A Photographic Workshop by Alain Briot

NavajoLand — March 12th to 16th, 2004

Canyon de Chelly / Monument Valley / Round Rock
Los Gigantes Buttes / Historic Navajo Trading Posts
Navajo guides and much more...

One Workshop — Two Instructors
Alain Briot, Famous Large Format Landscape Photographer
Natalie Briot, Certified Art Teacher

Visit NavajoLand with two of the most knowledgeable instructors for this location. Alain and Natalie Briot have lived seven years in Chinle, at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly National Monument and are now taking you to the places they know intimately, the places they have explored inside and out for many years.

March 12th to 16th, 2004

An exclusive five day field workshop to NavajoLand with Alain and Natalie Briot.

Limited to only 6 participants

Workshop Details

Announcing an exciting Northern Arizona workshop to NavajoLand with Alain Briot and Natalie Briot

Hello Alain Briot here. I am very pleased to announce some extremely exciting news: Natalie and I are offering a unique, feature-packed workshop filled with exciting and unique photographic opportunities. This workshop will take you to one of our favorite photographic locations: NavajoLand.

About Alain and Natalie Briot

Here is some short background information on Natalie and me. I specialize in creating large format, fine art landscape photographs and I have been photographing since 1980 in Europe and since 1983 in the United States. I have 6 years of experience teaching photography and communication courses at the graduate and undergraduate level at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona and at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. I have a total of 17 years experience photographing the Southwest and NavajoLand, the region where we will take you to during this 5 day workshop.

Natalie is a certified Art Teacher for the state of Arizona. She has been teaching since 1992, first in Houghton, Michigan, then in Chinle, in the heart of NavajoLand, starting in 1995. Natalie loves teaching and specializes in helping her students fulfill their vision through visual exercises.

The Unique Aspects of This Workshop

There are 4 unique and exciting aspects of this workshop:

1 — You will be working under the guidance of not one but two instructors: Alain, a professional large format photographer and Natalie, a Certified Art Teacher.

You will be working with two professional instructors who both have intimate knowledge of NavajoLand and of each location where we will be taking you. Having two instructors for a group of only 6 participants is a huge benefit. It means that you will literally get one-on-one attention. This will result in much faster skill improvements than if you were working on your own.

Natalie and I also have a widely different teaching style. I focus upon taking photographs, finding the best light and the best compositions possible and then framing the scene, calculating the exposure and so on. Natalie, on the other hand, takes a more relaxed and less “driven” approach, focusing on helping you build visual skills one at a time and completing your “focus skills” exercises in a constructive manner. As I said before, and I cannot say it enough, Natalie is very patient and very dedicated.

Working with both of us, and being exposed to our two teaching approaches, will be a pleasurable and effective experience for you. While I will focus on technical photographic aspects as well as on composition and “finding the best photograph”, Natalie will focus on helping you with your exercises, with answering questions and with providing additional information on a variety of topics.

We will travel in two 4WD vehicles, one driven by Natalie and one driven my myself. Since driving time is a good time to talk and ask questions, each day we will alternate who rides with Natalie and who rides with me so that you have the opportunity to talk with both of us and ask questions to both of us. You will also be able to compare and contrast our answers to your questions!

2 — We will take you to some lesser known locations which we discovered after years of exploration.

We found many little known, or completely unknown locations during the many years we spend living in Chinle and exploring NavajoLand. We will be taking you to some of these locations, selecting those that do not require extensive hiking. Of course, knowing me and my work you know that I will choose locations that offer the most exciting photographic opportunities! For example, we will take you to some very little known sand dunes East of Chinle near Round Rock, at sunrise, when the light is at its best.

3 — You will be practicing “Skills Focus” exercises daily

In my 9-part article series on “Esthetics in Photography” I introduce the “Skills Focus” concept. This concept is based on approaching photography as an activity in which visual training is necessary. This concept uses specific exercises designed to allow you to practice your photographic skills.

While my articles describe these exercises and provide you with the theory behind them, my workshops are designed to go much farther by providing an environment where you can apply the skills you learned in my articles under the guidance of Natalie and I. Natalie is very personable, very patient and very attentive to everyone needs. I know you will love working with her.

Of course, you can get as little or as much instruction and input as you want. If you prefer to focus on your own work you will have all the time needed to create your images.

4 — A safe visit led by instructors intimately familiar with Navajo Culture

This is a definite advantage for you and the guarantee of a safe and enjoyable visit. As you know Natalie and I have lived in Chinle for 7 years from 1995 to 2002 (we just moved from Chinle to Peoria, Arizona, in January 2003). We know the way of life of the Navajos, we are familiar with their customs and their beliefs, and we know how to interact with them. Furthermore, we have been doing business with Navajos since 1995 and have been exploring NavajoLand since 1983, for myself, and since childhood for Natalie who has lived in Arizona all her life.

This intimate knowledge means that we will be able to provide you with a unique introduction to Navajo culture. You will, no doubt, have many questions about the Navajo way of life and about NavajoLand. We will be able to answer these questions, based on our long experience living and working in Chinle. We will also be able to provide you with an “insider view” of the Navajo Culture and with information about life in NavajoLand that you will not find in guide books.

Finally, this intimate knowledge of both the locations where we will be taking you and the culture in which we will be operating means that your trip will be as safe as it can be. Not only do we personally know many Navajos residents in Chinle, Monument Valley and in the other locations we will be visiting but we will also be hiring guides that we have chosen personally.

Don't Let This Unique Opportunity Pass You By!

As you can imagine seats in this unique workshop are going to be in high demand so to be fair with everyone reservations will be made on a first come first served basis.

Don't delay. If this workshop is for you, if you have been thinking about building up your portfolio, becoming more serious about your photography, or simply want to visit locations which offer exciting photographic possibilities don't hesitate: sign up now. Keep in mind that there are only 6 places available.

Your Itinerary

The itinerary for the workshop was designed with two goals in mind: convenient travel arrangements and exciting photographic opportunities. We will start and conclude this workshop in Chinle where Natalie and I will welcome you.

Detailed account of your itinerary:

Friday, March 12th

We will be meet you in Chinle, at Tsegi Overlook, one of the most beautiful locations in Canyon de Chelly. You will receive a map and directions to Chinle, and to Tsegi Overlook, when you register for the workshop.

Saturday, March 13th

Friday will be one of the most exciting days in this workshop as we will spend all day in Canyon de Chelly. We will start by meeting our personal Navajo Guide at the Canyon de Chelly National Monument Visitor Center and, after getting our permit, will head into Canyon de Chelly with our two four wheel drive vehicles. We will be escorted into the canyon by our Navajo Guide.

We will explore both Canyon del Muerto and Canyon de Chelly, stopping often to photograph and admire the beauty of these canyons. Visual “Focus Skills” exercises will be conducted throughout the day, preferably when the light is “flat” so as not to take time away from your personal photography.

If time permits we will conclude with a sunset shoot on the rim of Canyon de Chelly. Lodging that night will be in Chinle again (no hotel change).

Sunday, March 14th

We will get up early, before sunrise, and be on our way to Monument Valley. Depending upon decision by the group we will photograph sunrise either at Canyon de Chelly or at other lesser known locations near Chinle, such as Los Gigantes or Round Rock.

Upon Arrival at Monument Valley we will check into our hotel at the famed Gouldings Trading Post. We will then drive into Monument Valley and spend the remaining part of the day exploring this wonderful place. We will conclude the day by a sunset shoot at the main overlook in Monument Valley. This will be your opportunity to photograph this world famous location. Dinner will be at the Gouldings Lodge, the best accommodation in Monument Valley.

Monday, March 15th

Again, we will get up before sunrise and drive the short (2 miles) distance to the Monument Valley Visitor Center to photograph the Valley and the Mitten buttes as the sun rises “over the eastern gray” to use Emily Dickinson’s famous words. This is one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen and although I have been there many times I never tire of it nor stop creating photographs which continue to enchant me.

After sunrise and breakfast we will start driving back South towards Sedona where we will spend the night. We will stop along the way in lesser known locations along the way. That evening we will do a sunset shoot at one of the most photogenic locations in the Sedona area: Red Rock Crossing.

Tuesday, March 16th

We will rise early again to photograph sunrise in Sedona, either along Oak Creek Canyon or near Bell Rock. After breakfast we will part ways so you can start heading towards your home destination.

Important Things to Keep in Mind:

- Food, lodging and transportation are not included. This allows everyone maximum freedom in planning their trip.

- If you are renting a vehicle, or if you have a choice of vehicles, plan on driving an SUV or a 4WD. We will drive on some dirt roads and a vehicle able to
accomodate dirt roads is preferred.

- Rooms are double occupation and you will be sharing a room with another member of the workshop. Single rooms are available upon request. There is an extra charge for single rooms.

- This is a field workshop and the days are long. We will have time to relax but our primary goal is to help you bring back a sizable body of work.

- Conditions can alter itinerary. Mother nature makes the rules here and this means we have to keep an opportunistic attitude and possibly planning our expedition according to the weather.

- Bring clothing suited for a variety of temperatures, from below freezing (mornings may be cold in March) to warm (afternoon temperatures may go up to 90 degrees F). Also be prepared for potential rain and snow.

- Although no long hikes are scheduled on this trip, we do have to walk in order to find a good composition and explore the possibilities offered by the landscape, We will be photographing at 6000 feet elevation on average. Normally the only problem you can expect is a slight shortness of breath. However the higher elevation is something to keep in mind if you live at sea level or you are prone to encountering physical difficulties at higher elevations.


The cost of this once in a lifetime workshop is only USD $998. If you cancel before January 1st, 2004, a full refund (minus $150) will be honored. After January 1st, 2004 a full refund (minus $300) will be provided only if a replacement for you can be found. If we have to cancel the trip for any reason you will receive a full refund.

Contact Information

If you have any questions email Alain Briot at alain@beautiful-landscape.com
or call Alain or Natalie Briot at 800-949-7983 or 623-561-1641.

Registrations are on a first come, first served basis. We recommend you act now because our workshops sell out quickly.

Alain Briot is a regular columnist for this site. You can find an index of his articles, tutorials and essays here. This is not a Luminous Landscape workshop, but I know Alain to be a superb photographer and strong teacher and can recommend this workshop to you highly. — Michael