Fall Color in Southwest Colorado 2024


Fall Color in Southwest Colorado

September 29 – October 4, 2024

Location: Ouray, CO
Early-bird Payment in Full (before May 31, 2024): $2,450
Late Payment in Full (after May 31st): $2,950
Group Size: 12

See Image Gallery and Workshop Details below.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  After your purchase, you will receive a workshop Registration Packet when it becomes available. This includes several materials, including a Workshop Registration Form that must be completed in a timely manner.

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Image Gallery

Workshop Details

The San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado provide one of the most dramatic, breathtaking backdrops for Fall color in the entire United States.  Endless hillsides of Golden Aspen trees sparkle amid tall, jagged snow-capped mountain peaks that rival those found only in the Swiss Alps.

Join Charles on this unforgettable 6-day Autumn photography workshop where you’ll spend days driving dusty country roads that wind their way to unmatched, jaw-dropping Fall scenery.  Treat your lenses to giant century-old Aspen groves, perfectly still pond reflections bursting with color, unusual colorful rock formations, historic Gold Rush era mining structures, and majestic mountain ranges above a tapestry of yellow, orange and red foliage.  With some luck, we might even catch some early season snowfall blanketing the slopes, or encounter bull moose or elk during the rutting season.

Charles will guide you to some of the most beautiful spots in the area and provide expert instruction on how to best capture the light and make interesting compositions.  Field and classroom sessions will emphasize expressive, Impressionistic imagery and how to find and compose striking, unusual intimate landscape scenes, as well as abstracts and creative closeups.  The artistic possibilities will be limited only by your imagination in this photographer’s paradise.

In addition, throughout the week, you’ll receive lots of 1-on-1 personalized instruction from Charles, and there will be plenty of lectures and supportive group image evaluations.

All skill levels and camera formats welcome, including smartphone cameras. Students should also have basic proficiency in post-capture image editing software, such as Lightroom, Photoshop or Snapseed.


Six days of photography instruction in both the classroom and in the field, including field demos, classroom lectures, stimulating assignments and supportive group image evaluations.


Airfare, airport transfers, transportation, lodging, meals and snacks, optional trip insurance, COVID-19 testing prior to arrival or departure (and during the workshop), and other incidentals such as laundry, phone calls, tips & gratuities, etc.


A block of rooms has been reserved at a resort style lodge and spa with hot springs in Ouray, CO at a discounted rate of $186.19/night (including taxes & fees).  Upon registration, you’ll receive a special link to reserve your room at this resort. All classroom sessions will be held at the resort.


Ridgway is not near a major international airport, but it’s still easy to access.  Here are three ways to get there:

  • Option 1 – Fly to Denver International Airport (DIA) and rent a car to make the 6-hour drive
  • Option 2 – Fly to Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) and rent a car to make the 30-minute drive. Airlines that frequent this airport vary, but connecting service through Denver is available year-round on United Airlines
  • Option 3 – Fly to Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) and rent a car to make the 1 hour, 45-minute drive

Ground transportation is not included in this workshop, so you’ll want to rent a car.  We will encourage carpooling whenever possible due to limited parking in some shooting locations.  While not required, it would be advantageous to rent a four-wheel-drive (or all-wheel-drive) vehicle with high clearance, as we will be traveling on some dirt roads (unless it has rained recently).


• Sunday, September 29

Meet & Greet at 7 pm at the resort.  Lecture and inspirational slide show.  Camera equipment overview.  Review workshop itinerary.

• Monday, September 30 – Thursday, October 3

4 full days of shooting and classroom time.  Sunrises, field shooting in the region along highways and backroads, lots of 1-on-1 instruction and field demos.  Return to hotel for mid-day breaks.  Some afternoon lectures.  Sunset shoots.  (All subject to change, depending on weather conditions, of course.)

• Friday, October 4

9 am to 12 noon.  Supportive group image evaluations.  Workshop concludes at 12 noon.


All skill levels and camera formats welcome, including smartphone cameras.  Participants should also have a basic understanding of exposure, camera operation in modes other than “Auto” or “Program,” and basic proficiency in post-capture image editing software such as Lightroom, Photoshop or Snapseed.


For the majority of the week, you’ll be photographing near the road.  There may be some brief, short hiking in some locations (all under a quarter mile in length with a gentle grade).  You’ll be at high elevations (7,000-9,000 feet), however, so a short hike can quickly leave you out of breath if you haven’t acclimated to the change in altitude yet.  Therefore, it’s important that you take it easy the first few days, are in good physical health, and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water even when you’re not thirsty.


My workshops are an intimate experience; we share classroom space, carpooling, group meals, and I like to be up-close and personal in the field to give you the best learning experience.

Above all else, my primary goal is to ensure everyone feels safe to relax and have a fun time. None of us want the threat of COVID lingering in the back of our minds while trying to be creative and have a good time. Based on this, along with current CDC guidelines, proof of vaccine, with the last dose at least 14 days before the workshop, is required to attend all my workshops.

As you know, this is an ever-evolving situation, and I will follow current CDC and local health department regulations and inform you before the workshop. For the health and safety of everyone, masks and face coverings may be required at certain times during the workshop.  In addition, periodic COVID testing during the workshop might need to occur.  Myself and my workshop assistants are fully vaccinated for your safety as well. Thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times, I want my workshops to be a fun, safe experience for everyone!


All workshop withdrawal requests must be in writing and received either by US mail or e-mail and acknowledged by Charles Needle Photography. There are NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY, even for medical or family emergencies. Unless otherwise noted, based on cancellation date, the following apply:

• Greater than 91 days before the workshop start date: refund, minus a $300 administrative fee.

• Within 90 days of the start of the program: no refund.

Regardless of when you cancel, if you or we are able to fill your space, we will provide a refund of any payments made minus a $300 processing fee.

We encourage you to purchase refundable airline tickets and trip cancellation insurance. We strongly recommend trip insurance to protect you in the event of an unexpected situation that prevents you from attending the workshop. We recommend Travel Guard or Travelex Insurance Services.

We reserve the right to cancel any workshop if the minimum student enrollment is not met, or due to any COVID-19 or other health concerns. In the event we cancel a workshop, you’ll be notified as soon as possible and be given the option to receive a full refund or apply your payment toward any future workshop within one calendar year from the date of cancellation.  

We are not, however, liable for expenses incurred such as airfare or accommodations, and for this reason we also recommend the purchase of trip insurance. The financial liability of Charles Needle Photography shall be limited to the amount paid to Charles Needle Photography for the tour/workshop only and shall not be extended to cover any other associated travel costs incurred (e.g. non-refundable air tickets, visa fees if applicable, clothing, equipment, miscellaneous transportation costs, lodging costs, medical expenses, travel insurance premiums, etc.).  For this reason, we highly recommend trip cancellation insurance.

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