Workshops & Tours

Castle Formation, Capitol Reef National Park

10 Day Tour - SE Utah: Red Rocks, Blue Sky and Desert Blooms

Download Brochure: Word Doc

10 Day Tour - SE Utah: Red Rocks, Blue Sky and Desert Blooms

Newer Format - Longer Duration and Smaller Group Size - Limited to Ten!!
Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, UTAH
April 29 - May 8, 2012 (Tour Begins Sunday PM - Ends Tuesday PM)

We have designed this special 10 day tour of southern Utah for those interested in seeing more of this spectacular region. By staying five nights in each town, Boulder and Torrey, we'll be able to delve deeper into the region.

Tour Location Description

Over the years we have spent months exploring places to photograph within the southeast Utah region. During that time we have developed a deep appreciation for the stark contrast of colors and habitat that the area is known for. The slickrock country of southern Utah contains some of the wildest areas remaining in the lower 48 states. Landscapes and close-up subjects in this fascinating land are the focus of this tour. This is an exciting land of buttes, arches, mesas, deep canyons, and vast desert vistas. We'll examine the subtle striations of Navajo sandstone and the brighter red hues of Wingate sandstone. The low sunlight of morning and evening saturates the spectacular slickrock formations, intensifying the multiple shades of beige, orange and red.

We'll explore dry canyons with gnarled cottonwoods that have withstood late summer flash floods for hundreds of years. Here you'll photograph the intricate patterns of Navajo sandstone, the purple stains of desert varnish on Wingate sandstone, giant cottonwoods, and (if it has rained recently) canyon reflections in small pools of water.

We also will photograph in Long Canyon in the slickrock wilderness of the Grand Staircase / Escalante National Monument. Here is where we'll discover how the phenomenon of "canyon kick" bounces warm light off one side of a canyon to the other. We'll also work within the spectacular Chimney Rock Canyon and Fluted Hills areas of Capitol Reef National Park, among many other options.

The patient nature photographer using a longer focal length lens may even be able to capture images of side-blotched and desert spiny lizards scampering over the rocks. If the weather is warm enough we may see the more reclusive collared lizard.

Wildflowers require optimal weather to bloom in this dry country. If we're fortunate, conditions could provide slickrock paintbrush, penstemon, desert primroses, and prickly-pear and claret-cup cactus to photograph. Even without wildflowers, there is other plant life in the canyon country, such as the extensive stands of budding quaking aspen in the higher elevations of the Dixie National Forest which we will visit.

Opportunities to make spectacular images are limited only by your imagination as we explore the varied and remarkable terrain of southern Utah.

Tour versus Workshop

This tour is designed to provide maximum time in the field when weather conditions are good for photography. Since this is a photographic tour, not a workshop, Rod will be making photographs alongside the participants. However, Rod will share his photographic expertise in the field and will conduct question and answer sessions as well. (There will be no instructional presentations or film processing service.)

Who Is This Tour Designed For?

This tour is designed for advanced photographers - those who have previously attended a Rod Planck workshop or have other photographic workshop experience. During the tour emphasis will be placed on landscape and close-up photography. No effort will be made to photograph buildings or animals in poor coat. If you're not sure if this tour is right for you, please contact our office and we'll discuss it with you.

Health and Logistical Concerns

Participants for the tour must be in good general health. They must be agile enough to hike over uneven terrain at an average elevation of five thousand feet. Though the pace will be relaxed and the distances relatively short, participants must still be capable of hiking up to one mile round-trip over uneven, rocky terrain while carrying their camera gear and water.

Tour Fee

$1395 per person, limit of 10 participants. A deposit of $250 is required with registration. The balance of $1145 is due 90 days prior to the tour. If you need to cancel with less than a 90 day advance notice, we will issue a refund only if we are able to fill your space. All refunds incur a $50 processing fee. Participants are responsible for transportation to Boulder and Torrey, Utah, lodging and meals (except where included: see Boulder, UT accommodations).

Before the trip we will send a detailed confirmation letter outlining check-in time, directions, suitable photographic equipment and recommended clothing. Prior to the tour we will provide a list of participants to facilitate joint travel arrangements.

Due to logistics, we are not offering a reduced fee for a non-participating spouse. If you wish to have your partner share this experience with you, we encourage you to do so. This location provides enough variety to please many non-photographic partners. They must, however, attend as a tour participant at the regular rate if they would like to join the group in the field. If your partner is content to be on their own they may do so as a totally non-participating partner but expect to pay $150 +/- per day for five days while the group stays at the ranch. This will cover their share for accommodations, 3 meals per day, tax and gratuity.


High clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles are a must to reach some of our backcountry destinations. If you are willing to use your vehicle during the tour, please let us know. If we do not have enough participants bringing their own four-wheel drive vehicles, some participants will be required to subsidize the rental of additional four-wheel drive vehicles in addition to splitting the cost of fuel for the tour. (Costs have ranged from $65 to $125 p/p in the past.)

Accommodations and Group Rates

The first leg of the tour involves a stay near the town of Boulder, which is nestled between Dixie National Forest and Grand/Staircase National Monument. Here we'll stay as a group at a Guest Ranch just outside the town of Boulder. Our group rate of $150 +/- per day per person includes accommodations, breakfast, picnic lunch, and dinner prepared at special times to accommodate our group, tax and gratuity. They also offer horseback trail rides for those interested (optional, not part of the tour.)

The second leg of the tour is based in Torrey, where we'll stay at the Sandstone Inn. Our group rate is $75 + tax per night (single/double); includes continental breakfast only. A restaurant is located on site or you may try out other eateries a short distance from the motel. For those interested in staying at "luxury" accommodations while in Torrey, please let us know and we will make recommendations. Please plan to check-out on May 9 (or later) since the tour goes through the evening of May 8.

Small Print

A signed release and assumption-of-risk form is required prior to the tour. We reserve the right to make changes in itinerary based on weather and other conditions beyond our control.

Registration Information

Cost: $1395 per person. A deposit of $250 is required with registration. The balance of $1145 is required 90 days prior to the beginning of the tour. If you cancel less than 90 days prior, a refund is issued only if we are able to fill your space. ALL cancellations incur a $50 processing fee. Participants are responsible for lodging, meals (except where provided, as stated in itinerary), and transportation costs.

Reservations: Early reservations are recommended. By phone: Call (906) 293-3339. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5p.m. EST. For reservations made by phone, we accept credit cards for deposits only, or we'll hold your space for 7 days, while awaiting your check.

If you prefer to register online, you can do so using using Paypal or credit card by clicking the "Add to Cart" button below. You do not need a Paypal account to pay by credit card.

You can also register by downloading and completing a registration form (Word Doc) and mailing with payment to:

Rod Planck Photography
PO Box 100
McMillan, MI 49853

By Phone: Call (906) 293-3339. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9a.m. to 5p.m. EST. For reservations made by phone, we accept credit cards (for deposits only), or we'll hold your space for 7 days, while awaiting your check.

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