Great Sand Dunes Photo Adventure

Special events

Join Mike's Camera and Olympus for a camping excursion to capture this exotic location full of photographic potential. Learn new techniques, borrow Olympus cameras and lenses, and be inspired as you wander through this otherworldly landscape. Capture the Milky Way at its brightest (clear Colorado skies permitting), find tiny details in the vastness, and seek out life in the barrenness of Great Sand Dunes National Park. 


Tucked away on the edge of the San Luis Valley, behind the majestic Sangre de Cristo Range, lies one of the most unique landscapes inColorado: The Great Sand Dunes. The tallest dunes in North America rise from a diverse array of biomes, creating unmatched surreal views. Tundra, forests, wetlands, and grasslands are an arm's reach from these sandy peaks that would look more at home on Mars than our lush home planet.

What you’ll learn:

Instructors from Olympus will lead multiple workshops and photo excursions each day. Topics will cover Landscape, Macro, Astrophotography, and more - each offering unique twists from their own photographic styles. Hike with Olympus to hidden gems, then sit around the campfire (burn ban allowing) and get your questions answered in one on one and group settings.


A detailed itinerary will be available prior to the event. This event is co-hosted by Olympus, but users of all camera brands are welcome!



A large group campsite will be our home base for the weekend.  You’ll have to option to camp there in tents, or to reserve a bunk in one of our shared, primitive cabins for an additional fee (spots limited, first come first served). Check in begins at 4PM onThursday. Group activities will not begin until Thursday evening. Our campsite is located just outside the park.


Park entry is not included in your attendance fee. This is charged on a per-vehicle basis, so sharing rides is encouraged.


Food is not included in your attendance fee and will not be provided, but you are encouraged to use the communal campfire and meeting space for your meals.


Electrical outlets are available in the cabins. If you do not have a cabin and need to charge a battery, Olympus will charge it for you. Make sure to bring your charger if you aren't an Olympus user!


RV, trailer, and motel lodging are available nearby, but are not included with your attendance fee and will need to be arranged by you individually. We strongly encourage anyone taking advantage of alternate lodging to still consider the group site "home base" to get the most out of your experience.



*Cabins include bunks for 4, an electrical outlet, and a light.Bedding is not provided, so don't forget to bring your own!



Getting there:

Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to, from, and around the park. We will be camping just outside the park, so driving willbe necessary.


The park is about 4 hours southwest of Denver, and cell service can be spotty at points. Make sure you gas up and are prepared!


Groceries and other supplies are available, but limited in the area. We recommend stocking up before arrival.



What to bring:

Camera gear:

- Camera & lenses (Olympus will also have both available to borrow, so plan to take advantage!)

- Tripod

- A cable release (or phone app) is recommended for night photography

- Batteries and charger

- Camera bag (comfortable backpack is recommended for hiking)

- Filters (ND, Graduated ND, and Circular Polarizer are recommended)



- Hiking boots/shoes

- Sunscreen

- Camping chair

- Camping supplies

- Clothing for warm days, cold nights, and the potential for rainy weather

- Food and beverages

- Water bottles or hydration pack for hiking (2 liters minimum recommended)

- Snacks (for hikes and other photo excursions)


Weather is typically warm but not hot during the day (70s), and cold but not freezing at night (40s). Heavy rain is not typical for this time of year. Please prepare for anomalous weather though. Bring clothing for hot days, cold nights, and rain - and don't forget your tent's rain fly!


Note that the dunes can get VERY hot during the day even if the temperatures are not extremely high. Bring shoes that will insulate your feet from scorching sand.


Workshop Dates – Thursday, September 26th - Sunday, September 29th, 2019

Check in begins Thursday, September 26th at 4PM.

Feel free to arrive Friday if you can't get there ! Your reservations


$229* – Includes tent camping site

$329* – Includes bunk in shared cabins w/ electricity

*Plus Eventbrite online processing fee

You are welcome to pay in store to avoid the Eventbrite fee.

Click here to Register


Matt is a photographer’s son, so he had cameras in his hands from an early age. As a young adult he began exploring the world of filmmaking, and has worked in roles from Assistant Camera toDirector of Photography on award-winning films. These days his attention is mostly on photography, looking for grand views and the little slices inside of them that make them interesting. All that said, most people just notice his hair.


Mishalla has spent years creating fun photo experiences for people. From photo booths to hands-on workshops, she infuses her energy and creative spark into everything she does. She will teach you how to break photographic rules more than follow them, and the results speak for themselves. She's a certified high-five enthusiast, and what can we say? People like her.


Shelley is a true artist - with a BA and mountains of paintings to prove it - but taught herself photography. She is an expert in freezing the mood of a moment, often going about it through unique methods. Her B&W photography captures more color than most, putting you in the space she viewed it from. She also has a cool dog, which we consider to bea big plus.


Glen is a long time Olympus employee, Olympus historian, and all around great guy. He is not instructing.He is just here to keep you in line and happy. As an experienced father, his dad jokes are unmatched in excellence.

Learn about new programs as soon as they’re announced!

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