Autumn in Yellowstone National Park Gardiner & West Yellowstone, MT

9/16/2017 - 9/21/2017

Where We Go: Being in Yellowstone National Park in the fall makes you think someone adjusted nature’s saturation levels to perfection. The cottonwood and aspen trees create a pallet so vivid you have to pinch yourself to know you aren’t dreaming. The yellows, reds and greens that blanket the landscape seem painted on. The blues in the sky invite you to swim in them. The air is so fresh and crisp you savor every breath and smell. During this week with Doug Johnson, let your senses come to life while experiencing some of Yellowstone’s greatest hits: Lamar, Swan and Hayden valleys, Mammoth Terraces, Norris Geyser Basin, West Thumb Geyser Basin and the Great Fountain Geyser. With scenery so stunning, you might even have to pinch yourself a few times throughout the week! And to top it all off, around every corner exists the possibility of seeing elk, bears, moose, and tons of other creatures that will keep you on your toes … and your finger on the shutter button.

What you learn: As if the scenery weren’t enough, the quality of photographic education you receive while on the workshop will catapult your confidence and abilities to the next level. During this photo-op-of-a-lifetime, Doug teaches you:

  • Methods for photographing wildlife successfully
  • A variety of methods for improving your landscape composition
  • How to create HDR and panoramic images by developing a seamless workflow
  • Techniques for night photography
  • Zone System of exposure for digital cameras.

At the end of this bucket-list experience, you emerge as a more knowledgeable and capable photographer. The skills you gain with Doug will stick with you for a long time and ensure you are able to create technically strong images of every adventure to follow.

Considerations: You should be comfortable with the manual exposure operation of your camera.

Please scroll down to see a schedule for this workshop.


Tentative schedule for Autumn in Yellowstone National Park workshop:

Saturday, 9/16

This workshop begins at 9 a.m.

Expectations / Itinerary / Workshop Lecture

Afternoon:Depart hotel:  Lamar Valley / Blacktail Plateau
Evening:Open Evening
Sunday, 9/17
Morning:Depart hotel: Canyon / Yellowstone Falls / Hayden Valley

Edit / Critique


Evening:Depart hotel: Golden Gate / Swan Lake
Monday, 9/18
Morning:Depart hotel: Mammoth Terraces

Check out of hotel


Depart Gardiner: Willow Park

Evening:Check into Yellowstone Park Hotel
Tuesday, 9/19

Depart hotel: Norris Geyser Basin


Edit / Critique 


Evening:Depart hotel: Black Sand Basin / Firehole Lake Drive
Wednesday, 9/20

Depart hotel: West Thumb Geyser Basin



Edit / Prepare for Final Critique

Evening:Group Dinner
Thursday, 9/21
Morning:Depart Hotel: Grand Prismatic Spring / Biscuit Basin


Critique / Final Slideshow

Evening:Workshop ends at 6 p.m.


Meeting Space

Your workshop will begin in Gardiner, Montana and end in West Yellowstone. This workshop starts on Saturday at 9 a.m. and ends Thursday at 6 p.m.

While in Gardiner your class will meet at the Best Western Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. While in West Yellowstone your class will meet at the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone, two blocks from the Yellowstone Park Hotel.

Holiday Inn West Yellowstone
315 Yellowstone Avenue
West Yellowstone, MT 59758


While in Gardiner we suggest that you stay at the Best Western Mammoth Hot Springs for the nights of September 15-17 departing on September 18. Your group will meet for instruction in a conference room at the hotel. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly and asking for Deborah or Liz. Be sure to indicate that you are a student of Rocky Mountain School of Photography.

Best Western Mammoth Hot Springs
905 Scott St.
West Gardiner, MT 59030
(406) 848-7311

Rates: Guest rooms have been blocked at the rate of $214 per night + tax (Mountain View Room).

Cutoff date: Be sure to make your reservation by August 14, 2017. After this date, reservations will be based on availability.


While in West Yellowstone, we suggest that you stay at the Yellowstone Park Hotel for the nights of September 18-21, departing September 22. Your group will have class instruction at The Holiday Inn nearby. To make your reservation please call the hotel directly. Be sure to indicate that you are are a student of Rocky Mountain School of Photography and use Group Code 6B82K2.

Note: Please do not call to make your reservation at this hotel until after February 3, 2017.

Yellowstone Park Hotel
201 Grizzly Avenue
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
(877) 600-4308

Rates:  $219 per night + tax (Deluxe Two Queen Beds).

Cutoff date: Be sure to make your reservation by August 16, 2017. After this date, reservations will be based on availability.

Please check with both hotels with regard to their cancellation policies.

Air Transportation

RMSP is not responsible for cancellations due to medical or other emergencies or reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets/hotel rooms in the event of a course cancellation. Please consider the purchase of trip/travel insurance.

The nearest airport for this workshop is the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport near Bozeman, Montana located approximately 87 miles from the hotel. Visit the airport website for information on carriers and flight schedules.

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
850 Gallatin Field Road
Belgrade, MT 59714

Transportation during the Workshop

You are responsible for your own transportation during the workshop. For transportation to and from field shoots, we suggest that you carpool to get to know fellow students.

Most major car rental companies are represented at the airport listed above. Please click the link to their website for more information.


Any additional fees and/or supplies will be the responsibility of the participant. Yellowstone National Park requires a $30 entrance fee per vehicle for a seven day pass. Entrance fees to Yellowstone National Park can be found here.



We want your experience at an RMSP workshop to be full of learning and fun. We recognize that preparation is one important key to success. The following is meant to be a packing aid, not a shopping list. If you have questions about what’s needed, please call Bob McGowan, our Student Services Associate, at 800-394-7677.


  • Digital SLR camera or interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera
  • Sturdy and reliable tripod
  • You’ll need at least one lens. The “kit lens” that came with your camera (most likely an 18-55mm) will be fine
  • Bring any other lenses that you own (a variety of focal lengths is always helpful)
  • Laptop
  • Memory Card Reader
  • Flash drive
  • Spare batteries for equipment (especially for your camera) 
  • Extra memory cards
  • Camera manual
  • Camera bag or backpack 
  • Note taking materials
  • Cable release wireless remote
  • Camera and lens cleaning supplies
  • Polarizer



  • 600mm lens (long telephoto)
  • Dedicated Flash
  • Filters (split neutral density, neutral density)
  • Lens shades for all lenses
  • Gray card
  • Professional air blower for sensor cleaning (eg. rocket blower)
  • Camera & lens cleaning supplies
  • Ground cloth, cushion or knee pads 
  • Camera rain cover if your camera and lens are not water resistant 


Personal Items:

  • Weatherproof clothing that can be layered underneath for warmth. Please note that evenings and mornings in the northwest can be chilly – even in the middle of the summer!
  • Medium to heavy jacket
  • Sturdy footwear for walking on uneven ground or trails
  • Umbrella
  • Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks for between meals in the field
  • Travel alarm clock and wristwatch – or smartphone with an alarm 
  • Pocket sized flashlight



Tuition: $1,695
Deposit: $300
Possible Discounts:
Friend of RMSP:$50
Early Registration:$50
if registered before 6/18/2017
This course is past its starting date.


Doug Johnson

Doug Johnson is a Colorado native now living in Missoula, Montana. Before a life-changing pursuit of photographic art, he was an outdoor educator for more than 20 years, passionately teaching people backcountry skills in navigation, mountaineering, avalanche awareness and wilderness first aid. Since graduating from RMSP’s Summer Intensive program in 1996, Doug’s work has covered many diverse projects in the documentary, commercial, fine art and educational fields. Assignments have taken him from coyote shooting in Wyoming to the last stages of a woman’s life to the graffiti-covered alleys and abandoned buildings of Denver. He is currently involved in an ongoing project called Art Music, which fuses the art of photography with live musical performance. His educational philosophy is fun, intuitive and full of creative persistence. No matter where you are in your photographic journey, Doug’s balance of the aesthetic with the technical can help you further express your unique vision.



What our students say...

Have attended many different workshops including RMSP's workshops and Doug is the absolute best.

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