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Colorado Great Sand Dunes
Nature Photography Workshop

April 21-23, 2023: 3 spots left!
$1,200 total  [$400 due at sign-up]

Join Pro Dan Ballard on a 3-day photo workshop to capture the most awe-inspiring sand dunes in North America! April has excellent cool weather for photography, with a higher likelihood of snow on the peaks. With over 10 years experience shooting in the park, Dan will be your expert guide in finding and shooting the most beautiful areas of the dunes. The combination of desert scape with a spectacular mountain backdrop will give ample opportunities for creating works of art. This unique and abstract landscape is sure to inspire any level of photographer!


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.


Moderate - Challenging

You should have good balance and feel comfortable walking on steep and uneven surfaces. Please see explanation below *Reach out if you have questions or limitations.  


Field & Classroom

We will be in the field shooting for sunrise and sunset with classroom time & breaks during the day. Learn composition techniques, image editing and more. 

Group Size

7-10 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 10 people. 

Dan has been shooting these dunes for 10+ years! As one of his favorite landscapes in the WORLD, he has the knowledge and experience to help you get the best images during your trip. 


As both a teacher and a guide, Dan will take the group on four unique trips into the dunes to shoot during sunrise and sunset – while working on a wide-variety of photography concepts. You'll learn about how to capture different types of light, shadows, abstract variations, mountain panoramas and more.  

During the daytime, the group will reconvene in the classroom where Dan will dig into his methods for composition, post-processing and effective tips on how to improve your images. 



 Unique Locations • Individual Instruction • Creative Editing • Portfolio Feedback
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"On every level both Dan and his workshop exceeded my expectations. I left the workshop as a better photographer." - Mark Brodkin

Schedule Overview 


On Friday, We will start the workshop off at 1:00PM with an introduction followed by a classroom session on light and composition. We will have time for early dinner at a small local restaurant before the first trip into the dunes to shoot sunset.


On Saturday, we will rise before the sun to capture the best light over the dunes. After breakfast at the lodge, we will have a classroom session on image processing with Lightroom. The group will then take a short break, then return to the dunes for sunset.


On Sunday, the mountain vistas will be beckoning us again to shoot the early morning sunrise. We will end with a feedback session that will break down 15-20 of your best images and give you new ideas on how to improve. We will finish up around 11AM. 

* exact schedule subject to change based on weather, good light, etc.

I have pre-booked rooms at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge, located at the base of the dunes with great views. It is less than a 10 minute drive to the dunes from here. After sign-up you will receive information on how to reserve your room. 

Please note that transportation and accommodations for the Sand Dunes Photography Workshop are up to each individual participant.

The closest large airport to Alamosa is in Colorado Springs, which is about a 3-hour drive away. Albuquerque is a 4-hour drive and Denver is about a 5-hour drive. Great Lakes airline has a daily flight from Denver to Alamosa. Driving conditions from Alamosa to the Great Sand Dunes will consist of mainly paved roads, so a standard car will be sufficient.

Planning Your Photo Trip 
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What fitness level is this workshop?

Many people ask what the fitness level on the workshop is. If you are comfortable walking on fairly steep and uneven terrain for less than half a mile, then I’d say it’s a good fit for you. If you do not feel comfortable climbing stairs it may not be. While the terrain can be a bit challenging for some - it is certainly not difficult. We won't be going to the very top of the dunes and will hike at a slow and steady pace for shooting with time for breaks. Don’t be afraid to sign up if you are older, as long as you have good balance. Please reach out if you have any questions!

Years of Experience with Sony, Nikon, and Canon Gear 

About The Great Sand Dunes National Park

It's no surprise that people travel from across the country to experience Colorado's Great Sand Dunes. As the tallest in North America, the sand dune field encompasses 30 square miles and the tallest dune towers 750 feet high! 


During the spring, the beautiful Medano Creek meanders at the base of the dunes. The water creates new and photogenic variations in the sand. And just beyond the sand dune field, sits an epic backdrop of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains.


The Great Sand Dunes began forming around 440,000 years ago, after a large inland lake that once covered the San Luis Valley - named "Lake Alamosa" dried up due to climate change. The predominant southwest winds blowing toward a low curve in the mountains helped form the sand dunes, and they still do today. 


The oldest evidence of human inhabitants on the dunes dates back nearly 11,000 years. From Native American traditions from the Navajo, Apache and Ute Tribes, to European and American settlers and homesteaders, these sand dunes have provided home and wonder to many groups over the centuries.

What's Included in the Sand Dunes Photography Workshop: 

Instruction from Dan Ballard • Classroom Courses • Personal Critique Sessions • Snacks and Water
 Not Included: flights, hotel, car and food 

Dan Ballard Photography is an Authorized Permittee of Great Sand Dunes National Park


Dan Ballard Photography is an Authorized Permittee of Great Sand Dunes National Park

Have questions? Feel free to reach out.
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