VisionQuest Photography Retreat

5 Days - Payson, AZ
Oct 7 - Oct 11, 2020
Activity Level
Skill Level
All Levels


Unleash your creative potential and discover how to bring your photographic vision to life.

Registration deadline: July 7, 2020

Pay a deposit of $500.00 per item

Discover your creative vision during this five-day photographic retreat with nature photographer Shane McDermott. VisionQuest photography is designed to awaken your senses and allow greater creative opportunities to arise in your photographic process. Through a series of field sessions, teachings and practices, Shane will guide you through this journey of discovery and help you tap into your creative potential for new visionary breakthroughs.


The retreat will begin prior to your arrival with prework to help get you oriented with the retreat process. You will engage in self-observation exercises and document your current photography processes including photographic planning, shooting in the field and post-processing routines. You will also receive guided video and audio teachings, a webinar on “Awareness” and a creative assessment questionnaire to be completed prior to your arrival. These exercises will help provide you with the maximum benefit during the retreat.


During the retreat, you will engage in practices and exercises that are out of the norm.  These activities are designed to help you experience breakthroughs that ultimately can have a powerful impact on your creativity.  It is important to remain open-minded and trust the process.  Throughout the retreat, you will focus on your individual creative development through a variety of activities,  reflection, and dialogue.  You will leave with a better understanding of your personal creative strengths and challenges along with a roadmap to harness your unleashed creative potential.   This retreat is designed to be a full immersion into your personal creative journey.  In addition to the pre-retreat work and onsite activities, you will have the opportunity to bring the process full circle with the post-retreat webinar focusing on the integration process and next steps for going forward.  Subsequent one-on-one mentoring and personal coaching will also be available to supplement this program.

Workshop includes:

  • Photographic and VisionQuest instruction
  • Four nights lodging with mini-kitchen (single occupancy).
  • Water, snacks and group dinner.
  • Pre-retreat assignments (webinar, audio/video recordings, assessment and practices)
  • VisionQuest Guidebook

What participants say about this workshop:

I went to this photo-workshop with lots of apprehensions because I had never done meditation and mixing it with photography seem like a stretch. After the first day, I was doubly concerned but I decided to trust the process.  Indeed, the next morning I found a new side to my photographic eye after doing the mediation that morning and just before I started taking pictures.  Each day became a discovery of self and how you look at your world through the camera.  Shane was so real, gentle and professional.  His pictures were outstanding.  I believe I learned more about photography on these 4 days than any other workshop including National Geographic and 6 or more previous Arizona Highways PhotoScape workshops.  – – Harry S.

Photo credit: Pat Birdsell


“Each of our lessons involved teaching, practice, and reflection.  This is an example of one walking meditation on the grounds.  I stopped at the water fountain and listened to the trickle of water.  Then I set up my tripod with a macro lens and shot several images.  Later I decided I liked the one with shutter speeds fast enough to freeze the action.  When I look at this image I can hear the water.” Pat B.


VisionQuest was an inspiring and transformational journey of creative self-discovery that deepened my relationship with photography, myself, and the natural world. I believe Shane is tapping into a profound intersection between photography and mindfulness, revealing the ways a camera can serve as a tool for self-reflection. The workshop challenged me to sharpen my technical skills, unveiled my unique way of seeing the world, and empowered me to unleash my creative potential.  Best of all, I feel reconnected to the joy of photography! — Jake S.


Shane McDermott Leads an excellent workshop that engages participants to develop methods to be in sync with themselves, their equipment and their environment, to enable them to capture visual memories of nature. Shane uses his experience with meditation to teach participants to become aware and focus on their perspectives of nature. — Randall M.

Day 1 – Wednesday, October 7

  • The retreat begins at 10:00 am with introductions, sharing of Self-Observation exercises and meditation learning.
  • After a lunch break, our group will go out into the field for our first shooting assignment on the property grounds.
  • Following the shoot, we will debrief and begin with the first teaching of Full Spectrum Awareness.
  • Using the knowledge in Full Spectrum Awareness we will engage in field practice followed by Q&A.
  • After a mid-afternoon break, the group will reconvene for further exploration of Full Spectrum Awareness and practices that will aid in better understanding and appreciation for its impact on our photography.
  • Additional field practice will follow and end with a Q&A session.
  • Dinner

Day 2 – Thursday, October 8

  • We will begin the day with a sunrise shoot in on the Mogollon Rim.
  • Return for breakfast and prepare for our second field assignment on property grounds.
  • Mid-morning, we will begin the teaching on Full Spectrum Creativity and explore the components of the Internal Dimension.
  • This will be followed by another field practice.
  • After lunch, we will return to our meeting space for the teaching on the External Dimension followed by a field practice.
  • Our afternoon will continue with the final two Full Spectrum Creativity dimensions on Relational and Systems and associated practice sessions.
  • Dinner
  • Optional Q&A

Day 3 – Friday, October 9

  • Day three begins with both a seated and walking meditation followed by a third field session on the property.
  • After breakfast, Shane will launch into the teaching on Cracking Creativity’s Source Code.
  • The morning will wind up with a few more field practices.
  • After lunch, we will finish the module on Cracking Creativity’s Source Code and follow it up with field practice.
  • We will take a mid-day break and then head out to our evening shooting location in Tonto National Forest.
  • Dinner
  • Optional Q&A

Day 4 – Saturday, October 10

  • We will begin our day with an early morning shoot and then return for breakfast.
  • After our fourth field practice on the property, we will begin the teachings on Breaking the Four Barriers of Creativity — internal, external, relational and systems.
  • Each segment in the module will include a field practice and Q&A.
  • Dinner
  • Optional Q&A

Day 5 – Sunday, October 11

  • We will begin our last morning with a sunrise shoot then return to our hotel.
  • After breakfast, Shane will discuss integration practices for the teaching.
  • Late morning, the group will check out of their lodging and return for a final summation of next steps.
  • We will then have a final group lunch where the group will share what they’ve learned and taken away from the retreat.

Physical Rating: Easy to Moderate
This workshop will include some short walking distances to shooting locations on unmaintained terrain.  The majority of this workshop will be centered around individual practices both in the classroom and in the field.  This is not a rigorously physical workshop.

Lodging During the Workshop:


Kohls Ranch Lodge
202 Kohl’s Ranch Lodge Rd
Payson, AZ 85541
Phone: (800) 438-2929


During this workshop, we will be based at Kohls Ranch Lodge east of Payson, AZ. Four night’s lodging is included in your workshop fee based on single occupancy.  Each unit is equipped with a mini-kitchen including a mini-refrigerator and stove.


Shane McDermott
Rick Jacobi
Photo Guide
There are a number of reputable companies who provide Travel Insurance.  For your convenience, we offer travel protection through TravelEx Insurance Services.  For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to www.travelexinsurance.comor contact TravelEx Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20




Should you find it necessary to cancel your workshop, the following cancellation policy applies – NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • 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.  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 $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 some time be unavoidable that is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.

Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel any workshop if our minimum student enrollment is not met. In the event AHPS cancels a workshop, participants will be given the option to reschedule to a later date or receive a full refund for the workshop components booked directly with AHPS.  Please Note: we are not liable for the additional 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.