2017 Grand Canyon Photo Workshop & River Rafting

NightScape Photography
NightScape Photography
Public group
Location image of event venue



$299 / person (photo workshop fee)

$1699 base price / person (Western River Expeditions 4-Day trip cost)

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.

Four experienced river guides and an assistant photo instructor will accompany us on this adventure. This trip and workshop will be very similar to our 2016 trip/workshop (https://www.meetup.com/NightScape-Photography/events/227515545/) (check out our 5-star rating and comments).

Don't delay making your reservations. Last year, this trip and workshop filled up less than two weeks after it was announced! These trips are very popular and only a limited number of people are allowed to go down the Grand Canyon each year. Some individuals have waited for up to 20 years to obtain a permit to float through the canyon.

Total Price: Photo workshop fee is $299. River rafting cost is $1699 ($1999 total). See "Cost" and "Other Expenses" below.

What to expect: This river trip is for all ages, 9 years to 99 years old. It’s still officially “Summer” on our September schedule, 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 about 15 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.

The photography workshop portion covers general nature and landscape photography with emphasis on starry night photography, also known as wide-field astrophotography or NightScapes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ironrodart/albums/72157627607005290). Participants should already have some standard camera skills, i.e. how to take a correct exposures, and know how to make normal adjustments to their camera. A DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) or mirrorless camera is suggested. One wide angle lens with an f/2.8 aperture (or faster) is also suggested for the NightScapes (additional suggestions will be given to those who register.)

Weather: Mid-September offers the perfect temperatures! May and Sept. are the best months to visit the bottom of the canyon. Day temps are usually 85º - 95º, with evening temps between 65º - 75º. April can be a little cold. June, July and August are often over 100º in the day. The canyon walls radiate stored heat into the evening, typically keeping the temperatures above 80º much of the night.

See the Overview/Video (http://www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-rafting-tour#prettyPhoto/0/) and Download the Brochure (http://www.westernriver.com/downloads/expedition-guides/grand_canyon_gc4.pdf)

This is one of my few group workshops for 2017: most are private workshops (http://intothenightphoto.blogspot.com/2015/09/private-nightscape-photography.html) (with 2-4 people per workshop) going on next year. This Grand Canyon River Trip and 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.


Time lapse video (https://vimeo.com/190055044) from our 2016 workshop by Sergio Garcia Rill (http://www.sgarciarill.com/).

Time lapse video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWjxNRH_reE) from our 2016 trip by Jason Rath (https://www.facebook.com/jason.wrath805) - courtesy of 'Dr. Brown (https://www.instagram.com/dr_brown/)' and Adobe Systems.


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

• 1st Night - 3 hours of starry night photography (weather permitting)

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

• 2nd Night - 3 hours starry night photography (weather permitting)

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

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

• Review and editing of results after the trip

Photography is optional: This rafting trip is also 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 $299 photo instruction fee).


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 $299 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.

COST: $1699 to Western River Expeditions, and $299 to me for the photo workshop portion ($1999 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. Western River charges a 1% processing fee ($16.99) and a $3.00 Grand Canyon Conservation Fund contribution. Those three fees bring the total to $[masked] for the river trip and another $299 to me for photo instruction (the total does not include air fare to Las Vegas or lodging in Vegas).

How to Book: 1. RSVP for this workshop and pay the $299 that covers the photo workshop portion of this river trip. 2. Book the river rafting portion online (http://secure.westernriver.com/res/#search:[masked]) (requires a $300 deposit to Western River) or call Western River at[masked]. Tell the operator that you want to book a “Grand Canyon 4-Day” trip. Tell them it is the chartered, “Royce Bair Photo Group”, for September 18-21, Booking #149438. 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 are open from 7:00am to 6:00pm MST, Monday - Friday.