The Alvord Desert of Oregon

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Quick Overview

May 4-6, 2018

Explore the minimalist landscape of this prehistoric dry lake bed and the surrounding mountains.

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Alvord Desert Photography Workshop


The Alvord Desert of south central Oregon is an otherworldy place. It is flat, expansive, extremely quiet, remote, a land of endless sky ringed by mountain peaks. I read somewere that the Alvord Desert is the farthest place in the U.S. from any highway. I wouldn't be surprised. The nearest town is 85 miles away.

At the base of 9,734 ft Steens Mountain there once was a lake 200 feet deep that stretched southward to the Nevada border. Today, the Alvord Desert is an isolated and remote dry lake bed 12 miles long x 7 miles wide. Visitors come to the playa for land sailing, going fast (the unofficial women's land speed record of 512 mph was first set here in 1976), flying (aircraft can land on the dry lake bed), launching rockets, and exploring the beauty of the sparse landscape.

This 3-day workshop will be an exploration of how our senses and perception affect what and how we photograph and how to improve your ability of awareness using your senses. We will photography primarily on and around the playa and, if conditions permit, photograph the night sky in this area where there is no urban light pollution.

*** Our base will be accommodations at Alvord Hot Springs. There is limited availability. If no rooms are available the option is camping or other accommodations in the area (see below) ***

If you would like accommodations, there are limited facilities in the area (Fields Station is approximately 30 miles from where we'll be based, there are also Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort, Steens Country Cabin), but traveling to and from accommodation may impact your overall workshop experience. There is limited or no phone service.

Instruction, image review and feedback
Accommodation (double occupancy)
Groceries (shared meals)

Not Included:
Transportation to and from workshop location on the Alvord Desert
Camping or RV fees if you choose that option
Personal items and optional activities
Trip insurance (recommended)
Fees for activities not covered in itinerary

You will need to bring the following essential equipment:

  • * your own water (5+ gallons for drinking)
  • * extra gasoline (5 gal). There is gas at Fields Station approx. 30 miles down the road in the opposite direction to the way out. Last time I was there it was $4.50/gal.

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