Desert Spring: Arches and Canyonlands National Park Moab, Utah

4/4/2019 - 4/9/2019

Great landscape photographers are not born, but created, through many years of study and practice. One of these greats is Doug Johnson, the instructor for this workshop held in two of the nation's most scenic parks. Let him lead you through the arches and deserts of Utah as he helps you gain confidence in your skills, your camera, and your own images.

As with all genres of photography, landscape photography is all about the light and being in the right place at the right time. Doug will show you the best locations in these two incredible parks and he will take you to them when the sun enhances their textures for the most impactful images. In Arches National Park, you’ll explore the world’s largest concentration of sandstone arches in a scenic wonderland of wildflowers and gorgeous desert light. In neighboring Dead Horse State Park and Green River Overlook, the magic light of sunrise and sunset await you.

Here are just a few of the things Doug will teach during this workshop:

  • Hyperfocal focusing to ensure perfect sharpness from foreground to background
  • The Zone System of exposure for accurate in-camera exposures every time
  • Night photography techniques and considerations
  • Post-processing best-practices to make images stand out while still looking natural
  • How to identify great compositions in the field and arrange shapes, lines and elements

Students who attend this workshop should expect:

  • One-on-one attention from the instructor
  • Personalized image critiques
  • Early mornings and late nights spent shooting
  • Hands-on, indoor instruction during the hottest midday hours
  • Intermediate instruction level; students should be comfortable operating their cameras in Manual mode
  • Moderately strenuous conditions, hiking up to three (3) miles at a time as well as up and down stairs and along uneven surfaces

This workshop is limited to 13 students.


This workshop begins on Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m. and ends Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m.

Tentative schedule for this workshop:

Thursday, 4/4

7 pm: Welcome Meetings

Lecture: First Things First

Friday, 4/5
Morning: Arches Field Shoot: Windows



Lecture: Landscape Depth

Evening: Arches Field Shoot: Balanced Rock
Saturday, 4/6

Arches Field Shoot: Landscape Arch




Lecture: Night Photography

Evening: Night Field Shoot: TBA
Sunday, 4/7

Morning Off



Evening: Canyonlands Field Shoot: Green River Overlook (bring dinner)
Monday, 4/8

Canyonlands Field Shoot: Dead Horse State Park

Afternoon: Critique
Evening: Arches Field Shoot: Delicate Arch (bring dinner)
Tuesday, 4/9
Morning: Arches Field Shoot: Courthouse Towers

Final Images Due



Final Slideshow

Workshop ends at 6 p.m.


Meeting Space

Your workshop will be held at the SpringHill Suites in Moab, Utah. Your class will meet regularly in a meeting room at the hotel. This workshop begins on Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m. and ends Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m.


There is a room block set up at the SpringHill Suites for the nights of April 4 through 9 (6 nights), departing April 10. Reservations can be made online by using this link or you can call the number below and use the code "RMST" (that's a T, not a P). When using the online link, please indicate arrival date of 4/4/19. We do not have rooms blocked for earlier arrivals.

SpringHill Suites
1865 North Highway 191
Moab, UT 84532
(435) 355-0042

Rates: Rooms have been blocked at the rate of $249 per night plus tax for an Exec King or Exec Queen (2 beds). Room choices are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cutoff Date: Be sure to make your reservations by February 15, 2019. After this date, reservations will be based on availability.

Cancellation Policy: This hotel has a strict cancellation policy so please check with the hotel for details.

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 closest regional airport to this workshop is the Grand Junction Regional Airport, located approximately 115 miles from the hotel.

Grand Junction Regional Airport
800 Eagle Drive
Grand Junction, CO 81506

The closest international airport to this workshop is the Salt Lake International Airport, located approximately 240 miles from the hotel.

Salt Lake City International Airport
776 N Terminal Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84122

For information about carrier and flight schedules please visit the airport websites.

Car Rental

Major car rental companies are available at both airports. Contact information and links can be found on the airport websites.

Travel 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.


Any additional fees and/or supplies will be the responsibility of the participant. Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park each require a $25 entrance fee per vehicle for a seven day pass. 


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: Wide angle zoom (17-35mm), Normal zoom (35-70mm), Telephoto zoom (70-200mm). Macro is not a focus on this workshop, however avid macro shooters may want to bring a macro lens
  • Laptop
  • Memory Card Reader
  • Flash drive
  • Spare batteries for equipment (especially for your camera) 
  • Extra memory card
  • Camera manual
  • Camera bag or backpack 


  • Cable release/wireless remote
  • Filters (polarizer, 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
  • Note taking materials
  • 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 
  • Sturdy footwear for walking on uneven ground or trails 
  • Light to medium jacket
  • 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 1/4/2019
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.



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EDU Advantage Program

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