Outdoor Photography Trips

O.A.R.S. offers photography instruction on the following whitewater rafting, hiking and multisport trip:


Featured Photographer : John Blaustein

John Blaustein is a former original Grand Canyon Dories guide and professional photographer. His 1977 book, The Hidden Canyon: A River Journey, remains one of the most significant collections of photographs of the Grand Canyon from river level.


"After looking at my pictures from the trip (I feel) you can tell a noticeable improvement in their quality after your first lesson. So-so skies were eliminated, bright blue skies were included, reflections off the river were warmer and the dark/light shading of the mornings and evenings were captured so much better. I’m anxious to get a chance to put them together in a DVD. Thanks."
Don Pickel ~York, PA - Main Salmon Photography Trip with John Blaustein



Adventure photographer Justin Bailie shares a few of the techniques that have earned him a world-wide reputation.

First and foremost, you’re going to want to be able to shoot while on the water and when going through rapids, so unless you are bringing a full-on digital SLR, just GO WITH A WATERPROOF POINT & SHOOT so you can make this possible. Some of them make amazing photos.

When shooting people, DON'T JUST SHOOT POSER SHOTS of people looking at the camera. Wait until something happens. My favorite images from river trips almost always end up being candid images of the people I meet and become close with. These are the ones that bring, at times, tears to my eyes and memories flooding back.

Having A MINI TRIPOD to do low light images sometimes will produce some of the best images of the trip. You can also use the self-timer on your camera to balance it on a rock or something similar, and then take a long exposure without moving the camera and causing blur.

STEP AWAY FROM THE CAMP occasionally and find a view from above. Try to find a spot where you can create an image of the entire scene; show people what it is you are experiencing and where you are.

THINK ABOUT WHAT IT IS ON THE TRIP THAT IS AFFECTING YOU THE MOST. Is it the people, the place, the rapids? Try to “feel” what this is and then think about how you can create an image that can convey that feeling to a viewer that has never been there. This is what makes a successful photo.

Protecting your gear? Eh...don’t worry too much about it. GET THE SHOT. Of course I take great precautions with my gear, but first and foremost I don’t want to miss something. Besides, a little risk just adds to the fun and adventure, right? If I may quote Yvon Chouinard (owner of Patagonia): “For me, when everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts.” I love that!

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O.A.R.S. Photography Trips

Let the shutter fly!

All O.A.R.S. Photography Trips are appropriate for novices, budding amateurs and professional photographers. These photography-focused adventures provide a supportive and educational environment to practice and improve your photography skills. We put you in some of the West's most scenic locations with access to some of the country's most successful, creative and cutting-edge photographers so that you may unleash your creative potential. The emphasis on all trips is primarily landscape photography, and you will certainly be able to relax and savor your beautiful surroundings.

Photography instruction takes place as you experience the outdoors - on glacial lakes, alongside ancient pictographs and petroglyphs, on wild whitewater, near wildlife's watchful eyes and always under ever-changing light. Unlike formally structured workshops, lessons and discussions will take place throughout your O.A.R.S. trip as time permits. Whether it's photographing early morning light, or discussing various techniques of capturing that light over your first cup of coffee (for those who rise early), there is ample time for both group and one-on-one discussions with the professional photographer.


Want to scramble up a slope for a bird's-eye-view of a river canyon or glacial lake? Investigate a drop of dew on a spring wildflower bloom? Would you like to know how to successfully capture a moonrise over jagged mountain peaks? Our guides and photographer will assist you in achieving the best possible nature photography images.

Participants on a whitewater trip may choose to rotate in and out of a raft with the photographer throughout the day. Working with the raft guides, the group will be able to set up for photography at a few of the bigger rapids, as well as for shooting the landscape of the tiny boats floating beneath the canyon walls.


Our Photographers


Justin Bailie is an Oregon-based adventure, lifestyle and environmental photographer. He regularly works with clients such as Outside, Men’s Journal and Sunset magazines as well as with Mont-Bell and Patagonia. In 2008, Justin began working with O.A.R.S. to document our whitewater rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventures. His inspiring images from O.A.R.S. trips in Alaska, Baja, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Grand Canyon, Idaho, Utah & Wyoming appear throughout the O.A.R.S. catalog and website.

james.kaiserJames Kaiser is an award-winning travel writer and photographer. His guidebooks to national parks have sold over 60,000 copies worldwide. His book Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Full-Color Travel Guide and the Independent Publisher Award for Best Travel Guide. He has photographed over a dozen whitewater rafting trips for the adventure travel company OARS. In 2006 he was a photographer for Yahoo! Sports at the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

whit richardsonWhit Richardson is a photographer based in Moab, Utah. After documenting travels and adventure sports for years, and motivated by a growing passion for photography, he starting submitting photos to magazines and catalogs and was elated when they used some of his images. Whit feels fortunate to have shot for many of the big name outdoor gear, clothing companies and magazines throughout the years and is now a full-time photographer.

Featured Outdoor Photography Adventures

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Company Info

O.A.R.S. is an author ized concessioner of Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and Grand Te ton National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument.
Outside Travel Awards 'Best Outfitter' Runner Up National Geographic Adventure Magazine - Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth As Featured On 50 Tours of a Lifetime - National Geographic Traveler Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservations Manager Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist 2007-2013 (River Rafting) Best of the Bay Area Winner

For consecutive years, O.A.R.S. has been named the "Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure and one of the top two outfitters in the world by Outside Magazine in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program. In multiple years, O.A.R.S.trips have been honored as "50 Tours of a Lifetime" by National Geographic Traveler and since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler has recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler's standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category.

Questions about trips or making reservations? Contact info@oars.com or call 800-346-6277 in the USA or Canada or 1-209-736-4677 if outside the USA or Canada.
O.A.R.S. Companies Inc.,
PO Box 67, Angels Camp, CA 95222