2020 Wonders of Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop • Co-led with Alex Noriega

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The Wonders of Death Valley and Eastern Sierra Landscape Photography Workshop

Instruction and guidance by TJ Thorne and Alex Noriega

February 19-25, 2020

Join TJ Thorne and Alex Noriega on a Death Valley Photography Workshop that travels through the diverse landscapes of eastern California. Immerse yourself in an adventure across this uniquely photogenic confluence of desert and mountain landscapes. You will enrich your soul, connect to the land, and grow as an artist while also learning the most advanced techniques for capturing the highest quality images possible! This page is a general overview of the workshop. Upon signup, participants will receive an in-depth brochure containing much more information. You can make your deposit payment towards the bottom of the page. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions! You can use the contact page to do so.

Our Workshop Philosophy

We believe that the creative path is never-ending, highly rewarding, and self-fulfilling. Our goal is to foster an elevated awareness of your surroundings, encourage you to explore and emotionally connect to the aspects of nature that call to you, and to plant seeds of creativity via thoughts and concepts that will open doors into a new way of interpreting the environment through your lens. We believe that opening those doors leads to more personal and expressive style of photography that you will be more connected to. While we are committed to making sure you come away from the workshop with great photos, the true value lies in unlocking your inner artist and invigorating your creative vision.


  • February 19-23, 2020 (Death Valley Portion)
  • February 24-25,2020 (Eastern Sierra Add-on)

Activity Level

  • Moderate - Be prepared for hikes that may be 3 miles round trip and on uneven ground. Minimal steep ascents are necessary to get to certain vantages but are not required. The most intensive hiking required will be up and down sand dunes.


  • Death Valley Only: $1,795
  • Eastern Sierra Add-on: +$495

This workshop is limited to 10 students.


Our meeting point will be Furnace Creek in Death Valley which will act as a base camp while we venture to various locations within the park. Sand dunes, salt flats, canyons, badlands, and mountains are the main subjects here before we head to the Owens Valley which is nestled between some of the highest peaks in the country (the 14,000+ foot snow-capped peaks of the Eastern Sierras) to the west and the White and Inyo Mountains to the east. Here we will photograph winding rivers below jagged granite mountains, colorful foliage in warm light, and the amazing granite formations of Alabama Hills backdropped by the stunning Mt. Whitney. Our itinerary for this tour will be flexible in order to chase weather, light, and conditions as they occur. We'll use our experience to put you in the best possible position to make compelling photographs.

You will not only be guided to the best photography locations that the deserts of eastern California have to offer, you will also be guided through the entire process of making compelling photographs. From in-field techniques to photo processing, you will be instructed on choosing the best compositions, how to best utilize different types of light ranging from subtle to dramatic, how to capture the proper amount of dynamic range and depth of field, how to approach raw conversion, blending, sharpening, and artistic choices—the whole nine yards! Learn master processing skills from Alex Noriega and discover valuable tools which help you to take complete control over the processing of your images. Instruction goes far beyond the basics, although those who need more basic instruction will certainly be accommodated.

I advise reading my Photography Workshop FAQ and Cancellation Policy page if you are interested in coming along. If you'd like to join the adventure, you can reserve your spot at the bottom of the page.

What's Included

  • Expert guidance to the best photography locations in the Eastern Sierra and California Deserts.
  • Thoughtful in-field instruction on capture technique including:
    • Visual exploration of the scene to identify compelling compositions that tell a story.
    • Thinking beyond the obvious to create unique images that you are personally connected to.
    • Creative use of every kind of light from soft to direct to backlit. We will explore the potential of all kinds of light and not rely solely on sunsets and sunrises.
    • Everything technical: compensating for high dynamic range, focus stacking, exposing to the right, reading your histogram, tricks and tips for proper focusing, full manual control of your camera, and everything else!
  • In-depth processing instruction including everything such as raw processing, blending exposures using luminosity masks, focus stacking, artistic finishing touches in photoshop, and preparation and sharpening for web and print. The processing session will be recorded for you.
  • Guaranteed adventure with two laid back instructors who are eager to share their knowledge and help you grow as an artist and person.

What's Not Included

  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Meals and Snacks
  • We highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to protect your investment in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Travel and Accommodations

  • Las Vegas hosts McCarran International Airport (LAS) and is a 2.5 hour drive to Furnace Creek. Los Angeles (LAX) is a 4.5 hour drive.
  • Both hotel and camping accommodations are available for both portions of the workshop. Group rates are acquired where available and information will be included in the workshop brochure upon signup.
  • A standard rental vehicle will suffice for this workshop, though a high clearance vehicle will be helpful. Once the workshop is started we carpool to and from most locations within the park.


Death Valley Only Session: A nonrefundable deposit of $495 will be required upon sign up. The balance of $1,200 is due 45 days (January 5, 2020) prior to the date of the workshop.

Death Valley and Eastern Sierra Sessions: A nonrefundable deposit of $695 will be required upon sign up. The balance of $1,495 is due 45 days (January 5, 2020) prior to the date of the workshop.

After deposit is paid, payments on the balance can be made at your convenience.

Cancellations that occur 45 days or more before the start of the workshop will forfeit deposit. Cancellations that occur within 45 days of the workshop will forfeit their full payment. There are no exceptions to these terms. You can make your payment below. After payment is made, a PayPal invoice will be sent so that further payments are simple and easy. I advise reading my Photography Workshop FAQ and Cancellation page if you are interested in attending.

Wonders of Death Valley: November 2019 Session
Wonders of Death Valley: November 2019 Session
Wonders of Death Valley: February 2020 Session
Wonders of Death Valley: February 2020 Session