Spring Rocky Mountain Front Workshop

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

June 4-7, 2021 - $725

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. The workshop is open to photographers of all abilities - from the seasoned pro to the budding amateur, 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!

Both Chris and Kevin are 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.

Dates: June 4-7, 2021 Price: $725.00. This fee covers the workshop instruction. Transportation, lodging and meals are the participant's responsibility. Limited to 8 students.

Lodging: We recommend that you make your reservations at The Stage Stop Inn in Choteau, 406-466-5900, http://www.stagestopinn.com checking in Friday, June 4th & checking out Monday, June 7th. 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, https://campchoteaumt.com/ 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: 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, 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. Often the instructors will decide on where and what to photograph with creative improvisation based on the conditions. With that in mind, the following is a ‘soft’ Itinerary for each day.

  • Friday, June 4 – 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 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. Afterwards, we will spend the rest of the day exploring the Rocky Mountain Front’s canyons, prairies, historic structures and waterfalls. We will end the day capturing sunset (9:20 PM) as we work our way back to Choteau.
  • Sunday, June 6 – 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. Afterwards, we will spend the rest of the day exploring the Rocky Mountain Front’s canyons, prairies, historic structures and waterfalls. We will end the day capturing sunset (9:20 PM) as we work our way back to Choteau.
  • Monday, June 7 – We will start the day early again to capture sunrise at a location near Choteau and return back to Choteau for breakfast and for some time to review and edit photos. We will then conclude the workshop at the Falls Creek Waterfall (1-hour drive south), to photograph the newly accessible waterfall. The workshop will conclude Monday afternoon.

OnX Sponsorship – We are excited to announce that OnX, a Montana-based mapping company is sponsoring the workshop and is offering all participants a free onX offroad membership as well as a few other donated items.

Equipment and Attire Suggestions: A DSLR, Mirrorless or “bridge” style 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. If you would like to review and edit images, bring a laptop. Chris and Kevin are well versed in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and will provide some tips on developing your photos. Like most of Montana, weather on the Front can be rather unpredictable, weather appropriate clothing, including clothing for cold weather, rain gear, and a good pair of sturdy shoes are a must.

Registration Fee & Cancellation/Refund Policy: Please fill out the registration form below and submit for the workshop. Feel free to reserve your spot, or pay in full. If you reserve your spot we ask that you please pay in full 30 days before the workshop. To fully reserve your spot, please pay in full the workshop fee of $750.00 by Monday May 25, 2020. We will allow cancelations with a 100% refund up till May 25. After May 25, until the date of the workshop, we will refund 50% of the workshop fee. Of course, if the situation with COVID-19 drastically changes and, for example, the Governor issues a directive that impacts groups 10 or smaller, we will cancel the workshop and refund all fees.

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