Colorado Aspens Photography Workshop

In Search of Gold




Fall Colors in Northern Colorado’s Yampa Valley near Steamboat Springs

Sept. 22nd-24th 2017

Instructor: Professional Photographer Blair Ball 

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Colorado rarely fails to leave an impression on the beholder. This is especially true during autumn when hues of yellow, orange and red play across the rugged terrain. Add deep blue skies and white snow-capped peaks and you have the ingredients of every landscape photographers’ dreams.

Cool crisp mornings, musky autumn scents and elk bugling in the distance complete the assault on one’s senses creating the most magical time to photograph Colorado.


This workshop is geared for the intermediate to advanced photographer. However, beginners with a working knowledge of their camera can gain a lot of experience and instruction. Each participant is assisted at their level.

We focus on helping participants create the most appealing compositions of each location we visit.

We also delve into extensive discussions on equipment, exposure, metering, filters and personal tips. This is a workshop environment, Blair is present to aid in the field and teach his techniques for landscape photography. If you’re an advanced photographer he is happy to help or stay out of the way.


Getting There

Colorado local residents might prefer driving to the location. If you are from out of state / different country, the best option is to fly into Steamboat Springs Hayden (usually connecting through Denver or another hub), rent a car and drive to Steamboat Springs, CO. Generally, flying into Denver is cheaper, however it’s a 3 hour drive in good weather. There will be mountains you cross to get to Steamboat Springs. Only drive from Denver if you feel comfortable, it’s rare but you might get snow at the upper elevations even in September.

Once you reserve your spot, it might be a good idea to coordinate flight schedule with others in the group to see if it is possible to share car rental fees.

Transportation / Driving Conditions

If you are planning to arrive by car or rent a car from an airport, we recommend to reserve a 4×4 vehicle / SUV. Since we will be driving on some dirt roads, driving conditions in the fall can be a bit tricky due to rain / snowfall. Some of the dirt roads might get muddy, which is why we recommend an SUV.

There is no need for high-clearance off-road vehicles, because we are not planning to take any dangerous high-clearance roads in the area.

I will have a 4 X 4 truck and can accommodate a couple of people. 

Equipment Recommendations:

Cameras and Lenses

You can bring any kind of camera gear with you. As for lenses, our recommendation would be to bring several lenses:

  1. Wide angle / ultra-wide angle: If you have a wide angle zoom lens, like a 12-24 or 16-35mm that can take filters.
  2. Normal range: A 24-70mm or a 24-120mm would probably be your most used lens during the workshop.
  3. Telephoto range: There might will be good opportunities for using telephoto lenses as well. Grab something like a 70-300mm or a 70-200mm

If you don’t have one of these lens, you can rent one at Lens Rentals in Memphis


A tripod is an absolute must for this workshop. It will be needed for both sunrise and sunset shots. Don’t forget your tripod quick release adapters (we have had people before who forgot those). If you only shoot on a tripod, make sure to grab one that is easy to setup (provided that it is not flimsy) – we will be driving, hopping in and out of car quite a bit. There will not be any need for monopods or other camera support gear.

Please use a cable release or know how to work the camera’s timer delay to avoid camera shake.


  1. Polarizing filter: a must-have for fall colors. If you don’t have one, please purchase one as soon as possible or you can rent one at Lens Rentals in Memphis. 
  2. GND filter: for sunrise/sunset shots, a soft-edge graduated neutral density (GND) filter is another item we would highly recommend. Take a 2 stop and a 3 stop GND. If you want to only take one filter, take a 3 stop soft-edge GND. Don’t forget a filter holder, as it will be easier on your fingers, especially in cold mornings. 


Steamboat is a small town and easy to get around. 

Steamboat Lodging 


You can find some great deals where people would rent out a room, apartment or even the whole house for a pretty reasonable fee. I’ve used them before across the country and never have been disappointed. 


We recommended bringing a laptop for the post-processing class (either PC or Mac), since we will be going over workflow and post-processing in detail.


Don’t forget to bring a flashlight, memory cards and extra batteries. Batteries deplete much faster in cold weather, so we would recommend to bring 2-3 extra batteries with you.


The end of September can bring all kinds of unexpected weather in the mountains. If you are from a warm area, you will need to get some warm clothes! Bring a winter jacket (water-resistant is preferable, in case it rains) and some clothing to layer up. Bring underpants, gloves and a warm hat – you will thank us later!

Mornings tend to get really cold at times. With some potential wind, you will surely feel it. As for shoes, warm water-proof shoes are a must. No need for boots, as long as your shoes are a couple of inches higher than your ankle bone.

Meeting Time

Everyone should be coming in early afternoon on Friday the Sept. 22nd. Our first “meet and greet” session, along with a primer on landscape photography will take place on the first day of the workshop.

Sunrise is 6:56 am and Sunset is 7:04 PM

Tenative Itinerary


Sep. 22nd – Arrival and check-in
Sep. 22nd, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Meet and Greet / Planning, Starbucks
Sep. 22nd, 7:30 PM Group Dinner


Sep. 23rd, Leave approximately at 5:45 am for sunrise. 
Sep. 23rd, After sunrise, photograph Aspens and Streams
Sep. 23rd, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Lunch Break
Sep. 23rd, 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM – Photograph Aspens and Streams
Sep. 23rd, 6:30 be in place for sunset. 


Sep. 24th, Leave approximately at 5:45 am for sunrise.
Sep. 24th, 7:30 am to 12:00 Noon. After sunrise, photograph Aspens and Streams
Sep. 24th, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Lunch Break
Sep. 24th, 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM –  Post-Processing, Critique & Photo Evaluation 
Sep. 24th, 8:00 PM – Group Dinner

Things to Do

Shop & Dine


Discover Steamboat


Strawberry Park for soaking in therapeutic water. Several hiking and biking trails. 

Physical Health State and Altitude

Please note that we will be traveling by cars when we are out shooting and there will be minimal walking / hiking needed (typically no more than a few hundred feet). We recommend our participants to be in good general health condition to enjoy the workshop in full. Also note that we will be in the high elevation zone (above 7000 feet), so we recommend to consult your doctor before the trip to make sure that you do not have high altitude sickness / problems.

You will be asked to drink a lot of water / fluids during the workshop to avoid dehydration, headaches and other problems associated with the high elevation. We will be requiring each participant to sign a “Release of Liability” form on the first day of the workshop.


If you are coming to the mountains from a significantly lower altitude, it is important to think about the potential affects of altitude on your body and to take some simple steps to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Preventative measures taken before and during your stay will help avoid problems associated with altitude sickness. Although most people may only experience some shortness of breath with a little exertion, others are more prone to headaches and sleep disruptions, fatigue, nausea and decreased appetite. You will also notice the aridity — the humidity hovers around 20%.

Here are some tips

  • Drink extra fluids, such as juices and Gatorade with copious amounts of water, a few days before and during your entire stay. Staying well hydrated in the dry mountain environment is very important to offset the effects of altitude.
  • Avoid over-exertion and get as much rest as possible.
  • Eat lightly.
  • Drink a lot of water, but do it slowly.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages. One drink at altitude equals two drinks at sea level; alcohol promotes dehydration.
  • Ask for a humidifier in your hotel room.  

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Personalized Instruction

Each participant will receive personal attention in the field during the shooting sessions. I will also provide “ask me anything” post-processing lessons and one on one support each day to all attendees. Topics will include the use of Lightroom & Photoshop for color and black and white image processing. We will also have group photo reviews and critique sessions.

Investment and How to Sign Up – Limited to 8 

The workshop cost is $595 per participant. This cost excludes flight, car reservation, lodging, food and other related costs. Workshop participants will be responsible for arranging their own flights, accommodations and ground transportation to and from the workshop location in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

In order to sign up for the above workshop, please use our secure Workshop Registration page.


A deposit of $300 dollars is required to hold your spot on this workshop. Your final payment of the “balance due” for this workshop must be paid on or before July 1st, 2017 prior to the workshop’s inception. We will send out reminder notices of your balance due a week before this mark.

Payment methods accepted: VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS and PAYPAL.

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Please note that the workshop fees are fully refundable until July 15th of 2017. We will not be able to provide a refund after this date due to planning and coordination issues. In the event of workshop cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances (natural disaster, government closures, injury, death, etc), collected workshop fees will be refunded (minus potential processing fees and permits acquired in advance).

Blair Ball Photography will not be held responsible for airfare and other potential expenses incurred due to workshop cancellation.

Learning is never out for the PRO!

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Bio Pic-Blair Ball







Blair Ball is a Memphis based sports, event, and photojournalist photographer. He is past President of the Memphis Camera Club where he served two years. He enjoys shooting sports, events, corporate events, action, as well as landscape, wildlife and macro.

  • His most recent Reelfoot Lake Series is featured in the new Bass Pro Shops Pyramid in Memphis.
  • He’s photographed 100+ Marathons, Half Marathons, Triathlons, and other running races.
  • He’s photographed 1000+ portraits.

His works have been published in:

  • CBS sports
  • The Commercial Appeal
  • Bass Pro Shops Pyramid Memphis
  • Memphis Sports Magazine
  • Memphis Daily News
  • Memphis Magazine
  • Memphis Flyer
  • Memphis Business Journal
  • Cotton, Inc.
  • New York Post
  • The Guardian
  • The Road Runner
  • Running Journal
  • The Jewish Scene Magazine
  • The Travel Channel
  • American Drag Racing League Magazine
  • Memphis Motorsports Park

I enjoy capturing the moment, the adventure and telling your story.


Blair Ball Photography

Memphis Professional Photographer