Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop

Join Nicole Pino and Ryan Smith, a 2020 Top Milky Way Photographer of the Year, as we let our imaginations run wild amongst the bizarre, otherworldly landscape of the Bisti Badlands. Explore the area where Ryan captured one of the "25 Most Inspiring Milky Way Pictures" from across the Globe, as featured by Forbes Magazine!! Dates are time for optimal Milky Way shooting, and we will have the opportunity to photograph Shiprock!!

Join The Waitlist

SEPT 15 -19, 2023 - SOLD OUT!!!
Fri, Sept 15 - 1PM - Tues, Sept 19, 11AM MDT

$2995 Per Person
50% Deposit at Time of Booking
(Scroll Down For Add to Cart & Booking Options)

Workshop Includes 4 nights single-occupancy lodging at Comfort Suites in Farmington, NM, 4x4 transportation throughout the workshop, and access to Shiprock and surrounding areas!!

Alien Throne Milky Way - Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop

The Bisti Badlands of New Mexico is truly a photographer's paradise! Interesting and unique compositions are endless amongst the fanciful hoodoos, alien-like spires, and ancient fossils. We will photograph not only the iconic formations of Bisti Badlands, including the famous Cracked (Dinosaur) Eggs, but Shiprock and lesser known areas of Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah, and De-Nah-Zin Wilderness as well!!

Dates are timed for optimal Milky Way shooting opportunities, and we could even experience some late season thunderstorms!! The goal of this workshop is to give you the ability to explore, learn, and fine tune your photography skills both in-field and during post-processing to bring your images to life.

Cracked Eggs. Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop  Nicole Pino


Plan your travels to arrive in Farmington no later than 1PM on Sept 15th. For those flying in, Durango CO is the closest airport (1 1/2 hour drive), but Albuquerque International offers more flight options (3 hour drive). Depending on your travel plans, we may be able to connect you with others on the workshop to arrange a carpool or ride share to and from the airport.

Milky Way at Shiprock. Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop Nicole Pino

Single-occupancy lodging for the nights of Sept 15, 16, 17 & 18th at Comfort Suites, 4x4 transportation, and Navajo guide fees are all included in the workshop cost. Meals and beverages, along with any additional nights lodging will be at your own expense. Transportation to and from Farmington is not included. If you intend to explore the area on your own, a 4WD is recommended. Please Contact Us if you have questions about accommodations.

Alien Throne Milky Way - Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop

Our goal is to maximize your photography time, so the exact itinerary will be kept flexible to account for changing weather and current conditions. The sun rises at approximately 6AM and sets at 6:30PM and if skies are clear, we will be staying out for Milky Way, which can mean early morning and late nights. Departure time in the morning could be as early as 4:30AM and we may not arrive back in Farmington until well after midnight, so it's important to take advantage of midday rest breaks.

Temperatures can range from 40 degrees overnight to 80 degrees during the day, so be sure to pack layers, a warm coat, rain jacket or wind shell, under layers, water resistant hiking boots/shoes, hat and gloves. A headlamp and remote cord are essential as well. Physical difficulty is moderate, with 2-3 miles of hiking per day, some being over uneven terrain, and with slight inclines.

Storm over the Rock Garden in Bisti Badlands. Nicole Pino


Sept 15: Our Bisti workshop begins! Plan to meet at 1PM in the conference room at Comfort Suites Farmington for a brief meet & greet/orientation session. After an early dinner, we head out to meet our Navajo guide for sunset and Milky Way at Shiprock!

Sept 16: It's an early wake-up call to reach one of our favorite locations in the Badlands before first light. We shoot through the early morning hours, and return to Farmington for a late breakfast and rest break. We reconvene late afternoon to grab an early dinner before heading out for sunset. If skies are clear, we will stay out for Milky Way.

Sept 17: Rise and shine! It's another early morning as we venture out for sunrise at one of the most unique formations in the area. Upon returning to Farmington, we grab breakfast and head back to the hotel for a much needed nap. Storms are forecast in the afternoon hours, so we load up the rigs and head out to the Badlands with hope of capturing dramatic clouds over the hoodoos and alien formations. Mother Nature treats us to a brilliant sunset before returning to town for a late dinner and a much needed, good night's sleep!

Sept 18: We wake early to meet our Navajo guide for sunrise at Shiprock! Taking advantage of the soft early morning light, we capture some rarely photographed compositions in the area before returning to Farmington. After breakfast and a rest break, we meet in the conference room for a post-processing/image critique session before heading out for sunset, and skies permitting, another round of Milky Way!!

Sept 19: We're up early to capture sunrise over the otherworldly formations before returning to Farmington for a final group breakfast. The workshop will conclude no later than 11AM.

Shiprock Glow. Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop. Nicole Pino


A photographic experience like no other in one of the most mysterious and otherworldly landscapes on the planet!! This workshop is timed for optimal Milky Way shooting, and skies permitting, we will take full advantage. The otherworldly landscape, alien-like hoodoos, and ancient fossils in the area offer interesting foregrounds and some of the most dynamic compositions you will ever photograph! Teaming up with a local Navajo guide allows us access to Shiprock and lesser known formations in the area.

We will provide tips to capture images correctly "in camera" so the technical part becomes second nature and you can focus on the creative aspects of landscape and nature photography. Post processing instruction will be start to finish to help you create print-worthy images. Starry Landscape Stacker instruction? No Problem! Adobe Lightroom Tutorials, focus stacking Photoshop, photo critiques, absolutely!

Milky Way at the Pedestal. Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop. Nicole Pino

What's Included

  • 4 nights single-occupancy lodging at Comfort Suites in Farmington, NM.
  • 4x4 transportation during the workshop
  • Navajo guide fees
  • A great time, good memories, and a lot of laughs!!

What's Not Included

  • Meals, snacks and beverages
  • Transportation to and from Farmington
Sunset at Shiprock Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop.  Nicole Pino

In-Field Instruction

  • Creating compelling compositions and storytelling through images
  • Controlling your camera in manual mode
  • Understanding and using the Histogram
  • Finding foregrounds
  • Filters - when and how to use them. Avoiding their pitfalls
  • How lens selection affects the scene
  • Technical Tricks: Bracketing, Focus Stacking, Perspective Blending
  • Understanding and using light.
  • Capturing difficult scenes
Alien Sunstar  Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop Nicole Pino

Post-Processing Instruction

  • Lightroom and Photoshop Techniques
  • Importing and organizing
  • Using the clone tool, warping, stretching and eliminating distractions
  • Blending images in Photoshop
  • Dodging and burning
  • Using layers and masks
  • Image critique
King of Wings Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop. Nicole Pino
    Recommended Camera Gear

    • DSLR or mirrorless camera (full-frame preferable)
    • Lenses ranging from wide angle (12-24 or 16-35), mid-range (24-105), and a long telephoto (100-400).
    • Memory cards
    • Sturdy tripod & ballhead (strong winds are a possibility)
    • Remote shutter release
    • Circular polarizer
    • Lens cloths
    • Extra batteries, and memory cards
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Rocket blower
    • Laptop with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
    • Protection for your camera gear & backpack
    Shiprock Sunrise. Bisti Badlands Photography Workshop. Nicole Pino

      Recommended Personal Gear/Clothing

      • Quick dry, lightweight long pants and shirts
      • Warm/water resistant hiking boots/shoes
      • Warm jacket
      • Fleece underlayers
      • Headlamp
      • Refillable water bottle
      • Hat, gloves
      • Sunglasses
      • Rain coat and/or wind shell
      • Insect repellent
      • Sunblock

      Join The Waitlist

      Ryan Smith

      Ryan Smith developed a love and passion for the outdoors early on in life, which fueled an obsession for landscape photography. Growing up in the beautifully diverse state of Utah, Ryan has consistently traveled through the west and beyond capturing iconic views, which spark emotion and tell a story. Ryan's artistic style is unique and unmistakable which has led to prestigious awards and work featured within publications. His work is also found within various high end galleries throughout the west including Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Park City, Utah; Telluride, Colorado; Aspen, Colorado & Sedona, Arizona.

      Combining his professional experience as a corporate trainer with his passion for photography, Ryan has a knack for sharing the technical aspects of photography in an easy to understand way through various workshops, tours, and events through the west and the Hawaiian Islands. He enjoys adapting to the various needs of his attendees whether it's in the field learning the technical side and composition techniques, or if its in the classroom focusing on perfecting post editing techniques and helping achieve a print ready images.

      Nicole Pino

      Nicole Pino

      Nicole Pino is a Utah based photographer, workshop guide, boat captain and outdoor enthusiast who's backyard opens to the entrance gates of Zion National Park.

      As one who carries an adventurous spirit, Nicole adopted an outdoor lifestyle at an early age which included a passion for photography. Taking things to the next level later in life, she found herself happily immersed in the photographic community leading photo workshops in the Southwest and beyond.

      Nicole spends most of her free time traveling, exploring and capturing Nature's beauty. As a licensed boat captain, she never passes up a chance to get out on the water and photograph.

      Nicole loves sharing her passion for photography with others, and is most at home in the field helping clients improve their skills, confidence and expand their photographic vision.