The Wave Photo Workshop

Wilderness Photographer Chad Dutson

Coyote Buttes (c) Chad Dutson

Coyote Buttes (c) Chad Dutson

September 9-13, 2019

Join wilderness photographer, Chad Dutson, for a photographer's paradise visiting world-class sites within the Vermilion Cliffs, including White Pocket and the permit-only area of Coyote Buttes North. Yes, lottery permits to the Wave are included!


[Limited to 2 participants]

Workshop is for all photographic experience levels. Beginners will value the level of photography instruction, while advanced photographers will find so much benefit from guides who know the area.


  • The Wave (Coyote Buttes North)

  • One Night Camping at White Pocket

  • 4WD transportation in the backcountry

  • Limited to 2 participants

  • Group dinner

  • BLM-permitted photographer and guide


[Subject to Change]

Day 1: 2PM Meet-and-Greet in Kanab, then evening/sunset shooting in the area, likely within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Dinner on your own.

Day 2: Morning Adobe Camera Raw instruction. Afternoon drive to White Pocket. Camping overnight at White Pocket with local Outfitter. Visit Dragon’s Tail, The Swirl, and other features. This evening is an excellent opportunity for sunset and night photography. Breakfast and Lunch on your own in Kanab. Dinner provided in the backcountry.

Day 3: Morning at White Pocket. After breaking camp, the group will plan an afternoon hike through a slot canyon or a petroglyph site. The group will then return to Kanab for a Group dinner. Breakfast and lunch provided in the backcountry. Dinner provided in Kanab.

Day 4: All day at Coyote Buttes North. Permits are already secured. Plan for an all-day adventure to the Wave and surrounding sites. The day includes about 7 miles of moderate-to-strenuous intensity hiking, with an option for 2 to 3 more miles once your reach The Wave. Breakfast and Dinner on your own. Lunch provided in the backcountry.

Day 5: Morning Adobe Photoshop instruction. Goodbyes. Break by 11AM. Breakfast on your own.

Coyote Buttes (c) Chad Dutson

Coyote Buttes (c) Chad Dutson

White Pocket (c) Chad Dutson

White Pocket (c) Chad Dutson


  • Three days of photography in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

  • Visit Coyote Buttes North, also known as The Wave! Yes, permits are already secured by lottery.

  • White Pocket and other photography opportunities.

  • Limited to 2 participants

  • Learn advanced techniques from a professional wilderness photographer

  • 4WD backcountry transportation included.

The workshop begins and ends in Kanab, Utah -- our base of operations. Our first meet-and-greet will be in the afternoon/evening on Monday, September 9th. We will discuss workshop expectations, techniques, and photographic philosophy. Then the adventure begins.

Throughout the workshop, photography instruction will cover many of Chad’s techniques, including proper exposure and composition. Advanced techniques will also be shared, such as focus-stacking and HDR. When is it appropriate (or required) to use these techniques, and when is it wasting your time? Chad has used Nikon and Canon equipment professionally, and caters instruction to your photographic experience level.

The Wave is a full-day experience, about 7-miles round-trip of moderate to strenuous intensity. The other days will include White Pocket and other sites within Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Coyote Buttes North is filled with red, orange, yellow, and white sandstone, while White Pocket is almost entirely white. You will see endless sandstone formations and teepees. The entire area contains incredible jaw-gaping scenery! Picture yourself standing atop sandstone structures, looking across desert valleys while the sun sets in front of you! The views are outstanding and the memories will last a lifetime!

Coyote Buttes (c) Chad Dutson

Coyote Buttes (c) Chad Dutson

What is Included?

  • All permits and fees, including Coyote Buttes North and White Pocket

  • SUV Transportation during the workshop

  • Personalized BLM-approved guide service and photography instruction

  • Breakfast provided on day 3. Lunch provided on days 3 and 4. Dinner provided on days 2 and 3 (group dinner).

  • One night camping at White Pocket

  • Trail snacks & water

  • Pre-Workshop online meeting

  • Gratuities (for the camping Outfitter)

What is Your Responsibility?

  • Transportation to/from Kanab, Utah. Scheduled airline service and car rentals are available at the following locations:
      + 74 miles from Page, Arizona
      + 86 miles from Saint George, Utah
      + 209 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada
      + 317 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Lodging at Kanab, Utah. Your guide/instructor will notify you via email which establishment he will be using

  • Meals not specifically listed in the “What is Included” section

  • Insurance: Trip, Equipment, and Emergency Medical Evacuation

  • Gratuities (for the Workshop Team), if you desire

White Pocket (c) Chad Dutson

White Pocket (c) Chad Dutson

White Pocket (c) Chad Dutson

White Pocket (c) Chad Dutson

Recommended Gear List

Camera Equipment

  • Camera body

  • Lenses: wide angle and mid-range telephoto

  • Filters: circular polarizer and ND filters

  • Tripod

  • Memory cards and spare batteries

  • Lens cleaning supplies

  • Trigger or remote

  • Camera backpack (with rain poncho or cover bag, in case of wet weather)

Personal Gear

  • Layered clothing (see FAQs, below)

  • Lightweight Rain jacket

  • Sturdy hiking footwear with good traction and hiking socks

  • Water bottle or hydration bladder. You will be carrying at least one gallon (four liters) of water on Day 4. A one-liter bottle will be made available at the trailhead, if needed.

  • Headlamp and spare batteries

  • Personal toiletries

  • Sun protection: hat, sunscreen, glasses

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Are the permits to Coyote Buttes included in the price? YES! Coyote Buttes North permits have already been secured via lottery. Entry into this section of Coyote Buttes is limited to only 20 people per day, and you will be one of them! Workshop is authorized by the BLM to be conducted in this area.

  2. What level of physical preparation is required? A hike to the Wave is approximately 7 miles round-trip over uneven sandstone and sandy terrain. The hike is moderate to strenuous and requires good physical stamina. You will be packing in your camera gear and at least one gallon of water. An optional 2 miles adds a couple more photographic sites to the list. This workshop does not include lifeflight service is not recommended if you question your physical ability to hike 7+ miles carrying 20+ pounds in the hot sun.

  3. What specific photo gear should I bring? Camera and tripod are a must, and we suggest you bring at least two lenses, with ranges from 16 to 200mm (full-frame) or 10 to 140mm (crop sensor). Due to the sandy and possibly rainy/snowy environment, it is recommended you also bring camera cleaning equipment, such as an air blower, lens wipes, lint-free cloths, and a lens brush.

  4. What other gear should I bring? Be prepared with layered clothing for fall weather. Daytime high temperatures in the area average 75 to 90 degrees, nights around 45 to 60 degrees. We will be hiking regardless of weather, whether sun, wind, snow, or rain, so plan accordingly. In addition to the items listed above, you may consider extra socks and underclothing, in case you get wet. In the event of wet weather, you should bring a poncho for yourself and for your camera equipment.

  5. What photography experience must I have? Our workshops are geared toward all levels. Beginners will value the photography instruction while advanced photographers will appreciate the guide service.

  6. May I bring a non-photographer friend? Certainly, the more the merrier; however since space is limited you must purchase a slot for each attendee. Groups of two or more are discounted 10%. Inquire for a checkout discount code prior to purchase.

  7. May we carpool from Salt Lake City? Transportation to/from the Salt Lake City area may be arranged with the instructor on a cost-sharing basis. We may also be able to arrange a St. George pickup. Inquire, if interested.

  8. Is there cell coverage in the backcountry? There is some coverage, but most of the time, no. AT&T has limited coverage at Coyote Buttes North and White Pocket (unsure about other carriers).

  9. What type of insurance should I secure? We recommend travel, equipment, and emergency evacuation insurance to cover the what-ifs in travel. Air travel changes, vehicle breakdowns, and weather can all wreak havoc. Although unlikely, there is always a possibility of a workshop cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances. Travel Insurance provides peace of mind. We also recommend equipment insurance. Camera equipment is super sensitive, and being in the desert all day carries inherent risk. Cover your equipment with a policy sufficient to repair and/or replace your gear. Emergency evacuation insurance is optimal in remote wilderness settings, like Coyote Buttes and White Pocket, which are 2+ hours from the nearest medical facilities, in addition to any hiking distance.

The Workshop Team


Chad Dutson

Workshop Leader. Chad Dutson is an Alaska- and Utah-based wilderness photographer who deeply admires nature. He has been workshopping in the Southwest since 2014 and is a BLM-authorized guide into the Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

"Some say they lose themselves in one thing or another -- I find myself through photography -- losing only the sense of time." -- Chad Dutson

Portfolio www.chaddutson.com