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MOAB's wild west 

Moab Western Photography Workshop

Oct 14-16, 2022:  NOW FULL!
Cost: 1475 total ($475 deposit due at sign-up)

Join me at an authentic working cattle ranch on the outskirts of Moab, Utah to capture beautiful western and desert scenes. You'll have the opportunity to capture cowboys on horses, working cattle scenes, desert landscapes with a mountain backdrop and more. We will spend 2 sessions shooting at the ranch and 2 sessions shooting gorgeous landscapes via 4WD Jeeps (included). During the day you will learn in the classroom how to improve your skills. Don't miss this unique western 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 to Moderate

All age levels are welcome on this photography workshop. Very light hiking is involved. 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 techniques such as focus stacking, moving subjects, advanced camera settings & 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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In this photography workshop, we will spend 2 shoots at an authentic working cattle ranch. 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, and more. 


 Plus Classroom Sessions • Hands-on Instruction • Posing & Directing of Cowboys  • 4WD Jeeps
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Majestic Mountain Backdrop Included

Rare do you find the opportunity to shoot action western scenes with the perfect mountain backdrop.  Dan will direct the cowboys/cowgirls to set the best scene for photography. 


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.

Years of Experience with Sony, Nikon, and Canon Gear 

other brands welcome

Photography Workshop Schedule

DAY 1 - LANDSCAPES: On Friday, we will start the workshop off at 3:00PM at the hotel with an introduction followed by a classroom session on light and composition. We will then head out to shoot sunset in the desert landscape via 4WD Jeeps. Time for dinner after. 


DAY 2 - AUTHENTIC RANCH: On Saturday, we will rise before the sun and head to the La Sal Ranch to spend the morning shooting working cowboys/cowgirls. After breakfast we will have some time off followed by a classroom session on image processing with Lightroom. The group will then head back to the La Sal ranch to capture sunset. Time for dinner after.


DAY 3 - LANDSCAPES: On Sunday, we will spend the early morning shooting the desert sunrise via 4WD Jeeps. 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 Hyatt Place Moab, located in downtown Moab. After sign-up you will receive an email with information about confirming your stay. 

Car:  We will be carpooling in regular vehicles to the ranch on Saturday and riding in 4WD vehicles to the landscape shoots. 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. 

Flights: Flights: The closest large airport is in Salt Lake City which is about a 4-hour drive from Moab. Boutique Airlines usually has daily flights to Moab (Canyonlands Field CNY) from Salt Lake or Denver.  

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Incredible Desert Landscape

In partnership with a local guide, we will spend two shoots exploring 4WD roads in Moab and capturing the gorgeous desert landscape. 

What's Included in the Moab Ranches Photography Workshop: 

Instruction from Dan Ballard • 3x Classroom Courses • 2x Ranch Photoshoots • 2x Landscape Photoshoots via 4WD vehicles
 Not included: flights, hotel, car and food 
Anchor 1
    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.
Have questions? Feel free to reach out.
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