Grand Canyon Exploratory with James Ponder & Calvin Thomsen (Travel Workshop)
Photo by James Ponder

Grand Canyon Exploratory with James Ponder & Calvin Thomsen (Travel Workshop)

  • May 16, 2019
    8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • May 17, 2019
    8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • May 18, 2019
    8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • May 19, 2019
    8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Four days, three nights in the stony heart of the Southwest


Thursday, May 16 – Sunday, May 19, 2019


Everybody knows the Grand Canyon is a great big hole in the ground. But not everyone knows how beautiful it can be in rapidly changing light and weather.

Stretching 277 miles from east to west in northern Arizona, the canyon is more than a mile deep and, in places, 18 miles wide. It has the power to dwarf human observers and give them a brand new sense of space, scale and perspective.

Come join a small group of fellow photographers — the trip is limited to a maximum of eight participants — for a fun and adventurous exploration of the Grand Canyon and several other outstanding Southwestern destinations. We will visit several of the best vantage points on the South Rim as well as:

• Lower Antelope Canyon
• Historic Cameron Trading Post
• Wupatki National Monument
• Little Colorado River Gorge

Lower Antelope Canyon is a subterranean sculpture garden, with colorful red and orange sandstone walls twisted into a labyrinth of sensuous, serpentine forms. Our Navajo guide will offer tips for recommended camera settings and viewpoints.

Founded in 1916, historic Cameron Trading Post is a truly unique destination. A working trading post, Cameron offers arts, crafts and souvenirs for sale. We will visit Cameron once for breakfast and once for shopping and sightseeing.

Wupatki National Monument contains the 800-year-old ruins of the prehistoric Sinagua Culture. We will stop at the Visitor’s Center and the main ruin of Wupatki pueblo before visiting the serene and isolated beauty of Wukoki.

The Little Colorado River Gorge is like the Grand Canyon, only smaller. Located down the hill from the east end of the canyon, the gorge offers splendid views of the Painted Desert and provides a feeling of unrivaled serenity and beauty.


Please scroll to bottom of page.


May 16-19, 2019


$1,795 tuition; $200 deposit secures your seat. (The balance is due two months prior to the start date. Please call 323-464-0909 to pay the balance.)

*Single-occupancy lodging is available for an additional $675.


A $200 deposit is required to reserve space in the workshop. The balance is due two months prior to the start date. Refund requests arriving two months or greater before the start date will result in loss of deposit. Refund requests arriving one to two months prior to the start date will result in a 50% loss of the workshop fee. No refunds will be provided for requests arriving less than one month prior to the start date. All refund requests must be submitted in writing via email to


* Three nights double-occupancy lodging at Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan, Arizona (just outside the Grand Canyon). There will be an extra fee for guests who require single-occupancy lodging.
* Round-trip van transportation from the Los Angeles Center of Photography in Hollywood to the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Wupatki National Monument
* Entrance fees to Grand Canyon National Park and Wupatki National Monument
* A tour of Lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona
* A visit to Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona
* A visit to the prehistoric ruins of Wupatki National Monument
* A visit to Cameron Trading Post
* A visit to Little Colorado Gorge
* A copy of James Ponder’s Photographing the Southwest lavishly illustrated field manual.


Meals, souvenirs, a tip for our Navajo guide at Lower Antelope Canyon ($10 to $15 is customary), travel insurance and any needed medical expenses.


Limited to 8 participants


This workshop is designed to accommodate all camera formats and all skill levels.


James Ponder and Calvin Thomsen are your hosts and tour guides for this memorable adventure. They happily dispense photography tips and advise to anyone who requests it at any time throughout the trip.

Jim (pictured right) has been photographing the Southwest since the late 1970s and is especially drawn to prehistoric ruins and sacred sites that seem tinged with mystery and wonder. A writer and editor by trade, he loves introducing small groups of people to his favorite region of the world. He has been married to Nery, a native of Peru, for 28 years, and has one daughter and two adorable granddaughters. His favorite photographic maxim is “f/16 is all you need!”

Calvin (pictured right), a professor of psychological and relational aspects of patient care at a major health sciences university in Southern California, loves to explore and photograph the Southwest. His favorite subjects are found in places where geologic processes predominate. Equally at home in the deserts, canyons and forests of the Colorado Plateau, Calvin loves to climb rocks as well as depict them. He and his wife, Marilyn, have two grown children. He doesn’t have a favorite photographic maxim.

Jim and Calvin first met in college, and became friends when they ran into each other in Los Angeles a few years later. In the last six years, they have taken hundreds of adventurers to the Southwest, and know many of the region’s hidden jewels. Earplug advisory: Jim and Calvin are given to spontaneous outbreaks of zany — some would say, corny — humor, especially as they approach the outskirts of Kingman, Arizona. Don’t say you weren’t warned . . .

If you wish to receive additional information on this workshop please complete and send the form below. Thank you.

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Details Price Qty
DEPOSIT - Grand Canyon Exploratory with James Ponder & Calvin Thomsenshow details + $200.00 (USD)  
PAYMENT IN FULL - Grand Canyon Exploratory with James Ponder & Calvin Thomsenshow details + $1,795.00 (USD)