California Photography Workshops


The Columbia Gorge - Photos by Keith Skelton

This September, Keith Skelton will lead a photo workshop in his home state of Oregon. August and September is arguably the best time of year in Oregon with chances of rain being minimal. We will see and photograph the beautiful Palouse-like rolling wheat fields of north central Oregon, rows of orchards and alpine views of Hood River, waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

-The Painted Hills in north central Oregon are one of least known but one of the most outstanding places to take photographs in the United States. It is part of The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The yellow, red, and black colors are a wash poured over gently rolling hills. It is best photographed in the afternoon. See this GALLERY

-Smith Rock State Park near Redmond encompasses 651 acres on the Oregon high desert plateau, which hovers around 3000 feet in elevation. There is great hiking and provide great opportunities for landscape photography.

-The wheat fields in this part of Oregon offer some of the best agricultural landscape photo opportunities anywhere. This area of Oregon rivals the Palouse in Washington.  For miles you see nothing but waves of patterned wheat, long empty roads, and distant views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. This is Oregon Trail country. There are small historical farm towns and many abandoned barns and houses dot the countryside. Late in the summer, the short stubble is burned or plowed under. Huge tractors leave sweeping curved patterns as their contour plowing wraps the rolling hills. From a distance, long stripes of colors create bold patterns. The wheat harvesting will be toward its end leaving many golden fields with abstract patterns and textures to photograph. We will pass through small towns called Dufur, Wasco, Heppner, Condon, and Locust Grove.

-Hood River is one of the most beautiful fruit growing regions in the The United States, if not the world and is one of Oregon's major apple and pear growing areas. The rows of orchards roll up and down the hills leading your eye to distant views. There are also vineyards, lavender fields, and berry farms. Mt. Hood sits at Hood River's southwest. It feels so close that one could reach out and touch it. Massive Mt. Adams sits to the North, it's roundness mirroring the rolling hills. The orchard leaves will be beginning to turn as the pear harvest begins.  The town of Hood River overlooks the Columbia River and has a trendy historical downtown district. It is now the Wind Surfing Capital of the World due to gusty winds on the Columbia River.

-The Columbia Gorge is something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Its old growth forests and many waterfalls are amazing considering its proximity to a major metropolitan area. Multnomah Falls is arguably the grandaddy of the 77 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. At 620 feet, only three falls in the nation are higher, and none are more beautiful. But many of the smaller, including Wahkeena Falls, Latourell Falls, and Shepperd's Dell Falls are the real gems and are easily reachable from the Historic Columbia River Highway. It winds amid lush green trees and neon-bright lichens.  The maples will be beginning to turn so the contrasts in colors will be outstanding. The Highway itself was designed in 1913 to showcase the many waterfalls and other vistas of the Gorge.

All levels of experience are welcome! This trip is limited to 12 students. 


Participants will be instructed how to set up shots and how to find the right locations to get great photos. But we also give you the creative space so you can capture your own image. We will strive to help you improve your technique and your photographic vision by studying form, color, composition, and light. We will practice techniques such as using slow shutter speeds to create motion with water. We will be practicing star photography at night.

We will also discuss important digital techniques including shooting in raw, digital work flow, and processing digital pictures. For those that need it, the course will have an overview of photography concepts and the camera to make sure you are able to get the most from your cameras technology. This includes explanations of each setting. Also, we will cover topics such as lens choice, white balance, ISO, shooting modes, histograms, etc.

Our workshop will be organized for all to leave Oregon with great pictures and with new found photographic skills.

-Day one: Meet at 4 pm and photograph the sunset on the Columbia Gorge.

-Day two: Sunrise at Larch Mountain. Explore and photograph the numerous waterfalls, views, foliage, etc. in the Columbia Gorge. Sunset at Tom McCall Preserve.

-Day Three: Photograph sunrise, Hood River, abandoned house/barns and wheat fields.

-Day Four: Photograph sunrise near Stonehenge, WA.  Shoot late afternoon and sunset at The Painted Hills. Abandoned house/barns and wheat fields.

-Day five: Shoot sunrise at Smith Rocks, Cascade Range, abandoned house/barns and wheat fields.

The workshop will end at about 11 AM that Sunday in Redmond Oregon.

There will also be appropriate times to review your pictures and go over software techniques depending on peoples needs.

This schedule will be flexible allowing us to take advantage of the best situations, light and weather. 

Keith Skelton is a veteran professional photographer and teacher with over 30 years of experience. He has an extensive background in photography techniques and aesthetics. You will get individualized instruction and one-on-one attention, teaching you how to capture the best images possible on either film or digital.

Painted Hills Oregon

The Columbia Gorge Natural Scenic Area




You will either need to fly into Portland International Airport or drive your own car. Portland is served by numerous airlines. Once there, you will need to rent a car. A SUV is not necessary unless you desire one. However, this trip involves quite a bit of driving time so make sure you are comfortable. We will be driving approximately 450 miles during the workshop. I will be able to carry two people in my vehicle if you would share with gas. This will be reserved for the the first two people who make the requests. 

The workshop will officially end in the Redmond area which is about 150 miles from Portland International Airport.

You will be required to pay for your own transportation, food and 4 nights of lodging. You are welcome to choose your own hotel in the area if you desire. Most run around $100-150 per night. There are no special rates for these hotels listed. We usually eat meals together at or near the hotel out of convenience.  Most of the time we eat breakfast after we shoot a sunrise and dinner after sunset sessions.


Lodging in Troutdale Oregon.

The first night 9-17 we will stay at Best Western Cascade Inn & Suites, 23525 NE Halsey Street, Troutdale, OR 97060.

Or, a nearby hotel of your choice. It is about 20 minutes form PDX.

Best Western Cascade Inn & Suites

23525 NE Halsey Street

Troutdale, OR 97060

Phone: 503-491-9700

This is close to Crown Point so we can shoot the first night. 

Lodging in The Dalles, Oregon. 

Two nights 9-18 and 9-19 at the Shilo Inn or a motel of your choice in The Dalles.

3223 Bret Clodfelter Way

The Dalles, OR 97058

Lodging in Redmond Oregon at Comfort Inn or a motel of your choice.

One night 9-20 at Comfort Suites Redmond Airport

2243 SW Yew Ave., Redmond, OR, US, 97756

(541) 504-8900

Here is a link to other hotels in The Dalles:


Many meals will be at small casual restaurants. Remember that this part of Oregon is farm county We will bring snacks for longer outings.

You will be responsible for all travel, rooms, and meal costs.

Approximate route of travel.