David Johnston Photography

Rocky Mountain and Sand Dunes National Parks – September 2016

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park and Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado
When: September 16 – 20, 2016
Cost: $1,400

Deposit: $300

Class Size: 12

Registration: If you have any questions or wish to register, please email David Johnston (davidjohnstonart@gmail.com).

Dream Lake under a fresh coat of snow

The Destination

Join renowned photographers, David Johnston and Dan Ballard, on a photography workshop to the famous Rocky Mountain National Park and Sand Dunes National Park. Dan Ballard is extremely familiar with the two parks we will be visiting, and knows where the best light is at each time of the day. You’re sure to shoot some of the best photos of your life in this amazing area with the guidance of David and Dan.

Great Sand Dune National Park


Throughout each day, David and Dan will help you reach your full photography potential by helping you develop your technical photography skills, as well as your creative vision for photography. You will be taught composition strategies, focus stacking, and how to shoot in dramatic light of early morning, sunsets. During any downtime during the day when light isn’t particularly interesting, David and Dan will show you different post processing techniques that will help you take your editing skills and your overall photography to the next level.

Large sand dunes in the Great Sand Dune National Park

Even though we will go over post processing, the focus of this workshop is to work on your photography in the field. That means we will be spending the majority of the time shooting outdoors. With that in mind, it should be known that we will remain flexible due to the uncertainty of weather. Here is a tentative schedule that we will be going by during the workshop:

Day 1 (September 16): Arrive at our home base hotel near the Rocky Mountain National Park (see below) for a meet and greet. We will then head out to shoot in the evening at Lily Lake.

Day 2 (September 17): Morning shoot on the Dream Lake hike with an evening shoot after some midday classroom sessions.

Day 3 (September 18): Sunrise shoot in the morning with a sunset shoot in the evening. We will have classroom sessions during periods when the light is poor.

Day 4 (September 19): Sunrise shoot in the morning at Rocky Mountain National Park. After the Sunrise shoot, we will be driving to Great Sand Dunes National Park. It’s a decent drive to Sand Dunes. We will then have an evening shoot at Sand Dunes.

Day 5 (September 20): Sunrise shoot in the morning at Great Sand Dunes National Park followed by a photo critique session with David and Dan. The workshop will conclude after the sunrise shoot and critique session so participants can check out of the hotel and travel home.

Lily Lake in great light

Host Hotel

Rocky Mountain National Park: 

Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

927 Moraine Avenue

Estes Park, Colorado 80517

To reserve your room at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, you must call 800-233-5023.

Great Sand Dunes National Park:

Great Sand Dunes Lodge

7900 State Highway 150

Mosca Colorado 81146

To reserve your room at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge, you must call 719-378-2900.

Although we will use these two hotels as our base of operations, you should feel free to stay somewhere else in or near these two locations if you wish. Feel free to choose another property to suit your budget and needs.

Dream Lake

Physical requirements

This is an outdoor nature photo workshop, so general good health and fitness will help maximize your comfort and enjoyment. That said, the activities we have planned should be well within the ability of people in decent to good shape. Participants should be able to hike a two mile round trip trail at high elevations. All participants are required to sign a standard medical and waiver form.

High wind in the Great Sand Dune National Park

What’s included

Tuition covers guiding and instruction by David and Dan only. Transportation, lodging, meals, park entrance fees, and all other costs are the responsibility of workshop participants.

Tuition and cancellation policy

A deposit of $300 is required to secure a space on this workshop. Full tuition is due 60 days before the workshop starts.  A full refund minus a $100 processing fee is available if you cancel within 60 days before the workshop starts. Within 60 days, we will only issue a refund if we can fill your spot.

Email David if you wish to register for this workshop

All photos copyright Dan Ballard

Great Smoky Mountains Fall Photo Adventure

Location: Great Smoky Mountains
Dates: October 21-24, 2016
Tuition: $875.00
Group Size: Max. 8
Instructors: Dusty Doddridge and David Johnston

Fall Smokies Image Gallery

David Johnston Photo Gallery

Tour Overview:
The Great Smoky Mountains are among the oldest mountain ranges in the world and also one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Fall is a magical time of year to be in the Smokies. You’ll photograph the streams and waterfalls with the golden colors of the fall season. We’ll also head up to the high elevations to photograph classic views of the stacked ridges that give the Smokies their name. Our focus will be on the some of the most photogenic regions in the park and will include Greenbriar, Tremont and the Newfound Gap/Clingman’s Dome high country. We’ll even cover some of lesser known areas that offer secluded photography during this busy season in the park.  As always, we’ll keep a flexible itinerary to create some exciting photographic opportunities for you.

All of our instructional workshops will cover two key areas: Craft and Creativity. In between shooting sessions, we can do image reviews and digital darkroom workflow but our focus will be on crating and composing images in the field.

Professional Craft for Landscape Photography:

• Getting fluent with your gear and developing a consistent workflow in the field
• Achieving an optimal exposure
• Managing depth of field
• Capture for multiple exposure blending
• Capture for panoramic stitching and focus blending
• Using filters effectively

Creativity in the Landscape: 

• Core compositional elements in the landscape
• Creative use of depth of field
• Long exposure techniques
• Learning and practicing new compositions

Tour Includes:
• Instruction in the field: craft and creative strategies for landscape photography
• Image reviews
• Instruction on digital darkroom workflow

Not Included:
• Food and Lodging
• Transportation to and from the workshop
• Participants can carpool

Fitness Level:
One of the wonderful aspects of the Smokies is that so much of the beauty can be accessed with short hikes. The very longest hikes we will take are no more than 2-4 miles round trip with no more than 500 feet of elevation gain. You’ll need to be able to hike that distance with your camera gear along with the food and water you need for the hike.

Suggested Equipment:
• Digital SLR Camera
• Tripod with Cable Release
• Wide Angle Lens and Telephoto Zoom Lens (We use the 16-35mm and 70-200)
• Filters: Circular Polarizer
• Lots of Memory Cards
• Extra Camera Batteries
• Micro-fiber Cloths
• Camera Bag/Backpack for Gear and Food/Water

Clothing for a variety of weather conditions from 25F to 70F
• Rain Jacket and Pants
• Trail Shoes or Hiking Boots
• Gloves and Hat
• Plenty of Wool Socks
• Moisture Wicking Base Layer

Our base of operations will be in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This location will allow us to access the Fall color regions of the Smokies and position us for exploring the eastern side of the park along with potential sites on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’re welcome to stay wherever you like but we’ll provide you our base location and accommodation options upon registration.

Cancellation Schedule:
90 days or prior to day 1 of tour = Refund of all Dusty Doddridge Photography fees and deposits
60-89 days prior to day 1 of tour = Dusty Doddridge Photography will retain tour deposit
59 days or less prior to day 1 of tour = Dusty Doddridge Photography will retain full tour tuition

It is strongly recommended that you purchase trip insurance if you need to cancel your tour or are unable to complete the tour for any reason. Dusty Doddridge Photography also reserves the right to cancel the photo tour for any reason including low enrollment in the tour.

All you need to do is click the Register below and tell us which tour you’d like to attend. We’ll e-mail you an invoice that allows you to pay online by credit card. If it’s 60 days or less prior to the start of the tour, the full tuition amount will be due in order to complete your registration. Prior to 60 days out, we’ll invoice you for a deposit of 30% of the total tuition to hold your spot. We’ll then invoice you again for the balance prior to the 60 day point when the full amount is due.


Private Photography Workshops


David is available to work with you at a private photography workshop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  While some people prefer to learn in a group environment, others find more success working one-on-one with an instructor.  David is very passionate and knowledgeable about the Smoky Mountains and loves teaching people about the park, the best locations, and how to set up unforgettable photographs. It is his desire for you to learn everything you can about photography.

David offers private photography workshops in half or full-day formats.  All private workshops include personalized instruction in the field, transportation from your hotel within Great Smoky Mountains National Park to each location we’ll visit, image critiques during and after your workshop and all park entrance fees.  David also provides a cooler stocked with ice and bottled water.  Every private workshop is customized to fit the interests and abilities of each individual client and may also include digital darkroom instruction using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

David offers small group and one-on-one workshops. The workshops include location shooting for sunrise & sunset, as well as technique and editing. By keeping the workshops small David is able to give individual attention more easily and focus on the specific needs of the student. Customizing the workshops to your preferences such as location, editing, and technique makes the experience beneficial for you.

David’s extensive knowledge of the Smoky Mountains area allows him to easily customize a private photography workshop to include a wide variety of locations to suit the interests of virtually any photographer.

If your desire is to photograph a specific location that is not the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, David would love to discuss options to make that happen. Just email him with your desires and what you’d like to cover.


Half-Day Private Photography Workshop   $300
Full-Day Private Photography Workshop    $500

Schedule your private workshop by filling out the form below...

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Private Post Processing Workshops

David is available to work with you at a private post processing photography workshops.  While some people prefer to learn in a group environment, others find more success working one-on-one with an instructor.  David is very passionate and knowledgeable about post processing techniques in Lightroom and loves teaching people about editing photos to make locations look like they did in real life. It is his desire for you to learn everything you can about Lightroom.

David offers private photography workshops in an hourly format.  All private post processing workshops include one on one instruction of Lightroom in a private Google+ Hangout. This format allows you to see David’s screen as he teaches, as well as letting David instruct while you work on your photos.

David’s extensive knowledge of Lightroom allows him to easily customize a private post processing workshop to include a wide variety of tools and techniques that would suit anyone.


One Hour Session: $100

Two Hour Session: $250

To learn more about David’s private post processing workshops or to reserve a date, please shoot me an email.

Name *