Yellowstone National Park Gardiner and West Yellowstone, Montana

August 22, 2019 - August 27, 2019

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'll think you're 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.

Enrollment limit: There are plenty of opportunities for one-on-one assistance. This workshop is limited to 13 students.


This workshop starts on Thursday, August 22, at 9 a.m. and ends Tuesday, August 27, at 6 p.m.

Tentative schedule for this workshop:

Thursday, 8/22

This workshop begins at 9 a.m.

Expectations / Itinerary / Workshop Lecture

Afternoon: Depart hotel:  Lamar Valley / Blacktail Plateau
Evening: Open Evening
Friday, 8/23
Morning: Depart hotel: Canyon / Yellowstone Falls / Hayden Valley

Edit / Critique


Evening: Depart hotel: Golden Gate / Swan Lake
Saturday, 8/24
Morning: Depart hotel: Mammoth Terraces

Check out of hotel


Depart Gardiner: Willow Park

Evening: Check into Yellowstone Park Hotel
Sunday, 8/25

Depart hotel: Norris Geyser Basin


Edit / Critique 


Evening: Depart hotel: Black Sand Basin / Firehole Lake Drive
Monday, 8/26

Depart hotel: West Thumb Geyser Basin



Edit / Prepare for Final Critique

Evening: Group Dinner
Tuesday, 8/27
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 ends in West Yellowstone. This workshop starts on Thursday, August 22, at 9 a.m. and ends on Tuesday, August 27, at 6 p.m.

While in Gardiner your class will meet at "A Naturalist's World", a center run by naturalist Jim Halfpenny which is located at #9 Jardine Road. This center is a 5-minute drive from the Comfort Inn Yellowstone North. While in West Yellowstone your class will meet at the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone, two blocks from the Yellowstone Park Hotel.


While in Gardiner we suggest that you stay at the Comfort Inn Yellowstone North for the nights of August 21 through 23 (3 nights, departing on August 24). Reservations can be made by calling the hotel and leaving a message or by emailing the General Manager at The hotel closes each year from early October to mid-April but they continue to check their messages and respond to emails even in their off-season. Be sure to indicate that you are a student of Rocky Mountain School of Photography. When you call or email to reserve your room you will be charged for the first night as a deposit. If you need to cancel please let the hotel know 3 days prior to your arrival and you will be totally refunded.

Comfort Inn Yellowstone North
107 Hellroaring St
Gardiner, MT 59030
(406) 848-7536
Comfort Inn Yellowstone North

Rates: Guest rooms have been blocked at the rate of $238.50 per night + tax

Cutoff date: Be sure to make your reservation by July 15, 2019. 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 August 24 through 27 (4 nights, departing on August 28). To make your reservation, please visit the website below. Across the bottom bar of the home page, please choose "Yellowstone Park Hotel" from the location dropdown box, select your travel dates, under "Code Type" select "Group", then enter the code: 6BC28K. Once you select "Check Rates" the RMSP block will appear and you can book your room.

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

Rates:  $229 per night + tax (Deluxe - two queen beds).

Cutoff date: Be sure to make your reservation by July 15, 2019. 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.

Major car rental companies are represented at the airport listed above. Please check their website for more information.

You are responsible for your own meals during the workshop. The instructors will allow plenty of breaks in the schedule. Packing snacks is highly recommended.


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.

For RMSP’s general list of recommended gear, click here:

Note: Not everything on the website linked above is required for the workshop. Use the list below as your guideline and the link above if you would like a recommendation on a lens, body or accessory to purchase. Also, please register for the workshop before buying gear, as registration will make you eligible for the B&H EDU program which will potentially save you hundreds of dollars on gear. Learn more here:

  • 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 can be chilly – even in the middle of the summer!
  • Bear Spray (this should be purchased once you are in Montana; it cannot be taken on flights)
  • 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
What is the 2019 workshops schedule?

Please see our Workshops page.

Which workshop is right for me?

Depending on the workshop, varying levels of photographic knowledge are recommended for enrollment. For those interested in building a solid photographic skill base, we have designed a stair-step approach that teaches you to think, see and create with your camera. We call these our "Foundation" workshops. Beginners should start with Basic Photography, then progress to Intermediate Photography. Additional Foundation workshops such as Adobe Lightroom CCAdobe Lightroom ClassicIntroduction to Flash Photography, and Introduction to Professional Studio Lighting will help to round out your technical know-how.

Our "Travel" workshops invite you to some of the U.S.'s most stunning locations, under the wing of our accomplished instructors. For most of these workshops, we require that you are familiar with the manual operation of your camera. Check individual workshop listings for more information.

If you are uncertain about where you should begin, please call and we will be happy to help you decide what class is right for you.

What is the cutoff date for registration?

We accept registrations on a first-come first-served basis until a workshop is full. Register early! If your favorite workshop is full, ask to be put on a wait list.

How do I register?
  1. Register online
  2. Call the RMSP offices at (800) 394-7677
How many participants are in a workshop?

Depending on the workshop, there can be a maximum of 8 to 20 students. Generally we add an assistant when registration exceeds 8 students.

What is a "Friend of RMSP"?

Once you ve taken an RMSP course you become a "Friend" and are able to deduct $50 off workshop tuition.

What is included in the tuition?

The tuition for most workshops includes the instruction only. Hotel stays are not included. Selected hotels, most of which have special RMSP rates, are noted in the "Details" section of each workshop. Some transportation is included on selected workshops. Additional charges such as entrance fees/admissions to national parks and select shooting venues are extra.

Do I pay a deposit to reserve my spot on a workshop?

Yes. Most workshops require a $300.00 deposit and the balance paid 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. Payment options include personal checks, cash and Mastercard, Visa, and American Express.

What is RMSP s cancellation policy?

Please read our cancellation policy.

Note: Workshop content may change from that advertised based on weather, access to shooting locations, and other unforeseen situations. A change of instructor is also possible, though it rarely happens. Whenever possible, registered students will be notified ahead of time of any changes.

RMSP reserves the right to cancel any program that does not meet minimum participant requirements, in which case participants will be informed as soon as possible and all money will be refunded. RMSP is not responsible for any losses incurred as a result of a course cancellation. We encourage participants to purchase refundable airline tickets and consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance.

Travel Insurance

RMSP recommends that you purchase travel insurance to protect yourself from circumstances that may prevent you from attending a workshop. Please check with your insurance agent about this low-cost service. RMSP is not responsible for cancellations due to medical emergencies or reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation.


Blocks of rooms are reserved on most workshops. Unless otherwise specified, workshop participants make their own reservations for accommodations.


On most workshops, travel is the responsibility of the workshop participant. Participants usually get together on the first day and make arrangements to share car rides for field shoots. We encourage carpooling for the sake of camaraderie and also to reduce the impact on our environment.


You will be given breaks during the workshop to purchase and enjoy meals, however in some locations meals take a second place to shooting at the right light. It s always a good idea to include snacks for those moments when a regular meal is not available.

Free Time

RMSP wants to make sure you get what you want, need and expect from a workshop. Expect to be busy from morning until evening every day. If you re coming to an outdoor workshop, remember that sunrises and sunsets will be part of the shooting schedule!

Spouse / Partners

On most RMSP workshops, non-photographing spouses/partners are welcome to come to shooting locations and some critiques. Lectures and any other learning sessions are not open to guests. Please call our office for the guidelines for your specific workshop.

What should I bring?

You'll find a list of recommended equipment on the "Equipment" tab for each workshop on this website.


All participants should bring a laptop computer for downloading, sorting, viewing and selecting images for daily critiques. Computer specifics are included in the equipment lists for each workshop.

Will I have to pay for parking during workshops?

For most workshops, parking at the meeting location is complimentary. There are, however, some exceptions. Please check the hotel website for information. For workshops located in Missoula, parking downtown is metered Monday through Friday. There are two convenient parking garages located within one block of the school ( Parking downtown on Saturdays and Sundays is free.

Please feel free to contact us either by phone or email with any further questions you may have. We look forward to welcoming you to an RMSP Workshop!

Cancellation Policy

US-Based Workshops

  1. For cancellations received at least 60 days prior to the workshop start date: RMSP refunds any tuition paid, less a $50 processing fee.
  2. For cancellations received 30 to 60 days prior to the start of the workshop: RMSP refunds any tuition paid less the tuition deposit.
  3. For cancellations received within 30 days prior to the start of the workshop: RMSP retains full tuition.
  4. For cancellations after the workshop is in progress: RMSP retains full tuition.
  5. For no-shows: RMSP retains full tuition.
  6. Refunds will be processed within 30 days after our office receives notice of cancellation.

International Workshops

Please see the individual workshop page for the applicable cancellation policies.

Workshop content may change from that advertised based on weather, access to shooting locations, and other unforeseen situations. Whenever possible, registered students will be notified ahead of time of any changes. RMSP reserves the right to cancel any program that does not meet minimum participant requirements, in which case participants will be informed as soon as possible and all money will be refunded. RMSP is not responsible for any losses incurred as a result of a course cancellation. We encourage participants to purchase refundable airline tickets and consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance.
  • Deposit
  • Friend of RMSP Discount
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.



Perks of Registering

EDU Advantage Program

By registering and completing any course with us, you will automatically be eligible for EDU status with B&H Photo. EDU members can save money on select items sold by B&H.

Creative Cloud Subscription

The software you use in your workflow is almost as crucial as your camera. Register for any RMSP course and you will receive a code to save 15% on a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription for the first year.

What Gear Do You Need?

Want a specific lens for a workshop? Need some extra gear for your next shoot? Renting gear from Lens Pro To Go allows you to try before you buy! Upon registering for a course, you will receive a discount code for 10% off your next rental.