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John Fielder Photography Workshops, Landscape photography workshop rafting expedition!




Last chance to sign up for  

John’s Hours: Tues – Sat 10am-6pm

Wilderness Rafting Adventure Workshop with John Fielder

Green River: Desolation and Gray Canyons

August 26 – September 1, 2011

For Reservations, Contact Information:

Denise Robert, Workshop Coordinator

Phone 303-368-5208 / Cell 303-570-7577 / Fax 303-696-1929

Friday – Thursday

5 nights / 6 days on the river
$1,725 per person

Join Colorado’s premier landscape photographer, John Fielder, and Bill Dvorak, one of the West’s most experienced raft outfitters, on this exciting 86-mile, Class I, II and III wilderness journey, with spectacular canyon scenery providing unlimited photographic opportunities.

Major John Wesley Powell declared the Gray and Desolation canyons wilderness “a region of wildest desolation.” In this remote place, characters like Butch Cassidy and Flatnose Curry escaped and, even today, it remains some of the most isolated desert canyon territory in the U.S. Rafting through this typical western desert, slick rock canyon with Fremont Indian pictographs, abandoned homesteads, shadow-filled grottoes and side canyon hikes, the trip offers over 60 rapids and excellent kayaking for beginner to intermediate levels. The first 26 miles are flat. As the canyon becomes steeper and narrower, there are Class I and II rapids and occasionally Class III. The trip is rated beginner level.
We use mostly oar boats; inflatable kayaks are available on request for an additional fee. You can expect hot, desert weather with temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees. Rain is possible at this time of year. Water temperature is a refreshing 76 degrees.
We meet in Grand Junction on Friday, August 26, for a pre-trip meeting, dinner and slide show presentation. On Saturday morning, leaving our vehicles at the hotel in Grand Junction, we depart by air shuttle to the Green River’s Sand wash launch site, about a 45 minute flight. From the landing airstrip to the river, it is approximately a one-mile downhill hike, with an option to ride in the cargo van down to the river. Gear is limited to about as much as you can fit into a dry bag 3.3 cubic feet. You will have a personal dry bag, a share day dry bag and it is suggested you bring your own waterproof pelican box or a serious dry-soft bag to keep camera gear dry. A packing list is supplied by the outfitter. You can bring your own tent, sleeping bag, thermarest pad and ground sheet or rent them from the outfitter ($75 for the package).

At trip’s end on Thursday, September 1, we return to Grand Junction (70 miles) by passenger van and plan to be there by 6:00 p.m. because, for those who are flying home, the last flight out of Grand Junction is at 7:00 p.m. Remember ‘River time’ can make tight air departures unpredictable, so we suggest a good night sleep, shower and perhaps a dinner with other guests and depart on the September 2nd.
The Photography Workshop offers a well-rounded and highly resourceful educational experience, appropriate for any level of outdoor photographer, but especially for beginners and intermediates. A full, yet comfortable, schedule optimizes field time and helps facilitate the absorption of invaluable, professional information.

No participant should feel that he or she is not qualified to attend. Maximum enrollment of 20 people affords quality time with John Fielder and ensures that each person gets the specific instruction needed based on their individual level of experience. If more than 12 people sign up, John will be assisted by fellow pro nature photographer, Gary Soles, further ensuring individual attention.
The river trip is coordinated by Bill Dvorak’s Kayak, Raft & Fishing Expeditions, established in 1969, one of the finest outfitters in the west. Dvorak Expeditions is an authorized concessionaire in Big Bend National Park and a recreation partner with the Pike, San Isabel, Routt, Medicine Bow and White River National Forests as well as the Bureau of Land Management in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming and Colorado State Parks. Please visit for more information about the trip and the outfitter.
This workshop is a fundraiser for the National Wildlife Federation. Both John and Bill are donating a significant portion of their fee/profit to NWF, so we invite you to have an amazing week with two of the West’s most dedicated and experienced “river rats” and help protect wildlife habitat through NWF. This is one of John’s favorite western river canyons and he guarantees both amazing photographs and river fun.

Friday (pre trip meeting) Saturday thru Thursday on the river, August 26-Sept. 1, 2011

On the Green River: Desolation and Gray Canyons; the river flows south from Wyoming through the town of Green River, Utah and confluences with the Colorado River, one of the wildest desert canyons in the U.S., covering 86 miles in 6 days/5 nights.

Seeing and photographing the natural landscape and taking each participant to the next skill level.

Who’s It For
Photographers of all skill levels; limited to 20 participants.

What Equipment

A 35mm digital SLR camera is recommended. Lenses should cover the zone between no less than 18 and 135mm for most cameras, or 28 and 200mm for cameras with full size sensors, plus tripod and cable or remote release. (Your two-second shutter release is a backup plan!) See below for more information about gear.

Camping Needs
A packing list will be supplied.
Note: This trip requires special attention to packing because all personal gear is transferred into a dry bag and a day pack. Plan to pack light! All camping gear is available to rent through Dvorak Expeditions.

$1,725 per person includes a rafting adventure with curriculum designed and presented by John Fielder, slide show presentation, one-on-one instruction, sunrise and sunset photo shoots, transportation to/from Grand Junction, all meals and services of the river guides. Gratuities for the guides are not included in the trip cost. It is up to your discretion whether or not to tip.

NOTE: Tuition is non-refundable and all participants must sign an acknowledgment of this policy. Sometimes unexpected circumstances cause cancellation or interruption of a Workshop. For that reason, we recommend trip cancellation/travel insurance, available from your travel agent or linked from Dvorak’s website, (Common questions -Prepare to Go page),online. Please refer to the Cancellation Policy under Notes, Terms and Conditions.

Friday night accommodations and any post trip lodging are not included in the Workshop. Please refer to Lodging Information, below.

Approximate Schedule
Day 1
5:00 p.m. – Pre-trip meeting, pre-workshop slide show, and dinner at Grande Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads Boulevard,  Grand Junction CO 81506; 800-800-7796 or 970-241-8411.

Day 2
7:00 a.m. – The Grande Vista Hotel ( provides transportation to the Grand Junction airport West Star Aviation Building. Check in at the charter air terminal just east of the main commercial terminal and inform them that you are there to catch a Red Tail Aviation charter flight at 8:00 a.m. The flight to the put-in takes approximately 45 minutes. The landing strip is on the mesa above the river. Wait there for the outfitter’s vehicle to pick you up (or you can hike down to the river, about one mile). Any extra belongings, valuables or equipment not needed on the river trip should be stored at the hotel.

Days 2 through 7
On the Green River- Desolation & Gray Canyons.

Day 7
After de-rigging and loading up the boating equipment in the late afternoon, Dvorak’s will take you back to the Grand Vista Hotel in Grand Junction. (Or, you can arrange to have your car shuttled to the take-out at an extra cost: not recommended.) It takes about 1 ¾ hours for the drive back to Grand Junction, CO. You can usually make a connecting flight home on the evening of the last day of the trip, but we recommend that you fly out the following morning in case inclement weather or other circumstances delay the departure from the river. Remember that “river time” is unpredictable. *(Optional flights to the river from Green River, Utah – no pre trip meeting is arranged if you choose this option.  Your vehicle can remain at the Green River airport and Dvorak’s will return you to the airport at trip’s end about 15 miles to airport from Swaysie’s rapid take out)

Location and Lodging

We recommend that you join the workshop group, beginning and ending at the Grande Vista Hotel in Grand Junction. Please visit or call 800-800-7796 or 970-241-8411 for information about accommodations, vehicle storage and airport transportation. You are not required to stay overnight at the Grande Vista and may choose another hotel in the Grand Junction area, in which case you can meet the group at the Grand Junction airport at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. *Or, you can meet us in Utah at the Green River Municipal Airport at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday morning. Please note that Friday night or any pre/post accommodations are not included in the price of the trip.

Getting There
Air carriers (Allegiant Air, American Airlines, America West, Skywest/DeltaConnection and United Express) offer non-stop flights daily from Denver, Phoenix, Dallas and Salt Lake City. If driving, Grand Junction is 7 hours from Albuquerque, 2 hours from Aspen, 10 hours from Phoenix and 4.5 hours from Denver. Driving from Denver, travel west on I-70 for 244 miles. The Grand Vista Hotel is located one block north of I-70 (Exit 31) on Horizon Drive at Crossroads Boulevard.

Booksigning and Portfolio

On Friday night, John Fielder will be happy to autograph any of his books or calendars that you bring to the Workshop. In addition, he will have a limited supply of his latest books available for purchase. If time permits, John will review and critique a small portfolio of your previous work after the workshop.

Camera Equipment

Photography is very equipment-dependent and there are many pieces to think about. You have invested a lot in this Workshop. The last thing we want to happen is that your experience comes to a halt because of an equipment failure. Although we can work through many situations with equipment problems, it is best to make sure your camera, lenses and tripod are working properly. Please run tests of your equipment, especially if it has been in storage.
The Workshop is based on using 35mm SLR camera equipment, preferably digital. We use 35mm for its flexibility, popularity, affordability and compatibility with teaching methods. SLR cameras are a requirement in learning how to take control of the picture-taking process. SLRs allow us to change lenses, and override exposure programs and auto-focusing.
Following is a list to use as a guide in packing your equipment for the Workshop.
Cameras and Lenses – Bring a 35mm SLR camera with any lenses that are compatible. Medium format is okay too. Canon and Nikon brands are best.
Bring lenses of any focal length from wide angle to telephoto, but it’s best to cover the range between 18mm and 135mm. Wide-angle zooms and telephoto zooms are best. The most sophisticated (and expensive) SLRs have larger sensors which affect choice of focal length, such as the Canon 5D Mark II. For those we recommend focal lengths at least 28mm to 200mm. However, you can achieve more extreme depth of focus, very useful for wildflower compositions, with even wider-angle lenses down to 10mm for most cameras, and 16mm for those with full size sensors. Macro lenses allow wonderful flower close-ups.

Tripod – We recommend the Bogen/Manfrotto brand for ease of use and quality. They make two sizes, the smaller of which works fine for most SLR setups, but for taller people and those using longer focal length telephoto lenses, we recommend the larger tripod. Pistol grip heads are best. Your local camera store can set you straight.

Camera Pack – Lowe Pro packs are best, but Tamrac brand runs a close second. Choose packs no larger than what you need for your camera gear. The most useful packs have a separate upper compartment for water bottle, snacks and raingear. Many have space for a laptop computer, which is great, but it will not be necessary for you to bring a laptop to this Workshop.

*B & H Photo online is a good reliable resource from which to get gear, but we do recommend Mike’s Camera in Denver and Boulder for a complete selection of gear. Their prices are very close to those of B & H, and they give great service and have lots of stock.

Other Things to Think About
While we like to think that we know about everything photographic, we are occasionally stumped by the odd piece of equipment. Bring your technical manuals with you, not only to the classroom, but in the field as well. Read these manuals carefully before arriving.  Become familiar with your equipment prior to the Workshop because it will help you concentrate on the concepts we will teach you.
Make sure you have extra batteries and that those in the camera are fresh. Bring your charger!

Clothing and Personal Items
A packing list will be provided by Dvorak Expeditions. Keep in mind that we will be in the field at different times of day and in various types of weather. It is important to bring the right kind of clothing to remain comfortable. Creativity, mental focus and productivity are greatly affected by physical comfort. Cotton  is not usually recommended but on this desert river you may want a light weight long sleeve shirt and pants for sun and cooling benefits on and off the river!  Also a  sturdy brimmed sun hat with good circulation. Weather can change several times during the day. Be prepared.

If you are coming to the Workshop from a significantly lower altitude, it is important to think about the potential affects of altitude on your body and to take some simple steps to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Preventative measures taken before and during your stay will help avoid problems associated with altitude sickness. Although most people may only experience some shortness of breath with a little exertion, others are more prone to headaches and sleep disruptions, fatigue, nausea and decreased appetite. You will also notice the aridity — the humidity hovers around 20%.

Here are some tips

  • Drink extra fluids, such as juices and Gatorade with copious amounts of water, a few days before and during your entire stay. Staying well hydrated in the dry mountain environment is very important to offset the effects of altitude.
  • Avoid over-exertion and get as much rest as possible.
  • Eat lightly.
  • Drink a lot of water, but do it slowly.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages. One drink at altitude equals two drinks at sea level; alcohol promotes dehydration.
  • Ask for a humidifier in your hotel room on Friday night.

About John Fielder
John Fielder is a nationally renowned nature photographer, publisher, teacher, and preservationist. In 1981, he founded Westcliffe Publishers, one of the nation’s largest publishers of nature books and calendars. A former department store executive who turned an avocation into a career, he is the photographer of more than 30 exhibit format and guide books, most about his home state of Colorado.

Fielder has worked tirelessly to promote the protection of Colorado’s open space and wild lands. His photography has influenced people and legislation earning him awards from most major conservation groups, including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award. He is an original governor-appointed member of the lottery-related Board of Great Outdoors Colorado, and speaks to thousands of people each year to rally support for timely land-use and environmental issues. John often talks about the politics of the environment in his Workshops. If you think you might be offended by his views, you might want to consider a Workshop taught by a less committed photographer!

Notes, Terms and Conditions


While the basic Workshop format is set by John Fielder and Dvorak’s, the schedule is subject to change to meet the needs of the group.


We reserve the right to determine acceptability of weather conditions for field shoots.


Reserve now. Space is limited. Full payment secures your enrollment and must be received to reserve space because no unsecured space is held.

Cancellation Policy
Your payment is non-refundable if you cancel for any reason. If we cancel the Workshop, your payment is fully refundable. All Workshop participants are required to sign an Acknowledgement of the Cancellation Policy.

Sometimes unexpected circumstances cause you to cancel or interrupt your Workshop.  For that reason, we recommend trip cancellation/travel insurance, available from your travel agent or Dvorak’s website link (Common questions -Prepare to Go page).

Arrangements for this Workshop are based on 20 persons enrolled in the Workshop. Should the number fall below this minimum, the Workshop may be cancelled.

Wait List

A wait list is formed on first-come, first-serve basis. If space opens, we call the first person on the wait list. If that person declines or doesn’t respond, the second person is called and so on until the space is filled.

What IS included in the tuition?
  • Workshop instruction, group and individual
  • Guided 6-day, 5-night rafting trip
  • All meals
  • Round trip transportation  Grand Junction  Green River (Air shuttle to river and van return)
  • Information on products and services
What is NOT included in the tuition?
  • Transportation to/from Grand Junction, CO or optional Green River, UT.
  • Friday night lodging and/or (pre and post)
  • Personal expenses, gratuities and tips
Workshop Information and Registration

Denise Robert, Workshop Coordinator

Phone 303-368-5208 / Cell 303-570-7577 / Fax 303-696-1929


Trip Information

Jaci Dvorak

Dvorak’s Expeditions  – Est. 1969

719-539-6851 office  and 800 824.3795 reservations