When Arizona Highways PhotoScapes takes you into White Pocket you are given access to photograph strange and interesting rock formations in one of the most unique landscapes in North America.
White Pocket requires driving on miles of rough and rugged routes and sandy “roads” only marked by vague descriptions of arroyos and pinion pine trees. At the end of this road is a paradise!
The mind boggling and ludicrous rock formations of White Pocket will fill the senses (and memory cards) beyond your wildest imagination! Exploring the swirling, twisted, multicolored outcroppings is a photographic adventure that cannot be duplicated.
The myriad of formations there have been described as looking like boiling cauliflower heads, brain rocks, swirling caramel ice cream, and giant oyster shells. From the complex there are the most incredible views all the way to Escalante, and you can see so far over the plateau that you can even make out the pink cliffs of Bryce Canyon!
A few years ago, White Pocket was relatively obscure, known only by local ranchers and a handful of adventurous photographers. Amazing images from this area have been featured in Arizona Highways Magazine as well as National Geographic and photography guidebooks of the Southwest. Since then there has been a surge of interest, and today White Pocket is on the bucket list of every photographer wanting to capture the unique magic of the Southwest.
Our photographer, Suzanne Mathia has been photographing White Pocket and the surrounding areas for many years. She will show you all the classic formations and some “super secret” spots and vantage points. She will share with you formations such as Lollipop Rock, ET, Star Wars, Whimsical Hill, Stegosaurus Ridge, Rock Garden, and the Alcove Hanging Garden as well as what Suzanne refers to as the Oyster Beds. They are so many places to explore, create amazing unique images and hone your photographic skills. Each morning, we will be up early to catch the first rays of light as they fill the complex with warm golden light. As we are only a few hundred feet from our camp area, you can wander the complex to your heart’s content. We will even learn to shoot in the potentially harsh light of midday concentrating on shape form and luminosity with the intent of converting to black and white. We will watch the light change as the sun sets in the West and dips below the horizon, and the landscape takes on a subtle pastel tones of blues and pinks. After a hearty dinner, Suzanne will show you how to capture images of the night sky and do a little “light painting”.
The remoteness of White Pocket, its difficulty to find, and the need for expert driving in high clearance 4WD vehicles makes this area inaccessible to most photographers. We have arranged for an expert local outfitter to transport us to White Pocket, set up our camp and provide us amazing home cooked meals, toilets, chairs and tables, campfires, tents and sleeping bags. All you need to worry about is creating amazing images and having fun!
- Photographic instruction
- 4-wheeled roundtrip transportation from Cliff Dwellers at the Vermillion Cliffs.
- One night lodging at Cliff Dwellers, based on Double Occupancy. A camper tent capable of sleeping up to 4 w/ individual partitions, along with a few individual tents and sleeping bags, are provided by the outfitter for our two nights on the Plateau. Should you wish to bring your own tent and camping gear to ensure your own private tent, please let us know immediately so that we can accommodate the extra load.
- All meals will be provided by outfitter during at our camping excursion.
- All applicable entrance, park, permit and tour fees
Arizona Highways PhotoScapes obtains permits with BLM and Glen Canyon Recreation Area
Please be aware that shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change. Each day we will determine which locations are best based on weather and lighting conditions. We want to give you the best photo opportunities.
Day 1 – Thursday, September 12
- Group will meet at hotel at the Cliff Dwellers Lodge at Marble Canyon at 1:00pm for Suzannes’s presentation and orientation on White Pocket.
- Depart late afternoon for Lee’s Ferry for our afternoon and sunset shoot.
- Return to Cliff Dwellers for dinner and download.
Day 2 -Friday, September 13
- Up early for sunrise at Marble Canyon and photo ops around the Vermillion Cliffs.
- Return for breakfast and image critique.
- Meet our outfitters at 1:00pm to pack up gear and head to White Pocket.
- Upon arrival at camp site, outfitters will give a brief orientation and pass out custom photo maps of the area.
- We will then head out to various locations and shoot through sunset.
- Return to camp for dinner, relaxation, campfire chats and night photography.
Day 3 – Saturday, May 14
- Up at first light to capture the sweet light at White Pocket and capture the many interesting rock formations.
- During the harsh light, photographers can explore or sit back and relax at camp
- Mid-afternoon we are out once again for more great photography. We’ll stay out through sunset and return to camp for another delicious camp meal.
- Then it’s time to relax, unwind, share stories and enjoy shooting some stars.
Day 4 -Sunday, September 15
- Last early rise to catch sunrise on the Plateau and explore more intriguing rock formations.
- Back at camp for breakfast.
- Pack up mid-morning for our return to Cliff Dwellers.
- Arrive at noon.
- Workshop adjourns.
Strenuous Rating: Moderate to Slightly Difficult.
Short hikes up to 2 miles RT on uneven terrain. Distance is at your own discretion. Some scrambling on rocks. Sturdy shoes or hiking boots recommended. Slight elevation changes.
As our outfitter puts so eloquently….”Keep in mind that our hikes take place in the 4000-8000 ft elevation range which can take adjustment for those from sea level or close to it. For the sake of maximizing enjoyment for yourself and the others who subsequently join the trip, if you have known physical difficulties or are between the ages of 60-90, please be a little more conservative and carefully consider the activity level. A guided tour will not fix your bad knees or make you young again. Physical inability can become a serious problem in the wilderness. Also while we do everything we can to moderate hiking routes to fit our groups’ abilities, sometimes groups with mixed abilities require patience and understanding on both sides and with our guides.”
The Workshop will Begin and End at Cliff Dwellers in the Vermillion Cliffs
Marble Canyon, AZ 86036
Tel: (928) 355-2261
We’ll spend our first night at the Cliff Dwellers Lodge at the Vermillion Cliffs. The first night is included in your workshop fees based on double occupancy. Should you wish a single room, it is available for an additional fee.
Dreamland Safari Tours
During our back-country excursion, Dreamland Safari will transport us via 4-wheel vehicles into White Pocket on the Paria Plateau. Campsite, gear, and meals will be provide by Dreamland Safari. Outfitted services are included in your workshop fee.
- 90 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
- Between 89 and 61 days prior to the start of the workshop, AHPS will retain your full deposit.
- 60 days and fewer to the start of the workshop your entire workshop fee is retained.
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.