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Photography Workshops & Tours in Death Valley, California, and beyond


"My workshop with Michael was simply spectacular - on every level - his knowledge of Death Valley, his willingness to go "the extra mile" when needed, his ability to roll with all the changes in weather, his energy and enthusiasm never flagging for one moment, his technical expertise, his willingness to work with each participant in coming up with the "best shot" possible - I would give him the highest grade possible in each of those categories - and I look forward to taking another workshop as soon as possible." Susan B. Landau - Los Angeles, California

Michael offers intensive and exciting group and private workshops in extraordinary settings year-round. With nearly twenty-five years of experience behind the camera and ten years teaching the medium, his style is one of experience, passion, and inspiration. While the camera and post-production tools are vital pieces of the photographic process, Michael's teachings emphasize strong image content, refined composition, and creativite intent. Philosophical discussions are key components of all his workshops - please come with your questions, ideas, and open mind!

Click here for testimonials from many of Michael's satisfied workshop and tour participants. To stay informed of future workshops, tours, and other offerings, please subscribe or stay tuned to this page.

Michael's workshops are sponsored by Chamonix View Cameras (workshop participants receive discounts).

Group Photography Workshops and Tours

October - April (annually): Death Valley National Park Photo Tours
Michael leads private photography tours and workshops into Death Valley National Park October through April of each year. You can choose from one of our established itineraries, or you may customize the tour duration and locations. All private tours include expert location guiding, supplemental technical support and instruction, engaging conversations, unforgettable experiences, and Death Valley's famous star-filled night skies. We also offer by arrangement curbside airport pickups (LAX and LAS only) for those traveling from out-of-state and from abroad. Please click here for more information.  

View video excerpts from previous Introduction to Large Format Photography workshops
This course is currently taught by appointment only (send us an email with your inquiry) and is designed to accommodate all skill levels (including those who have previously worked with large format and have struggled with it). My teaching methods and techniques are direct, uncomplicated, and easy to comprehend. At the completion of this intensive two-day workshop, you will be able to efficiently and confidently compose, focus, meter, and expose your own large format photographs. NO PREVIOUS LARGE FORMAT EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED! These workshops are sponsored by Chamonix View Cameras, and all workshop participants are eligible for discounts on all Chamonix cameras and accessories.

April 29-May 3, 2019: Terrific Trio Workshop: Moab, Utah
co-led by Guy Tal and Bruce Hucko. Originally conceived as part of the the Moab Photo Symposium, this workshop seeks to help you improve the making of personally meaningful imagery. We all have a vision. We all react and respond to and reflect on our experiences in nature. Refining and sharing our individual vision is lifelong and fun, especially in the company of like-minded people. In this workshop we make images inspired by our internal landscape of thoughts and feelings, with the help of the objects, light and weather of the external landscape. In the formal classroom environment we’ll cover topics of the creative process, the language of art, visualization and composition, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop techniques, photographing and processing for B&W and other technical considerations. We’ll also have special sessions on portfolio development, preparing images for web and print and writing about our work. Please click here for more information and to register.

September 21-22, 2019: Creative Nature and Landscape Photography: Concept, Capture, and Process San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Nature and landscape photography transcends "pretty postcards" when made by creatively engaged photographers who understand their motivations, subjects, and tools. My goal is to provide you with the inspiration, knowledge, and hands-on learning to help advance your creativity and photography skills with an emphasis on nature and landscape photography. This workshop is suitable for all experience levels and offers a unique blend of philosophy, field work, and classroom instruction in beautiful settings. We'll cover photographic fundamentals; precision exposure and capture; image aesthetics; special tips and techniques; and conclude with an overview of post-processing basics using both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Click here for more information and registration.

December 5-9, 2019: Visionary Death Valley
Death Valley National Park, California. Limited to 10 photographers. Internationally acclaimed photographers and workshop leaders Guy Tal and Michael Gordon have carefully selected some of the park’s most unique locations for this workshop, which combines outstanding photography with inspirational, creative and technical discussion sessions. Find out what makes this workshop unique, passion-filled, and inspiring to photographers of all levels. A perfect blend of photography, field classes, post-production, and passionate photographer/instructors all in one of the most visually stunning places on Earth has earned this workshop praise as "a tour de force of excellence, humanity, artistry, and knowledge". Please click here for more information and to register.

December 12-15, 2019: Death Valley Photo Workshop/Tour (registration opens soon!)
Death Valley National Park, California
Limited to 11 photographers. This workshop is intended for all experience levels (offered through the Los Angeles Center of Photography). Michael carefully selects some of the park’s most photogenic locations for this workshop, where outstanding photographic opportunities will be joined with educational, technical, and creatively inspiring discussions. Michael works individually with all students during the workshop to address all their technical and artistic needs and goals. This will be an intensive adventure! Expect pre-dawn starts, late finishes, outstanding locations, and great fun and camaraderie. (registration opens soon!)

Private Photography Workshops and Tours

"The weekend was the most intensive photo experience since one of my NZ trips about 10 years ago. I was especially impressed with your conscientious preparation and attention to my aims and needs. It was a rare display of professionalism." David Fisk, California

Michael is pleased to offer private photography workshops and tours for one or more persons. Workshops are focused on learning, skills, and camera techniques. Tours are ideal for experienced photographers who want to be in the right place at the right time. Private tours may include technical instruction upon request. ALL instruction and lesson plans are custom-tailored to your interests, skill and fitness levels, and camera format. Tour locations and itineraries are planned with your direct input. More ground can be covered in private tours than is typically possible in group workshops. 100% of Michael's attention is focused on you alone. The workshop/tour pace can be intensive or relaxed - it's all your choice. Please contact Michael by email or telephone to discuss availability and rates.

Private workshops and tours include:

• Locations: Death Valley National Park; Mojave National Preserve; Joshua Tree National Park; Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; High Sierra; and more. Michael has explored and photographed extensively in these locations;

• Introduction to Large Format photography; Advanced Large Format photography (View video excerpts from previous 'Introduction to Large Format Photography' workshops);

• Fundamentals of photography (digital and film: expert exposure, Zone System, composition & design, and more);

Please contact Michael by email or telephone to discuss availability and rates.

"Michael is a walking encyclopedia of the Eastern Sierra geography and conditions.Balaji Venkatachari 


Consultation | Digital Darkroom | Fine Art Digital Printing

Would you like to make better prints? Do you want to learn Adobe Photoshop for photographers? Michael has provided in-person and online consultation (via Skype) for many photographers and print makers in the U.S. and abroad. His consultation, training, and printing services include:

• Color management
• Digital Darkroom Workflow and Techniques: from RAW file or film scan to fine art print
• Printing options and techniques (printers, papers, and inks): RGB printing; Epson Advanced Black & White; Piezography
• Fine art exhibition printing: Michael creates exhibition-quality fine-art prints from your film and digital originals. Includes all necessary and creative darkroom manipulation of your image: color balance; global and local contrast control; burning and dodging; cloning/spotting, sharpening. For optimum output and accuracy, all color prints are made with Michael’s own custom RGB printer/paper profiles, and all monochrome prints are made with the beautfiul Piezography K7 Sepia carbon pigment inkset. Proof prints, exhibition prints, CD burning, and shipping charges are additional.

Michael's consultation rate is $75 per hour (billed in 1/2 hour increments). Please contact him via email or telephone (562/201-0856) for for additional details and booking.

Please contact Michael via email or telephone (562/201-0856) for Instruction, Tours, Consultation, and Fine Art Printing availability and rates.