The expansive stretches of badlands in northwestern New Mexico is often dismissed as “no man’s land” when in quite the contrary it has a rich history of ancient Puebloan civilizations dating between 850 and 1250 A.D. During this time, Chaco Canyon served as a major hub for politics, ceremonies, and trade for thousands of people. The distinctive architecture of the “Great Houses”, small villages, and ancient structures that dot the landscape highlight the engineering and organizational feats of this ancient culture.
Travel photographer and writer Kerrick James has spent time documenting the Puebloan path in the Four Corners Region. During this camping-based workshop, Kerrick will guide photographers through this intriguing landscape to capture North America’s largest excavated prehistoric ruins including kivas, rock art, and stunning vistas.
When not exploring Chaco Canyon we will head north into the Ah Shi Sle Pah and Bisti Badlands wilderness areas and fill our memory cards with sandstone hoodoos, petrified wood, pedestal rocks, petroglyphs, and sweeping views of multicolored badlands.
Designated as a “dark sky” location, we will have plenty of opportunities to practice star trails before tucking into our sleeping bags and tents. Speaking of camping, you do not need to bring anything except your camera gear and clothes, our outfitter REI will be providing a complete camp set up for everyone. Therefore, if you really want to be a true outdoor photographer, you will not want to miss this adventure into an ancient culture in New Mexico’s badlands.
- Photography instruction
- Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, pad) and meals*
- Roundtrip transportation from Phoenix. **
- Permits and entrance fees
- Pre-workshop webinar
- Post-workshop critique
*Participants will assist outfitter in setting up camp by helping set up their own tent.
**If participants wish to drive their own vehicle or RV/Camper, they must secure their own campsite as the park restricts the number of vehicles at each campsite and it is strictly enforced. Campsite permits are available through recreation.gov and will go on sale July 5, 2022.
Please be aware that shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change. Each day we will determine which locations are best based on lighting and weather conditions. We want to give you the best possible photo opportunities.
Day 1 – Wednesday, October 5, 2022
- Group will meet at the departure hotel at 6:45 am to load gear and depart at 7:00 am for our full-day journey to Chaco Canyon.
- En route, we will stop for lunch before proceeding to our campsite to assist the outfitter in setting up your own tent.
- Upon arrival and tent assignment, we’ll grab our gear for our first walk about the ruins. We will continue to photograph through sunset.
- After enjoying a deliciously prepared camp meal, we will then spend some time practicing night photography.
Day 2 – Thursday, October 6, 2022
- Rise early for our first sunrise shoot among the ruins.
- After our camp breakfast, we will continue to travel the ancient roadways and photograph the “Great Houses”, kivas and other ancient architecture.
- Mid-day we’ll have lunch and enjoy some downtime and visit the Visitor’s Center.
- Mid-afternoon we will head to Ah Shi Sle Pah to capture the intriguing rock formations at sunset.
- Back at camp after dark for dinner, optional night shooting, and off to bed.
Day 3 – Friday, October 7, 2022
- An early rise will take us back into the Ah Shi Sle Pah wilderness for sunrise among the hoodoos and badlands. After photographing through the morning light we will return to Chaco Canyon to rest and review our images.
- Mid-afternoon, we will drive to Bisti Badlands to photograph more unusual and intriguing rock formations.
- After sunset, we will head back to camp, where we’ll enjoy another prepared meal and off to bed.
Day 4 – Saturday, October 8, 2022
- We will begin our day extra early to arrive at Bisti Badlands for sunrise.
- After shooting through the morning light we will hike out and return to Chaco Canyon
- During the afternoon we will have lunch and rest before exploring more of the Chaco Canyon ruins for late afternoon light.
- Dinner and optional night photography.
Day 5 – Sunday, October 9, 2022
- On our last morning, we will capture sunrise along with other morning light opportunities before returning to camp for breakfast.
- After a meal, we will pack our gear, thank our outfitters and head back to Phoenix.
- En route, we will again stop for a group lunch.
- Arrival in Phoenix will be late in the day/evening.
Physical Rating: Strenuous
As a camping-based workshop participants should become prepared for an outdoor experience. There are restrooms with flush toilets and non-potable water at the campsite. Drinking water is available at the visitor center parking area. There are no showers or hook-ups. Individual tents, sleeping bags, and pads are provided by our outfitter. This is wide-open country with no shade other than your tent. When hiking the canyon, be prepared for heat, rain, wind, and unexpected changes in temperature. Carry a rain poncho and a jacket or sweater. Wear hiking boots and a wide-brimmed hat, and use sunscreen. Carry and drink extra water. Eat lots of snacks. Take your time adjusting to the altitude and don’t overdo it. Remember to bring adequate warm clothing for the nighttime temperatures.
Hikes into Ah Shi Sle Pah and Bisti Badlands are anywhere from 2 miles roundtrip to 4 miles roundtrip. There is one location in Chaco Canyon that requires rock scrambling through a crack in the rock to get atop a mesa for spectacular views of the park.
The Workshop will Depart from / Return to:
Holiday Inn & Suites
3220 S. 48th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Phone: (480) 543-1700
Pre-night and post-night rooms are available for workshop participants at our corporate rate. Participants are required to make their own reservations and pay for these dates. The corporate rate is only available on a space-available status and must be booked online. The corporate rate is not available by phone.
Lodging During the Workshop
Gallo Group Campground
During our stay, Arizona Outdoor Adventures will be providing our complete outfitted campsite in Chaco Canyon. Sleeping bags, pads, and tents will be provided.
- 91 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
- 90 days full payment is due
- 61-90 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less $100 administrative fee. The voucher is good for 18 months.
- * 60 days or less until departure – No refund.
* If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less the $100 administrative fee.
NOTE: Workshop bookings including, but not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging and more are requiring firm financial commitments at 90 days. Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can sometimes be unavoidable which is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.
Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel or change any workshop if our minimum enrollment is not met or if situations beyond our control arise that may create unsafe or undesirable travel conditions. Any cancelation or postponement as a result of situations beyond our control, AHPS does not promise any refunds or credits. If and when feasible, we will attempt to reschedule the workshop at a later date. Alternatively, we may decide to issue you credit for a future workshop, or issue a refund, less any non-refundable deposits we have paid to workshop providers on your behalf.
Please note that AHPS is not liable for any additional participant expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations, or any other components booked outside of the workshop.
PAYMENT TERMS: A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space. Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit. Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure. Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due.