Spring Rocky Mountain Front Workshop

An outdoor photography workshop & tour hosted by award winning artists:  Kevin League and Chris McGowan

June 3-6, 2022 - $875

Overview: Spend a weekend along the stunning Rocky Mountain Front of central Montana capturing images that reflect the uniqueness of this iconic region. During this workshop we will capture beautiful photos of dramatic snow-capped mountains, fields of wildflowers, stunning waterfalls, and with some luck – wildlife including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, grizzly and black bear, and moose. We will have an opportunity to photograph a variety of birds as well. The workshop features two instructors and the group size will be kept small, allowing for personalized one-on-one instruction and the freedom and flexibility to visit a variety of locations. You are guaranteed to come home with superb images that you will be proud of and want to share with your friends and family. Join us on this amazing weekend of photography!

About the instructors: Both Chris and Kevin are fun loving, accomplished, award winning photographers that live in Helena, Montana. Both have had their work printed on the cover and in the pages of Montana Outdoors as well as featured commercially, online, and in national, state and regional travel and tourism publications.

Skill and Fitness Level: Anyone with an interest in photography from a beginner to professional is welcome, however a firm understanding of photography fundamentals and strong familiarity with your camera's settings is required. The participants should have a love of nature and enjoy the company of other people in a small group setting. There are several short hikes on this trip. All hikes are less than a couple of miles.  

Dates/Price: June 3-6, 2022 Price: $875.00. This fee covers the workshop instruction. Transportation, lodging, meals and gratuity are the participant's responsibility. Limited to 8 students.

Lodging: We recommend that you make your reservations early at The Stage Stop Inn in Choteau, 406-466-5900 checking in Friday, June 3rd & checking out Monday, June 6th. The Inn has blocked out rooms for our workshop. When making your reservation mention that you are staying for the ‘Rocky Mountain Front Workshop’ to receive a special discount group rate. Alternatively, if you prefer to camp, the Choteau Mountain View RV Campground, 406-466-2615,  is a decent option. Make your reservations soon to ensure your lodging.

Transportation: Travel is the responsibility of the workshop participant. Participants typically offer to share vehicles for travel to field shoots and back to the hotel. We encourage carpooling for the sake of camaraderie, and also to reduce the impact on our environment. For those traveling from out of state, Great Falls International Airport (GTF) is the most convenient airport to Choteau (52 miles away). The airport is served by Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.

Meals: Not included. There will be breaks during the workshop to purchase and enjoy meals, however in some locations, meals take a second place to shooting at the right light. It is always a good idea to include snacks for those moments when a regular meal is not available. On Saturday & Sunday, be prepared to snack through the dinner hour as we will likely be far from town and getting back to the hotel late around nightfall.

Locations: Montana’s gorgeous Rocky Mountain Front will serve as our backdrop for a fantastic weekend of outdoor photography. The scenery is similar to nearby Glacier National Park, where the prairie grasslands abruptly clash with the rugged mountain peaks. However, the “Front” is much less crowded and will offer an authentic Montana setting that is more peaceful compared to the nearby National Park. While the area is known for its breezy conditions, with luck, calm conditions on local lakes often lead to colorful reflections of the mountains early or late in the day. After our morning sunrise session on Saturday and Sunday, we will travel into the mountains to photograph hidden waterfalls, swollen from spring runoff. The timing of the workshop is intended to coincide with the region’s most beautiful time of year when photogenic large yellow arrowleaf balsamroot and wild iris wildflowers often blanket the hills and meadows. Accompanied with snow-capped mountain peaks in the background, June on the Front is at its best.

Itinerary: We will be packing in as much photography into this trip as possible. You should be aware that outdoor photography is light and weather dependent, and those factors often guide our exact shooting location and itinerary. Because the workshop is so close to the summer solstice, you'll notice the itinerary involves very early mornings and very late evenings; however, we offer a long mid-day break to catch a nap :-) Often the instructors will decide on where and what to photograph with creative improvisation based on the conditions.  It is possible that very rainy weather may require us to opt for for a classroom session. With that in mind, the following is a ‘soft’ Itinerary for each day.

  • Friday, June 3 – Arrive for a meet and greet and orientation at the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau, 4pm. We will dine together at a local restaurant. At 6:30 PM we will head out to a location close to Choteau to capture sunset (9:20 PM).
  • Saturday, June 4 – We will start the day early (4:30 AM) to capture the sunrise (5:30 AM) at a location near Choteau, returning back to the hotel to break and review and edit images on our computers together. After dinner, we will spend the the evening exploring the Rocky Mountain Front’s canyons, prairies, historic structures and/or waterfalls. We will end the day capturing sunset (9:20 PM) as we work our way back to Choteau.
  • Sunday, June 5 – We will start the day early (4:30 AM) to capture the sunrise (5:30 AM) at a location near Choteau, returning back to the hotel to break and review and edit images on our computers together. After a dinner, we will spend the evening of the day exploring the Rocky Mountain Front’s canyons, prairies, historic structures and/or waterfalls. We will end the day capturing sunset (9:20 PM) as we work our way back to Choteau.
  • Monday, June 6 – We will start the day early again to capture sunrise at a location near Choteau and return back to Choteau for breakfast. The workshop will conclude Monday morning.

Equipment and Attire Suggestions: A DSLR or Mirrorless camera along with a sturdy tripod is required. Participants should have a good working knowledge of their camera before attending the workshop. Bring a selection of lenses that can accommodate wide-angle (14-35mm range), a short to medium telephoto (24-70mm and/or 70-200mm) and a 300mm (or more) focal length lens for capturing wildlife and birds (optional). If you would like to review and edit images, bring a laptop with Lightroom Classic installed. Chris and Kevin are well versed in Adobe Lightroom Classic and Photoshop and will provide some tips on developing your photos. We prefer the Classic version of Lightroom compared to the CC version and will be demonstrating using the Classic version. Like most of Montana, weather on the Front can be rather unpredictable. Wear appropriate clothing, including clothing for cold weather, rain gear, and a good pair of sturdy shoes are a must.

Registration Fee & Cancellation/Refund Policy: You are welcome to pay in full or the specified deposit to secure your spot on the workshop. If paying the deposit, the remaining balance is due 30 days prior to the workshop start date. We will send out a reminder email shortly before. Refund Policy: Up to 30 days before the workshop start date, your deposit and registration fee are fully refundable. If canceling 30 days or sooner to the workshop date, your deposit becomes non-refundable, but your remaining registration fee will be refunded. If canceling 15 days or sooner to the workshop start date, your deposit and full registration fee become non-refundable. However, in the event that we can fill your spot, we will fully refund your deposit and registration fee, regardless of cancellation date.

We reserve the right to cancel the workshop if the minimum participant enrollment is not met. In the event the workshop is cancelled, participants will be given the option to reschedule for a later date or receive a full refund. We are not liable for expenses incurred such as airfare or accommodations, for this reason we recommend the purchase of travel insurance.

Special Note: Most photo locations are near roadways, however certain locations will require short walks, sometimes up steep hills. Participants should be physically prepared to hike up to 2 miles over uneven surfaces and moderate elevation gain carrying your camera gear.