Syllabus for Moab in Fall Workshop, October 6-9, 2020



October 6-9, 2020


Classroom sessions: Holiday Inn Express, 1515 N Hwy 191, Moab, UT 84532; (435) 259-1150

Field sessions: a variety of spectacular locations in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse Point State Park

Course Level

This workshop is appropriate for low-intermediate to advanced-intermediate photographers

Workshop Fee: $995

Enrollment is limited to eight students

Course Description

Come master the art and science of digital landscape photography in southeast Utah’s spectacular Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Your workshop will be based in Moab, in the heart of redrock country. This workshop will combine ample field time with intensive classroom instruction. The class will enjoy three sunrise, three sunset, and one Milky Way shoot at spectacular locations near Moab, during which you will be able to put your new knowledge to immediate use. I have been photographing extensively in Arches and Canyonlands for more than 10 years, so I can lead you directly to the most photogenic locations at the right time of day or night. The workshop will cover topics every landscape photographer should understand:

  • How to plan shoots using the Photographer’s Ephemeris and Sun Surveyor.

  • How to plan, shoot, and process images of the Milky Way that have rich, low-noise detail throughout the frame.

  • How to convert your initial emotional reaction to the scene into a carefully crafted composition that will evoke the emotion you are feeling in the mind of your viewer.

  • How to photograph successfully in any kind of light, from the soft light of a cloudy day, to the high-contrast light of a backlit sunset and the total darkness of a moonless night. One of the fundamental problems for a landscape photographer is finding the most believable and natural-looking way to compress the very broad range of tones we see in the real world into the much narrower range of tones we can reproduce in a print. This workshop will tackle this problem from many angles, starting with exposure in the field and concluding with a variety of techniques in the digital darkroom. These techniques include high-dynamic-range imaging (HDR) and the "Rembrandt Solution," a technique pioneered by the 17th century master painter that is still relevant in the digital age. Used properly, the Rembrandt Solution can create the illusion of greater dynamic range in a print than actually exists.

  • How to compose, shoot, and stitch together single-row and multi-row panoramas.

  • Other essential elements of good landscape photography, such as scouting, lighting, and atmospheric optics (the way sunlight interacts with our atmosphere).


All students will receive extensive handouts on the key information covered during the workshop, including Mastering Dramatic Light, a 41-page PDF on how to shoot great images in high-contrast situations. When the workshop is over, students will have a deeper understanding of how to find and capture magnificent images of the natural world.

This workshop includes a three-mile (round-trip) hike with 500 feet of elevation gain. A basic level of fitness is required.

About the Instructor

I’ve been a full-time photographer, writer, and instructor for 41 years. Over 2,000 of my photographs have been published, including 84 covers, and I’ve sold over 10,000 prints. Rocky Nook published my book The Art, Science, and Craft of Great Landscape Photography in spring 2015 and published the second edition in the spring of 2020. It published my book Dusk to Dawn: a Guide to Landscape Photography at Night in spring 2018. Farcountry Press published three books of my landscape photographs: Rocky Mountain National Park Impressions, Colorado Wild & Beautiful, and Sunrise from the Summit: First Light on Colorado’s Fourteeners. I have had 24 feature articles published in Outdoor Photographer, where I am a contributing editor.

Tentative Schedule (subject to change due to weather and other factors)

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

  • 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Introduction and discussion of participants’ expectations for the course and photographic goals. Lecture: "The 12 Principles of Scouting." I will also demonstrate the use of the Photographer’s Ephemeris and Sun Surveyor, two inexpensive, easy-to-use computer programs that make it much easier to be in the right place at the right time. First half of lecture on the fundamentals of Milky Way photography, including information on planning Milky Way shoots and tips on composition, focusing, and exposure at night. The lecture will include a discussion of the best ways to preserve detail throughout the frame.

  • 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch. Students will purchase dinner food during the lunch break. Food can be kept cold in my cooler if students don't have their own.

  • 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Finish lecture on the fundamentals of Milky Way photography. Classroom discussion of exposure, exposure meters,  exposure danger zones, the four basic exposure strategies, and the universal exposure strategy.

  • 4:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. Drive to Dead Horse Point State Park. Scout Milky Way locations, shoot sunset, then shoot the Milky Way. We will eat a dinner picnic in the field (purchased by students during the lunch break) as we will not be returning to Moab until 10:00 p.m. Sunset is at 6:52 p.m. Astronomical dusk, when the Milky Way will become most photogenic, is at 8:20 p.m. We will finish shooting the Milky Way around  9 p.m. and return to Moab.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

  • 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Leave Holiday Inn Express at 6:00 a.m. Explore and photograph various shooting locations in the Windows section of Arches National Park at sunrise and in early morning light. Return to Moab around 9:30 a.m. Sunrise is at 7:20 a.m.

  • 9:30a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Continental breakfast at the hotel.

  • 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Lecture: Processing a Milky Way image in Lightroom.

  • 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Break. Students are on their own for lunch. Students should purchase food for a dinner picnic during the break. Naps strongly encouraged!

  • 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Slide show on light and how to control it. Slide show on how our visual system processes high-contrast scenes and how to use that knowledge to create images that appear to have a greater dynamic range than they actually do. Demonstration of software techniques for handling high-contrast scenes, including the Rembrandt Solution and HDR.

  • 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Leave Holiday Inn Express at 4:00 p.m. for Grand View Point, our shooting location. Shoot late afternoon and sunset light. We will eat a dinner picnic in the field (purchased by students during the lunch break) as we will not be returning to Moab until 8:00 p.m. Sunset is at 6:50 p.m.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

  • 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Leave the Holiday Inn Express at 5:30 a.m. Drive to the Devils Garden trailhead, hike 25 minutes (1 mile) to Landscape Arch, and shoot sunrise. Sunrise is at 7:21 a.m.  Hike out and return to Moab.

  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Breakfast.

  • 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Demonstration of two methods for compositing two nighttime exposures of the same scene, with one frame exposed for the sky, one frame exposed for the land. Students will begin editing their images in the conference room, with my help.

  • 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Midday break. Students are on their own for lunch. Students should purchase food for a dinner picnic in the field during the break.

  • 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lecture: Three steps toward stronger composition.

  • 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Depart Holiday Inn Express at 3:00 p.m., drive to the Delicate Arch trailhead and hike to Delicate Arch. Single-row and multi-row panorama lecture and demonstration while we wait for sunset. We will eat a dinner picnic in the field (purchased by students during the lunch break) as we will not be returning to Moab until 9:00 p.m. Sunset is at 6:49 p.m.


Friday, October 9, 2020

  • 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Depart the Holiday Inn Express at 5:30 a.m. Shoot sunrise and early light at the Green River Overlook in Canyonlands National Park. Sunrise is at 7:22 a.m. Return to Moab at 9:30 a.m.

  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Continental breakfast at the hotel.

  • 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Students will continue editing their images.

  • 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch break

  • 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students will finish a preliminary edit and select five or six of their favorite images from the workshop for projection. This is not a photo contest, but rather a celebration of what everyone has learned and seen during the workshop.

  • 5:00 p.m. Conclusion of workshop.


Logistical Details Meals and lodging are not included in the $995 workshop fee. Students are responsible for making their own lodging reservations. The Holiday Inn Express is offering a group discount on lodging to students who reserve a room before September 6th. When you call, mention you are part of the Glenn Randall Photography workshop. I encourage students to stay at the Holiday Inn Express for their own convenience, but there is no obligation to stay at the inn to take the workshop.

Holiday Inn Express, 1515 N Hwy 191, Moab, UT 84532; (435) 259-1150; holidayinnmoab

I will provide bottled water and light snacks for the sunrise shoots.

I will be demonstrating editing techniques using the latest versions of Lightroom Classic (the desktop version) and Photoshop CC. I will also be demonstrating a mobile app called Sun Surveyor (available for iOS and Android). Students may wish to purchase the full version of this app and follow along. Sun Surveyor Lite is too limited to be useful for our purposes.

Registered students will receive a complete list of items to bring.

Return to main Moab in Fall workshop page

Glenn Randall Photography

2945 Colby Dr.

Boulder CO 80305-6303

Office 303 499-3009  

Mobile 720 320-7126