Witness the red Navajo Sandstone cliffs listening to the Virgin River recite unspoken stories of time. Experience autumn colors in one of the world’s most majestic national parks. Zion National Park. Located on the westernmost edge of the Colorado Plateau, Zion National Parks stands tall beckoning for further exploration.

On this tour we will explore Zion by shuttle, car, and by foot. Get to know the lesser-known nooks and grow to love the famous ones. With the colors of fall in full swing, capture Zion in pictures like you’d never imagined. And if we’re lucky, we’ll catch a dusting of winter snow.

This tour will focus on flowing water and swaying color as the Cottonwood trees lining the Virgin River dance to the autumn breezes.

The views of Zion are breathtaking any time of the year—however, fall elevates this visual and visceral experience to another level. The fall colors peak in early November and add new tones to the color palette—contrasting vividly against the red sandstone rock.

The Watchman in fall at sunset, Zion National Park, Utah

November 8 – 12, 2023

$1,850 USD
($1,650 USD early bird)

6-8 participants + 2 instructors

Intermediate to advanced photography level. Moderate hiking involved.

Program

During the photo tour, we will take advantage of the best light during daylight hours to take advantage of our time in the park. We will be shooting sunrises and sunsets as well as scenes during the day. We make one afternoon free of shooting—for resting and learning how to improve post-processing skills in Adobe Lightroom.

Day 1 - 5

Our first photo excursion will be afternoon/sunset on day 1.

On day 5, the photo tour will end after the sunrise shoot.

All scheduled photoshoots are subject to change. We will do our best to utilize given weather conditions to maximize shooting opportunities for each day. We will provide a tentative itinerary and meeting times at our initial meeting. The itinerary will remain flexible according to conditions on any given day.

Extra activities

On one dedicated afternoon, we’ll be available to help you improve your post-processing skills in Adobe Lightroom and streamline your photography management.

If so desired, we will also be holding portfolio reviews on a one-by-one basis providing honest and constructive feedback.

Planning Your Trip
Flights

The closest airport is Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS). It’s a 3-hour drive to Zion National Park. Other airports to consider are Salt Lake City International airport (4-hour drive), St. George airport (1-hour drive) and Cedar City airport (1.5-hour drive).

Transportation

We recommend renting a vehicle at the airport. It will also give you the ability to explore other unique locations around Utah before and/or after the photo tour. We recommend renting an SUV-type vehicle in case we do an adventure south of the park.

We will be carpooling during the photo tour. However, you are welcome to use your own vehicle if conditions permit.

Accommodation

We will be staying in Springdale, Utah. Upon your photo tour reservation, we will provide the name of the hotel where we will be staying. You are free to secure your own accommodations if you so desire. Be advised, options are limited so do not postpone securing lodging accommodations.

Food and Beverages

Since we will be shooting sunrises, sunsets and throughout the day, normal eating schedules may be compromised during this photo tour. We may go as a group for a dinner here and a breakfast there (after photographing), but for the most part each participant will be on their own food-wise. On some days, we’ll pack our own meals for the day. We will provide complimentary water and snacks at each shoot location.

Dramatic sky in Zion National Park
Zion NP Fall Photo Tour
Included & Excluded

Included

  • Guidance and instruction from two professional photographers
  • Classroom lessons
  • Portfolio feedback sessions
  • Zion National Park entrance fee
  • Snacks and water

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Transportation
  • Hotel
  • Food and beverages
  • Waterproof gear (for the Narrows hike, which is approx. $100)
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Visa (if applicable)
Meet your instructors
Jan Miřacký

Jan is an award-winning landscape and travel photographer based in the Czech Republic who has a passion for long exposure photography. Jan regularly runs photography tours in different locations in the world as well as more adventurous photo expeditions in places such as Peru. Jan’s instruction on multi-day tours focuses on training each participant in seeing hidden compositions otherwise not seen. Jan’s goal is to ensure each participant comes to understand proper metering and exposure yielding more desirable results.

A.J. Rich

Growing up on the edge of St. George, Utah, A.J. spent countless hours around his childhood home climbing rock mesas and exploring the unknown, including at nearby Zion National Park. After graduating with a degree in graphic design from Brigham Young University in 2001, A.J. is currently working in the graphic design field with over 20 years of award-winning experience. In 2006 A.J. picked up a camera and, drawing on his art background, has been a successful Getty Images contributor. In recent years, he has focused on landscape photography—where his true passion lies. A.J. is excited to share his knowledge of Utah and the surrounding area with others.

2014-profile-photo-webres-1
A.J. Rich
Final notes
Difficulty & Terrain

Participants do not need to be in prime physical shape, but one’s enjoyment will be based on good health and preparation. Participants should expect to walk up to 4 miles per day. Please consult with your doctor before attending our photo tour or venturing on your own before and/or after the photo tour.

Proper hydration is a must in desert locations. It is expected that each participant fully understands they will be out in the remote desert. Please bring plenty of water (which will be provided) and drink often. We recommend participants start hydrating (drinking at least 120 ounces per day / 3.5 liters) one week prior to the tour.

Terrain is considered moderate to difficult. This photo tour involves some trail hiking (as well as off-camber rock scrambling) and elevation gain (up to 500 feet / 150 m) to arrive at certain shooting locations. Some shooting locations will be easily accessible from a parking lot or roadside.

The trail hiking may be deemed vigorous activity based upon the participant’s physical condition. Trail hiking surfaces and those beyond the parking lot are generally uneven—thus hiking boots are recommended. If you are not comfortable with your hiking/fitness level, it is recommended that you ‘train up’ for the hiking portions. Ultimately, one’s enjoyment of the hiking portions of the tour are up to the participant.

Experience level

Intermediate to advanced. Each participant is expected to know the basics regarding proper exposure and composition as well as being comfortable operating their camera in manual mode  and aperture priority mode.

We will be introducing/reviewing advanced bracketing techniques while along the Virgin River to freeze moving leaves while also exposing for flowing water. We will then demonstrate in Lightroom and Photoshop how to blend these exposures together in post-processing.

Weather & Clothing

Come prepared with clothing layers as mornings can be quite chilly, even frigid. We plan on arriving up to an hour before sunrise and staying beyond sunset and into the crisp nights when temperatures can rapidly shift in this desert environment. Weather can also be unpredictable, so please plan accordingly. It is not uncommon for it to snow in the overnight in the Zion area.

November is a temperature swing month in the high desert as winter begins to set in. Highs average around 60°F (15°C) during the day and regularly dip below freezing (32°F / 0°C) at night. The elevation of the surrounding area where we will be shooting is between 3,000 and 7,000 feet (915 and 2,133 meters).

Cold water hiking gear is required for our Narrows hike. We will be making time to stop at Zion Outfitters one of the workshop days to rent insulated waders, waterproof canyoneering boots, and a wooden hiking pole for the Narrows. The Virgin River water—which comes from a deep, shadowy canyon—can be in the low 40s/upper 30s Fahrenheit (0-5°C) in November.

In the weeks leading up to the Zion Photo Tour, we will email recommended items to bring to ensure adequate preparation for the variable weather conditions.

Sunrise & Sunset Times

Sunrise is approximately at 7:05 a.m and sunset is approximately at 5:27 p.m daylight savings time. The seasonal timing of this photo tour will allow for normal dinner times and more rest— as the days are much shorter in early November.

Legal Information

The Zion Fall Photo Tour is organized by A.J. Rich and operated with the help of Action Photo Tours.

Participants on the Zion Photo Tour 2022
Participants on the Zion Photo Tour 2022 photographing The Watchman
Virgin river in canyon in fall, Zion National Park
Narrows, Zion NP Fall Photo Tour
Angels Landing, Zion NP Fall Photo Tour
Road, Zion NP Fall Photo Tour
Canyon, Zion NP Fall Photo Tour