Langell Photography, LLC

Magic of Cowboys

Why is this photography experience so magical?
Magic of Cowboys is so much more than just your standard photography workshop with horses, cattle and cowboys.  This is delightfully SO much more! 

Feeding the heart, soul and camera, it will lift your spirits!  You're provided a buffet of photo opportunities that are creatively packed into a weekend of fun.  Participants marvel at the diversity of high quality, original images they come away with and how much they learned along the way.  And laughed. And smiled.  And bonded.

The fact that we've had numerous returning participants year after year is testament to how special and beloved this event has become.  Get your hats, boots, and camera gear ready because pard'ner, we're doing it again!

Physical Fitness Level:  Easy to Moderate 

Elevation: Approximately 2000 feet.

Photography skill level: All levels welcome.

Model releases: Provided for all ranch hands and re-enactment actors

Book Magic of Cowboys now!Notify me of future openings!
October 2021 Magic of Cowboys Highlights
February 2019 Magic of Cowboys Highlights (Women's Only)

Location: Gold Canyon, Arizona (near Phoenix)

An easy, 45-minute drive from the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport transports you to an entirely different place where time slows down, history is deep, and the traditional ways of the cowboy (and cowgirl) are carried on.  Located against the stunning backdrop of the legendary Superstition Mountains on 5,800 acres of the pristine Sonoran Desert in Gold Canyon, Arizona, lies the very special Donnelly D-Spur Ranch. 

The “D-Spur” is a decades-old, privately owned, working ranch with some of the most spectacular scenery in the Valley of the Sun. Situated adjacent to the Tonto National Forest, It will be our incredible setting for your Magic of Cowboys Photo Experience! 

Photographic and Instructional Focus

*Percentages are estimates.  Agenda may vary based on weather or other factors.

  • Portraiture Made Easy (candid and stylized) (40%): Our primary focus is to help photographers who are new to (and even intimated by) portrait photography to have a relaxed, stress-free, fun, and “no-judgment” type experience. 

    Many photographers shy away from learning portraiture as it can be intimidating, stressful, and nerve-wracking!   We REMOVE that part and just give you a ton of fun in a friendly, supportive environment.   You will learn the settings and more for how to use natural and off-camera lighting to photograph both candid and stylized images of cowboys, cowgirls, and a re-enactment actors from the late 1800s in full authentic dress—back when Arizona was just a territory!  You also learn basic posing tips for men, women, and groups, along with natural light, one-light flash techniques, and more.

  • Action (20%): You will learn how to best capture the action with fast-moving horses, cattle, and ranch-related activities with the cowboys and cowgirls.  Roping, herding, and more are planned! We will also teach you silhouette photography with the plentiful 2 and 4-legged creatures!
  • Free-Roaming horses/cattle (15%): Our cowboys will work cattle in the pen, the nearby landscape, and/or will round up free-range cattle in from the open range for us to photograph.  Additionally, there are often free-roaming horses on the land surrounding the ranch.
  • Landscapes: (10%): Opportunities to capture beautiful landscapes at dawn and dusk are abundant given the incredible terrain in this area.
  • Close-up and Flat-Lay (10%): We will teach you how to photograph western antiques, bottles, chaps, and myriad other authentic antiques in “flat lay” style (no you don’t need to lay on the ground to do it!).
  • High Key Photography (5%): You will learn how to capture high-key style images of the gorgeous cactus and desert plants of the southwest.

Astro Photography (optional add-on): Add on to your experience with instruction in astrophotography!  Enjoy the clear desert night skies!  Thursday night we will feature professional photographer Alex McClure as he brings in his telescopes and shows you how to capture the stars, milky way, nebulas, and more. 

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A meaningful and immersive ranch experience.

The Magic of Cowboys & Cattle is truly different from your typical photo tour or workshop.  It's an immersive experience!

  • Join us at the campfire for local legend and singer/songwriter, Steve Holmquist, for incredibly beautiful campfire music during dinner.
  • Chef Barbara Kennedy has won numerous awards and competitions for her chuckwagon style cooking! She’ll prepare an authentic chuckwagon style meal for us over an open fire. The food is beyond amazing and so are the photo opportunities while she's cooking, western style!
  • Consider an optional guided horseback ride through the desert! Whether you are a beginner or advanced rider, this ranch will take great care of you and show you places in the desert you can only get to on foot or horseback!  (Available Friday morning before the workshop begins)

The entire experience is designed to bring out the best in your photography while immersing you in the rich culture of the cowboy and ranch life - right in the heart of the Wild West!

What is included:

  • Abundant supportive instruction (with professional photographers Lisa Langell, Cathi Cenatiempo, and Lori Figueroa, plus additional guest assistants that vary each year to keep it interesting!)
  • Dinner Friday night, Lunch and dinner Saturday, Lunch on Sunday, plus coffee, water, soda, snacks, and refreshments (we are able to accommodate many common dietary restrictions)
  • All-flash photography gear and related peripherals are provided for portrait sessions.

What is not included:

  • Breakfast:  The hotel will provide it starting at 6:30am (subject to change) for those who are staying at the Best Western Gold Canyon.
  • Photography equipment: 2 camera bodies with a hot shoe for flash, a 24-70mm, zoom (minimally 400mm, up to 600mm), 70-200mm, (or similar) are suggested.  Tripod with a ball head or similar is strongly recommended.  We use Pocket Wizards for use with flashes – your camera must accept Pocket Wizard Plus 3 or Plus X models. (Most bodies work with these devices).  You do not need to bring a speedlight flash.  These are provided for you. 
  • Lodging (rooms are available on a first-come-first-serve basis) at the Best Western Gold Canyon, which is about a 10-minute drive from the ranch.
  • Optional horseback ride (contact the ranch directly to schedule this service)

Reserve your place now, space is limited! 

You will receive a confirmation packet via email upon registration that will provide greater detail, information on what to pack, arrival/departure information and more.
Book Magic of Cowboys now!
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