FirstLight Workshop

Absaroka Workshop, July 2-8, 2017


…FirstLight Workshop is thrilled to be offering this unique, hands-on photographic workshop…

Entrance to Absaroka Ranch

Entrance to the Absaroka Ranch


Absaroka Ranch Photography & Lightroom Workshop

Summer in Wyoming: perfect temperatures during the day, often brisk at night, a breathtaking panorama of stars, wranglers gathering horses in early morning, evening cocktail parties with friends (or, soon to be friends) and wonderful photographic opportunities.  This is what FirstLight will be serving up this July 2 – 8.  Join FirstLight at the Absaroka Ranch, bordering Yellowstone National Park for a “Cowboys & the West” photo workshop!

This workshop is designed to  emphasize shooting, optimizing your images with the process taken to printing your two best images from the week.  We’ll be photographing incredible scenes of wranglers working horses, amazing landscapes and portrait sessions.  These shoots will be during the optimum light of early morning or late afternoon, to achieve the best possible photographic quality.  During the middle part of the day, we’ll critique your photo shoot, providing important feedback to your photography followed by instruction in workflow and optimizing images for output.    We’ll be using Moab Juniper Baryta Rag, an incredibly beautiful and highly reviewed digital paper.

These critique sessions will be led by Jay Dickman, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Geographic photographer also founder of FirstLight Workshops. Jay’s co-instructor is George McDonald, Adobe Certified Expert and Lightroom Instructor.  FirstLight is one of the only workshops that provide this incredible ratio of instructor to student.

All meals (the food is great; you won’t go away hungry!!) as well as accommodations are included in the price of this signature workshop.  Absaroka Ranch will provide an opening cocktail “meet & greet” party on the day of your arrival, Sunday, July 2, as well as evening cocktail parties each day before dinner at the ranch.

***In addition, our sponsor, Olympus, will be providing camera kits of their top-of-the line E-M1 MkII Micro Four Thirds cameras as well as lenses.  If you’ve been thinking of “going small & mirrorless,” this is your opportunity to test drive one of these cameras***

Historically, our students have flown in and out of Jackson, Wyoming Airport (JAC), an hour and a half drive from Absaroka Ranch.  The majority of attendees rent their own car, often taking advantage of the proximity to Yellowstone National Park, visiting there at the end of the workshop.  The Absaroka Ranch Workshop will culminate after breakfast on Saturday, July 8.  This provides plenty of time to drive to Yellowstone.  FirstLight can also connect you to a transportation service to handle getting to and from Jackson Airport, this will be at your expense.

Due to the limited amount of rooming available, you will be sharing a room with another FirstLight student.  Each cabin has two rooms with two beds in each room, both rooms share a bath.  This is a good incentive to check with your best-friend photographer about attending the workshop.

This workshop will fill quickly, if you are interested, don’t hesitate to email me with any questions. Send your questions to:

Buck, model released cowboy

What’s included: 

Workshop fee: 5 days of instruction and critiquing, with a morning and afternoon shoot each day.. Opportunity to use Olympus digital camera equipment.

Printing:  2-13 x 19” prints from your best work of the week.  We’ll be printing on our favorite digital paper, Moab Juniper Baryta Rag

Accommodations:  6 nights, Sunday, July 2 ~ Saturday, July 8. You’ll get to room, at no extra charge, with another FirstLight student!!

Meals: FirstLight provides all your meals, from the opening night, Sunday, July 2 – final breakfast, Saturday, July 8. You’ll enjoy wonderful meals during this workshop.

Cocktail events:  FLW and Absaroka will provide wine and beer at the opening night event, as well as an evening event each of the 5 days of the workshop

Gratuities:  FirstLight pays all gratuities to the ranch

Photos ©Jay Dickman, all rights reserved.

What’s NOT included:

Liquor: wine and beer is provided at cocktail events

Transportation most attendees of our other events in the Dubois area have rented cars, as they enjoy the photographic possibilities of this incredible area.  We can connect you with a transportation service to get your to the Absaroka from the Jackson Airport and back, at your expense.

AirportsThe closest airport is Jackson, Wyoming (airport code: JAC).  Almost all major carriers fly into Jackson.  Salt Lake City is another choice, please be aware it is about a 5 ½ hour drive from SLC to Dubois.  Denver International Airport is about an 8-hour drive.

Laundry & other amenities:   There is a Laundromat in Dubois, the Absaroka does not provide laundry services



What you’ll need to bring:

  1. Laptop with at least 10GB of space
  2. A latest copy of Lightroom, if you don’t have this software, it can be downloaded from the Adobe website as a fully functioning, 30-day free trial.  If working with a trial version, you MUST make sure you have allowed the software to function throughout the workshop.
  3. I suggest bringing two camera bodies–to work with both as well as covering the possibility of a camera failing–this is NOT mandatory, but a strong suggestion.  Don’t forget that we will have Olympus cameras to borrow!
  4. Clothing for the week: FirstLight is a very laid-back group, so don’t even think of bringing a sports coat or dress!!  Laundry is not available at the ranch, but a small Laundromat is located in Dubois, if necessary.
  5. Enthusiasm and the openness to push yourself creatively–and plenty of energy!

Cost for the Absaroka Workshop

 the cost of the workshop is $3,000.00, with a discount for FirstLight alum.  You can click on this link to be taken to the registration page

 Proposed schedule for the Absaroka Workshop

(subject to change)

 Sunday, July 2

Participants will arrive at the Absaroka Ranch, for the 3:00pm check in. We will host an opening beer and wine cocktail event followed by dinner and opening session.


Monday, July 3                                  sunrise 5:44 am     sunset 9:03 pm

5:15 am    We will be heading out of the Absaroka in time to arrive at the CM Ranch, where we’ll photograph an early morning horse drive.  We’ll then head back to the Absaroka in time for a gourmet breakfast

8:00 am Breakfast at the Absaroka Ranch

Mid-morning(time announced after morning shoot)  we’ll meet at the workshop headquarters, just steps from your cabin, where George will provide instruction on downloading your images.  He’ll also provide a tutorial on how to go through your photos, selecting the 10 best from the morning session.  You’ll then call upon George or Jay to sit down with you at your laptop, where you’ll receive invaluable information on your images.  This is one of the most instructive and critical components of this workshop: getting feedback on what is working, and as importantly, what is not working in your images.  We’ll further narrow this selection down to 5 images, which we’ll collect.  After the critique session is over, we’ll project all those selects from each participant-and hear from George or Jay as to why the image was selected and why it “works.”  We ask those who are waiting for their critique to begin, to please pull a chair up to one of the review sessions that are occurring.

Lunch at the Ranch

Early Afternoon George will provide his first tutorial on working in Lightroom to optimize your images.

Cocktail party followed by dinner

 8:00 pm        Photograph wranglers on horseback on the beautiful Absaroka Ranch


Tuesday, July 4                                 sunrise 5:44 am      sunset 9:03 pm

5:15 AM    We will depart Absaroka for an early morning landscape shoot, which will include horses and riders, returning to Absaroka for breakfast

8:00 am Breakfast at the Ranch

 9:00 am    Meet at workshop headquarters for downloading, selecting, critiquing and reviewing images.  Followed by projection session of best images

Lunch at the Ranch

 1:00 pm   Opening afternoon session by George on Lightroom and optimizing your images

6:00 pm cocktail party followed by dinner at Ranch

8:00 pm  late afternoon photo session of horses and wranglers on Absaroka property


Wednesday, July 5                                     sunrise: 5:45 am   sunset   9:02 pm

6:00 am  photo shoot of horses being “turned out” into Absaroka pastures,

7:30 am    Breakfast at the Ranch

 9:00 am    Meet at workshop headquarters for downloading, selecting, critiquing and reviewing images.  Followed by projection session of best images

Lunch at the Ranch

 1:30 pm  Opening afternoon session by George on Lightroom and optimizing your images

6:00 pm  cocktail party followed by dinner at the Ranch

 7:45 pm  portrait session at Absaroka.  We will be there to work with you in the process of photographing people.  Natural light and reflectors are the theme of the day, and we’ll end the day with photographing wranglers around the campfire.


Thursday, July 6                                     sunrise 5:46 am       sunset: 9:02 pm

6:30 am shoot on ranch of horses being driven in to corrals from mountain pastures

8:00 am  Breakfast at the Ranch

 9:30 am  Meet at workshop headquarters for downloading, selecting, critiquing and reviewing images.  Followed by projection session of best images

Lunch at the Ranch

 1:00 pm  Opening afternoon session by George on Lightroom and optimizing your images

6:30 pm  cocktail party and dinner at the Ranch

 8:00 pm  Photo shoot at site with incredible background and wranglers.


Friday, July 7                                    sunrise: 5:47 am       sunset: 9:00 pm

5:45 am    We will be heading out to photograph another great horse and rider event on the CM Ranch

8:00 am   Breakfast at ranch

 9:30 am  Meet at workshop headquarters for downloading, selecting, critiquing and reviewing images.  Followed by projection session of best images

Lunch at the Ranch

 1:30 pm  Opening afternoon session by George on optimizing images and finishing prints

5:30 pm  cocktail party and dinner at the Ranch

6:30 pm   Depart the Ranch for the Dubois Rodeo

10 pm  Return from rodeo


Saturday, July 8                                    sunrise: 5:48 am

8:00 am   Breakfast at ranch

Projection session of slide show, “Best photographs ever taken, by this group, during the week of July 2-8,2017 at the Absaroka Ranch!”

After breakfast, all guests depart


Happy Trails!!!!  

Click on this link to be taken to the registration page for this workshop