Praise from a few of our many happy customers...
"I spent three days with Michael in April 2018, on a one-on-one photo tour. Michael knows the park intimately. He knows on which berm, bend and hilltop to place your tripod for the optimal shot, how the sky and weather unfolds throughout the park ("Let's go to the South. The North will be clearing in two hours"), when and where the lighting will be best, which ridge lines are worth hiking and which not, which canyon walls reflect the best light and when, and on and on. If there is knowledge about photographing in the park Michael doesn't possess, I never saw it. We set up a tour and not a workshop, so I wasn't expecting frame by frame reviews of my work. Nonetheless, any questions I asked about exposure Micheal responded to with a fuller answer than I knew to ask. As a result of my time with Michael I have technically advanced in ways I consider significant, and my aesthetic has broadened and become more subtle. Michael offers both a great way to get to know Death Valley (he's also steeped in its history) and an opportunity to mature as a photographer. Highly recommended." Lee Gerstein - Utah, USA
"Michael did a great job of not only helping us to find the right places at the right time to get good images, he also helped us to learn more about how to compose and get the best in-camera shot. We spent four days with Michael. He was patient with both my wife and I and balanced both of our wishes and abilities so that we were both successful in having a great time. He gave us a great variety of visual challenges. He also taught us to look down and at the small textures that exist everywhere in Death Valley. We were fortunate to spend a tremendous morning in Cottonball Basin with a rare rain-induced reflection on the salt basin and stupendous lenticular clouds. The best shots were obtained after others had left. He had the expertise to understand possibility. The icing on the cake was the images that he took of us in gorgeous and unique settings so that we could share with others and have the memories. Michael has the expertise and experience to give you confidence that he knows what he is doing in Death Valley. It isn’t just a workshop occasionally. He spends at least 90 days per year in the park." Gail Myer - Missouri, USA
"Thanks to Michael, my friend and I had an unforgettable experience during our photographic tour of Death Valley. During three days Michael took us on a journey to discover beautiful hidden places of Death Valley. His attention to details in both the planning of the tour, the locations selected, and best time for photography were meticulous to the final element. He also has uncanny photographer’s eye to select compelling viewpoints, and the technical skills to make these viewpoints sing a beautiful visual song. You only have to view his photos online! Michael worked with us shoulder to shoulder, consulting us with the right composition, exposure and technical aspects. He is a wonderful teacher, photographer, and consummate professional. When I came home and downloaded my pictures on computer, I realized that this tour helped me to improve my photography skills, and I made wonderful pictures of Death Valley NP. Thank you so much Michael!!!" Gennady Plavnik, Illinois, USA
"Many thanks for a wonderful tour of Death Valley National Park. We could have rented a Jeep and tried to do it ourselves but when looking at cost we felt the value of having you guide us was well worth it. You got us at the most interesting places at the right time of day for some of the most spectacular photographs I have ever taken. If we had opted to do it ourselves I think we would have been deeply disappointed." Al & Nancy Pacosky - Ohio, USA
"I had the pleasure of spending two days with Michael during a recent visit. His passion for Death Valley and photography is inspirational and his extensive knowledge of the park allowed me to make the most of my short visit and photograph several of its beautiful locations under the best possible conditions. In addition to his in-depth knowledge, Michael is very personable and I had a great time learning about the history of the Park and sharing our experiences as photographers while traveling around. If you want to make the most out of a trip to Death Valley, I strongly recommend a tour with Michael!" David Frey - Michigan, USA
"Michael knows all the usual sites that photographers go to...plus, he knows others where few are. He speaks lovingly of this space on planet earth. His two decade plus Death Valley extensive knowledge encompasses not only the flora and fauna but also the very colorful folklore. Michael’s approach is simple. He tailors the tour for your needs/desires. He asks for your preferences factoring in both photographic and geographic needs. Since this was our first time in Death Valley, my husband, Chris and I deferred to Michael’s suggestions. However I did have one request to shoot the night sky, which we did at The Racetrack. Since we missed dinner, Michael cooked us a very savory vegan dinner from the bed of his Toyota Tacoma...We highly recommend Michael Gordon to guide you in Death Valley. You will not be disappointed. In fact, you will be delighted with this bucket-list experience." Catherine & Chris Roberts - Washington, USA
"Michael puts his skill and experience to good use adjusting the itinerary to suite my interests and abilities as well as changing conditions in the park. Hopefully one of many great trips to Death Valley!" Michael Cresswell - Washington, USA
"...we really enjoyed the three days in Death Valley with your guidance. You knowledge of the area and its geology, wildlife and flowers was something we will never forget. Maria came with us to see and learn more about the geology of Death Valley and I wanted to capture some of its beauty along with learning about the place. We both got what we wanted and more. I am so happy I contacted you. You took us to the right place at the right time to be able to make some beautiful images. Above all, we both enjoyed your personality and were happy to be with you through the long days. Thank you! If we get back to the area sometime in the future, I will not hesitate contacting you again. Photographing some wonderful places cannot be better if you have a friend on your side whose knowledge and experience is of yours." Laszlo Podor - Nova Scotia, Canada
"As an organizer and trip leader, Michael goes that extra mile to ensure a remarkable mix of Death Valley variety from beginning to end. Coordinated to the highest level, Michael’s knowledge of this desert area offers the photographer a unique approach to this landscape of untold beauty. From day one it was evident Michael’s professionalism, commitment and dedication was obvious as was his enthusiasm; his cooking too!!!" Martyn Lucas - Mississippi, USA
"My workshop with Michael was simply spectacular - on every level - his knowledge of Death Valley, his willingness to go "the extra mile" when needed, his ability to roll with all the changes in weather, his energy and enthusiasm never flagging for one moment, his technical expertise, his willingness to work with each participant in coming up with the "best shot" possible - I would give him the highest grade possible in each of those categories - and I look forward to taking another workshop as soon as possible."
Susan B. Landau - Los Angeles, California
"Thank you many times over for another fabulous trip. I can't imagine any better people to be with in Death Valley. It is great to find people who so appreciate what a special place it is. I am blown away by your knowledge of the flora, fauna, history, and geology of the place." Jim Machin (repeat tour client) - Memphis, Tennessee
"I want to tell you again what an incredible experience I had, and I can vouch for Dan that he felt the same way. Our time with you far exceeded my wildest expectations. Besides being knowledgeable about photography and Death Valley, you are just an all around nice guy who made the whole trip fun, despite, or maybe because of the early mornings and long days." Jim Machin - Memphis, Tennessee
"... Michael helped consolidate and solidify the lessons I had learned during the workshop. I kept slipping into old bad habits, and Michael was great about helping me develop and strengthen new ones. He always was very patient with me. Clearly his intent was to help me excel rather than admonish me for my mistakes. He created a comfortable and non-judgmental space in which to work, which in turn helped *me* do better work.
...we were able to visit sites we didn't visit during the workshop. We also visited Eureka Dunes, one of the most remote areas of the park. It already was late in the day when we arrived. Then Michael whipped up an extremely good vegan dinner, and then we spent the night under the stars.
At first I had been slightly apprehensive about spending two days working with Michael one-on-one. Michael is, without question, a true artist, and artists are notorious for being temperamental. However, Michael's friendly and relaxed attitude immediately erased those concerns. He is a great conversationalist -- he can talk about more than just photography -- and I thoroughly enjoyed spending those two days with him.
What makes those two days really worthwhile, however, is the fact that my best images were made during this time. I had consolidated everything from the workshop, and Michael helped me improve even further. I now have a fantastic portfolio of Death Valley photographs, images of which I am quite proud. Almost half of these images were made during the time with Michael." Nick Nicholas, Mississippi, U.S.A.
“I just finished up a Death Valley workshop with Michael and wanted to say what a great experience! My expectations were met or exceeded on everything from the technical knowledge of the team leaders and their guidance and recommendations about composition, to the photography discussions during down-time or in the car rides between sites, to the unbelievable amount of general knowledge Michael possessed about the history and geography of the place and of course the amazing sites we had the pleasure of shooting. Thanks again for the great experience - I look forward to my next trip.” Kalim T. - Houston, Texas
"I spent 3 nights camping in Death Valley with Michael. This was a custom tour, and I had traveled solo from Australia. Death Valley was an amazing place, the photographic opportunities were endless. Michael's knowledge of Death Valley and photography meant that we were always at each location at the perfect time of day for getting the optimal shots. His knowledge of the best places to photograph certain areas meant there was no time wasted and enabled me to get to all the areas I wanted to see in the short time I had. Michael was very friendly and easy to hang out with. I had a fantastic few days. His local knowledge of the area also provided a sense of safety as did he driving. Thanks again Michael, I would have no hesitation in recommending your tours and workshops of Death Valley to anyone."Jamie P. - Sydney, Australia
"I spent a week in Death valley with Michael Gordon camping in various interior locations and observing and photographing its beauty. I came to the realization that treating Death Valley just as a desert, photographically or as a study, is to miss its unique and diverse geology, its human history spanning many hundreds of years, it's remoteness, and above all a truly vast wilderness away from the city lights where one can marvel at the glorious night sky. Michael's deep knowledge of every aspect of the place, be it the history of various mining activities or the locations where we saw marine fossils or unique vantage points to view and photograph already popular spots like "The Racetrack", or his ability to navigate that wilderness in his 4WD, is invaluable for a nature photographer to peer beyond the surface that most tourists see. I came back home with images that I really treasure, which wouldn't have been possible at all had I gone on my own. Thanks, Michael for a truly eye opening experience!"
Balaji V. - Cupertino, California
"Michael is extremely knowledgeable about Death Valley as he took us to places unlikely seen on a self-guided tour. Michael is a great guide, very friendly and very helpful to photographers of all skill levels. He does allow plenty of time for those of us wanting to spend more time in each location. This was my second workshop with Michael and I strongly recommend his workshops."
Ken Hoffman - Tiburon, CA
"I can't thank you enough for the wonderful experience I had in your Death Valley workshop. You freely provided me with assistance that was invaluable." Jorge Gaj - Sacramento, CA
"I was awestruck by all of the scenery and the places you showed me. Your knowledge of the park is obvious in your ability to know where to be at the right time. The tour was excellent and far outweighed my expectations." Kelsey Brown - Australia
“Thank you for one of the best trips I've had yet. You are a great person and guide, and I had an absolute blast... It was so tough leaving today! I am suffering from some intense Death Valley withdrawal right now, but I'll be coasting on the high this trip gave me for a good while.” Sarah Machin - Las Cruces, New Mexico
"Michael’s studio and office is over 3.3 million acres in size, “Death Valley National Park” and he knows where all the points of interest are, not just the commonly traversed tourist areas but also off-road locations and hiking tails that would inspire a photographer with rare scenery found only in the park. My biggest bonus was the energy and passion he exudes as he shares his knowledge of photography and the use of the Large Format Field camera. His eagerness to impart his knowledge, familiarity of his office surroundings, the energy and confidence he imparts to his students made his photography workshop worth every moment oftime I was there. I will certainly go back to Death Valley and improve my knowledge as one of his students. Well done, Michael, and thank you."
Noland G. Payne - Alberta, Canada
"I wanted to thank you again for an exhilarating, informative and rewarding few days in Death Valley. The experience far exceeded my expectations and you are clearly to thank for this!"
Sam M. - Yardley, Pennsylvania
“I am a serious hobby photographer and recently participated in a Death Valley photo tour. I can emphatically say is that it was an excellent and a very informative tour. Michael is an extremely professional and great photographer. Michael put together the three day plan and the execution was close to perfect. The locations and time for photography were the best in Death Valley. He gave a lot of photography tips along the way, and ample time at every location for me to try compositions. Without doubt, my photographs I took with Michael are many times better than my previous ones. This was my first visit to the Death Valley and after touring with Michael, I will go again!” Kamala Raghavan - California, USA
“I just returned from four days with Michael Gordon in Death Valley. It was great. Michael is professional, knowledgeable of both Death Valley and photography, patient, helpful, and a good person to talk to. I learned a lot, got some pictures I really like, saw much of the best of Death Valley and feel I made a friend. If anyone is thinking of photographing Death Valley they could not have a better guide whether they are new to photography or a seasoned pro. I am already planning when I can do it again.” Steve Warren - Missouri, USA
"We recently returned from a spectacular 3-day photo tour with Michael. Seeing Death Valley with him as our guide was more than we could have hoped for or imagined. His custom itinerary designed for two retired ladies was challenging in a good way and he was right there with a helping hand or helpful hint at every turn. En-route to the next destination we talked about many things. We greatly enjoyed his company as well as his photographic and natural history expertise. A highlight was our drive through Titus Canyon where we encountered a family of Desert Bighorn Sheep. After meeting Michael E. Gordon and seeing Death Valley through his eyes, we have renewed hope for our planet. We feel a deep connection with this incredible place. The title of Michael's new book "Immense, Silent, and Sacred" says it all." Marcia Fowler & Martha Sheil - Michigan, USA
"For a couple of the days in Death Valley I went with the highly recommended private guide Michael E. Gordon to both little known locations and to sides of iconic locations seldom visited. Mike is a photographer’s photographer and understands the heart and soul of this valley and has the wherewithal (including a 4WD rig and knowledge how to use it) to get you to the right places at the right times. Mike met with me the evening before the private workshop to go over the recommended itinerary that supported my goals. He had a portfolio of compelling images of each of the places we planned to visit for me to review ahead of time. Mike supported my own exploration of these areas and also offered suggestions based on his experience. Overall this was an excellent trip and when I return to Death Valley in the future I will book another private tour with Michael again." Erwin Buske - Washington, USA
"I can’t thank you enough for the three days we spent with you in Death Valley. I appreciate that you were willing to make our time frame work and accommodate our requests for certain locations. Your knowledge of the area was invaluable both during the time we spent with you and the 5 days we were in the park afterwards. The time I spent with you could not have been more informative and enjoyable. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the destination that we miss the journey and your presence was a helpful reminder to not miss the journey. Whether it be a follow-up visit to Death Valley (which there absolutely will be) or a trip to Yosemite – I will change my schedule to ensure that I get to spend time with you again. Thanks again for the company, knowledge, light and one of the most dynamically beautiful places on Earth." Jeff and Judy Brock - Georgia, USA
"Our Death Valley tour with Michael far exceeded our expectations. Despite challenging weather (providing some unique photo opportunities!), Michael's passion, hard work, and knowledge always provided excellent photo opportunities. His depth of knowledge and passion for Death Valley were evident in his insightful, educational, and often humorous remarks. He is a fun person to spend several days with, and you'll see parts of the park others can only imagine. No one works harder for his clients." Pat & Sondra Appel - Texas, USA
"Our three-day Death Valley tour with Michael Gordon was one of the peak creative experiences of my life. He is an extremely well-informed guide to the Valley, and clearly feels its rhythms and wonders in his bones. He took us to places both in and not in the guidebooks, and knew exactly when we should be there. Best of all, he was a superb teacher: thorough and generous and creative and patient. I learned a great deal I hope to apply in photography from here on, and will try to be his student again.” Adelaide MacMurray-Cooper - Massachusetts, USA
"If you are planning a trip to Death Valley NP and have an interest in photographing its amazing landscapes, there is no better person to do it with than Michael Gordon. I spent several days with Michael on a private photo-tour and came back with amazing photographs and experiences that I would not have been able to get on my own. Not only is Michael an amazing photo pro, he is intimately familiar with Death Valley, having spent decades traveling its unique spots and photographing its treasures. He knows exactly where to go, what time, and from which unique location that perfectly takes advantage of light and texture. He is very flexible and able to customize plans to your needs. I had big goals and Michael helped me deliver them by going the extra mile, literally and figuratively, to places few tourists ever get to. I found Michael to be a genuine, friendly, fun person, and a pleasure to work with. If you are serious about your photography, he is worth every penny and more." Shivesh Ram - Florida, USA
"Thanks so much for an outstanding trip!! I loved everything that we saw and I really appreciate your teaching of the area and appreciation of the beauty of this wonderful part of the country!"
Brad Warner - Missouri, USA
"A friend and I just completed a 3 day private photography tour in Death Valley with Michael Gordon. It was an unforgettable time. Michael is a super fellow; very outgoing and easy to get along with. He is a well known and accomplished photographer who imparts his knowledge with ease and great enthusiasm to others. We both felt we learned so much from Michael . He was right there to answer any questions, to make suggestions on composition and how to use the best light to advantage. He made sure we got to all our destinations well in time and gave us so much information and fascinating history about the area. In addition, we just had a really enjoyable time, ending each day tired but happy....We had time to appreciate each venue and to make our images without hurrying.
It was my first trip to the desert and I am so thankful it was Michael who introduced me to its beauty. You feel that Death Valley is part of him and that he thoroughly enjoys every opportunity to have others appreciate the same.
After we said good-bye to him , my friend turned to me and said, "The best three days of my life." I was left with a similar feeling. We had taken in all we could and were left with images and impressions that go well beyond the digital ones although they too look promising. Standing under the stars at Ubehebe Crater is etched in my mind forever. Thank you, Michael, for such a beautiful experience."
Lynda T. - Ottawa, Canada
"Just want to thank you for your thoroughly enjoyable, immersive class of last week. I feel we were presented with the best possible shooting conditions, weather guided of course, and that you placed us in areas/positions where the most potential for extracting the essence of the site were available. If I’m ever fortunate enough to return to Death Valley, I’ll know where to start."
Trent Anderson - Los Angeles, California
"Michael is a first rate photographer with an extraordinary knowledge of, and deep love for, Death Valley based on years of experience. He helped us see things that we would have surely missed, patiently assisted and encouraged our photographic efforts, and carefully tailored the trip to our needs. Plus, he is a very nice person and good companion."
Harvey Yaverbaum - Roxbury, Connecticut
"I had the opportunity to spend four days with Michael Gordon, as my guide, teacher, and companion in Death Valley. I was extremely pleased with the guidance and information Michael provided. He was on time, every time. He suggested where he thought we should go and told me why. He then left the final decision up to me. Throughout the day, whether it was in his truck while driving, or hiking in some canyon, he pointed out plants, rock formations, and points of interest to me. He knew the history of the land, the biology of the flora and fauna, and told interesting stories of various characters who had lived in the area. If you are looking to photograph the Death Valley area and want someone who will get you to the right place at the best possible time, to provide you with the best opportunity to get the pictures, I highly recommend Michael Gordon."
John Miguez - Lafayette, Louisiana
"Our 3 days with you in Death Valley this past February provided us with as many adventure tales as our last African Safari! Desperate to learn how to photograph sunrises and sunsets in the desert, what we got instead were sandstorms, snow, and rain! But your optimism and sense of good cheer made it all fun! Thank you for your time and dedication to your craft and the environment!"
Dorothy and Alvin Rosenfeld - Connecticut
"I came to learn photography, and I did; your knowledge of composition as well as of every other aspect of photography is phenomenal. But transfer of knowledge, or simply put teaching, is an art by itself. And you are the master of it as well...Your dedication to your students is incredible. You had been carrying two gallons of water in the heat of Death Valley to spray on the stones of Mosaic Canyon just to make them more photogenic for me...Your knowledge of Death Valley is incredible. If you had simply taken me to all the places in Death Valley we went, as a guide, and none of us had a camera, it would be a treat. On your workshop I got much more than I bargained for. I came to learn photography, but came out a definitely better person and hopefully better photographer."
Raf B. - Staten Island, New York
"Many thanks for a wonderful 5 days in Death Valley, and for being such a relaxed, pleasant and enjoyable – but also organised and helpful – companion. You got us to the right places at the right time. I learned a great deal from you, both about how to get the best out of my camera, but also the best from the opportunities we had. To anyone looking for a guide to photographing Death Valley, I could not recommend you more highly."
Professor Sir Bruce Ponder - Cambridge, England
"Having Michael as a guide made it easy to get to the best locations at the right time of day. Had I been exploring DVNP alone...I wouldn't have known where to start in terms of turning my lens on such an overwhelmingly magnificent landscape. During the tour I gained insights from Michael not only about the geography of the areas we were exploring and driving past but also their history...I cannot speak highly enough of the quality and value of the tour. Not only is Michael a superb photographer - he's also an excellent guide and tutor - not to mention driver and cook!"
Sean K. - London, England
"I was looking primarily for an experienced photographer who could show me several unique locations in Death Valley National Park, and help me get there at the right time of day. In addition, I was looking for regular insights to help me improve my photographic abilities and that help was continually forthcoming. I was impressed with your total dedication to me and with your desire to optimize the tour to my specific objectives. It was a real pleasure to spend a few days with you, learning from your unique approach to your art and discovering those aspects that apply to my style and needs. I plan to return for another tour" Stephen N. - Ottawa, Canada
"Death Valley was an incredible experience. Michael Gordon was great as a person and teacher - very informative, and very good in organizing and leading the group. His logistics were perfect. He is also a fun and delightful person to hang with, with a treasure trove of desert stories, and valuable geological, cultural and natural information to share."
Rina S. - Culver City, CA
“I thought Michael provided the perfect combination of technical knowledge and desert fanaticism. I liked that he could easily answer a technical question about exposure or post-production and also provide facts and trivia about Death Valley. It made the trip a more well-rounded learning experience. I will definitely take another one of Michael's workshops again.”
Stacey S. - Los Angeles, CA
“Thank you so much for such a great experience! I learned a lot about photography, my camera, and lighting, and I had a great time! I thoroughly enjoyed the hiking and off-roading as much as the photography. All combined it made for an unforgettable experience. Death Valley is a truly amazing place.”
Jennifer B. - La Cañada, California
“I've been raving about the workshop to anyone who'll listen. It really inspired me...Monday morning Jennifer and I got up at 5:00 and went to the dunes for one last sunrise shoot. We both felt that we'd improved since the first day of the workshop! Thanks for a great workshop and a great adventure in a beautiful place!”
Kathy M. - Lake Oswego, Oregon
"Michael Gordon's workshop in Death Valley was fantastic. Ten locations in 3 days! Wow. We were blessed with the gamut of weather patterns as well. From dark storm clouds moving in over the valley to RAIN, cold nights, warm to hot days and beautiful sunrise sessions, wind, stillness and lots of laughter. What a great group of people."
Juliet D. - Marina del Rey, CA
"I spent a week-long camping tour with Michael in Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra. As a lifelong explorer of Death Valley, he has a deep passion for the area, combined with an intimate knowledge of the landscape and its history. In addition to his photographic skills, Michael also brings decades of outdoor experience. Michael is always seeking the best photographic opportunities, and will get you where you need to be at the right time of the day (or night). All you need to do is bring your photographic vision!"
Joaquin D. - New York
"Thanks for a great tour. The passion and knowledge of Death Valley you shared far exceeded my expectations. It was such a pleasure to spend a few days with you and experience your approach to photographing a truly amazing place. It was truly an inspiring and memorable trip!" Jim D. - The Woodlands, Texas
"Pat and I enjoyed our time with you at Death Valley. The private tour was informative and inspiring. You took us to places that we would not have ventured to on our own. Plus, the tips on composing pictures was a great benefit. We will definitely contact you the next time that we travel to the Death Valley area."
Vern & Pat P. - Port Ludlow, Washington