesa. Experience the dancing light off the convoluted and twisted walls of Antelope Canyon - possibly the world’s most photographed slot! Then we’ll head to Monument Valley to shoot the setting sun and long shadows of these famous Buttes. 

Note: May 4-6 version of this trip eliminates the Day One below.

Day one: We’ll start this adventure in Sedona in the afternoon, allowing time for people to arrive in Sedona earlier in the day.  After some short introductions and discussions about our trip, we’ll drive down to photograph Red Rock Crossing to catch the optimum light conditions of late afternoon on Cathedral Rock with it’s special reflections in Oak Creek. 

Day Two:  An early morning departure from Sedona in order to arrive at the beautiful slots of Antelope Canyon at the perfect time of day for light shafts.  We’ll spend all morning exploring the many shapes, colors and patterns of these rare canyons.  After a break for lunch in nearby Page, Arizona we’ll head to the heart of Navajo lands:  Monument Valley.  This vast area straddling the Arizona and Utah border will be more fully explored in the coming days, but for now, I’ll take you to one of the best places to capture a beautiful sunset. Our overnight stay will be in nearby Mexican Hat at the fun & funky San Juan Inn.

Day Three:  This a day of secret overlooks and vistas that only locals (and very few photographers) know about – Cedar Mesa. Then it’s on to the Flaming House Ruins for some late morning shooting.  

After a break for lunch to refuel and discuss the morning’s adventure, we’ll meet up with our Navajo guide who will take us on a thrilling 4x4 ride up to Hunts Mesa – a breathtaking overlook above Monument Valley. There will be lots of time to catch the changing light - both at sunset and again at sunrise - while our Navajo guide tends to shelter, food, and fire (all camping equipment supplied).

Day Four:  Sunrise over Monument Valley from Hunt’s Mesa is something every photographer should experience at least once, and you’ll have a front row seat for photographing this view.  The interplay of light, color, shadow and distance allows every photographer to interpret it based on their own vision.  I’ll help you translate that vision into your photograph.  After a hearty campfire breakfast, we’ll break camp and begin our journey back to Sedona for the completion of our adventure.


Included:   Workshop and all entrance fees, dinner and breakfast while camping on Hunts Mesa, ground transportation to and from Sedona, use of camping equipment on Hunt's Mesa, and hotel in Mexican Hat (dbl occupancy - singles available for an additional $100)  Note:  Hotel stays in Sedona not included.
To register, or for more information, click here

Thank you for introducing me to a whole new way to see and improve my photography! - Dan, California

Page Arizona:  Slot Canyons, Horseshoe Bend and Alstrom Point 

On this trip we will be photographing Sedona’s red rocks as a warm up for the rest of our trip.   Then we’ll be heading up into the north end of the state to explore the wondrous Antelope Canyon and the Lake Powell area.

Day one: We’ll start this adventure in Sedona in early afternoon to give you time to fly in and get settled.  After some short introductions and discussions about our trip, we’ll drive down to photograph Red Rock Crossing to catch the optimum light conditions of late afternoon on Cathedral Rock with its special reflections in Oak Creek. 

Day two:  An early morning departure from Sedona to lower Antelope Canyon, one of the most spectacular slot canyons in the U.S.  We'll arrive at the most optimal time of the day for photography, spending a relaxed 4 hours exploring the many shapes, colors and textures that this site can offer.  Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time to explore! 

After that we’ll be ready for lunch and check in to our hotel in Page, Arizona nearby.

But the afternoon is still a great time to head to Alstrom Point, so that’s what we’ll do.  Just across the border in Utah, this point gives us a beautiful view of Lake Powell with it’s never ending vistas of color and light.  Weather permitting, we’ll also have some great sunset photo opportunities.  After a fun, long, day we’ll head page to Page for the evening.

Day three:  More slot canyon fun, this time to upper Antelope Canyon.  While it shares the same area as lower Antelope Canyon, the lighting, patterns and shapes can be very different.  A good challenge for those creative skills you’ve learned over the last few days.

We’ll then head to Horseshoe Bend, where the Colorado River makes a 180-degree turn.  Here the river has eroded the Navaho sandstone for eons, digging a canyon 1100-feet deep.

On our trip back to Sedona this afternoon, time permitting, we may stop by Coalmine Canyon.  Haven’t heard of it?  It’s one of those secret places that locals know about and can offer some unique photographic opportunities.  We arrive back in Sedona in the early evening.

Includes:

  • Entrance fees in Sedona at Red Rock Crossing
  • Transportation from Sedona to photo locations and return
  • Entrance fees to slot canyons
  • Hotel stay in Page (Double occupancy.  Singles available for an additional $100)
  • Personal photo instruction.

Note:  Hotel stays in Sedona not included.


To register, or for more information, click here

Ian's friendly hands on approach to instruction was well suited to our interests and although we are novices, we felt totally comfortable with him and we were able to improve our technical and artistic abilities, thank you for a wonderful experience.
 - Donna, Florida

Sedona and Antelope Canyon

On this trip we will be photographing Sedona’s red rocks as a warm up for the rest of our trip.   Then we’ll be heading up into the north end of the state to explore the wonderous Antelope Canyon.

Day one: We’ll start this adventure in Sedona, after some short introductions and discussions about our trip, we head up to the West Fork of Oak Creek to photograph the tall varnish-stained curving walls cut by the stream. This area has many beautiful and photogenic spots.  Later,  we’ll drive down to photograph Red Rock Crossing to catch the optimum light conditions of late afternoon on Cathedral Rock with it’s special reflections in Oak Creek. 

Day two:  On to Antelope Canyon, one of the most spectacular slot canyons in the U.S.  We'll visit at the most optimal times of the day for photography, exploring the many shapes, colors and textures that this site can offer.  Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time to explore!


To register, or for more information, click here

Magical Death Valley and the Alabama Foothills of the Eastern Sierra Mountains

Death Valley is the largest national park outside of Alaska. We will be photographing from the lowest point in the U.S. to views of the highest peak in the contiguous United States. Winter temperatures in the park stay in the sixties and seventies from before dawn to the very last light. 

Death Valley
As evening sets in, we will be witnessing and photographing the surreal and magical light and landscape including areas such as the sand dunes near Stove Pipe Wells, Artist Palette, Zabriske Pt, Bad Water, and Twenty Mule Team Canyon. From Death Valley we will head over to Lone Pine, CA where we will photograph the granite arches of the Alabama Foothills of the Eastern Sierras with Mount Whitney in the backdrop. Limited enrollment assures there will be plenty of individual attention.

You will learn more than just how to take better pictures, but also how to produce better compositions as you develop your own artistic style as a photographer.


To register, or for more information, click here

The Enchanted Coast: Big Sur California  (4 days, 3 nights)

Big Sur, on the California coast, contains vast wildernesses and breathtaking views. Stretching ninety miles along the rugged  central coast region of California. 

McWay Falls, Big Sur

Big Sur
Big Sur presents endless photo opportunities from tide pools and jagged rocks to the Santa Lucia Mountain Range.  We will be spending most of our time between Big Sur and Carmel visiting sights like McWay Falls, Bixby Bridge, The Old Coast Rd., Pfieffer Beach, Garrapata St. Park, Point Lobos and more. 

Big Sur

Pt Lobos

This workshop is for all levels of photographers and there will be plenty of individual time with Ian to discuss technically and artistically how to take your photography to the next level. Some of the items that will be discussed are balancing exposures between land, ocean and sky along with learning depth of field and how to design a composition. Other topics of discussion will be the use of neutral density filters and bracketing exposures to use with HDR software. For this trip we will be car-pooling to locations and it will be necessary for you to arrange your own lodging.


To register, or for more information, click here

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Just wanted to let you know  I had a wonderful experience not only on the technical side of learning but as well as enjoying the time with a fun group of photo enthusiasts. Thanks , Ian for taking us to these magical places.
 - Armando, California

Navajo Lands and Canyon Lands

This trip combines the best of both worlds: The best of the best features from my Navajo Lands workshops, combined with the best locations in the Canyon Lands.   

On Navajo lands, we'll photograph such iconic locations as Monument Valley , The Ruins on Cedar Mesa, and a sunset shoot on the fabled Hunts Mesa.  

Dead Horse Pt

From there, we head to Moab Utah, for photography in Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park where we'll shoot  spectacular locations and overlooks such as Mesa Arch, Green River, Delicate Arch and others.

Flaming House Cedar MesaThere will be two options on meeting and traveling for this trip. Meet in Sedona Az and travel to Monument Valley or meet at Monument Valley or Mexican Hat hotel. If you are traveling with me there may be an opportunity to photograph another location on the way back to Sedona.

Includes one night hotel in Mexican Hat, two nights hotel in Moab, transportation from Sedona to all locations, all Navajo fees, park fees etc.


To register, or for more information, click here

Optional add on:  Antelope Canyon can be added to the first morning of the trip , depending on what the group decides.

Thanks again for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.  It was a WOW.....!!!
 - Sherrie, California

Ansel Adams Wilderness Pack Horse Trip

The Ansel Adams Wilderness spans in elevation from 3,500 to 13,157 feet (1,100 to 4,000 m), forming the northern end of the High Sierra mountain range. The centerpiece of the Ansel Adams wilderness is the Ritter Range, which includes dark metavolcanic glaciated mountains such as Mount Ritter, Banner Peak, and The Minarets. 

On this trip we will meet in Mammoth Lakes California on the first day in the afternoon to go over the details of the trip, followed by dinner in Mammoth. In the morning we are off to the trailhead to meet the pack horse outfitter to begin the journey to the Ediza Lake Basin. Here we will stay for three nights with endless opportunities to day hike and photograph this spectacular granite basin with its numerous waterfalls, streams and granite formations such as Mt. Ritter and Banner Peaks, The Minarets, Ediza lake, Iceberg Lake and more. The outfitter will take care of most gear food and cooking so all we need to worry about is photography in this amazing scenery where Ansel Adams wandered in years past.  As always I will be working with you on improving the technical aspects of your photography along with discussions about an approach to composition. 

Again we will meet in Mammoth Lakes or you may ride with me from Sedona if it is convenient with where you are coming from. If riding with me we could leave the day before and spend the night in Lone Pine then photograph the Alabama Foothills at sunrise and spend  some extra time enjoying the scenery of the Eastern Sierras traveling up Hwy. 395 on the way to Mammoth Lakes.  No charge for this, you'd just take care of your own lodging in Lone Pine.

Includes first night hotel in Mammoth, transportation to trailhead, pack horse outfitter including all food while in back country and all the photo knowledge you can learn.  Transportation  from Sedona optional as outlined above


To register, or for more information, click here

Havasupai Falls - An Oasis in the Grand Canyon 

Nestled 3,000 feet deep into the NE corner of the Grand Canyon lies another world accessible only by foot, horseback, or helicopter - Havasu Canyon - known world-wide for its turquiose waters, spectacular series of towering waterfalls, travertine ledges, and its native namesakes - the "People of the Blue-Green Water". From our primitive base camp below 100 ft tall Havasupai Falls, we'll have plenty of time to journey both up and down the canyon to explore lands forgotten by time - including (for the more adventurous) an exciting descent through the travertine down to the base of majestic 200-foot-high Mooney Falls. 

The exact itinerary will change depending on conditions and what the group decides.


Included:   Transportation from Hilltop to all photo locales, helicopter ride in and out of Supai, pack horses for the gear, all camping and associated fees

Not Included:    Bring your own camping gear and food. E-mail for info on gear restrictions and other info
To register, or for more information, click here

Sedona Monsoon Two Day Workshop

A truly unique workshop not offered anywhere else - a chance to capture Sedona's iconic scenery at the height of the afternoon monsoon season.  We'll likely have spectacular skies, providing a stunning backdrop to the natural beauty of the area.

We will carpool to a number of beautiful Sedona locations (including one rarely visited spot) and discuss how to approach your composition along with the technical aspects of photography such as focusing for depth field and/or how to properly expose a photograph, especially with stormy skies. We will start before sunrise to capture the "golden hour", take a midday break and then reassemble in the afternoon for photography and instruction until sunset.  We'll hope to see many rainbows and storm clouds on this adventure.


To register, or for more information, click here
Note:  Monsoon weather is likely this time of year, but not guaranteed.  Either way you'll see the stunning scenery around Sedona at a time of year that many photographers never see.

Beautiful Lake Tahoe

Imagine a perfect alpine lake -- smooth-as-glass green water, towering snowcapped mountain peaks and a sky that seems always to be sunny -- and you're looking at Lake Tahoe, situated where California and Nevada meet. 

We'll be photographing such stunning locations as Emerald Bay, Squaw Creek, East Shore, Fallen Leaf and more.


Dates and other details coming soon
To register, or for more information, click here

Back to to

Rafting the Grand Canyon

Photograph the morning and afternoon light as it casts its warm glow through towering canyon walls and reflects off the river. This 220-mile Colorado River painting trip down the Grand Canyon has been custom-designed especially for photographers and painters. Camping locations are selected for an inspiring array of compositions with midday rafting hours taking you from one extraordinary photography site to the next. 

Included: All meals, rafting trip, ground transportation from Flagstaff to take-in and take-out points, overnight stay and dinner at Marble Canyon Lodge before morning departure. Tents and sleeping gear can be rented as an option.

More details coming soon
To register, or for more information, click here

Back to to

Eastern Sierras

The Eastern Sierra mountains area has some of the most varied and beautiful scenery in the United States. 

We'll be photographing such stunning locations as Alabama Foothills, Bishop Creek, North Lake, Convict lake, Mono Lake and more.  By going in October, we'll also have the chance to see some spectacular Fall colors, such as those shown at Bishop Creek below.


Dates and other details coming soon
To register, or for more information, click here

Bishop creek

Alabama Foothills



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