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colorado winter

Colorado Winter Photography Workshop
Ridgway, Colorado 

March 29-31, 2024: NOW OPEN!
Cost: 1,275 total ($400 deposit due at sign-up)

Join us on a 3-day winter photography workshop and learn to capture massive snow-capped peaks and stunning intimate scenes around the San Juan Mountains. If you love Colorado in the summer, prepare to be blown away by winter. We will base out of one of the most incredible areas in the state for photography and shoot along quiet county roads during sunset and sunrise - with classroom time during the day. There are endless photographic opportunities unique to this time of year!

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Gorgeous Mountain Backdrop

A dramatic section of the western Rocky Mountains, featuring deep valleys, mineralized volcanic peaks, old mines and several historic towns. The range spans across Telluride-Ridgway-Ouray and the continental divide with numerous jagged volcanic summits, 13 of which rise to over 14,000 feet!

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.



All age levels are welcome on this photography workshop. We’ll drive to each location then walk to the best position for sunrise & sunset. *Reach out if you have 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. 

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 Ridgway after shooting.


On Saturday, we will rise before the sun to capture the gorgeous morning light. 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 San Juans 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 conditions.


Planning Your Trip to Ridgway, CO

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


Hotel: Please arrange your own accommodations during the workshop. We recommend the Chipeta Lodge – this is where we will meet in the morning and evening before going out to shoot. 

Car: We will be carpool in 2-3 vehicles during the workshop to each location. If you won't have your personal vehicle, I highly recommend renting a vehicle OR there are several shuttle services from the Montrose airport. 

Flights: The closest major airport is either Colorado Springs or Denver, with smaller airport options at Montrose (closest), Gunnison or Telluride.

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. Your payment will be transferable to the new date or any future workshop.  Please make travel arrangements with this in mind. 

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Dan will share his expertise during the 3 days of shooting sunrise and sunset at the base of the San Juan Mountains. You will work on photography concepts — focusing on light, simplicity, composition, focus stacking and more. He will always be with the group providing thoughts, advice and real time critique as the light changes.


With years of experience shooting with Nikon, Sony and Canon, Dan will be a resource in the field and the classroom. By keeping the group small we can react quickly to changing conditions and scout interesting locations.



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.

 "Dan is an excellent teacher. His class was probably the best educational investment that I have made for my photography." 
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What's Included in the Colorado Winter Photography Workshop: 

Instruction from Dan Ballard • Classroom Courses • Personal Feedback Session •  Snacks and Water
 Not included: Flights, Car Rental or Food 
Cost of Lodging is separate (booked independently) 
    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.

“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 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. You were a great teacher as well as being a fantastic photographer. That's a rare combination."

"I consider myself an advanced beginner but despite taking a lot of pictures and watching many hours of YouTube videos, most of my work looked more like “snapshots” instead of photographs. The workshop filled in many of the gaps that I just hadn’t been able to figure out on my own. Dan’s artistic and technical expertise, patience, and ability to recognize the difficulties I was having, explain why I was having them, and provide instant solutions to those problems were invaluable."

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