Early Winter in the Badlands National Park Photography Workshop


The landscape in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park feels unreal, like something out of a futuristic movie. Rugged Badlands formations seem to rise abruptly out of the grassy plains and rise into a crisp sky. When standing at overlooks, the terrain unfolds before your eyes. Your eyes follow the lines carved by water for 10s of 1000s of years. December in the Badlands is a time of transition and the perfect time for photography. On this Badlands Photography Workshop, we’ll spend three days photographing the park from sunrise to sunset. Throughout the workshop, we’ll capture images of the landscape and because it’s mating season for many of the animals in the park, we may have opportunities to capture interesting mating displays and images of animals in the natural landscape as an element of that landscape.



  • December 1 to 3, 2017

Cost: $549  (A nonrefundable deposit of $275 is due at registration. The remainder is due 60 days before the workshop.)


Bryan Hansel Photography is an authorized permittee of the National Park Service and operates under a Commercial Use Authorization from the National Park Service.

SKU: Badlands National Park Photography Workshop Category: Tags: ,


Badlands Photography Workshop Itinerary

This Badlands National Park photography workshop combines classroom time with field-work and a final review. You’ll learn photography exposure techniques, compositional techniques and image interpretation. There’s plenty of time for one-on-one instruction with the small group size. This is the tentative itinerary. We’ll be shooting landscapes for the most part, but if opportunities to photograph wildlife present themselves, we’ll photograph bison, pronghorn, mule deer and bighorn as well, especially when we can include them as an element in the landscape.

In December, the sun rises late and sets early and during most of the day, sweet golden hour light bathes the landscape. We’ll shoot both the sunrise and sunset every day. We’ll eat breakfast each day in Wall. The hotel offers a free continental breakfast. We’ll be back in Wall before dinner, so you can eat in town. Most workshops eat together. We’ll pack lunches and eat somewhere in the park.

I used to live in Rapid City, so I’m excited to offer this opportunity to introduce you to the photographic possibilities in the Badlands National Park.


Most people will drive on Thursday and check in on Thursday. It’s a 7.5 to 8 hour drive from the Twin Cities, so if you leave at 8am, you should get to Wall in time for dinner. I’ll let you know where we’re planning on eating and we’ll have a chance to get to know each other and discuss the weekend’s itinerary.

If you’re arriving on Thursday, we’ll shoot the sunrise and golden hours of light before lunch. For anyone arriving on Friday, meet at 1pm for introductions and a classroom presentation that presents techniques for successfully capturing the Badlands National Park. After the classroom session, we’ll head out into the Badlands to photograph the terrain.

The day starts early with a morning session photographing the sunrise. Then we break for breakfast. We’ll assemble after breakfast for a classroom session about composition and then head back out into the field for a full-day adventure. We’ll come back to the hotel after sunset, and you’ll have the evening free to enjoy the town or work on images.

We assemble before sunrise in the lobby to head out for sunrise photography session and stay in the field for a couple of hours. After breakfast we meet up for a classroom session about image processing and that’s followed by an image review. The workshop ends at 1pm.

Lodging Partner

The Days Inn in Wall, South Dakota is hosting this workshop.  For workshop participants, they’re offering a discounted room rate. We will use their conference room for the workshop classroom and presentations. We will also meet there each morning before heading out for the sunrise. Room rate is not included in the workshop fee.

When you make your reservation tell them it’s a “Bryan Hansel” room.  Days Inn phone number: 605-279-2000

Required Photography Equipment

Camera: A SLR-style digital camera, mirrorless interchangeable system or a point and shoot that allows you to manually set your shutter speed and aperture is highly recommended.

Lenses: A variety of lenses ranging from 18mm to 300mm. A lens to 600mm helps for wildlife. Most of the time, you’ll use something in the 24mm to 120mm range, but the other focal lengths are useful. A macro lens or close-up diopters are handy if we come across any fossils. We’ll mainly shoot landscape, but if we have a chance to shoot wildlife, we’ll get pictures.

Filters: I highly recommend filters (See this newsletter for more info about filters). When you sign up for a workshop, you also qualify for a discount on filters from Singh-Ray.

Other Suggested Equipment: Bring a tripod, shutter release cord your camera’s manual, a USB thumb drive, waterproof camera bag and a laptop computer.

I’ll send out a full equipment list a month before the workshop.

Registration and Cancellation Policies

Additional information

Max Participants

10 to 12 depending on skill level of participants


This workshop is for all levels of photographers and works best for photographers using digital cameras. Beginners welcome. Any hiking is easy to moderate and most photo locations are close to the parking lots.

What's Included

Quality small group and one-on-one instruction. Conference room for classroom time. Fun!

What's Not Included

Transportation to Badlands National Park and photography locations. Car pooling is highly recommended. Lodging. Meals.

Lodging Partner

Days Inn Wall in Wall, South Dakota is our lodging partner for the workshop. All classroom sessions will be in their conference room. Room rate is $58.48. Ask for a "Bryan Hansel" room.

Getting There

The Badlands National Park and Wall, South Dakota is located about 55 miles east of Rapid City, South Dakota on Interstate 90. From Minneapolis, it's a 7.5 hour drive via US-169S to MN-60 W and I90 (check Google Maps for the exact route).


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