Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho

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April 6-8, 2018

Experience and photograph the interesting shapes of the dunes and the surrounding habitat of Bruneau Dunes State Park

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Bruneau Dunes State Park photography workshop

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Bruneau Dunes claims to be the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America at 470 ft. Formed around 12,000 years ago from the sands of the Bonneville Flood, the dunes at Bruneau are unique in the Western Hemisphere because the dunes are formed in a natural basin, trapping sand in the center of the depression as it blows across the desert, and the dunes are fairly stationary, which is not typical of other dune systems. The state park includes a variety of habitats, such as sage-steppe, dune, prairie, lake, and marsh. Coyotes, rabbits, lizards, scorpions, shorebirds, waterbirds, passerines, and raptors make the area their home.

The main dunes are oriented NW-SE and receive raking side light at sunrise and sunset, making for dramatic textures, lines, and shadows along with stunning colors.

We'll explore the dunes bottom to top and from different sides. Hiking on the dunes is moderately strenuous because of the loose sand and inclined terrain. Climbing to the top of the dune is a bit of a workout, but doable if taken at your own pace, and the view and photo opportunities from that vantage point is well worth it. Once off the main road there are no trails and the ground surface varies from hard to soft. There are areas of thick vegetation around the lake. There is an observatory at the park and we'll have the opportunity to view stars and planets (but not photograph, unfortunately) in the evening if you wish.

Accommodation is available in Mountain Home, about 30 minutes drive from the park or camping at the park. Suggested hotels are Best Western Foothills Inn, Mountain Home Inn, or Hampton Inn & Suites Camping facilities include RV parking & dump station, showers, and flush toilets. There are also a couple small cabins. Electricity is available at some sites for an additional fee. Camping and reservation information (no registration fee for RV campers with valid RV registration - see discounts and fees section on website). If enough people choose to camp, we can have group meals. There is one restaurant in Bruneau, about 8 miles from the park, serving hamburgers and stuff, open Sat-Thu 7am-8pm.

Daily reviews of images in the field and assistance with camera operation, composition, and exposure as you work will be commonplace, as well as practice with long exposure, filter use (polarizer, neutral density, graduated neutral density, etc.), image processing, and more.

To get the most from this workshop you should be capable of hiking over uneven and sandy ground for distances up to 5 miles round trip on easy to moderately-steep trails. Long hours of photographing will be the norm, though there will be time during the day to relax and engage in personal exploration.

A release form, gear list and other information will be mailed to you upon registration.
Registration Policy.

Instruction, in-the-field and online image review and feedback

Not Included:
Transportation to and from gateway city of Mountain Home, Idaho
Transportation on site (ride sharing encouraged. Contact me if you are interested in ride sharing)
Admission to Bruneau Dunes State Park ($5/day)
Accommodation (hotel in Mountain Home or camping at the park)
Personal items and optional activities
Trip insurance
Fees for activities not covered in itinerary

A release form, gear list and other information will be mailed to you upon registration.

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