Photography by Jim Doty

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Total Immersion Photo Safari
Fall Color in Southwest Colorado
with Jim Doty, Jr.

Friday - Monday
September 27 - 30, 2019


Come spend four exciting days capturing images in the fall splendor of Southwestern Colorado. This is an all out, full tilt, dawn to dusk photo safari.

Flex Schedule:

This schedule can change based on weather and shooting conditions.

Friday: We will meet in southwest Denver at 6:30 am and leave at 7:00 am. We will shoot all day in central and southern Colorado. We will end up in Montrose Friday night. Montrose is home base for the rest of the tour.

Saturday: We will travel and shoot all day in SW Colorado.

Sunday: We will travel and shoot all day in SW Colorado.

Monday: We will shoot in the morning until 10:30 am. Drive back to the motel and check out. Then shoot in the afternoon until around 3 pm. At 3 pm we will head back for Denver with more shooting along the way.

Depending on our destination Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, we will meet as early as 5:45 am in the morning or as late as 7 am. We will get back each night as as early as 8 pm or as late as 10 pm. We will do a ton of shooting.



Weather is unpredictable in Colorado in late September and early October. One area can be impassable with blizzard conditions while another can be sunny and beautiful. Our very flexible schedule will be determined by the weather.

We have lots of photo options to choose from on our travel day Friday and for the rest of the tour. Marshall Pass. Monarch Pass. O'Haver Lake. Owl Creek Pass. The Sneffels Range from CO-62. The Ouray area. The Million Dollar Highway. County Roads 5 and 7 north of Mount Sneffels. Last Dollar Road. Dallas Divide. The Telluride area. Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Ohio Pass. Kebler Pass.

At the end of each day we will discuss the next day's options.


I have been traveling southern and southwest Colorado from the time I was two years old and my parents wandered the back roads of Colorado every summer. I fell in love with craggy mountain peaks and alpine lakes. With aspen groves, evergreens, and pine scented air. And fall is especially wonderful. I look forward to every trip back to Colorado. I have been leading photo workshops, classes, and tours in Rocky Mountain National park and other places for over 20 years. This is my first photo tour in southern and southwestern Colorado. I can't wait to share the wonders of this area with a group of eager photographers.


The Workshop Leader

I have the ideal combination of practical photography experience and field trip skills to provide an inspiring tour experience that will improve your photography.

I am a photography instructor with 25 years experience on the adult and University level. I have seven years experience leading photography workshops for The Ohio State University. I also taught at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan for seven years, and at Graceland University in Iowa. During my workshops, seminars, classes, and field trips I have worked with hundreds of photographers at all skill levels. I also do one-on-one, "shoot with a pro" sessions for people who want the ultimate in personal guidance.

My images can be found in magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, tourist brochures, corporate reports, and on web sites for corporations and not-for-profit organizations.

My nature, portrait, event, and commercial work has been published by the National Wildlife Federation, Black & White Magazine, The Ohio State University, Ohio Sea Grant, Stone Laboratory, Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, Graceland University, UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Crowne Plaza Hotels, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn Hotels, Best Western Hotels, Hunt's Guide to the Upper Peninsula, Heartland Tours and Travel, Midwest Photo Exchange, Wiley Publishing, Inc., The MichMatist, Yukon Review, Magic 106.3, The Herald, Community of Christ, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Kirtland Temple Historic Site, KOA Campgrounds,  Restoration Voice, Terrapin World Imports, and dozens of other businesses too numerous to list here.

I am the author of Digital Photography Exposure for Dummiesone of the highest rated photography books at More information is here.


Photo Safari Registration

This advanced photo tour is limited to 6 people. The point of a photo safari is not just the locations we go to but the opportunity to get professional photographic advice from a photographer with years of experience. A limit of 6 people maximizes your contact time. You need to know the photography basics to go on this tour. You need to know your camera well. Manual control of apertures, shutters speeds. and ISO settings should be second nature to you. You should be familiar with setting a custom white balance, exposure compensation, and determining depth of field with a hyperfocal distanced chart. If this isn't all clear to you, read the Before the Workshop section below.

Registration for the photo tour is $595. If you have been to one of my workshops, classes or photo safaris before, ask about the returning photographer's discount. You are officially registered when payment is received, and registration is on a first come first served basis.

To register, send an email to Bob at:  He is the Denver based registrar for this photo safari. He will give you payment options to register.

Registration fees are refunded in full if you cancel by August 28. After August 28 you will  receive a refund only if someone else registers to take your place.

If this workshop is already booked full when you want to register, you can be placed on a priority waiting list in case someone else cancels.

You will need to pay for your own meals and lodging. More about meals and lodging below.


Before The Photo Safari

Go through your camera's manual prior to the workshop so you are well acquainted with the PASM modes (Program, Aperture priority, S hutter priority, and Manual) and learn how to use them. Before the workshop it is especially important to learn how to change apertures, shutter  speeds, and ISO settings in the "Manual" exposure mode. Try out the other modes too.

If your camera has "mirror lock up", "depth of field preview", or a "live  view" mode, be sure you know how to use them.  If your camera has a B (for bulb) mode, learn how to access it and use it (it might be hidden in the camera's menu section).

Find and learn how to use the Exposure Compensation Scale. It will have a series of tick marks with numbers from -2 to +2  (or -3 to +3).

In some cameras, the Exposure Compensation Scale is always visible inside the viewfinder. In others it is visible on an external LCD if you have that option turned on. With some cameras you have to find it in the menu system to access it or turn it on. The amount of exposure compensation in this illustration is set to +1 (Plus One). Learn how to set yours for anything from -2 to +2.

If your camera allows you to set a "custom white balance", check your camera manual and learn how to do that too.

For more information get Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies and read chapters 2, 3, and 4 before the photo tour.



When the shooting is great we don't stop to eat. We will try to have time for a normal sit down lunch every day but there are no guarantees that will happen. If you have been to one of my weekend Colorado workshops you know what to expect. Dinner is usually grab something quick on the road. Take water, food bars or whatever else you consider essential as we head out each day. We may not be back to Montrose until the end of the day. Everyone will pay for their own meals.


Book a room at the Black Canyon Motel in Montrose Colorado for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, checking out Monday at noon. Tell them you are in town for the photo tour and need the late check out on Monday. We will meet each morning in the motel lobby before we head out and again in the lobby at the end of the day.

Black Canyon Motel
1606 East Main Street
Montrose, CO 81401




In late September in the high country temperatures can range from mild and pleasant to chilly and cold. Bring a sweater or light jacket for cool evenings and a coat in case it gets really cold.

Movie Nights

If we get back early some evening, or if the weather drives us inside (it happens), we will spend the evening with one of more world class photographers via DVDs.

Night Photography

We will be photographing the night sky over the mountains. You will need a red headlamp with one very important feature. Read this article. You will also need a tripod.

Autofocus won't work at night, and you can't see well enough to manually focus accurately with your eyes, so there are some tricks to focusing a lens at night. Read
this article and practice doing some night photography before the photo tour.


Equipment Suggestions

Bring whatever camera/s and lenses you would normally use for a nature photography outing. This is a landscape safari so any wildlife we see might be incidental. If you have a huge, heavy, long telephoto lens you might never need it. If we were in Rocky Mountain National Park my advice would be different. It is useful to have a long lens for optically extracting details out of the landscape so a lighter weight telephoto zoom lens that gets out to 200, 300 or 400mm will be very handy.


Should you bring a macro lens? You know how this works. If you bring it you won't need it and if you don't you will wish you did. At the very least bring a closeup filter or extension tube. If you find melted snow drops on a beautiful leaf, you will be ready.

A quality tripod will give you better landscape images during the day, especially in low light, and is pretty much essential for night photography. If you don't have a good tripod I highly recommend you borrow, rent, or buy a tripod.

If you are going to buy a tripod and don't know what to get, read this article for tripod information and this article for information on tripod heads.

To rent a tripod, go here or go to you local camera store (if they rent tripods).

You will need a red headlamp for night photography. Read this article so you get the right kind.

An 18% gray card is handy for creating a custom white balance on a cloudy day when we are shooting intimate landscapes. You want one big enough (at least 4x6 inches) to fill the frame of your camera. I especially recommend the new collapsible fabric gray cards.

If your camera doesn't have a built in electronic level, an inexpensive (about $10) double bubble level can keep your horizons straight.



Posted September 4, 2018
Most recent update: August 29, 2019

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