Badlands of South Dakota
Assignment/Response Workshop
with Douglas Beasley
May 24-28, 2018


Whether you are a very experienced people or figure photographer or you are a complete novice who has never worked with the nude, this is a wonderful opportunity to work with the figure in the landscape in a supportive, non-sexist, non-competitive environment.

We meet in Interior, South Dakota (one hour from the Rapid City, SD airport), for this five-day workshop in and around Badlands National Park, Badlands National Grasslands and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota. This remote, very sacred land with its sculpted soil, sweeping vistas, unpredictable weather and extraordinary light is an ideal dramatic background for figurative image making. We will work collaboratively with our male and female models to connect with and integrate this sacred land to our own vision. This workshop definitely goes well beyond the stereotype of the male gaze, merely making pretty pictures of pretty people in a beautiful setting but challenges us to go deeper into our image making process.

Each morning and again in the afternoon we will discover a new location, as there are many spectacular and emotionally rich places to photograph. We will work on maximizing available potential, using light and exposure as a creative control and to create more powerful images with emotional impact, mood and personal style. There will be a combination of guided photo exercises, assignments, group sessions and photo shoot demonstrations but the majority of our time will be spent one-on-one or working in small group pairings with our models doing individual photo shoots, with Doug available for feedback and guidance. There is also much to be learned from each other, as we push and inspire each other to new creative heights.

We are out on location immediately after our 7:30 am breakfast and then again in the late afternoon through evening. Mid-afternoon, when the sun is high overhead, we can take a siesta, edit and share images, or enjoy relaxing at the ranch. In the evening we gather together for dinner with our models and discuss the day’s photo shoot and then hang out and enjoy the view and camaraderie with a glass of wine or review photos for planning personal goals for the following day’s photo shoot. Expect serendipity and magic.

Modern and comfortable accommodations are at The Circle View Ranch, a real, working cattle ranch, located on stunning family land that goes back for generations. Owned and operated by our wonderful friends Phillip and Amy Kruse, it is located high atop a dramatic bluff with a spectacular view of the White River and the Badlands National Park.

Upon registration, we will make a reservation for you at the Circle View. If you prefer a single room, please let us know. Singles will be filled on a first come, first served basis and go very quickly, so sign up early if you want a guaranteed single room. There are also 2 separate small cabins available on the premises, just a short drive away. If you prefer a more rustic option, you can set up your own tent on top of the bluff or near the fire pit for only $40 per night (including Amy’s amazing breakfast) and watch the sun rise over the majestic Badlands. The large overhanging balcony is also an awesome place to hang out at night and discuss the days’ shoot with a glass of wine or just listen to the coyotes howl. Only workshop participants will be housed at the Circle View during our workshop. If you desire a place away from the rest of the group, or are traveling with family, there are also several nearby motels and a Badlands National Park campground by Cedar Pass Lodge. Let us know if you need more information on these outside accommodations.

For those staying at the Circle View, a great homemade breakfast is included each morning. To avoid the mid-day sun we take a long afternoon siesta or review work in progress. We will be on our own for lunch. There are several local choices or you can make your own at the Circle View kitchen. We will have optional homemade dinners three nights during the workshop, for a small additional fee. These meals are lovingly prepared by Amy using many locally-sourced and/or organic ingredients, with hormone-free free-range meat from their ranch or buffalo from managed herds on Pine Ridge Reservation. Vegetarians beware (Just kidding- vegetarians are welcome and great vegetarian options are always available at each meal)! Meals can also be prepared ourselves at the ranch, where they have a full kitchen upstairs for us to use. Going into Interior (Population 67) and visiting the Wagon Wheel Saloon is a must, where you can visit with local cowboys and Indians, eat wonderful homemade pizza and play pool.

Who Should Attend:
No experience working with models or nudes necessary. This is a perfect opportunity to explore this classic aspect of photography in a nurturing setting. While participants must have a basic working knowledge of their camera, the creative process of image making will be emphasized over the mechanics of camera use. Both digital and film, in all formats, are welcome. Open to all levels of photo experience but better suited to those looking to expand their creativity and vision. Because we have the B&B fully booked, there is not room for non-participant partners or spouses on this workshop unless you stay at a nearby motel. If you are interested, please register early, as this workshop usually fills quickly.

Student testimonials from this workshop:
“I had such a wonderful week with you and everyone in the Badlands. It was by far the best workshop I’ve done. I felt I really did learn some things out there. I gave myself the freedom to make photos, even if that ‘little voice’ was saying ‘no’. By the time the last day came the ‘no’ was barely audible. It felt good to have that freedom. Thanks again.”
Michelle Blair, Minneapolis, MN

More Testimonials

“The Badlands was a workshop I shall not forget for some time. It is rare when you are having a great experience that time stand’s still, but I engrossed myself in the workshop so much that time seemed to be a dimension that didn’t exist. The morning of the last day I was “In the Zone” and didn’t want it all to end. The people, the setting, the Circle View, and your inspirational discussions all made it positively unforgettable. Here’s to good wine, good food, good chocolate, and most of all good people.”
John Olson, Plymouth, MN

“I’d say these were some of the best workshops I’ve ever attended. They brought me back to some core aspects of myself and helped me expand my photographic vision so it better connects to who I am.”
– Ray Remiszewski, Vancouver, British Columbia

“I want to thank you so much for the experience you gave to Ray. I can hear in his voice that his soul and spirit were so moved by the space you created. This has had such an impact for Ray at a personal level and in his work as a photographer. With what you gave to him, you have also so given to me and there are no words to truly articulate my gratefulness.”
– Bernadette Barton (Ray’s wife), Vancouver, British Columbia

“Thank you for another surreal experience. I will have to get used to going back to Texas and waking myself up from the dream that your workshops create.”
– Tillye Kamin, Austin, TX

“The time I spent in the Badlands was truly one of the most powerful experiences I have encountered so far in my life. I thank you for creating such a safe space for that energy to flourish.”
– Ilia Horsburg, Vancouver, British Columbia

 “Although it may not always be evident (I’m a slow learner) your workshops have greatly influenced how I look at things photographically, especially how you communicate with your subjects. Thank you for that glimpse and for sharing it with your students.”
John Olson, Plymouth MN

Thank you for my passage.”
– Kat Moser, Omaha, Nebraska

“This workshop was such an awesome experience for me — I cannot stop thinking about the interesting, funny, sometimes emotional interactions with everyone. The conversations with you were very, very helpful, from lighting to perspectives, to connecting with models/subjects to letting go of my own fear…every time you gave me what I expected, yet every time you surprised me with your insightful answers. Help was delivered in very subtle yet powerful ways. I can tell you the influence is deep and is beyond just photography.”
– Ning Fan, Fairfax, VA

“Thank you so much for being a great teacher. By providing the opportunity, location, models, and guidance you have taught and given me, and so many others, more than you can imagine. You have taught me to “see” rather, than to “take” a photograph.”
– Gabriela Husch, Athabaska, Alberta, Canada

“Just a quick note to say one more time to all of you what a wonderful experience we shared with you in the Badlands.  A huge thank you to Doug for arranging the workshop and for inspiring us to grow beyond our comfort levels in our photography.  The images are special but the inspiration to continue to search within ourselves for our individual path is amazing.
To our gracious models for sharing your beauty both physical and emotional with us we are grateful. It was a privilege to share the images we made together.  Thank you for the gift of those images and also for your suggestions, advice, and laughter.”
– Dinah and Barry McNew, Greenville, TX

“No – I still haven’t reentered the world and refuse to. So many parts of me are still transfixed across the Badlands workshops. I don’t want to leave those experiences!”
Ray Remiszewski, Vancouver, British Columbia

“I have never had so fun in my life, what a trip…
Not only did I have a good time, but it was a spiritual, soul stirring experience as well, beautiful people, beautiful land. I look at things differently now.”
– Michael Schuhmann, Tampa, FL


View student photography from Badlands, SD

View Doug’s photos from Badlands, SD

Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28, 2018
Arrival on Wednesday evening May 23
Workshop begins 8:00 am Thursday morning May 24
Workshop ends Monday May 28 at 11:00 am

CLASS LIMIT: Only 10 students!

$695 plus $275 models fee. $970.00 total. Lodging not included.
Room reservations at the Circle View Guest Ranch will be made for you upon registration, unless other accommodations are desired. Lodging payment due upon arrival.
(Deposit of $200 paid to Vision Quest).

PayPal also accepted. Account is under ‘doug@douglasbeasley.com’

Dramatic Portrait: Figure in the Badlands

  • Deposit required for workshop registration. For additional security send last 4 digits of credit card with expiration date in a separate following email. If you want to submit registration form by mail: Print out this page, fill in the form and mail with your payment payable to: Vision Quest Photo Workshops, 2370 Hendon Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108-1453. You can also fax this form with your credit card information to 651.644.2122. Questions or late registration, call Beasley Photography, 651.644.1400. Directions and list of what to bring will be sent following receipt of deposit. A portion of proceeds goes towards environmental preservation. View our Payment/Cancellation Policy (as a PDF).