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