Colorado Sand Dunes Photography Workshop

April 8-10, 2022
   |  Cost: 1,200 total  [$400 due at registration]

Join me on a 3-day photo workshop to capture the tallest and most awe-inspiring sand dunes in North America! May has nice weather for exploring. We will be shooting the most photogenic areas of the dunes with a stunning mountain backdrop.  The combination of desert scape in the dawning light, spectacular mountain scenery and meandering flow of the Medano creek bed will give ample opportunities for creating works of art. I’ve always said that these sand dunes rank as one of my top shooting destinations in the world. Their mysterious and ever changing 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.


Somewhat 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

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. 

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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


what to expect on this photo workshop

I will guide you through 3 days of shooting sunrise/sunset in the sand dunes as we work on photography concepts — focusing on light, shadows, ridges, variations in sand, mountain vistas and much more. We will stay at the Grand Sand Dunes Lodge and explore the dunes from there. Each trip out to shoot will be unique in its own! 


I will always be with the group providing thoughts, advice and real time critique as the light changes. I run my workshops the same way that I shoot personally. By keeping the group small we can react quickly to changing conditions and scout interesting locations. 

 Unique Locations • Individual Instruction • Creative Editing • Personal Critique Sessions 
Schedule Overview 


We will start the workshop off at 2:00PM 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, followed by early dinner then a 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 confirm your stay. 

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

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 Sangre de Cristo Mountains helped form the sand dunes, and they still do today.


Many people have passed through, over and around the Great Sand Dunes for thousands of years and 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.

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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 
Have questions? Feel free to reach out.