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Grand Canyon NightScape Workshop & River Rafting

Combine the adventure of Colorado River rafting with the Milky Way skies over the Grand Canyon, and you have the trip of a lifetime! Everything is provided for in this workshop: prepared meals, air transfers from Las Vegas to the river and back, camping equipment, entertainment, and great photo instruction by NightScape Photographer, Royce Bair.

Dec. 30 update: This Workshop is FULL. (You can signup for our wait list.)

What to expect: This river trip is for all ages, 9 years to 99 years old. It’s still officially “Summer” on our first day, so it should be nice and warm. Although it rarely gets over 100 degrees at this time of the year, a quick dip in the water will cool you off. The large, motorized J-rig rafts are very safe and roomy (we will have 14 people on each boat compared to the normal 18). There are two white water rapids on this 100-mile stretch of the Colorado. You have the option of staying fairly dry in the back of the raft, or getting wet in the front. All your meals are prepared for you (the food is amazing), and all your camping equipment is provided (cots, tents, sleeping bags, chairs and a water-resistant bag to place your camera and other personals). There is very little hiking involved. All transportation and transfers from Las Vegas to and from the river are provided.

See the Video and Download the Brochure

My only group workshop for 2016: I currently have 9 private workshops (with 2-4 people per workshop) going on next year. All are sold out, most only minutes after I announced them.  This Grand Canyon River Trip and NightScape Photo Workshop will have plenty of spaces available (27 spots on two boats) for my Meetup Group, past workshop alumni and their family/friends. 

Extremely Dark Skies: This remote region has some of our Earth's darkest night skies. The Milky Way literally "pops"!  For those who come to do night photography, you will be richly rewarded.

Photo Instruction: I will instruct and guide those that wish to participate on these five periods:

•  1st Night - 2 hours twilight & starry night photography (weather permitting)

• 1st Afternoon - 1 hour daytime on-shore photo tour

• 2nd Night - 2.5 hours starry night photography (weather permitting)

• 2nd Afternoon - 1 hour daytime on-shore photo tour

• 3rd Night - 3 hours starry night photography (weather permitting)

Photography is optional: This workshop will be mostly about free time and relaxation on the Colorado River, so feel free to bring along a non-photographer friend or family member (these will not have to pay my $200 photo instruction fee).

ITINERARY:

DAY 1 » Meet in Las Vegas at 10:15 in the lobby of The Las Vegas Marriott Hotel. A motor coach will take you to the Boulder Terminal where you will begin your Grand Canyon tour with a beautiful flight to the Bar 10 Ranch. Before you start your three-day Grand Canyon river rafting adventure, you’ll enjoy an overnight stay at the Bar 10 Ranch, a working cattle ranch perched high on a plateau above the Colorado River. Your transition from civilization to wilderness includes horseback trail rides, horseshoes, ping pong, skeet shooting, dinner and evening entertainment before settling into bed in the lodge, outdoors in a covered wagon, or outside on a spacious deck. Those who have paid the additional $200 photo instruction fee will attend a 2-hour twilight and starry night workshop instruction with Royce Bair before bedding down for the night.

DAY 2 » After a big country breakfast, a helicopter takes you deep into Grand Canyon where your rafts and guides await. After orientation and introductions, you’ll be on your way downriver surrounded by soul-stirring scenery. Breathtaking canyon walls shoot skyward in a dramatic display of geologic history as you experience your first taste of Grand Canyon river rafting. Hold on for Kolb and Mile 209 Rapids! An optional afternoon canyon photo instruction tour and a 2.5 hour starry night photo workshop will follow after our evening meal.

DAY 3 » Our J-Rig rafts enter awesome Lower Granite Gorge with a series of moderate rapids including Granite Spring, Diamond Creek and Travertine. We take some time to hike, explore and play at Travertine Grotto, a fantastic series of hidden waterfalls and pools (including an afternoon photo instruction tour). Run the biggest rapids of your Grand Canyon river rafting trip, the “230’s.” After your day of adventure, you’ll savor Western’s delicious dinners at the river’s edge and appreciate the unforgettable experience of sleeping under the stars — but first we’ll do up to 3-hours of Milky Way photography for those who wish to share these memories with others back home!

DAY 4 » As you near Lake Mead, the river calms and the canyon widens. Savor your final morning in Grand Canyon as you board a jetboat to head down river and across Lake Mead to where a shuttle will return you to Las Vegas. Lunch will be provided in transit. You will travel by way of the recently completed Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge with views of the Hoover Dam.

COST: $1699 to Western River Expeditions, and $200 to me for the photo workshop portion ($1899 total). If you have a friend or family member that is not interested in photography, the only fee is the $1699 to Western River. 

Other Expenses: Airfare to Las Vegas ~ Possible overnight lodging at The Las Vegas Marriott ~ Possible Park Entrance Fee ($12) - unless you have a current Nat’l Park Pass ~ $16.99 processing fee (Western River charges a 1% processing fee) ~ $3.00 Grand Canyon Conservation Fund contribution.

How to Book: 1. RSVP for this workshop and pay the $200 deposit that covers the photo workshop portion of this river trip.  2. Call Western River at[masked]-7450. Tell the operator that you want to book a “Grand Canyon 4-Day” trip. Tell them it is the chartered, “Royce Bair Group”, for September 20-23, Booking #138871. They will take your contact information and charge your credit card a $300 deposit (the balance of payment is due 90 days before the event). You can also book additional non-photographer spots for family members.

The Western River offices will be open from 7:00am to 6:00pm MST.

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  • Bonnie S.

    Awesome

    1 · September 23

    • Wanda

      Hey Bonnie, send me your email I have some videos you might like. [masked]

      September 23

    • Bonnie S.

      [masked]

      October 13

  • Don M.

    Our trip leader, Corey, and three other guides, Travis, Lindsay, and Parker, were superb in their excellent knowledge of virtually all aspects of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River, together with their boating, camping, cooking, and myriad of other skills exhibited. And I loved the music accompanying the grandeur!
    If there was ever a perfect trip, it was this rafting trip down the Colorado River. I was impressed with all the behind-the-scenes logistics work that brought together a phenomenally amazing experience. The beauty of it all was that I never heard a single complaint from anyone on both boats during the entire trip. That speaks volumes!
    My life is all the better for having met you, Royce, and many of the folks that you attract to your workshops!

    P.S. Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I took an extension south to Joshua Tree National Park for a few days and just returned home late last night.

    1 · September 28

  • Royce B.

    So appreciate everyone's stellar attitude and patience with the storms. You helped make a lot of great memories! As usual, our guides were outstanding. Getting to know each of you was a special treat!

    September 26

  • Roger N.

    Unforgettable experience. Beautiful scenery, interesting people, professional outfitters, great food, world-class musicians, and Royces patient instruction. Truly unforgettable!

    1 · September 25

  • Michael D.

    Probably needs to be a six day rafting trip to compensate for the weather. Great trip and highly recommended.

    1 · September 24

  • kimberle

    Best vacation this year!! Great company!!! Made memories and most of all made some new friends that kept me on the a J-Rig!! I learned how to take night photos too. Whaoo!! Thank you for making my trip an awesome time

    1 · September 23

    • kimberle

      My email is kym6810@yahoo if you want to get in touch with me.

      September 23

  • Wanda

    Awesome adventure. Thanks for the stars, storms, wild ride, and great music

    1 · September 23

  • Samuel G.

    Had a fantastic experience--a lifetime memory! Thanks to all!

    September 23

  • Michael D.

    Hi, Royce! Almost all packed...is there easy transportation from the airport to the Marriot?

    1 · September 13

    • Wanda

      Do you know if the monorail goes near the Mariott?

      September 16

    • Royce B.

      Not as close as I'd like. It goes a few block to the east (around the Convention Center). Check out their map: http://www.lvmonorail...­

      September 17

  • Royce B.

    A spot opened up early today (4/26) due to a medical cancellation, but that position has been taken!

    April 26

    • Royce B.

      No problem, I've taken you off the wait list :)

      August 13

    • Linda

      Thank you

      August 13

  • Nev L.

    Royce: There are no rooms available at the Las Vegas Marriott. Did you reserve a block?

    January 2, 2016

    • Royce B.

      Yes, Western River Expeditions (WRE) did reserve a block of rooms with the Las Vegas Marriott. Call the Marriott [masked]) and mention group code: WRE — or go online and make your reservation using this Marriott/WRE block link: http://bit.ly/1IOjx0d­ …the WRE block rate is only $129 per night. Guests staying at the Marriott enjoy free parking and baggage storage for a nominal fee. A light grab and go breakfast is also available for Western River guests. I would suggest booking for September 19th, the night before leave on our river trip. You may also wish to book for the night we return from the river: Sept. 23.

      January 5, 2016

  • Nev L.

    Thanks for getting back. No rooms at the Residence Inn, either according to the Marriott web site

    January 4, 2016

  • Wayne P.

    Hi Royce. I should have signed up sooner! If you get 14 on the waiting list will you take the second boat?

    1 · January 2, 2016

    • Royce B.

      We already have a 2nd boat (28 total). The first boat filled up with alumni three days before I even built this page on Meetup! The Park Service only allows a max of 2 boats to a group, in order to keep the experience more primitive.

      January 2, 2016

    • Wayne P.

      Thanks Royce for replying

      January 3, 2016

  • John S.

    Royce and Wanda,

    I was told that there would be a $15 charge for a modest overweight. The limiting factor is the helicopter (and perhaps small plane) transport. Not sure what "modest" means.
    For what it is worth, I have taken a Pelican 1510 on a baloney boat Grand Canyon trip with another company before and space on the raft wasn't an issue.
    Perhaps we could get a little more clarity on this issue. I suppose it might help if one included one's tripod in the 25lb weight limit; after all we are only on the river for 3 days. I plan on bringing either a 1510 or a LowePro DryZone 200 camera bag. LowePro also has a DryZone duffel.

    1 · January 1, 2016

  • Royce B.

    Wanda, I'm glad you brought up this question. Here's from an email I received yesterday from Marie Richardson @ Western River: “Though the weight limit for your personal duffel bag and additional beverages (if you so choose) is 25 lbs, guests will be able to bring along their camera equipment, including tripods outside of that weight limit. We are able to accommodate gear that allows all the photography participants to have their personal preferred equipment along.”

    December 22, 2015

    • Wanda

      thanks do you know if they will allow a Pelican 1510 carry on for camera gear?

      January 1, 2016

  • Sharon K.

    My husband, John, wants to be on the wait list too.

    January 1, 2016

  • Michael D.

    Hi, Royce! Quick question: My wife wants to attend, but will not be participating in your workshop ($200). Can she accompany me to the workshops w/o paying the $200? Also, when I make reservations for two, will that fill two slots for this meetup?

    December 28, 2015

    • Royce B.

      Under "COST:" above, it says, "If you have a friend or family member that is not interested in photography, the only fee is the $1699 to Western River." Therefore, only you need to RSVP here and pay the $200 fee (as you have done). Call Western River tomorrow and book the river trip for BOTH of you ($1699 each), and pay their $300 deposit (the balance is do 90 days before the event). I communicate several times a week with the WR office and manually adjust the numbers here for any guest registrations (like your wife's booking).

      December 28, 2015

    • Michael D.

      Thanks...I figured it out after I posted the question-lol. We're booked and so looking forward to this trip!

      December 28, 2015

  • kimberle

    I am trying to RSVP and pay from my phone and it won't take me to the pay screen

    December 23, 2015

    • Royce B.

      Bummer. If you still have problems, try paying from a desktop or laptop computer.

      December 23, 2015

  • John S.

    Sounds like 30 lbs if you do not bring any drinks (see brochure). In any case, I plan to call Western River Ex. directly to clarify.

    December 21, 2015

  • Wanda

    Question, how much luggage can we take? Thinking camera gear....

    December 21, 2015

  • Meredith B.

    Wow! Looks fantastic, Royce!

    1 · December 19, 2015

  • Royce B.

    Imagine what a unique Christmas present this would make for a spouse, child or grandchild! I suggest printing out the above PDF brochure (including the link to the above video) and placing it in a wrapped present or in a stocking (it's sure to bring tears and a hug).

    December 19, 2015

Your organizer's refund policy for Grand Canyon NightScape Workshop & River Rafting

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 91 day(s) before the Meetup

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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