Frequently Asked Questions

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What exactly do our safari and workshop fees cover?

Each workshop includes different fees depending on the location and the people or "models" we include. All of your guide fees, entrance fees, filming permits, National Park Service Permits, Navajo Tribal Park permits, and other incidental fees are included. On the days when we are in an area where we need to carry our lunch, that food is included along with an array of snacks and beverages. Naturally you can bring whatever you want with you, and we will discuss all of this before you arrive at the location, during each orientation session, and each evening during our photo reviews.

Not included are tips that you give to the people we photograph for a job well done and any purchases you make from vendors at these locations. Your other meals, lodging, and travel to the workshop are also not included. We will do our best to block rooms so you can get the best deals.

Do we need to bring extra money because there are hidden fees you're not telling us about ahead of time?

Yes! Always bring extra money. There are no hidden fees, but you may see that perfect gift at a vendor's stand miles from the nearest ATM or want to tip the person carrying your photo gear, or give an extra gratuity to that model who was patient enough to get you your award winning image your friends at home will envy.

How do we get to the safari?

  1. Chinle, Arizona is the gateway to Canyon de Chelly National Monument: You will access US Highway 191 from one of the major east/west highways. From the north, you may get on Highway 191 South from I-70 about 30 miles north of Moab, Utah. From the south, you can get on Highway 191 north off of I-40 at Chambers, Arizona. For other less direct/scenic routes, go to and make your destination the Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn located at 100 Main St., Route 7, Chinle, AZ 86503. Telephone number 928.674.5875.
  2. Page, Arizona is the home of the Antelope Slot Canyon formations that are administered by the Navajo Nation Tribal Parks Service. Page is located on US Highway 89 and the start of Arizona Highway 98. You will access this highway from the north via I-70 and the west via I-15. From the south you will connect via I-17 or I-40 at Flagstaff, Arizona. From the west you will use US Highway 160 and take Arizona Highway 98 at Shonto, Arizona. For specific routing go to and put your final destination as Holiday Inn Express, 751 S. Navajo Dr., Page, AZ 86040. Telephone number 928.645.9000. Because of large tour groups visting from Europe and Asia, our accomodations in Page may change with each safari--that's okay because everything is relatively close and we know some secret hideaways that are not publicized on the internet.

Where do we stay when we get there?

Chinle, Arizona has several lodging choices: Our headquarters will be at The Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn located at 100 Main St., Route 7, Chinle, AZ 86503. Telephone number 928.674.5875. The alternate lodging facilities are the Holiday Inn Chinle, Arizona and The Thunderbird Lodge, Chinle, Arizona.

Page, Arizona has many lodging choices: Our headquarters is usually at the Holiday Inn Express, 751 S. Navajo Dr., Page, AZ 86040. Telephone number 928.645.9000. This may change due to large bus tours blocking out entire facilities until the last minute! For a complete guide to lodging, go to:

Where and when do we have our meals?

  1. Chinle, Arizona:
    The Junction Restaurant is right at the Best Western and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A Pizza Hut franchise is packaged with this facility. The Holiday Inn has a full service restaurant as does the Thunderbird Lodge which is cafeteria style plus cook to order. Several fast food outlets are nearby: Subway, Burger King, A&W, and Church's Chicken plus the counter at Basha's supermarket. And, there is a Subway sandwich shop in the convenience store behind the motel and next to the Conoco gas station.
  2. Page, Arizona:
    The Holiday Inn Express has continental breakfast and 24 hr. hot drinks. There are many restaurant choices from high end to fast food plus the deli at Safeway and 24hr. Denny's. You will not lack for food!

Where can we buy stuff—like food, incidentals, pharmacy supplies, etc?

  1. Chinle, Arizona:
    Basha's supermarket is your best bet here. There are several convenience stores near the Best Western so your choices are limited. If you want anything exotic or are a strict vegetarian, you may want to bring some of those specific foods with you. Each room at the Best Western has a small refrigerator—just be careful with your temperature regulator and don't freeze your veggies!
  2. Page, Arizona:
    If Wal-Mart carries it, you can get it in Page. Yes, there's one here along with a myriad of specialty stores and even a good latte. For those of you using medium format or large format film, you will want to bring that with you as the stock in Page is unpredictable.

Where are the bathrooms, and when can I use them?

When we are out photographing!

  1. Chinle, Arizona:
    In the canyon there are a couple of park service pit toilets at Antelope House Ruin and at White House Ruin. At certain times there are portable toilets at Mummy Cave and Spider Rock—they are locked when the Thunderbird tours are not there. There is ample vegetation for the discrete adventurer and we do carry a shovel and roll of TP with us. This is a primitive area so you will want to plan ahead with your morning coffee and other diuretics! We will keep everyone's needs in mind because we've been here and know that when "you've gotta go, you've gotta go!"
  2. Page, Arizona:
    Not many facilities when we are out and about, and certainly less vegetation than the Chinle area. When we are in Lower Antelope, there are portable toilets outside at the entrance. It's a hike up and back, but not that bad, and it's not like we are in a rush. No facilities at Waterholes, Little Cut, or Horseshoe Bend. Somehow we've always adapted, and we know you will too!

How do we get to each day's location?

  1. Chinle, Arizona:
    We will drive to each location. When we go into the canyon, we will use the fewest vehicles possible and still be comfortable. If there is too much water to use our four-wheel drive vehicles, we arrange to use the six wheel drive extra clearance vehicle as our back up. When we are not in the canyon, we may follow the same plan or expand into more vehicles. This is something we will know well before the safari begins and can adapt to during our time together.
  2. Page, Arizona:
    We can use our individual vehicles or car pool—your choice. There are no plans for off-road travel and only a few parking areas that may be a little rocky or sandy. It's always more fun to travel with other people and form new friendships.

Are there any rest periods?

There will be some periods of free time that you can use as you wish. Remember that you may be in a higher altitude than your body is used to. Chinle is at 5500 feet elevation while Page is at 4200 feet. In the dry desert air you will need more hydration to keep your energy up. If you get tired, we will make sure you can rest at the vehicle or an early afternoon time in your room. We do our best to ask each participant how they are holding up.

What emergency medical services are available?

  1. Chinle, Arizona:
    There is a 60 bed hospital with 24 hour emergency service right in town. We've never needed its services yet are glad to know it's there!
  2. Page, Arizona:
    A fully-staffed hospital serves this community with 24 hour emergency care.

What types of communication are available?

  1. Chinle, Arizona:
    Cell service works good in town and most of the canyon rim areas. Once in the canyon, we're out of touch electronically and use FRS walkie talkies between vehicles and when we are hiking. Best Western has wireless internet in the rooms that works pretty well.
  2. Page, Arizona:
    Most cell services work well here and there is high speed internet in each of the Holiday Inn Express rooms as well as a computer in the lobby area. Wireless internet is also available at most of the coffee shops in town.

Do I need to carry back-up equipment and what do the group leaders supply?

You will want to bring your own back-up equipment to be sure that you are never without a camera. It may be possible to borrow a piece of equipment in an emergency, but compatibility issues make this difficult at best. Bring plenty of memory cards, and, for film photographers, plenty of film. Lens cleaner and sensor cleaning tools are also good to have. It is a good idea to bring more gear than you think you will need and then you'll be prepared!

You will want to bring all the equipment you would normally expect to use on a landscape photography project with optics that vary from wide-angle to telephoto. Zoom lenses work well. An extra camera body can come in handy for black and white options or simple convenience in not having to change your lenses when the conditions make it difficult to do so. Bring a tripod. You will use it! Also, if you have a camera backpack, that works better than a shoulder bag. There will be a few short hikes, and you don't want to be juggling equipment or have lenses fall out of a photo vest! It has happened because velcro doesn't always hold.

We are happy to discuss any of these equipment and film or memory card issues with you especially if you are arriving by airplane. It is always better to have what you need and not use it than to need that thing and not have it! Yes, it is a good idea to bring your camera manual and electronic or cable release. We do believe in proper camera technique as it always gives you a better chance at taking flawless photos.


Will I have time to archive my digital images each day?

Yes. If you have a laptop, bring it along. If you have DVD burning capabilities that's good, or you can bring your external hard drive or some type of digital wallet. You will use way more gigabytes than you imagine so we make sure you start each day with fresh memory because there's no "running back to town" to get that card you left in the room. You will want to bring a

Will the instructors review my images each day?

Yes. We want to make sure that you are getting great useable photos you'll be proud to share with everyone. If you need technical help or simple critiques we can do all of that. This is a learning experience and an adventure so you will want to use your instructors' expertise every chance you have.

Most of the time we will review the images as you take them so that you can make your adjustments "on the fly" rather than have to retake images at a later time.

What's the detail on dealing with our Native American models?

  1. What Model Releases are available?
    Non-commercial model releases are included with each safari. We will have pre-printed, personalized releases you and the model can use—each is done in duplicate with the appropriate contact information included.
  2. What do we promise in the way of photographs?
    Practice our "Golden Rule", do for others even more than you would expect to have done for you!" You can promise what you want, but be sure you are good on your promise. Sharing is a fantastic way to make everyone happy. Good intentions on the other hand must be avoided at all costs—then, you will be cast in the same category with those who made promises that were never kept. It's your karma, your conscience, so you'll know what's right. And, we'll answer questions on the spot if you run into a situation needing resolution.
  3. Can we give the models a gratuity or payment of some kind to help them with their travel expenses, or just because we want to tip them?
    Absolutely. Everyone can use money to fill up the gas tank, heat the house, and put food on the table. You will be amazed at how you will be rewarded when you show your gratitude with a big smile and some cash!
  4. How do we communicate with the models that don't speak English?
    No problem. Someone who speaks Navajo will be with us to help. And, keep that smile on your face—it's a universal language felt and understood without words.

If I don't speak English can I bring a non-photographer friend with me to translate?

We have a special rate for interpreters and non-photographer spouses or "significant others". Call us, and we will tailor your situation with one of our many options.

Can I bring a spouse or friend that is not a photographer?

Yes, we have special rates and rules for this situation. Call, and we'll listen to your situation and figure out something that will work for each of us.

What kind of clothing should I wear?

Good shoes are the first rule. Protect your ankles and make sure that the soles will grip on many surfaces, especially slick rock and moist surfaces. Break these shoes in before you join us so you know they work well for you. Many people bring several pairs of shoes including a pair for relaxing in the evenings. Good socks will also help you stay comfortable.

With a wide range of temperature fluctuations in the same day, layering is recommended. It is cool in the slot canyons and the shaded areas of most canyons so a light jacket or long-sleeved shirt is good. Be aware of overexposure to the sun and wind. A hat, bandana, or doo rag is also an option to keep the sand out of your hair—and to maintain that cool persona.

Temperatures may range from freezing to hot so you may want to monitor the weather patterns in these areas during the week before your arrival just to get an idea of what to expect. Use and make these towns your "favorites".

What does the group provide that we can count on you having at all times?

We always carry a first aid kit, emergency vehicle gear, plenty of bottled water, and some snacks to keep the energy levels high. There are other incidental items like wet wipes, paper towels, and the shovel with toilet paper.

If I'm not able to carry my equipment on the short hikes, is there someone in the area I can hire to help me with that?

If this is a need you anticipate, we will arrange for a local helper. The fee for this will depend on the time and weight of your camera backpack!

What type of safety precautions do you have in place when we are at the workshop?

  1. Canyon de Chelly:
    We carry safety gear and always have a driver that can get us to the mouth of the canyon quickly. It is imperative that all participants realize that this is a primitive area with no cell service, no electricity, and a possibility of flash floods. We monitor the weather upstream at all times and avoid unnecessary risks.
  2. Slot Canyons:
    The canyon operators are there at all times to make sure there is no danger from flash flooding. A system of escape ladders is in place that can be released from the top of the canyon. Weather monitoring is in place to make sure we are safe at all times.

Is there a bank or ATM close by?

Yes, you have both in Chinle and Page.

When do I get my bonuses for payment in full, signing up for multiple workshops, or for referring a new client?

During the workshop we will meet with you so you can make your choices. These items will be sent to you after the workshop so you can travel with peace of mind that no damage will happen. The exceptions are people joining us from Europe and Asia who want to carry the prints or posters to avoid paying the duty required with shipped items.

Do I need to fill out an application for the workshop to see if I qualify?

We do have some paper work but it's more in questionnaire format so we can get to know you and your needs. We assume that you have a camera that's appropriate for you and that you want an experience that will change your life. We have a liability release from Southwest Photo Safaris and a waiver/release required by the Navajo Nation Film Office for their peace of mind.

What type of guarantee do you have if I decide this just isn't for me?

This is the best ironclad guarantee in the business. If after the first day's outing, you are not completely satisfied with the safari, we will refund your fee—no argument, no hassles. We are the ONLY safari adventure anywhere in the world that offers this guarantee. It is our goal to go above and beyond the ordinary to make sure you are totally happy with this experience. This is why people keep coming back to another workshop or joining us for personal instruction and that one-on-one learning experience.