Past Meetup

DC UL Adventure Photography Workshop with Phototopia Creative Collective

Price: $100.00 /per person
Location image of event venue


Time to take our adventure photography to the next level!

On a typical DC UL trip, we’re moving too fast, carrying too
little photographic equipment, and just plain obsessed by covering miles (or getting out of the weather) to do much more than fire off snapshots. Our models are sweaty, grumpy, hungry, and more interested in setting up camp than they are in hanging out on some cold, windy vista while we wait for the perfect light. So, we’re going to do a trip that is more about photography than hiking. Yes, we’re going to sleep in a cabin 0.2 miles from a parking lot. Yes, bring in your tripod and all your cameras! Yes, there will be group meals! No, don’t worry about the weather.

To put on this exciting event, I’ve teamed up with the very
cool folks at the Phototopia Creative Collective Meet Up ( They will be providing professional photography instruction for a full weekend seminar; I’ll be guiding and talking about backpacking for those photographers looking to up their outdoors skills. We’ll be offering a few spots on DC UL and a few on their site.

• Joshua Orozco is a 10 year veteran of the television
broadcasting industry and he holds a Fine Art degree in Film. Currently, he consults for the Federal Government and freelances as a Commercial Photographer. His love of the outdoors and passion for photography can be seen in much of his work. Joshua is a founding member of the Phototopia Creative Collective which is a meetup group dedicated to providing high quality, hands-on photography education. For more about Joshua and to see his recent work, visit

• Carly O’Neil is a published lifestyle photographer, writer
and model based in Baltimore, Maryland. Some of her recent credits include PhotoVogue, Blast Magazine and Surface Magazine. Too see her photographic work, please visit

• Apart from being the organizer of DC UL, Michael Martin (U-Turn) is a lifelong outdoorsman who has hiked and backpacked
all over the world, from the Himalayas to the Alps. His most ambitious trip to date is the 400-mile crossing of Iceland he completed in 2012 (with Max Nemeth (Yeti) and Denise Mainville (Bla Vegen). Over the last several years, he’s backpacked about 3,000 miles in the Mid-Atlantic. He is the author of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s forthcoming Best Backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic (’s not the real cover!), and he’s currently writing his second book on day hikes in the Shenandoah Valley, co-authored with Jen Adach (Shuttle). His pictures are not as good as he would like them to be.

The cost of the course is $100. For this price, you get your accommodations in PATC’s Meadows Cabin, meals (bring your own booze), and the following instructional agenda:

Camp Workshops

Before we ever leave camp:

Photo Basics—Understanding what makes a successful image. We will cover different shooting modes, composition, exposure bracketing, talk briefly about depth of field, and make an honest effort at getting everyone to learn how to shoot fully manual.

Adventure Photographer's Gear Guide—A non-structured, ongoing conversation about what gear is out there for us to use. We will discuss filters, Step up rings, Belt and chest systems, Straps, Backpacks, Tripods etc. Participants are free to ask
gear buying advice and everyone is encouraged to provide feedback to others on the gear they already own.

Backpacking 101—Getting up to speed on being self-sufficient in the outdoors. We’ll go over the gear and the skills you
need to be safe in the outdoors. Taught from an ultra-light perspective: because lighter is better … usually.

Adventure Photography

We will be conducting a selection of workshops on these

Filtered Landscapes—A guide to shooting great landscapes using filters. We will discuss using the Lee Filter system, what polarizer filters actual do, and talk about the lost art of hand holding filters. Bring along what filters you already own and we will find a practical application for them. Joshua will have a camera and filter system available for the group to share and shoot images with.

Epic Panoramic Landscapes—This workshop will go into detail on how to setup and capture stunningly wide landscape images stitched together from multiple photographs printable at over 3ft x 5ft! A tripod is highly recommended for best results, but handholding is OK. A step-by step guide to stitching photos in Photoshop will be emailed to everyone afterwards.

People in the Environment—A quick, fun workshop on how to frame your subject when the landscape is far more interesting than they are. If I had a dollar for every time a friend took
a terrible pic of me in an amazing place.... that showed neither me or that amazing place... I would be able to afford lots more fancy gear. We will discuss composition, how to work
around the harshness of a popup flash and how to take great "unposed" shots.

Shooting Moving Water—We will discuss technique and using the proper gear to shoot silky smooth water like a landscape pro. This topic is location dependent.

*Bonus* Astrophotography—Sky permitting, we will make an attempt to shoot the stars in the night sky. Josh hasn’t actually
done this before, so we’ll be learning together.

photography gear for this trip:

DSLR recommended, but not required. A tripod will be very
useful, but is not required. Bring along
any filters that you already own.

The Logistics

We’ll meet up at the Vienna Metro Station at 6pm, Friday,
January 31st and car pool out to the cabin in the central
Shenandoah. From the parking lot, it’s an easy 0.2 miles in to the cabin. Friday night, we’ll get started with the agenda, so that Saturday we can wake early, breakfast, and be out shooting with the light. The hiking will be moderate, perhaps an
excursion to Rose River or Dark Hollow Falls, perhaps a climb to Doubletop Mountain (more strenuous). We’ll complete our workshops during the day, then head back to the cabin for dinner, and perhaps that bonus Astrophotography session. Certainly, there will be a merry gathering in the cabin. Sunday morning, we’ll conclude the agenda, and head back to town.


Aside from your photography equipment, you’ll need the

• Some sort of backpack to carry your gear in and
day-hike with on Saturday and Sunday.

• A sleeping bag (the cabin is heated, so you
don’t need anything fancy).

• A sleeping pad (optional: the cabin has some
pallets, but you might prefer your own).

• Lots of warm clothing including hat, gloves,
insulated underwear, and a good jacket.
You’ll want to be able to stay warm even while standing around outside.

• Appropriate footwear. There will be snow on the ground, so most
will prefer boots. Make sure you have
plenty of dry socks.

• A head lamp.

• Personal hygiene items (there is a privy, but
it’s just an outhouse).

• A means of water treatment (the backpackers can
handle that for everyone).

• A few water bottles.

• Your flask, filled with an appropriate spirit.

• Bring the owner’s manual for your camera!!

Any questions, please address them to Michael if they’re
about trip logistics, or Joshua and Carly, if they’re about photography.