Spring in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photography Workshop


Join me in the spring for a Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photography Workshop. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of those parks that has light visitation, and if it wasn’t on an Interstate it’s unlikely it would see what it sees. Most visitors travel the South Unit’s loop road hoping to see wild horses, and then they head further west. By doing that, they miss the seeing the subtle beauty of the park. The park service divides the park into three units, but it feels like five. We’ll visit two units from three different entry points in order to photograph the most interesting parts of the park. During this time of year, the grasses still have that golden brown crispness and the cottonwood trees surrounding the Little Missouri River get that spring green as they leaf out. The animals have just calved and because it’s a slower time, they’re closer to the roads. Chilly mornings bring fog to the the river valley and spring wildflowers spot the hills. This countryside shaped President Roosevelt into the man he was, and you’ll see why as you photograph its many moods.


Dates: May 18 to 20, 2018  (arrive on the 17th, workshop starts with meet and greet in the evening)
Cost: $599  (A nonrefundable deposit of $300 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: Spring TRNP Photography Workshop Category: Tags: ,


Badlands Photography Workshop Itinerary

This Theodore Roosevelt National Park photography workshop is a field workshop with the majority of the long weekend spent in the field. You’ll learn exposure techniques, compositional techniques and image interpretation. I’ll have plenty of time for one-on-one instruction with the small group size. This is the tentative itinerary. We’ll shoot landscapes and wildlife during this workshop, so it’s important to bring a wide range of lenses.

In May, the sun rises early and sets late. It rises at 5:12am local time and sets at 8:30pm local time. We’ll shoot most of the sunrises and sunset, and spend most of the day in the field. We will keep the schedule flexible to take advantage of these types of situations as they arise.  We’ll try to be back in Medora for a late dinner, but our other meals will be in the park. The Badlands is a huge park and remote park, so be prepared to spend the entire day in the field and bring food.

While we’ll explore the park, there are plenty of other areas to explore. I suggest spending an extra day or two to do some of the historic drives in the area. I enjoyed traveling the Custer Trail.


Most people will drive on Thursday and check in on Thursday. It’s a 8 hour drive from the Twin Cities, so if you leave at 8am, you should get to Medora in time for dinner. For those people flying. I recommend flying into Dickinson and renting a car. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Dickinson to Medora. Dickinson has the best grocery store in the area, so if you didn’t bring food you should buy it there. Medora has a “grocery” store, but don’t expect much. We’ll eat out on the town on Thursday night at 6:30pm most likely at Boots Bar and Grill. It depends on what is open.

We’ll shoot the sunrise and golden hours of light before lunch. For anyone arriving on Friday, we’ll meet up at noon. I’ll have a field presentation on composition on Friday afternoon. We’ll also cover filter usage before sunrise. We’ll photography until sunset.

The day starts early with a morning session photographing the sunrise and then head back out into the field for a full-day adventure. This is likely the day that we’ll spend in the North Unit. Expect a long day. We may travel to Watford City to eat dinner.

We assemble before sunrise in the lobby to head out for sunrise photography session and stay in the field until noon. The workshop ends at 1pm for those people trying to leave on Sunday. If you’re staying until Monday, we’ll stay out until sunset. You receive access to a private Facebook group to share your photos and receive review.


While not the most difficult of hikes on my workshops, the hike to the petrified forest is one of the longer hikes. Expect a 3-mile hike on moderate terrain. It’s amazing to see 60 million-year-old cypress trees so wide that you can’t reach completely around.

The Weather

The weather is perfect in the North Dakota Badlands in May. Highs average 68°F and lows average 48°F. Rain storms can and do happen in May.

Lodging Partner

The lodging partner for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photography Workshop is the Rough Rider Hotel, 800-633-6721. It’s downtown, fancy and has a history old west feel. This is the one you probably want.

  • There is a campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It runs about $14 per night. You self-register at the entrance. I didn’t have any problems finding a campsite in May. It’s inside the park and about a 30 minute drive from Medora.
  • Medora Campground, 800-633-6721: Ranges from $20 to $40 per night. Near downtown. This is a best choice of campgrounds if you plan on eating out at night.

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

See the main description.

Getting There

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora, North Dakota is located about 36 miles west of Dickinson, North Dakota on Interstate 90. From Minneapolis, it's an 8-hour drive via Interstate 94 (check Google Maps for the exact route).


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