Join a professional photographer and experienced safari guide on our small group 5-day spring photography workshop into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. This intensive field based photography workshop will focus on finding, and safely photographing, Greater Yellowstone’s abundant wildlife as well as capturing both classic and lesser known landscapes throughout the 5 days. We will spend our time in prime wildlife habitat within both national parks including places like Willow Flats, Pacific Creek, Hayden Valley and the famous Lamar Valley, often referred to as the Serengeti of North America. This will allow ample time and opportunity to safely photograph the area’s big game and predators in addition to learning wildlife photography techniques throughout the workshop. Spring is a great time to photograph Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks with moody skies adding drama to the landscape and spring rain showers saturating early season wildflowers and fresh vegetation adding vibrant color to each scene. Migrating wildlife will be moving to their summer range with newborn babies at their side, bear will emerge from their dens high in the mountains and travel to the valley floor in search of Spring’s first offerings and migrating birds are abundant. During the workshop you will also have the opportunity to photograph famous Yellowstone landmarks like Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs and several waterfalls. Our small group size combined with an experienced photography guide will insure personalized attention, great wildlife photography and great landscape opportunities. Depending on group interest and ability, small day hikes are also an option throughout our time together. Group size is limited to 7 participants per workshop to insure plenty of time for everyone to benefit from one on one conversation with the instructor throughout the workshop. There will also be photo processing instruction and photo critiques available during mid-day breaks. (See a full itinerary and description below)
Includes: Hotel pick-up in Jackson Hole, small group (max 7), all transportation throughout the workshop, an experienced professional wildlife photography guide, 4 nights lodging during the workshop, 5 lunches, 5 breakfasts, 1 farewell dinner, snacks, souvenir water bottle and use of our spotting scopes and binoculars throughout the trip.(*park entrance fee and guide gratuity not included)
Duration: 5 Full Field Days
Group Size: Max 7
2017 dates: May 15-19, May 22-May 26 (Dates are flexible for private workshops)
2018 dates: May 14-18, May 21-26
2017 Workshop Leaders:
Josh Myers is an internationally published and award-winning photographer based in Teton Valley, Idaho. His work has been published in multiple magazines and news outlets throughout the US and England including National Geographic Adventure, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer and the Sierra Club. He is also a regular contributor to regional newspapers and is the owner of Trekking Photography. His expertise ranges from wildlife photography and adventure travel to commercial portraiture and exceptional fine art landscapes . He has photographed a wide variety of subjects across the country and overseas including his documentation of his thru hikes of both the Appalachian Trail (2174 miles) and the Pacific Crest Trail (2663 miles) Josh is an excellent teacher and works with us as an interpretive wildlife guide, hiking guide and photography instructor. See more of Josh’s work at www.TrekkingPhotography.com.
Dwight Vasel is a 14 time Emmy Award winner with a decades long career in broadcast television with NBC. He was born in central Illinois and earned a degree in Radio and Television from Southern Illinois University. His lifelong passion for photography has taken him to the top of skyscrapers, to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and even onto the field with the Dallas Cowboys. Dwight is a popular digital photography instructor with Texas Christian University and leads sold out photography classes and workshops across the country. Dwight is also trained in Wilderness First Aid through the Wilderness Medicine Institute. http://www.dwightvasel.com
Day 1 – Your spring wildlife photography workshop into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks will begin when your guide meets you at your Jackson Hole area hotel. We will start by traveling north through Jackson Hole to photograph a couple of the classic landscapes of the area while in search of photography opportunities in Grand Teton National Park. This first morning will include a field orientation to the best camera settings, framing, and tricks to creating great landscape images. Once the sun gets too high in the sky for landscapes we will switch gears and prepare for photographing wildlife by discussing settings, strategies and techniques for maximizing the wildlife photography opportunities to be had throughout the workshop.
Over the last several years Grand Teton National Park has become one of the best wildlife viewing parks in the world with all of the region’s wildlife represented. Moose, elk, deer, bison, pronghorn, fox, coyote, bald and golden eagles, black bears, grizzly bears and even wolves are commonly spotted. Early season wildflowers and spring vegetation will also add color to the dramatic landscapes we will encounter at every turn. Your instructor will cover the best camera settings to increase your chances of making great images of animals in different light and backgrounds.
After a brief break for lunch we will explore Elk Ranch before working our way north into prime grizzly habitat where you will learn how to safely find, view and photograph bears in the wild. This will include a lesson on techniques for safely traveling in bear country including recognizing bear signs, how to use bear spray and proper behavior in the presence of bears. In addition, your instructor will teach you the basics of tracking while providing tips for spotting and photographing wildlife. The rest of the day will be spent in the most active grizzly habitat in Grand Teton National Park with several hours to search for, view and photograph bears and other wildlife.
We will check into our park lodge and take a short break in the afternoon to rest, process images and have an early dinner in preparation for photographing the sunset behind the Tetons (Breakfast, Lunch included)
Day 2 – We will wake early to photograph sunrise on the Tetons and early morning wildlife including the chance to find and photograph grizzly bears in the wild. As the sun rises will explore lesser traveled roads in Northern Jackson Hole in search of wildlife before returning to the lodge for an early lunch with time for a mid-day break and a photo-processing class for anyone interested in learning about image management, editing, post processing and outputting images for different uses.
We will then return to the field for more great photography opportunities in the softer light of late afternoon and evening. The exact locations and topics will depend on current conditions, group interest and the successes of our previous field time. Flexibility in our schedule will allow us to take advantage of any grizzly bear sightings in addition to other photographic opportunities. After sunset, we will again return to the lodge for dinner.
(Breakfast, Lunch included)
Day 3 – We will spend another early morning tracking bears, photographing classic landscapes and looking for other wildlife in Grand Teton National Park. Once we have our fill, we will then travel north into Yellowstone National Park along the Lower Loop. We will travel along the east side on our way north, which will take us around Yellowstone Lake to where the Yellowstone River flows out to the north at the famous Fishing Bridge. From here on is some of the best bear and wolf habitat in Yellowstone! We will see Mud Volcano on our way to Hayden Valley where the river flows through open sage meadows toward the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. At the top of the canyon the river falls over both the upper and lower falls creating the 20 mile long canyon that is one of the most scenic places in Yellowstone. Depending on timing and group interest we will try to fit in as much as possible on our way to the northern part of the park.
From here the route will vary on road conditions, but we will make our way to the Lamar Valley, often called the Serengeti of North America. This is the single best wildlife photography area in Yellowstone and known for its abundance of grizzlies and wolves. Here we will spend the afternoon and evening in search of these apex predators with time to learn about and photograph other wildlife and landscapes. The day will end at our lodging in Silvergate, Montana where we will be based for two nights. Silvergate is only a half mile from the park entrance and one of the most remote places you will ever spend the night. This is one of our favorite places on earth! (Breakfast, Lunch included)
Day 4 – We will depart early in order to be out for sunrise and the best chance to find and photograph wolves in Lamar Valley. Time will be spent tracking wolves with plenty of time to photograph the magnificent landscape and vistas of this dramatic part of Yellowstone. From there, we’ll spend the day exploring the northern Yellowstone region including time for Tower Falls, Mammoth Terraces and the north entrance to Gardiner, MT. We will take a mid-day break either along the way or back at our lodge or at a place of interest along the way. This will allow us to rest and prepare or another great evening in Lamar Valley! After an evening of bear, wolf and wildlife photography in Lamar and Slough Creek, we will return to Silvergate for dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch included)
Day 5 – Another early morning will give us one last chance to photograph the wolves of the Lamar Valley before beginning to head back into the interior of Yellowstone via the west side of the lower loop. This will give us time to explore and photograph more classic Yellowstone places including the Upper, Middle and Lower Geyser Basins with an opportunity to photograph an eruption of Old Faithful. We will then travel south over the continental divide (three times!) on the way back to Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole. We will plan a mid-day break at Old Faithful where we can explore the geysers, lounge in the lodge and enjoy lunch at Old Faithful Inn.
We’re not done yet though! The wildlife in the evening as we travel through Grand Teton National Park, as well as the sunset vistas will make for a great finish to our adventure together. We will plan a group dinner in Jackson Hole where we can relive our memories of our peak moments and share our best images with the group. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
The exact routes and itineraries will depend on a number of factors – the most important being your areas of interest, current wildlife sightings and road conditions. One of the great things about our safaris and photography workshops is our ability to customize each safari for you. Our guides are all highly experienced with thousands of hours in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone allowing them to make suggestions and calibrate the adventure to your experience level and desires. Every day is different for us which makes our safaris more fun for both you and your guides.
Cancellation Policy: We have a 48 hour cancellation policy for all single day safaris and a 7 day cancellation policy for 2-3 day safaris. For groups of 15 or more guests and for multi-day safaris of 4 or more days our cancellation policy is 30 days. Cancellations made outside the stated cancellation period for your reservation will be fully refunded with no penalty. For cancellations made within our cancellation policy’s stated times for your reservation we will retain a 50% deposit. Cancellations on the day of your reservation or no-shows will be charged 100%. We strongly recommend travel insurance to protect you from incurring costs associated with unforeseen cancellations.
Frequently asked Questions about this safari:
What to bring:
This is always a tough question for this kind of tour as it is pretty personal and there are a lot of right ways to do things. The list below is what owner and photographer Jason Williams uses/wears and may differ from the other guides, photographers and your own preferences. All items on this list are simply a suggestion and may or may not work best for you based on your personal preferences and style of travel. The two main areas to focus on are clothing and camera gear. Firstly, May in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks can be cold and windy with winter weather possible. The weather can also be warm and sunny depending on where we are and current weather patterns. Plan on temperatures that are below freezing in the morning and evenings, especially during our time in Yellowstone. It can be chilly to say the least. With that said there are two strategies to stay warm while outside in these conditions. One is to bring along heavy outer layers (think thick, heavy winter coats) or to dress in layers with a windproof outer layer. I tend to fall into the dress in layers camp so my packing list will tend to reflect that. If you are in the heavy winter parka camp, adjust your clothing list accordingly. The below list reflects what I will bring and what worked well for me on previous safaris. I tend to be warm blooded and have worked as a snowmobile guide in Yellowstone for 10 years. If you tend to get cold more easily you may want to add a layer and/or more insulation to your kit.
Base Layers – Light to Mid-weight long underwear (Patagonia, Smart Wool etc.)
Middle Layers (upper) – mid weight fleece and/or softshell jacket
Middle Layers (lower) – Down/wool pants (I tended to wear blue jeans most of the time)
Outer Layers (upper) – Down parka/sweater, waterproof shell (I wear an LL Bean Down sweater as my outer piece unless it was raining or really wet snow)
Outer Layers (lower) – Weather proof pants (Ski pants or equivalent)
Footwear – This is a tough one and entirely personal. Some people wear full on military grade winter boots and others wear walking shoes the entire time. Probably something in the middle is best. Sorel Winter boots and/or waterproof hiking boots with gators in case of snow is probably adequate. Also comfortable shoes or slippers for inside the hotels might be nice if you have room.
Mid-weight Wool socks (Don’t overdo the socks as more socks on your feet can actually make them colder!)
Gloves and/or mittens (I wear Kinko Thermal Pigskin Work Gloves)
T-shirts or equivalent
Comfortable pants to wear while inside
Phone (There is cell phone service in most areas but not around Lamar Valley or Silvergate)
Camera Gear: This is the place where personal preference and style really comes into play. It is also where those of us planning on focusing on photography will quickly bump up against the space and weight restrictions while traveling. Any photographer will tell you there is no such thing as enough lenses – especially long lenses! What they won’t tell you is the crazy price you will pay for them……With all that said here is what I usually bring and have great success with on these trips.
1 Lowe Pro Camera Bag
2 Camera Bodies (Canon 5D MKII currently)
1 – Canon 24-105L
1 – Canon 70-200 2.8L
1 – Canon 400 5.6L
1 – Canon 2x Tele
1 – Canon Circ Polarizer
1- Canon Remote Trigger
1 – Charger
2 – Extra Batteries
3 – 32 Gb and 1 128 Gb Memory Cards
1 – Waterproof Camera cover
1 – Gitzo Tripod with head
Again this is my personal kit that I bring most of the time. It is by no means required to enjoy this safari and make great images. Any person with a good eye and an iphone would come away from this trip with a ton of knowledge and great images!
Though we are a small group traveling in a 15 passenger van we are somewhat limited on space. Please try to limit your baggage to include no more than 1 camera bag, 1 tripod, and one carry-on size bag for clothing, personal items and computer. If you are traveling to Jackson Hole for a more extended trip we can arrange for secure storage for additional luggage that we can have for you when you return from your time with us.