We at B&H are excited to announce our partnership with the 2022 OUTSIDERS Photography Conference, to be held in person March 4-6, in Kanab, Utah, with a virtual attendance option also available. Geared toward landscape, wildlife, and nature photographers of all backgrounds and abilities, this conference will provide attendees with three days of valuable instruction from talented photographers and industry professionals.
Renowned photographer and filmmaker Paul Nicklen headlines the conference keynote on Saturday evening. Over the course of his 20-plus years working as an assignment photographer for National Geographic, Mr. Nicklen has documented the beauty and plight of our planet. His quest to promote conservation through his art is the perfect complement to the mission of the OUTSIDERS Conference.
Attendees will benefit from 15 other prominent speakers, including Daniel Kordan, Lisa Langell, Adam Gibbs, and many others. Speakers will engage in a series of lectures, small-group breakout sessions, panel discussions, and photo-editing classes, all with the aim to take your photography education to new dimensions.
In addition to the speakers, a host of industry sponsors—including Sony, B&H Photo Video, Atlas Packs, Canon, Tamron, Nikon, Pictureline, and FUJIFILM, among others—will be on hand to offer attendees the latest in new gear and photo techniques. Even better, you’ll be eligible for more than $15,000 in prize giveaways, including tripods, lenses, cameras, and B&H Gift Cards!
Event organizers are excited to welcome photographers of all levels to Kanab, from March 4-6, to experience those “a-ha” moments of sudden insight, comprehension, and photographic inspiration. Both in-person and virtual tickets are currently available. Register now at https://outsidersphoto.com/
Photography Locations Near the Conference
Zion National Park: Kanab sits on the east side of the park, affectionately called the “quiet” side. This is where you can escape the crowds and the hustle of the lower canyon. Simply drive into the park and pull over to explore wherever you see interesting scenery. The Canyon Overlook Trail is definitely worth a stop, especially at sunrise. Additional trails that originate outside the park offer access to locations such as Cable Mountain and Observation Point.
Slot Canyons: If you’ve never had the experience, a slot canyon will blow your mind. The sculpted sandstone walls and gorgeous reflected light will keep you pressing that shutter button. Many of Utah’s canyons are technical—requiring ropes and/or advanced scrambling skills—yet a couple of nontechnical canyons near Kanab deliver excellent photo opportunities. The first is Peekaboo Canyon (not to be confused with a site of the same name up near Escalante). To get there requires driving an extremely sandy 4WD road, which takes you right to the canyon’s mouth. Don’t attempt this route if you don’t have the right vehicle or 4WD experience. A second solid option, and the world’s longest slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch is accessible with a passenger vehicle as long as it hasn’t been raining. Enter via Wire Pass and hike as far down as you like, returning the same way you came. And for the really ambitious, hike the 21-mile one-way route, exiting at White House Trailhead.
Bryce Canyon: Just about everyone loves Bryce Canyon, which packs an incredible amount of amazing scenery in a small space. Since this canyon largely faces east, it’s best photographed during morning hours, yet it’s also the perfect place for dark skies and astrophotography. Bryce Canyon is a high-elevation site, so prepare for cold morning temperatures, but make sure to hike down below the rim during your visit for a unique perspective of the amazing hoodoos.
Grand-Staircase Escalante: This national monument protects nearly two million acres of public land in Southern Utah, which offers a lifetime of canyons, rock formations, and rugged landscapes to explore. Near Kanab, you can venture over to the Toadstools, about 40 miles outside town, right off Highway 89. A short hike in will bring you to some really interesting multi-colored hoodoos, so wander around and see what you can find. This is also a great place for night photography. Another easily accessed spot is Willis Creek, a short slot canyon with a perennial flow of water that’s never more than an inch or two deep.
Lake Powell and Glen Canyon: Lake Powell has as much shoreline as the entire U.S. West Coast. With more than 96 major canyons emptying into the lake, there are endless opportunities for exploration and photography, and a boat tour out onto the lake is highly recommended. A favorite view from land is at Alstrom Point—arguably one of the most scenic vistas in the entire state. The road gets rough for the last few miles, and a high clearance vehicle is needed to drive to the point. As an alternative, one can walk the last few miles, if needed. Alstrom Point gets amazing light at sunset, and sunrise can also be beautiful when complemented by clouds.
Coyote Buttes: Most Desert Southwest aficionados have heard of the unique sandstone formation called the Wave. However, it is not easy to win one of the coveted hiking permits for this site offered by the Bureau of Land Management, either through an advance online lottery or a next-day walk-in lottery in Kanab. Those lucky enough to win a permit should be prepared for the rigorous seven-mile round trip hike. If you have energy to spare, make sure to explore all the areas in and around the Wave, too. South Coyote Buttes is another option with more accessible permits, yet requiring a high-clearance 4WD for access. Covering a much larger area than the Wave, South Coyote Buttes could keep you busy exploring for several days. A favorite spot is Cottonwood Cove, which is filled with photogenic formations, hoodoos, colors, and stripes.
White Pocket: Topping the list of favorite sites around Kanab is White Pocket, with its staggering diversity of colors, textures, and formations, yielding picture-perfect compositions around every bend. Sandstone pockets can hold a lot of water after a rain, making for ideal conditions to photograph reflections. While it’s best to avoid flat mid-day lighting, White Pocket is also great for sunset, night, and sunrise photography. However, the access road can get quite sandy in sections and requires a high-clearance 4WD vehicle.
Grand Canyon—North Rim: The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park opens on May 15 and closes on December 1 (conditions permitting). It can be a remarkable destination during the big storms and lightning shows of monsoon season; however, the most stunning viewpoint is a remote area called Toroweep, which is accessible year-round as long as the dirt road is passable. Cell phone service is nonexistent over the rough 60-mile dirt road that is notorious for causing flat tires, so a vehicle with rugged tires is well advised, and high-clearance is needed for driving the final three miles to the rim. But the jaw-dropping view 3,000 feet straight down to the Colorado River is so worth it. Even better, there are no railings, sidewalks, or crowds to contend with, which is truly the way the Grand Canyon is meant to be seen.
Horse Shoe Bend: Standing on the edge of a 1,100-foot cliff above the Colorado River inspires awe like few other places, making Horse Shoe Bend one of the most famous icons of the Desert Southwest. For magic every time, frame up a shot looking west just before the sun disappears below the horizon. With just over an hour’s drive from Kanab and a short hike from the paved parking lot, those with a healthy respect for heights can take in the view from a platform with a railing, while more adventurous photographers will be rewarded by exploring further around the vast bend. Bring your wide angle!
About the Organizers
We are three Utah-based landscape photographers with a shared passion for the Desert Southwest. We love teaching and helping others to improve their photography skills and knowledge, which is the reason behind creating the OUTSIDERS and affiliated OUTSIDERS Conference opportunities.
David Swindler: An award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer based in Southern Utah, Swindler received a degree in chemical engineering and worked many years in the semiconductor industry, specializing in optics and photolithography. In 2014, he quit his day job to follow his true passion. As a photographer, Swindler has traveled to many locations worldwide, and has extensive experience with landscape, wildlife, night, and macro photography. He runs Action Photo Tours full time and finds great satisfaction in taking people to remote and beautiful Southwest locations to help them make the best photos possible.
Phill Monson: After embarking on a love of photography during a three-week trip to Europe with an entry-level camera shortly after college, Monson discovered the incredible Desert Southwest. He has dedicated the past decade to capturing this diverse landscape, and is well known in the landscape photography arena of the new digital age. An accomplished lecturer on the topics of landscape and astrophotography techniques, Monson’s latest endeavor involves the design and creation of an apparel line focused on promoting wilderness ethics and how to adventure responsibly. He lives near Salt Lake City with his wife and two children.
Ryan Smith: Combining his professional experience as a corporate trainer with his passion and professional photography knowledge, Smith has a knack for sharing photography’s technical aspects in an easy-to-understand manner through workshops and events across the western states and in Hawaii. His unmistakable artistic style has garnered prestigious awards, gallery exhibitions, and publications throughout the West. As the owner of ICON Photo Tours / Capture ICONS, Smith enjoys adapting to the needs of his attendees, whether teaching technical and composition techniques in the field, or focusing on post editing techniques in the classroom to help achieve a print-ready image.