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Weekend Photography Workshop in Drumheller AB Sept 21 – 23, 2018


In this photography workshop, you'll experience three days and two nights of photography where you'll have a chance to capture the Hoodoos lit up with the setting sun and stars behind – while another night, learn and practice light painting in a prairie ghost town.

Capture sunrise over the Alberta badlands in an early morning shoot and then photo lessons and image review throughout the day. Learn how to position and light a model with the Atlas Coal Mine as your backdrop, then tour and photograph the once thriving mine.

Learn Lightroom and image editing techniques in a classroom setting while reviewing your images. Come and enjoy a weekend of photography with other avid photographers.

Fall 2018 will be the 10th edition of this weekend photography workshop!

Photo of the hoodoos in Drumheller Alberta at night by student Karen Albert

Student Image – Karen Albert

Alberta Photography Workshop in Drumheller, AB

  • Where: Drumheller, Alberta
  • When: Sept 21 – 23, 2018
  • Who: You and seven other fabulous people. Spouses and non-photography types are welcome.
  • What: Photography workshop with on-location lessons including a portrait session and night photography.
  • Why: To expand your photographic horizons, meet some new friends, learn a trick or two and have lots of fun.
  • Max Group Size: 8
  • Remaining Spots: 8

Price: $1097 CAD

Register Now – $250

Note: While the price of this tour is listed at $1097 Canadian dollars, you will be charged only a $250 reservation fee with the remainder being invoiced 60 days prior to the workshop.

This workshop pairs well with our 5-day Wine & Photography workshop in the Okanagan Valley the following weekend (September 30th – October 5th).

We've scheduled these photography workshops to run back-to-back, allowing anyone traveling to Canada to spend some time improving their photography skills, while on vacation. Ask us about travel ideas that would lead you through Calgary, Canmore, Banff and the Canadian Rocky Mountains as you make your way west towards Vancouver.

If you want to participate in both fall 2018 workshops, you will get a special bonus discount of $150 off when you register for both.

“I have never quite accomplished a good night shot when it comes to including skies and stars, even after a class in night shooting and multiple tries on camping trips. I was attempting it again while light painting at the hoodoos and after a few suggestions from Darlene, I had a turning point moment. I looked at the preview in my camera and I was stunned, I could hardly believe I had taken the picture I was seeing. That single moment was worth the entire trip” – Karen Albert

Best Light

You get to photograph at the optimal times of day for the best light possible, not like other tours where you end up at the best locations at midday, and the worst lighting conditions. This is a workshop and tour designed for photography.

Night Photography

Learn and practice night photography to dazzle your family and friends! Even if you’ve never done night photography this workshop will help you learn some ins and outs of shooting at night, and once again, on-site help as you’re shooting.

Gain Confidence

You will get to work with an experienced photography teacher, Darlene Hildebrandt, who will show you how to create great lighting on location and pose people. With a little guidance and support, you’ll be photographing with confidence. YOU will take images so good you may surprise yourself!

It's Easy

All the arrangements, bookings and schedules are planned for you – all you have to do is register, pay and show up! What better way to spend a weekend.

Portrait Shoot

Our photography workshop includes a non-intimidating photo shoot with a model (an old miner). With professional photography instruction and assistance during the session, the fear factor will be removed from the equation. If you’ve never worked with people or done any portrait photography, now’s your chance!

Your Images Will Sing

With class time to review images, learn how to make improvements, post processing tips and tricks that are easy and you can do yourself. You will leave with knowledge on how to take your images to the next level.

student taking a photostudents photography the sunrise at

The Drumheller area of southern Alberta is an oasis on the prairies. It’s a desert in the middle of wheat fields, where you’ll find old coal mines, dinosaur bones, deep canyons, ghost towns, and even a tumbleweed or two on occasion. If you are not familiar with the area, it’s sort of like a mini Grand Canyon, mixed with Arizona desert, mixed with the old west. If you live in Washington, Idaho or Montana you’re just a days drive away. Of course, if you live in Alberta, BC or Saskatchewan you are even closer.

Experience a Uniquely Beautiful Valley With Other Photography Enthusiasts

“I was not sure what to expect going in, as I knew I had a lot less experience than anyone else in the group. I was basically starting from scratch with SLR photography. The group size was perfect for me to ask questions, get some help, and then play around on my own. Darlene, you have an incredible amount of patience with everyone, most definitely meant to teach. I feel inspired to keep learning, and will be back for another photography workshop in the future.” – Stacey Oviatt

This is a tentative schedule, may not be exactly as shown here:

student photographer getting in close
Alberta ghost town Rowley at night
Rowley Alberta railway station at night
coal miner as photo model
atlas coal mine drumheller alberta

Friday Afternoon
Arrive at 2 p.m. in Drumheller for a meet and greet, and discussion of logistics for the weekend. Workshop notes will be handed out and we'll go over general tips to get the most out of the weekend. We'll go over some shooting tips for the evening's lessons and for sunrise the next morning. Get to know one another and then supper out at a local restaurant. (dinner included in your fee)
Friday Evening
An evening workshop south-east of Drumheller at the Hoodoos. We'll get there just before sunset and then spend a few hours working on night photography. It's this first night that you may begin to understand that photography doesn't have to end when the sun goes down, that's when it just starts to get interesting.
Saturday Morning
Up bright and early for a stunning sunrise shoot over the valley of the badlands. Then lessons and a few exercises at a local attraction and another interesting venue, all before 9 a.m.
Saturday Mid-Morning
A few hours on your own from 9 a.m. till noon. Take a nap, look through your images and grab a lunch meal with a buddy before some one on one time. (lunch on your own, not included)
Saturday Afternoon
One-on-one time with your instructor after lunch, in scheduled time slots from noon until 1:30 p.m., followed by image review from the previous evening and the morning photo sessions. Then night photography instruction in preparation for the evening's activities.
Saturday Early Evening
Supper out with our group before the evening activities (dinner is included in your fee)
Saturday Evening
Night photography at a ghost town a short distance from Drumheller. Sunset photos with dramatic backdrops provided by the ghost town. Classic prairie landscape with the rustic charm of a small practically abandoned (but cared for) ghost town. Photos of old buildings and once the sun sets, night photography on site with light painting demonstration and practice. Make use of the grain elevators, a restored railroad station and plenty of rustic buildings and machinery. Things wrap up close to 11 p.m., so be prepared for a very long day – sun up until well past sundown.
Sunday Morning
Join your instructor at the Atlas Coal Mine, along with a former coal miner, for lessons in lighting and portraiture. Following the portrait session, feel free to wander around the mine and photograph anything that captures your eye. We're here well before they open for the day, so have the mine all to ourselves. Your mine tour fee is included in your registration fee and our miner model is quite happy to lead the tour explaining what it was like in his day. An abandoned train trestle nearby provides ample opportunity for some great shots, as does an old cabin from years ago.
Sunday Early Afternoon
Lunch in the historic East Coulee School museum tea room, time on your own to tour and photograph in the the school, or just learn the history of the area from the miners perspective. Your instructor is available to answer any questions.
Sunday Afternoon
Class time, image review, Lightroom techniques and examples, questions, answers and wrap up.

“The teacher considers everyone special and makes an effort to give what each student is looking for. I learned some concepts of photography that I used to do and had dropped it to only realize it was a good thing. Also doing night photography made me more understanding of exposure, ISO and so forth making it more clear how it works.” – Danielle, Fall 2016 [photo by Danielle]

Pricing for Drumheller Photography Workshop

Price: $1097

Register Now – $250

This workshop is a great value. Everything below is included:

  • 2 nights accommodation (prices based on double occupancy, if you wish to have your own private room, $195 will be added to the price). If we cannot match you with a roommate the single supplement will apply.
  • 2 continental breakfasts.
  • 1 lunch.
  • 2 dinners.
  • 5 on-location photo shoots.
  • One shoot at an old mine which includes a private guide and model who used to be a miner when it was still operating.
  • 4 hours of class-time for review of images, processing tips and general question and answer session.
  • Ongoing instructor support during the location shoots.
  • Photography instruction and tutoring from an experienced professional photographer and teacher.

Your Instructor Darlene Hildebrandt
Darlene is the creator of Digital Photo Mentor, a photography teacher, tour leader, traveler, and a cat owner. She has over 30 years of experience as a professional photographer and has been teaching photography since 2011. She is a Canon and Fuji user but speaks almost all other photography languages including; Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax and more. Whatever your skill level and experience, she can help you unlock the next level and take better photos.

Cancellation policies

If for some reason you need to cancel your registration (of course we'll be very sad!) the following cancellation and refund policies will apply. Due to the limited size of the workshop, if you reserve a spot and then cancel, it may mean that we have turned away other interested people. So after the cut-off dates, a retainer fee will be charged based on the date of cancellation. Please read these policies carefully, there will be no exceptions.

  • In the event of a cancellation, your initial deposit is non-refundable unless we can fill your spot.
  • Final invoices will be issued 90 days before the workshop and due 60 days in advance of the start date.
  • Cancellation more than 60 days in advance – you will get a full refund of your final payment (not including your $500 deposit).
  • Cancellation 31-60 days in advance a 75% refund of your final payment will apply (not including your $500 deposit).
  • Cancellation 15-30 days in advance 50% refund of your final payment will apply (not including your $500 deposit).
  • Cancellation less than 14 days before the workshop – no refund will be issued. At that point hotel rooms, meals, and other booking fees will have been paid in advance and cannot be returned to the workshop organizers, so any last minute cancellations, unfortunately, cannot be refunded and the full balance is the retainer fee.

“Despite sometimes being unsure of camera settings, Darlene was always respectful and provided encouragement. It was a positive learning environment and fun to be with other photographers who were trying to improve their skills also. – Susan J.

This workshop IS for you if:

    • You are a beginner to intermediate, amateur or hobby photographer.
    • You have a DSLR, Mirrorless, or Micro 4/3's camera (that has manual controls) and want to get more out of it.
    • You love to travel.

<li You like meeting new people.

  • You love learning new things.
  • You want to improve your photography.
  • You want to know how to make your images have the punch they seem to lack.
  • You want to have new experiences.
  • You are fun and open-minded.


This workshop IS NOT for you if:

  • You are a working professional photographer (this is not a portfolio expansion opportunity).
  • You have a point and shoot camera (unfortunately those cameras are a bit limiting and there isn't' as much to learn about them so you may not get as much value out of the workshop).
  • You already have some good images (you think) but want someone to review them for you.
  • You are under 18 (sorry no minors).

Don't take my word for it, see what past participants had to say:

Space is limited do not miss out!

This workshop is limited to 8 participants so you will get plenty of individual time with the instructor. So register now, this will fill up fast and you do not want to be #9! Click the button below to be taken to Step 1 of your registration process.

Register Now

“The Drumheller Workshop was a very diversified workshop ranging from sunrise, sunset, landscape, portrait, light painting, etc. The setting in and near Drumheller allows a very wide range of subject material. Darlene was very receptive to working with individuals as well as the group and tried to tailor the material to suit individuals wants and needs. All in all a very enjoyable weekend.” – Brian Hayward

“The Drumheller weekend was a great opportunity to immerse myself in two straight days of learning. Not only were sessions planned to take advantage of the unique location, enabling us to experience different types of photographic situations, but it all happened under the guidance of a helpful, patient, and knowledgeable instructor. All in all, time very well spent.” Bev Holoboff

“I was one of the students in Darlene Hildebrandt's September Photography workshop in the Drumheller area. Darlene was knowledgeable and easy to work with. The workshop helped me be aware of, and use more of my camera's capabilities and the way I view a scene before taking a photograph. Both the location and accommodation were excellent choices.” – Larry Flemming

“This seminar is absolutely jam-packed! Be rested and ready because you are going to learn your camera better than you thought possible and also get a gallery of shots that surpass anything you ever imagined being able to take!” Dara Choy

Pricing for Drumheller Photography Workshop

Price: $1097

Register Now – $250

 Note: Once we receive your completed registration form, you will be sent an invoice for a $250 reservation fee in Canadian dollars with the remainder being invoiced 60 days prior to the workshop. The price equates to approximately $859 USD or $1120 AUD respectively. Prices are based on double occupancy, there is a $195 CAD single supplement price if you would like your own room. (If you request a roommate we will endeavor to match you with one, but cannot guarantee this. If a roommate is not available the single supplement will apply.)

This workshop is limited to just eight people so we can keep the group small enough for individual attention from the instructor.

Our Photo Tours & Workshops

Click here for our complete list of photo tours of Central America, Africa, Asia and South America, and if you'd like more hands-on, photography education, you'll love one of our workshops, held in Western Canada, Eastern Canada, Mexico and soon Asia.