YellowstoneLandscapes & Wildlife in America's First National Park

With erupting geysers, endless grasslands teeming with wildlife, and gem-colored geothermal pools, Yellowstone National Park is the perfect place to explore the field of photography. This summer, venture into this geological wonderland with a team of talented photography instructors and your National Geographic Explorer to document bears and bison, pronghorns, wolves, elk, bald eagles, and more. Explore different photography techniques and styles through daily interactive lessons, take compelling landscape photos that capture the magic of this national park, and document its unique geologic phenomena through your camera’s lens.


June 30–July 8, 2024July 11–July 19, 2024
9 days
$ 6,990 + airfare
Group meets in Bozeman, Montana
18–20 students, 3 leaders


  • Practice landscape photography in the United States’s first national park
  • Explore Yellowstone’s Geyser Basin and photograph Old Faithful
  • Head out on a sunset shoot to document bison and elk at dusk
  • Whitewater raft down the Yellowstone River with experienced guides

Meet the Expert

Drew Rush, Photographer

Drew Rush is a wildlife and natural history photographer with a passion for national parks. Before embarking on a career in photography, Drew spent ten years guiding on the Snake River and taking people into the heart of Yellowstone National Park. His photography has appeared in numerous international publications, such as National Parks magazine and National Geographic: Complete Photography, and has also been displayed at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. Drew has recently been working in the Yellowstone-Tetons region on several long-term projects for National Geographic magazine.


This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

  • Departure
  • Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and leaders in Bozeman, Montana.

  • Bozeman & Yellowstone
  • 9 days

Begin your photo program with two nights in the mountain town of Bozeman, Montana, get to know your group, and prepare for your time in Yellowstone National Park. Once inside the park, delve into the art and technique of photography, working in small groups with your accomplished photo instructors and National Geographic Explorer. Head out on photo shoots each day, trying out new techniques with the wildlife and landscapes you encounter. Practice managing light and depth of field, work with flash, and learn to improve your composition. Then return to the classroom to review and edit your images and prepare for the next day’s assignment.

Settle into our accommodations along the Yellowstone River, and enjoy beautiful mountain views and opportunities to watch for the park’s fascinating wildlife. Hone your eye for great landscape shots during visits to vibrant hot springs, geyser basins, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Find your adventurous spirit while hiking to dramatic vistas and through fields of alpine wildflowers.

In the evenings, tell stories around a campfire, review the day’s images, and work on editing your photos for final presentations. Head back out after dark to photograph Yellowstone’s nocturnal ecosystems. Capture the glow of golden hour during a sunset shoot in the Lamar Valley, practice taking wildlife photos in low lighting, and master the art of star photography under Yellowstone’s vast night sky.

Spend your last two days back in Bozeman, organizing and editing your work, and working with your group to curate and install a pop-up gallery show featuring each student’s original images.

  • Return
  • Travel Day

Head to Bozeman’s Yellowstone International Airport for independent flights home, or arrange for parent or guardian pick-up from Montana State University dorms.

A Day in the Life: Yellowstone National Park

Due to the dynamic nature of this summer program, each day is different and the group remains flexible throughout the program to take advantage of photo opportunities as they arise. Here is a sample day in Yellowstone.

  •  Shoot during sunrise and prime wildlife spotting hours in Yellowstone National Park
  •  Break into smaller teams shooting in and around the park
  •  Break for snacks before heading back to our accommodations
  •  Join a group critique led by instructors to discuss each student’s top images
  •  Enjoy lunch and downtime before heading out on your afternoon assignments
  •  Eat dinner together as a group at our accommodations
  • Group meeting to discuss the day and learn about the next day’s activities
  • Continue reviewing and editing your images or relax with friends before lights-out

What to Expect

  • Photography

This program is designed for students to learn photography skills in the classroom and apply them in one of the world’s most iconic and picturesque places. Students benefit from personal guidance from professional photographers and a National Geographic Explorer who have extensive experience in the field and working with students. Participate in daily photography lessons, edit-and-critique sessions, and field assignments. Capture photos of elk and bison, hone your eye on the colors of Wyoming’s canyons and geysers, practice star photography, and work on motion photography with Yellowstone’s many waterfalls. On some days, the group will prioritize waking up before sunrise, as the early morning hours are prime for spotting wildlife, and the soft, diffused light makes for stunning photographic opportunities. On other days, we may choose to extend our shooting hours into the evening instead. The late summer sunsets provide a unique opportunity to capture the landscape bathed in warm, golden hues and another good chance to see wildlife. Students will be split into smaller groups during interactive photography tutorials and experiences while coming back together as one big group for presentations, editing time, and classroom lectures. The program culminates with a pop-up gallery presentation of the students’ work, and students come away from the program with an improved understanding of camera controls and a solid understanding of how to create successful images.

  • Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. This photography workshop includes several active excursions such as hiking and rafting. It is important that you have a desire to be active, and that you are interested in trying all activities, including hiking and rafting.

  • Lodging

In Bozeman, we stay in dormitory-style single room accommodations. For our time in Yellowstone, we stay in a small lodge at the north entrance of the national park. Classrooms are equipped with projectors so we can share and critique our work.

  • Meals

While on campus in Bozeman, the group takes the majority of their meals in the campus dining hall or outside with picnics and meals to order. In Yellowstone, we pack lunches for days of exploration, or stop at Yellowstone’s many cafeterias and restaurants.

Please call our office with any questions about the physical nature of this program or to discuss specific accessibility and accommodation questions.

Explore the Destination

Next Steps

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

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