Photography by Jim Doty

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Sierra Club Outing:
Hiking Event and
Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend

Hiking Event - September 25-28, 2017

Photo Workshop Schedule

Friday - Sept. 29, 2017
Field Trip (RMNP): 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Meet outside room 151 at 4:45 pm.

Saturday - Sept. 30, 2017
Field Trip (RMNP): 6:00 am.
Meet outside room 151 at 5:45 am.
Exploration Sessions (ATRI): 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Field Trip (RMNP): 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Sunday - Oct. 1, 2017
Field Trips, Exploration Sessions, and Review: 6:00 am - 9:00 pm
Meet outside room 151 at 5:45 am.

Details of the schedule will be adjusted as
necessary based on weather and wildlife.
If amazing things are happening we will
extend the length of the field trips.


Check out the
other Colorado workshops.


Information About the Hiking Part of this Outing is at the Sierra Club web site. The Sierra Club Leader is Pam Dalitz. The Sierra Club Trip Number is 17236A. Registration for both the hiking event and the photo weekend is also at the Sierra Club web site. The rest of this page is about the photography weekend.

Sierra Club information and registration is here. Look for "Treks, Trails, and Shutter Clicks in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado".


Come spend a fun and exciting weekend in the spectacular Rocky Mountains!

Learn how to take your photography to the next level! 

Discover the secrets of the pros!

You'll receive "real time" help and guidance on the field trips plus faced-paced, intensive exploration sessions in the classroom.

In the exploration sessions, you will learn the steps that make the difference between ordinary snapshots and dynamic images. Minutes later you will be outside practicing those steps. This is a very active workshop.

On the field trips you will apply everything you are learning in the splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park. The last week of September in RMNP is usually the peak of the fall color season when the aspen are at their best. It is also prime elk viewing time as the bulls come down out of the trees and gather their harems in the grassy meadows of the park for the fall "rut". It is a splendid time of year to be in "Rocky" and a great place to hone your photography skills.

You will go home knowing how to create eye-catching images!

Read the testimonials (in blue) scattered through the rest of this page!

I was so impressed by how many "trade secrets" he freely shared. I couldn't learn as much as I did in this workshop on my own, if I worked hard for years. - Besma A

Exploration Sessions

The exploration sessions on Saturday and Sunday will give you the skills you need to create exciting images. You will learn what turns boring in beautiful and how to change dull into dynamic. Bring your camera gear to the exploration sessions because you will be using it in practical exercises.

You will learn:

Professional Secrets to Great Color

Metering - The First Big Step Toward Great Images

Depth of Field - The Doorway to Dramatic Images

It's all about the Light - How to "read" and work "with" the light to put magic in your images

Playing with Time - Creating Images That Your Eyes Can't See 

From Grand to Intimate - Landscapes Great and Small

Wildlife Photography - How to Find, Get Close To, and Photograph Wildlife

Petals in the Wind - How to Create Beautiful Flower Images

Starry Starry Night - Night and Low Light Photography

Simplifying Tricky Situations - It's Only Hard Until You Know How

Jim's workshop was incredibly helpful. I learned so much from just one day with him that my photo quality improved that same day! I would definitely recommend his workshop to anyone who needs help improving their photo quality. - Gena B


Photography Field Trips

This is a fun and energetic way to expand your photography skills and explore new photographic possibilities. The field trips are your chance to spend a day (and part of the night) shooting with a select group of photographers with the help and guidance of an accomplished professional photographer. The field trips will reinforce everything you learned in the exploration sessions. We will be at several locations in RMNP. Where we will be and when we will be there will depend on lighting conditions, the weather, and current wildlife locations. You can use your own transportation on the field trips (especially if you need to leave a field trip early) but most participants choose to car pool. At the beginning of all field trips we will meet outside room 151 (map below).

Want a sneak peek at our workshop locations? Read the Rocky Mountain National Park section of my Colorado Fall Color Travel Guide.

This testimonial will show the effectiveness of combining exploration sessions, photo exercises, and field trips.

I just want to say thanks for a great workshop day!  I really enjoyed my time and the information you gave, even though I could only be there for the one day on Saturday.  I have had my DSLR camera for a number of years now, always playing with it and trying different things.  I always thought I could just teach myself with photography books and the camera manual and not really need to take a class.  I always thought, I have an Art degree, I understand composition and color - now I just need to learn the tool and thought I could do it myself.  But even after reading and re-reading and trying different things, my photos didn't always do what I wanted.  Your sessions helped pull so many aspects of photography together and helped me to see and use my camera in new ways, and helped me understand all those aspects I was trying to learn about!  You also helped me to remember that I can also try things with my photos to make them more artistic and to not be afraid to do that. Thanks for that!  Now I just need to keep practicing! - Travis S

Monday Morning Bonus Field Trip

The workshop officially ends Sunday night at the end of the Sunday evening field trip. Some people check out of their room Sunday morning and store their belongings in room 151 (Jim's room) until after the field trip Sunday night. But a number of people at past workshops have stayed overnight Sunday. So we decided last year that all of us who stayed overnight would go out and shoot again early Monday morning. This year the bonus Monday morning field trip is official. We will be back at the Inn around 10:00 am in time for you to check out at 11:00 am.

Mobility Issues

This is an active workshop. To get the most out of the field trips you will need to be able to walk around at modestly high elevations. We won't be climbing granite peaks and time constraints prevent us from running around at the higher elevations of the park like Trail Ridge Road, so you won't need to be a mountain climber or have the lungs of an Olympic athlete. You will need to be able to walk up to 1/4 mile to and from your vehicle and there will be very minor elevation changes (20-30 feet) on the trails. We will not be above 10,000 feet in elevation if you have concerns about altitude sickness. However altitudes of 7,000 to 10,000 feet do take a toll on some people and it is helpful to be in shape. If you have health concerns, talk to your doctor.

Safety in the Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a wild place and there are always some risks. Wildlife, weather, rocky terrain, and waterways are just some of the risks. Read this page at the Rocky Mountain National Park web site to be well informed about safety issues and know what to do and what to look out for. Besides the specific warnings on the web site about mountain lions and black bears, other wild animals in the park can be unpredictable and there is always some danger, no matter how small, of being attacked or bitten. Bull elk are especially testy during the fall rut. We will take all reasonable precautions but no one can eliminate all the risks of being outdoors in the wild. We will follow all park rules and avoid the mistakes some tourists make when in our national parks. If you have questions or concerns about the risks in Rocky Mountain National Park, ask me.

Wheel Chairs

If you are in a wheel chair, the Saturday and Sunday exploration sessions are in a wheel chair accessible building. Be sure and ask the motel staff about mobility concerns in the lodging rooms. The field trips would be difficult but might be possible provided you have someone traveling with you to assist you on the bumpy, rocky, uneven trails. The photo immediately above and the others on this page will give you an idea of the terrain involved.

If you sign up for a one-on-one session Monday or Tuesday we can stick to wheel chair accessible trails in the park.


Movie Nights

Depending on the weather and other circumstances (we won't shoot after dark if it is raining, or if clouds are hiding the stars), you might get to meet and take pictures vicariously with some world class photographers via documentary movies. If you want to go to bed early and skip the movies, you can do that too.

I really had no idea how much you could manipulate a camera to get such great images without using Photoshop. I found it amazing! - Melissa D



The Workshop Leader

Jim Doty, Jr. has the ideal combination of practical photography experience and teaching skills to provide an inspiring workshop experience that will improve your photography.

Jim is a photography instructor with 20 years experience on the adult and University level. He currently teaches photography at The Ohio State University. He has also taught at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan and Graceland University in Iowa. During his workshops, seminars, and field trips he has worked with hundreds of photographers at all skill levels. He also does one-on-one, "shoot with a pro" sessions for people who want the ultimate in personal guidance.

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

Jim's 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.

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

Jim Doty gives the most warm, intense, wonderful photographic digital workshop. He is truly a gift to those who choose to attend. - Win M

Workshop Location and Lodging

Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
927 Moraine Avenue.
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(800) 233-5023

Website: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

A map and directions are at the bottom of the page. After you have checked in Friday, contact Bob, the registrar in room 151 (which is on the west end of the building behind the office).

We have learned so much more about photography than we ever dreamed existed. Thank you so much for teaching us so much with such enthusiasm. - Pat D




Registration for both the hiking days and the photo weekend is at the Sierra Club page. The Sierra Club Leader is Pam Dalitz. The Sierra Club Trip Number is 17236A. The price for the 8 day outing is $1,845.

Information and registration is here.

I had NO IDEA my camera was capable of so much. - Vickie R



Saturday and Sunday we will break for lunch in the middle of the day and again in between the exploration sessions and the evening field trips. There are several places to eat near the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn. Most of the meal breaks will be short (an hour or so) to maximize your learning and shooting time.

On the field trips, it is a good idea to put some protein bars/energy bars/snacks in your camera bag or backpack and have some water to stay hydrated. I would suggest you get a gallon of drinking water and keep it in the trunk of your car or whatever car you are riding in for the field trips. Nature photographers tend to skip meals when great things are happening, so come prepared. This has nothing to do with food, but it is also a good idea to carry a small bottle of chewable aspirin in your camera bag/backpack.

The Sundeck Restaurant provides a 10% discount to people staying at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn (they are next door to each other). This is a nice place to eat when you have time for a leisurely meal. I especially like the trout dinners and the steaks are excellent.

Great Workshop! I can use your material to quickly become a better photographer. - Jim T


Thanks again for a fantastic experience at the workshop. I'm really itching to re-read the book, get the camera out and practice all of these new skills. - Andreas S



Lodging for workshop participants is at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn. As a sponsor for the workshop they are providing the meeting room at no extra charge for everyone that stays at the Inn. If you do not stay at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, there is an additional $100 meeting room surcharge to cover your share of the meeting room fee

The Inn is providing a 10% discount to workshop participants, so be sure and mention you are part of the workshop when you call to book a room. Ask for a room near the workshop meeting room. The earlier you book your room, the closer you will be to the workshop meeting room. There is no restroom in the meeting room, so it is handy to have your room nearby. There is also a restroom you can use near the pool area.

If you and a photographer friend want to share a room, you can certainly do that. The Inn is holding a limited number of rooms. Late September is prime time for both fall color and elk viewing in RMNP so rooms in Estes Park book up weeks in advance. Book early.

I have stayed at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn for years. They have also hosted a lot of my friends over the years (I send people there all the time). It is one of the top rated hotels on Trip Advisor (it is actually a "motor inn"), their rates are competitive, the rooms are nice, and they are ideally located on the far west side of town so you don't have to fight through hordes of tourists and downtown traffic to get to RMNP. Plus there are several eating options nearby. Jay and Fran (the managers) are super people and they take great care of guests. Staying at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn also makes it possible to car pool on the field trips.

Website: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Jim Doty's workshop is excellent. Very down to earth and not so technical to the point of being intimidating. - Steve S


I will always be grateful for your knowledge and your ability to teach. Thank you! -  Ken


Bring to the Workshop

A digital or film camera (*see the important camera note below) and the manual for your camera. You will be using your camera during the workshop.

A tripod if you have one. If you don't, see if you can borrow or rent one. If you are planning on buying a tripod, there is tripod head advice here and tripod (legs) advice here.

An 18% Gray Card that is no smaller than 4x6 inches in size. You can get them at your local camera store or
order them here. The usually come in an 8x10 size (on cardboard) which you can cut in half so you have two 5x8 cards.  Or you can get a collapsible gray card on fabric which measures about 12 1/2 inches in diameter when open and folds up to 5 1/2 inches in diameter when closed.

A notebook or paper to take notes.

A small flashlight or headlamp for the evening/night field trips. A red filter for your flashlight helps maintain your dark adaptation when shooting at night.

The companion book for the workshop, Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies (see the next section).

*Important camera note. To get the most out of this workshop you will need a camera that allows you to manually control apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO settings. You will need a lens that allows you to turn off autofocus anf focus manually. Any recent model DLSR (digital single lens reflex), film SLR, or ILC (mirrorless interchangeable lens camera), will be fine. If you have a full featured point and shoot camera that has the four basic PASM modes (Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and Manual) and makes them easy to use, you will do just fine.

Your workshop renewed and re-excited my interest in photography. I have some new ideas and ways to "up my game." - Don M



Recommended Companion Book for the Workshop

If you have my book Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, bring it to the workshop. If you don't, you can order it here or you can buy it at the workshop for $35. If you want to buy it at the workshop, let me know a couple of weeks before the workshop so I have enough copies with me . The presentations during the workshop will be page keyed to additional information in the book. You will get more out of the workshop and you can spend less time taking notes.

It is out of print, and like other high rated, sought after out of print books, the price has gone up, not down. New copies now sell for $30 (and up) plus shipping from Amazon's third party sellers.  Used prices have been all over the place. Either way, when you buy from Amazon's third party sellers you are protected by Amazon's guarantee. If you are ordering from Amazon, it is a good idea to order several weeks in advance of the workshop. I will have new copies at the workshop if you let me know two weeks ahead of time.

The amount and quality of information was more than I had hoped for. - Alan M



This is an active, "go outside and do things" kind of workshop. You might end up sitting, kneeling, or laying down on the ground to get the best photo angle so dress accordingly. In late September 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.

Jim's workshop showed me the way to put my DSLR's features to use and the advantages of knowing why and how they function. Easy to follow and understand - Gene S


Before The Workshop

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.

If you have Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, look through chapters 2, 3, and 4 before the workshop.

I will never look at a white colonial style house the same again without thinking of you. Thank you for having a workshop that was anything but boring. - Trish L


Map & Directions

Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
927 Moraine Avenue.
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(800) 233-5023

Website: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

If you are coming from the east on U.S. 34 or U.S. 36, they will merge in downtown Estes Park. When they split, stay on U.S. 36 (which is also CO-66). Just past the light at Mary's Lake Road on the west side of town, you will see the motel on your right.

From the south on CO-7, turn left on Mary's Lake Road on the south side of town. When you come to the traffic light at Moraine Road (U.S. 36) turn left. You will see the motel on your right.

If you are coming from the west on U.S. 34, at Deer Ridge Junction (in RMNP) go straight on  U.S. 36. You will wind down and around and out of the park. About three miles after you leave RMNP, you will see the motel on your left near the traffic light on the far west side of town.


Hi Jim - I can't wait to get to get out into the field and put what I learned into practice. As you say, Happy Shooting!  - Becky W

Great enthusiasm, attitude, knowledge, supportive. Great information.  - Clare


Posted February 11, 2017
Updated June 22, 2017

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