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Winter Ranches Photography Workshop

January 20-22, 2023: SOLD-OUT
Cost: 1,475 total ($475 deposit due at sign-up)

Join us on a 3-day winter photography workshop in the small town of Westcliffe, Colorado! We will be shooting beautiful horses running against the snow-capped mountain backdrop – along with old barns, cowboys, and the gorgeous landscape. Located in south-central Colorado, the Wet Mountain Valley may be the state's most beautiful and unspoiled mountain valley. We will spend 2 mornings shooting at the picturesque ranch and 2 evening shooting the surrounding area. Don't miss this unique winter horse photography workshop!


Experience Level

Beginner - Advanced 

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



All age levels are welcome on this photography workshop. Light hiking in is involved, but nothing too strenuous.  *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 new techniques, how to shoot fast-moving scenes in low-light, editing & 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. 


Gorgeous Mountain Backdrop

We will be shooting at an authentic working cattle ranch located in the small town of Westcliffe, Colorado – nestled at the base of the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo Mountain range.

Photo Workshop Schedule

On Friday, we will start the workshop off at 1:00PM at the hotel with an introduction followed by a classroom session on light and composition. The group will be in the field for sunset then have dinner at a local restaurant in Westcliffe after shooting.


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. Time for dinner 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 based on conditions.


Authentic Cowboys & Cowgirls

We will spend Saturday and Sunday mornings shooting at the ranch. This means you'll have two opportunities to capture that perfect moment!

Image by Patrick Fore

Planning Your Trip to Westcliffe, CO

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.

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


Dan 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.



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.

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.

 "Dan is an excellent teacher. His class was probably the best educational investment that I have made for my photography." 

What's Included in the Colorado Ranches Photography Workshop: 

Instruction from Dan Ballard • Classroom Courses • Personal Feedback Session • Running of Horses • Authentic Colorado Ranch Experience • Snacks and Water
 Not included: flights, hotel, car and food 
Anchor 1

“I have been shooting for 30 years and one day with Dan has literally changed the way I shoot, select and edit and my photos forever. I have had several teachers and mentors along the way, but Dan brought these keys points to light better than anyone else.  Dan is honest, down-to-earth, amazingly knowledgable, helpful and generous with his guidance."

"Dan Ballard has a keen eye for great landscape photography and experience in capturing it, HOWEVER, it is his determination to match to the student’s level to share his in-depth knowledge in teaching it to others that was the highlight of the weekend. He was very patient with each student and took interest in each individual’s needs and level of experience."

“I was wholly impressed with Dan on my first western landscape workshop. He has a clear, concise teaching style and was available to each of us throughout the workshop. The one thing that sets Dan apart from others is his selflessness in sharing his knowledge. He wants everyone who participates, from hobbyists to professionals, to get better at their craft.""

"I am a semi-professional photographer from Canada with my work showing in numerous galleries. On every level both Dan and his workshop exceeded my expectations. I left the workshop as a better photographer."

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