Colorado Western Ranches Photography Workshop

[$475 deposit due at registration] 
May 6-8, 2022: 3 spots remain!  Cost: 1,475

Join me on a 3-day photography workshop to capture beautiful western scenes! In May the valley will be lush green with meandering streams.  We will capture horses running against the mountain backdrop at sunrise along with old barns, cowboys, homesteads, natural grasses and  more. Located in south-central Colorado, the Wet Mountain Valley may be the state's most beautiful and unspoiled mountain valley.  Two morning will include shooting during sunrise at the picturesque ranch, a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch owned and operated by third generation family rancher. Don't miss this unique horse photography workshop!

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.


Easy - Moderate

All age levels are welcome on this photography workshop. Light hiking in is involved, but nothing to strenuous. We’ll drive to each location then walk to the best position. *Reach out if you have any limitations.


Field & Classroom

We will be in the field shooting for sunrise and sunset with classroom time & breaks during the day. Learn composition techniques, how to shoot fast- moving scenes in low-light, image editing & 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. 

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 Unique Locations • Individual Instruction • Creative Editing • Personal Feedback Session

Colorado Horse 

Photography Workshop

In this photography workshop I will share methods for capturing the rapid movement of running horses while focusing on the composition of the cowboys and landscape. This will include composing on the move, setting up your camera, lighting conditions, safety, how to approach ranchers for permission to shoot on their land and editing western images.


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.


Majestic Mountain Backdrop Included

Rare do you find the opportunity to shoot a herd of horses running AND the perfect mountain backdrop.  

Years of Experience with Sony, Nikon, and Canon Gear 


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. 

Colorado Horse Ranches Photography Works

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.

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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.

Photography Workshop Schedule

On Friday, we will start the workshop off at 2:00PM at the hotel with an introduction followed by a classroom session on light and composition. We will have dinner at a local restaurant in Westcliffe either before or after shooting sunset.


On Saturday, we will rise before the sun to capture the horses running at the ranch. After breakfast we will have some time off followed by a classroom session on image processing with Lightroom. The group will then head out to shoot for the evening light. We will enjoy dinner and conversation after sunset.


On Sunday, the ranch will be beckoning us again to shoot the early morning sunrise with cowboys and horses. 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 due to weather, good light, etc.

Planning Your Trip: Hotel & Transportation

Please note that transportation and accommodations are NOT included and is up to each individual participant.


Hotel: I have reserved a block of rooms at the Lampost Lodge, located just outside the charming town of Westcliffe. After sign-up you will receive an email with information about confirming your stay. 

Car:  We will be carpooling during the workshop to each location. If you won't have your personal vehicle, I highly recommend renting a vehicle so you can also explore on your own before/after the workshop. Driving conditions will consist mainly of paved roads, so a standard car should be sufficient. 

Flights: The Colorado Springs airport is the closest and is about a 2 hour drive from Westcliffe. You can also fly into the Denver airport which is a 2.5 hour drive. 

Authentic Ranch Experience

The Ranch is located in Westcliffe, Colorado at the base of the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. It is owned by the Parker Family and offers an incomparable hands-on Colorado working ranch experience! Enjoy horseback riding, cattle drives, hiking and simply waking up each morning looking out at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

In 2007 the ranch was permanently protected the 4,000-acres from development with a conservation easement through the San Isabel Land Protection Trust. It has been family owned and operated since Bill Parker purchased it in 1968, and it is their intention to keep it as a working cattle ranch in perpetuity. Bill recognized early on the importance of stewarding the grass and the ranch continues to follow these guidelines today.

 I had some trepidation about making the investment in taking the class but I'm so glad I did. You took us to some gorgeous places and not only taught us how to capture them in the camera but also how to edit them for the best effect. I wasn't impressed with my images until I took them into Lightroom and edited them as you suggested and I am thrilled with the end product. Wow! I have had so many great comments on my photos.

I enjoyed [the workshop] a great deal and learned a lot. I feel that I improved both my photography skills and my editing skills. The post-processing techniques that you showed us in Lightroom for the intimate landscapes we were shooting were a real “game changer” for me and I’m looking forward to trying them on my photos. I love it when I come away from a workshop so excited about photography and trying new things!

What's Included in the Colorado Ranches Photography Workshop: 

Instruction from Dan Ballard • Classroom Courses • Personal Feedback Session • Running of Horses • Music Meadows Colorado Ranch Experience • Snacks and Water
 Not included: flights, hotel, car and food 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the workshop?

The cost of the workshop DOES INCLUDE: instruction from Dan Ballard, Music Meadow Ranch experience and photoshoots at several locations in Westcliffe, classroom courses, snacks & water. This workshop DOES NOT INCLUDE: transportation to/from the workshop (flights or car rental), hotel accomodations, food or any gear

What about accommodation & transportation?

Please note that transportation and accommodations are NOT included and is up to each individual participant. Hotel: I have reserved a block of rooms at the Lampost Lodge, located just outside the charming town of Westcliffe. After sign-up you will receive an email with information about confirming your stay. Car: We will be carpooling during the workshop to each location. If you won't have your personal vehicle, I highly recommend renting a vehicle so you can also explore on your own before/after the workshop. Driving conditions will consist mainly of paved roads, so a standard car should be sufficient. Flights: The Colorado Springs airport is the closest and is about a 2 hour drive from Westcliffe. You can also fly into the Denver airport which is a 2.5 hour drive.

What if I need to cancel?

All deposits are non-refundable but may be transferred to another available workshop up to 45 days prior. If you cancel your workshop the following applies: If cancellation is received at least 45 days prior to the start of the workshop, the deposit can be applied to another workshop of your choice with available space. For cancellations received 0-44 days prior to the start of the workshop, deposits and workshop fee’s will be forfeited. Please see Terms & Conditions page for more information: https://www.danballardphotography.com/cancellation-policy

Where will we be shooting?

On Saturday and Sunday mornings we will be shooting sunrise at Music Meadow Ranch. Please be prepared to be up and ready to go very early! On Friday and Saturday evenings we will be shooting beautiful old barns, windmills and homesteads around the Westcliffe area.

What do I need to bring?

Main photo gear: -Camera body & lenses -Tripod and strap -Extra batteries -Large memory card -filters (optional) *For this workshop I recommend Two camera bodies (if you have them) for quick shooting with a wide angle & telephoto lens (My go to set-up, not mandatory but ideal). Always be prepared for any kind of weather. It can get VERY cold at niight and in the mornings: -Warm clothing: layers are best -Light gloves and beanie -Rain jacket and/or umbrella -Sturdy shoes for walking Optional but highly recommended: -Laptop with Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop installed -About 15 of your best images for feedback session (flashdrive, ipad, link or prints) -Pen & notepad (or laptop) -Day pack with water & snacks For other ideas please see the workshop gear page: https://www.danballardphotography.com/photography-workshop-gear-list

Have questions? Feel free to reach out.