CKSandberg Photography fine-art photography and photo education

The Four Corners

The Colorado Plateau

Bear's Ears

Not many places match the high desert country of the Colorado Plateau and the Four Corners for stunning photography. The key is knowing where to go and when to be there.

Join me and fellow professional photographer Kent Winchester from the Albuquerque Photographers' Gallery on a five-day photographic adventure into the region.  The trip is for photographers of all skill levels. Because there are two of us, we can assist, suggest, teach, or just leave you alone. We will have evening discussions on photographic topics and several 15 minute tutorials during the trip. At least one night on the trip, weather permitting, we will discuss and then photograph the night sky. The Milky Way will be shining in the east and we'll have a partial setting moon for part of each evening which allow us dark skies until early mornings. There are no guarantees, of course, but the weather is usually fine on the Colorado Plateau in May.

We'll meet for dinner in Durango, Colorado, on Sunday evening, get acquainted, review prints, and talk about our itinerary. We'll begin the next morning with a brief excursion north of town where we will photograph the Durango/Silverton steam train as it starts the long climb up the Rockies to Silverton. Then we'll head west to Mesa Verde to  photograph during Monday afternoon. We'll head to Blanding Utah, stopping along the way to shoot our first sunset.

The next morning, Tuesday, will begin early for those who want to participate in a sunrise at Butler Wash, which is the only good time to photograph there. Then the whole group will go the House on Fire Ruins and be there by mid-morning to photograph when the sunlight reflects into the ruins, lighting them up so they appear on fire.

After the short hike back to our cars, we'll make the drive to Natural Bridges, passing by the famed Bear's Ears for which the country around is named. After photographing in Natural Bridges, we'll stop at Muley Point, then go down the famous Mogi Dugway and into the Valley of the Gods for another red-rock sunset. We'll spend the night in Bluff, Utah.

Wednesday afternoon will see us at Canyon de Chelly after having photographed in the morning at the Goosenecks of the San Juan and Monument Valley. Sunset this evening will be overlooking Spider Rock, the 800 foot home of Spider Woman.

We'll spend the night at the edge of Canyon de Chelly so we can be up early to photograph the sunrise, also from the Spider Rock overlook, challenging ourselves to find dramatic images from the same place both at sunset and sunrise.

After sunrise Thursday, we'll drive to Shiprock to photograph the Winged Rock so important in the Navajo Creation Story and to all photographers of the American West. We'll spend Thursday night in Farmington, have another print review and leave the next morning for the Bisti Badlands. Sometime around noon, everybody can head for home, unless they would like to do a one day add-on to Chaco Canyon.

For those interested in going to Chaco, we'll car camp at Chaco, there being no other place to stay nearby. We'll photograph at sunset and again at sunrise. Chaco is renowned for bing one of the darkest places in North America so we will have a night photography workshop that evening.

The cost of the tour is $1925. To hold your place — the trip is limited to six participants — you can pay one-half now with the other half due 30 days before departure. You'll receive a detailed itinerary along with our suggestions of where to stay, clothes to bring, snacks, drinks, and a list of photo gear we think you will want to bring with you. Click here to send me an email to reserve your place!

We'll be traveling in our own cars but we can help arrange for car pooling. Our meeting place, Durango, is served by American and United airlines. Both Albuquerque and Denver are within driving distance as well, should you prefer to fly to one of those cities and rent a car there. The itinerary may vary some, depending on the group's wishes, the weather, and time. We'll get you to as many photography opportunities as we possibly can. You'll go home with treasured photographs, great memories, and new friends.



By joining this adventure you will be able to photograph, depending on time and weather conditions, many of the following sites: Mesa Verde, House on Fire, Natural Bridges, Bear's Ears, Valley of the Gods, Muley Point, the Mogi Dugway. the Goosenecks of the San Juan, Mexican Hat, Monument Valley, Aglatha Peak, Canyon de Chelly, Canyon del Muerto, Shiprock, The Bisti Badlands, and Chaco Canyon, and other sights along the way. We plan this adventure to arrive at the best spots at the best time of day. We will have evening discussions on photographic topics and several 15 minute tutorials during the trip. We may also spend a half day touring in Canyon de Chelly which requires us to use the services of a Navajo guide. The cost of the trip includes the guide or tips for the guide.

If you are going with us to Chaco Canyon, you should bring your own sleeping gear (bedroll, ground pad, tent, and food) unless you make prior arrangements to borrow some of our equipment. Your information packet will have suggestions about food at Chaco as well.

Fifty percent of the this tour ($963) is to be paid in advance. The remaining 50% ($962) is due 30 days before the trip. Payments may be made by check or with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Upon payment of your deposit, we will send you an information package including suggestions for photography, travel gear, and clothing.

No refunds will be given for unused portions of this adventure. We highly recommend travel insurance which is inexpensive and easy to acquire. Knowing you have 100% trip cancellation coverage makes a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason.


You must sign our liability waiver before we leave the marina. Period. End of discussion. Please read it carefully before deciding whether to join us. A copy is here.


This photo tour and workshop is private and non-business. We take people along with us because we enjoy the company and the opportunity to help people get to know and photograph the Southwest. Our goal is to have a pleasant, safe trip with artistic value photography as a result. We share expenses, gear, ideas, and experiences. We do nothing that would require us or a co-host to be a concessionaire or CUA holder in any federal or state lands we may visit or photograph. We will not be going any place on public lands that are not generally open to the public. No photographs taken on public lands may be used to promote the sale or use of a product or service. We will not do any “commercial filming” as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations nor will we do any “still photography” that would require a permit from any agency administering any public land which we photograph.

We will respect nature, leave only footprints where we are allowed to leave footprints, and take only our images, memories, and friendships home with us!

Small-Group Photo Tour of the

Four Corners region!

May 17—22, 2020