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Rocky Mountain National Park

Winter Photography Workshop in Colorado 

 Cost: 1,350 (375 due at registration)

Capture stunning winter scenes of Rocky Mountain National Park in this 3-day landscape photography workshop. Winter is an excellent time of year to visit, with significantly less crowds, magnificent snowcapped mountains and endless beauty. We will base out of Estes Park and spend sunsets and sunrises shooting, with classroom time and image editing during the day. One morning shoot will include a guided snowshoe hike (easy) to Dream Lake! 

  Improve your photography skills  

Dan will always be with the group providing thoughts, advice and real time critique through-out the entire workshop. You are encouraged to ask questions and get individual help with specific challenges while in the field and the classroom. 

Jan 26-28, 2024: 2 SPOTS LEFT!


Experience Level

Beginner - Advanced 

Both beginners & experienced photographers will benefit from this workshop. I will work closely with you to address  strengths and weaknesses. All can expect to be challenged.


Somewhat Challenging

All age levels welcome. You should be comfortable hiking or snowshoeing up to 3 miles (can be strenuous depending on snow). Please reach out if you are not sure about your ability. 


Snowcapped peaks & lakes

Dramatic peaks and stunning lakes. We will be shooting in winter conditions. Please be prepared for snow and ice, with waterproof boots and plenty of warm layers.      

Group Size

8 people

I prefer to keep workshops small, ensuring that each person will have ample time for one-on-one instruction. This photography workshop is limited to 8 people. 


Never having taken any formal photography instruction, I was thrilled for my day in Rocky Mountain National Park with Dan. He has a very gentle and unassuming manner and you can see it his pleasure to impart his expertise to a group of 'weekend warrior' photographers."

Image by Justin Kauffman


Day 1: (Friday) Meet at 12:30pm at the Castle Mountain Lodge for an intro class on composition. Head out to Rocky Mountain National Park to shoot through sunset. Back to the hotel with time off for dinner in Estes Park. 


Day 2: (Saturday) Rise early for an exciting hike/snowshoe (3 miles round trip) to Dream Lake, shooting through sunrise. Back to the lodge for a break, followed by image editing classroom session. Spend sunset shooting more gorgeous scenes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Time for dinner in Estes after. 


Day 3: (Sunday) Another early morning for our last shoot in Rocky Mountain National Park! Return to the lodge for breakfast then the portfolio review session, followed by Q&A. Wrap up around 11am. 



 Exciting Photo Locations • Individual Instruction • Creative Image Editing • Portfolio Feedback 


We will be out shooting and exploring during sunrise and sunset to ensure we find the best conditions. During daytime hours we will have classroom time where we will focus on photography concepts and techniques. 


Image Composition 

Learning how to compose an image is one of the most important elements of photography and probably one of the hardest to master. Starting with this class and continuing throughout the workshop, I will teach you simple and actionable skills that will help you find amazing compositions in any environment.


Creative Editing

We will go through my editing process from beginning to end using a combination of mostly Lightroom with some fairly easy but extremely powerful Photoshop to finish it off. My editing method is very artistic and effective for beginners and advanced users alike. It is always one of the highlights of the workshop.

portfolio example_edited.jpg

Portfolio Feedback

Getting honest and constructive feedback about your images is extremely hard to find. At the end of every workshop I will dig into 15-20 of your best shots to give you insightful critique on how to improve. While these sessions are honest, I guarantee you will go away inspired with new ideas and thoughts on making great images.


LODGING: Cost of lodging is up to each participant. Our group will be staying at the Castle Mountain Lodge in Estes Park. Prices range between $99 and $299 per night, depending on your choice of cabin. After sign-up you will receive information on confirming your stay. 


DRIVING: You can either drive your own car/rent a vehicle (encouraged) or choose the shuttle-service from Denver Airport to Estes Park and carpool during the workshop. The round-trip shuttle can be arranged for $98. For those who are comfortable driving in winter conditions, having your own vehicle / renting is the preferred option for maximum flexibility. 


WINTER CONDITIONS: Like every winter destination, there is the possibility of a snowstorm affecting travel plans. If the workshop is not possible due to inclement weather, we will officially reschedule to the following weekend, JAN 13-15. Please make your travel arrangements with this in mind. 



Not included: Food, lodging, extras or transportation

✓ Instruction from Dan Ballard

✓ 4x shoots in and around RMNP

✓ 3x classroom sessions 

✓ Snowshoe rental + guide

    I always tell my students that you DO NOT need expensive gear to create excellent images. Great gear does make a difference in terms of technical quality, durability, ease of use and other factors and I advise using quality products, but creating a powerful, creative image is all about the photographer and the light. While I do recommend shooting with the best gear you can afford, keep in mind this is not the most important factor.
    Camera: (preferably a DSLR or a mirrorless with the ability to shoot raw) Lenses: My ideal setup for full frame is a16-35mm, 50mm, 70-200 or 300mm. If you own a 24-70 or equivalent that is fine. As long as you have something fairly wide and a telephoto. For DX or APS-C users, any combination of lenses that gets you from at least 18mm to 200mm. Preferably from 10mm to 200mm but if you don’t already own a wide angle don’t stress. Other: A sturdy outdoor tripod is a must! Also, plenty of digital memory, extra batteries & battery charger,
 lens cleaning cloth, camera bag that allows you to easily get to your gear. You may want to consider bringing a back up camera as well. Filters: The only filter that I consider a must have is a circular polarizer. While I don't use it often — when you need it you have to have it. There can also be situations where a 10 stop neutral density or variable ND (variable neutral density) can be very useful. This is definitely not something that is mandatory but could be useful on the workshop or shooting in general. I prefer the screw on circular polarizers and ND filters. I also carry a 3 stop soft graduated neutral density filter, and although I rarely use it these days — it can come in handy. If you don't already know what this is or how to use it, don't stress about bringing one. I prefer hand holding 4x6 inch grad ND filters.
    We will shoot rain or shine. A rainjacket is a must and a small travel umbrella is highly recomended. Layered clothing is super important for changing temperatures — early morning can be cold with afternoons getting very warm. Consider thin gloves, a hat, sturdy footwear and sunglasses. Also helpful to have is a flashlight, sunscreen, lip balm and bug spray. For more challenging or strenuous workshops, it is helpful but not mandatory to bring waterproof boots or gators. I don't personally usually use a camera cover (I prefer an umbrella) this is something you may want to bring along.
    Please bring a laptop computer with a card reader for the classroom portion of the workshop. It would be best to have Adobe Lightroom software installed. We will also spend a small amount of time with Adobe Photoshop if you want to have this installed as well to follow along. I use the Creative Cloud and purchasing the Lightroom/Photoshop package which is only $9.99 a month. If you use and prefer another editing program that is not a problem at all. You will still pick up a ton of new thoughts and ideas — much of the editing is focused on the artistic side of image processing. Also, if you don't have a laptop — don't stress. You will still benefit from the ideas shared in the courses. You are welcome to borrow a laptop or share with another student. If you prefer to take written notes, it is a good idea to bring along pen and paper.
    We will be critiquing images taken prior to the workshop, please inlcude a section of 15-20 of your favorite images you would like feedback on. We may also have a chance to critique some images taken during the workshop.
    You must have travel insurance for an international workshop. I recommend bringing quite a few snacks with you. Granola bars, jerky, nuts, etc. Be sure to see what kind of plug adaptor you will need for electronics. If you are signing up from outside of the US, please be aware of VISA requirements for the country of travel.
Operating under a Special Use Authorization with Rocky Mountain National Park
Have questions? Feel free to reach out.
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