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The Great Canyons Tour and Photo Workshop | Utah Photo Workshops
Sean McFarland
Sean McFarland
Drake Busath
Drake_5429 by JA
Drake Busath M.Photog. CR
Drake Busath

Zion National Park / Grand Canyon / Slot Canyons

Date: November 4-9, 2019 SOLD OUT (6 days, 5 nights)

Date: November 2-7, 2020 (6 days, 5 nights)

Photograph some of the most dramatic canyons in the world, and sharpen your skills, both technical and artistic. Get one-on-one guidance in the field as you work alongside Utah photographer Sean McFarland, veteran instructor at Utah Photo Workshops and Italy Workshops. Local host Kristin Poulsen (St George resident) is our trip manager and will pamper you all along the way.

Zion National Park
Day 1
Meet up at Zion Lodge inside Zion National Park at noon, (a very special stay, right in the heart of the park) and join us for a welcome lunch and short orientation before we check into our cabins. In the evening photograph under the towering Court of Patriarchs with it’s meadows, brooks and reflections in the Virgin River. Dinner is on your own at the lodge or in nearby Springdale. (Lunch)

Day 2
Rise early to photograph blue hour and sunrise on Towers of the Virgin. Watch the cliffs light up first with the cool light of the moon and then the fiery oranges of sunrise. A late morning workshop session will allow us to download and see the results of this fascinating morning. After lunch we head to Temple of Sinawava. If you’re feeling strong you can choose to hike in the Virgin river 1.5 miles to photograph the towering walls of the Narrows. Those not up to this strenuous hike will photograph intimate views of Zion along the Virgin and have the option of a short hike to Emerald Pools. Evening Free time to photograph or just relax in the stunning setting of the lodge wrap up this day.

Day 3
This morning we drive the switchbacks into the Upper East Canyon, and take a breathtaking short hike to watch sunrise at a grand vista. After a free morning and lunch at the lodge, we’ll workshop, reviewing your images to this point and offering editing instruction and tips. Then grab your tripod for a classic sunset view of The Watchman over the Virgin River. (Sunset 5:30pm)

Day 4
Sleep in or shoot sunrise right outside your cabin door before a late breakfast. After checkout, we’ll visit a sea of red rock formations where we can get our “rock art” on and explore some ancient petroglyphs, along with intense fall colors (fingers crossed), and then head out toward Page AZ and Lake Powell.

Chapter Two: slot Canyons / Lake Powell / Colorado River
Travel by car to Page, AZ, stopping along the way for a classic Americana photo-ops, to our headquarters for the next few days. After checking in, we’ll jump in a private boat and head out onto Lake Powell for sunset then “blue hour” on one of the most surreal lake landscapes in America.

Day 5
After breakfast we’ll review our images from Lake Powell on screen and offer suggestions for shooting in the slot canyons, then gather our gear for a mid-day excursion into Lower Antelope Canyon. It being one of the most exquisite naturally carved creations, look forward to what people have called a photographic orgy of color and design. After returning to the hotel for reviewing and editing time, grab a snack and the evening will find us at Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, one of the most dramatic overlooks on the planet. A Mexican dinner finishes off this amazing day. (Dinner)

Day 6
Enjoy breakfast then we finish off the workshop with a Navajo guided tour in yet another awesome slot canyon, Secret Canyon. This is a rare treat, allowed by permit only. The right guide makes all the difference finding the best image opportunities. Kristin, who has lived in Page and still owns a restaurant there, has great connections and has arranged the very best. We’ll arrive back at the hotel for a late checkout and then we’ll wrap up the workshop

Canyons Workshop Highlights

Zion National Park / Slot Canyons / Lake Powell
November 1-6, 2018 (6 days, 5 nights)
$1250 Participant (no single supplement required)
Includes 3 meals, workshop instruction , ground transportation, national park entrance fees, permits, boat travel on Lake Powell, Navajo guide and special photo permit fees for Lower Antelope Canyon, a special private visit to Secret Canyon complete with touchk transportation and guide, review and critique sessions, and travel guide available at all times. Hotel rooms are paid by you directly upon checkout.


Kristin Poulsen

Kristin Poulsen
Kristin, our tour producer,  is a native of southern Utah and has also lived and worked in Page, AZ.  She is our friendly host for this workshop and will get you registered by phone, answer all your travel questions.

She will at the workshop the entire time, arranging travel and meals, organizing the excursions and quietly smoothing out any bumps behind the scenes. Kristin’s expertise and presence allows the instructors to give their full attention to the participants. Having a makes all the difference in a workshop.  Kristin and her husband Kenny currently live in St George, UT and have five daughters.


Sean McFarland

Sean McFarland

Sean McFarland

Sean is an accomplished landscape photographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah.  An outdoor enthusiast, and with a second home near Zion National Park, he spends his spare time in the Wasatch mountains and red rocks to the south.

By day, Sean is chief engineer for a worldwide broadcasting network, managing a large team and an almost unimaginable set of visual and audio concerns. He also designs and oversees video systems at major league stadiums around the U.S.

Happily for us, Sean has lent his talents to our workshops both in Italy and the Canyons for the past 8 years. He’s more than qualified to answer all your technical questions, but even more important is his ever present smile and his willingness to help each participant individually with their needs.


Drake Busath

Drake Busath M.Photog. CR

Drake Busath
Drake, the originator of Utah Photo Workshops and Italy Workshops, has been a working photographer for over 35 years. In addition to operating a successful studio, Drake has dedicated a significant part of his life to teaching.  Hundreds of photographers have experienced less-traveled roads in Utah and Italian villages with Drake over the past 20 years.

Drake has presented  seminars and workshops in 8 countries and in 35 U.S. states. He’s been a regular platform speaker at Imaging USA and has been featured 4 times on the cover of Professional Photographer magazine. Last year he was chosen by PPA to receive the Tom McDonald award for Education in Photography. He also holds PPA’s National Award for lifetime achievement.

With a second home in St. George, UT (red rock country) Drake gets to escape into the desert and apply the same intimate photographic approach to desert landscapes as he has to his commercial projects.


Our mission is to place you in outrageous locations at the best times of day, and work side by side with you in the field to accomplish great images. Our classroom time will be aimed at helping you to process your images to a finished state, so you leave with printable images.

This is a small group format with just 8-10 participants. Individual help is a priority.

Classroom sessions (1-2 hours per day) allow us to review your favorite images from the previous day on the big screen. Here You will receive constructive critique and post production tips in Adobe Lightroom, using the participants images, fresh out of the camera.

All levels of experience are welcome.

Intermediate photographers can join in camera fundamentals discussion groups in the field, while the advanced photographers get extra time to shoot on their own. Our work-shops generally include an even mix of professionals, advanced amateurs and people new to the craft.

Technical topics include finding proper exposure quickly and confidently, techniques to create a sharper capture, slow exposure effects and filtering for added drama. We’ll encourage you to shoot in manual modes and make deliberate choices about your exposure, depth of field and composition. Post production techniques we’ll discuss are B&W fine tuning, selective color corrections, precise sharpening and many more.

On the artistic side, we’ll delve into directional lighting, compositional rules and rule-breaking, lens perspective for greater drama, as well as some fun in-camera-abstraction methods, like camera motion. (Drake thinks sharpness is sometimes over-rated)

All levels of experience are welcome.

Reserving your Spot

These small groups fill fast, so reserve early. Call Kristin at 435-313-3424. Payments may be made with Visa, MasterCard or American Express, or you may send a check. Checks should be written to “Italy Workshops” and mailed to 701 East South Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84102.

Upon payment of your deposit, we will send you an information packet including suggestions for camera equipment, computer and software, clothing and travel information specific to your workshop destination.

Payment Schedule

To reserve $500 (fully refundable for 14 days while you make your plans)
60 days before the trip 50% of balance
45 days before the trip Balance


1. Drive your own car – Meet at Zion Park Entrance 12:00 noon.

2. Ride with us – starting and ending in St. George, UT (Add $350)

Flight Options:
Fly into Las Vegas, NV (3 hour drive to Zion)
Fly into St. George, UT (1 hour drive to Zion)
Shuttle service available from Las Vegas to St George.

Contact Kristin Poulsen, Utah Workshops director to help you plan your travel.
(435) 313-3424


Rooms are assigned in order of reservations received, so early signup is recommended. Ask about premium rooms, at some workshop locations for an additional supplement charge.

Single Supplements

Fees are based on double occupancy. Single supplement is added for participants who wish to have a private room to themselves. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room with another participant, please let us know and we will do our best to match you with a roommate.

Cancellation fee schedule

45 days prior to workshop start date 25%
30 days prior 50%
15 days prior 100%
No partial refunds will be given for unused portions of a workshop.

We highly recommend that all workshop participants purchase trip cancellation insurance independently.

Cancelled Workshops

Utah Workshops reserves the right to cancel any trip for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient signup, logistical problems that may impede a workshop, hotel closures or acts of God. (We have never yet had to cancel a workshop.) Refund of all fees paid shall release Utah Workshops from any further liability. Utah Workshops is not responsible for any expenses incurred by workshop participants in preparing for a cancelled workshop. In the case of insufficient signup to make a workshop feasible 30 days prior to workshop, notice and full refund will be sent.

Photographic Release

Utah Workshops reserves the right to photograph and film its trips in entirety. Participants should be aware that images of them may be used for promotional purposes or joint marketing efforts with third parties, without renumeration.

I wanted a tour of southern Utah that would (1) show me places I might not otherwise see (and I live in Utah), (2) Put me in the company of people who know more about photography than I do, and who are anxious to share their expertise, (3) Give me an enjoy-able social experience, and (4) Let me come home with photographs that are meaning-ful to me and to people I show them to. Surprise: every one of the things I wanted I got. In spades. I loved that trip. You will too.
– Sherman Bloom

I just returned from Drake’s Utah photography and canyons tour workshop, what an incredible experience! If you are a photographer and you want to see the magnificence of Bryce, Zion and Lake Powell, there is no better way! Drake and his team went to the greatest heights to organize and implement an unforgettable experience. As a world traveler and photographer, I have to say that every aspect of this workshop is world class… have a great time!
– Drew Hyman

You cannot take a bad picture anywhere in the Lower Slot Canyon!
-Bonnie White

“I’ve been taking photos for many years, but I was sort of a speed shooter and editor, not really investing the time to capture the right photo. While working with Drake and Randy both in the field and in the classroom, I came to understand numerous best practices that will help my photos be something more than another file of my computer… they’ve become something I feel confident displaying in a home or office setting. I hope to be able to travel with them again on future workshops to continue improving my hobby.”
-Jason Carlton

“Drake Busath is a rare find in the field of photographic workshops. He is both an amazing photographer and a wonderful teacher. His knowledge of his venues makes for some incredible images, and his choice of professional partners to accompany the group is a great bonus. The workshops attract both serious amateurs and seasoned professionals. It’s always a great trip, with some great people!”
-Jeff Carsten

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