Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado


NANPA Regional Event – Rocky Mountain National Park

July 29 – July 31, 2016

Event Details –

Cheryl Opperman

© Cheryl Opperman

Join Cheryl Opperman and Hank Erdmann on a photo adventure to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado best known for its amazing views and abundant wildlife. Participants will experience the scenic waterfalls at Alberta Falls & Bear Lake, the stunning reflections of the distant mountain range on Spraque Lake, the spectacular views of the alpine tundra on Trail Ridge and the winding, unpaved road of Old Fall River. The park is home to large herds of Elk, marmots, eagles, foxes, deer and moose. Due to the common presence of humans in the park, wildlife are calm in nature providing for perfect photo opportunities. Abundant wild flowers at Dream Lake and Moraine Park include Rocky Mountain Columbine, Bluebells, Fairy Slippers, Monkshood, Wild Strawberry, Snow Buttercup, Western Spiderwulf and more.

What to Expect –

This tour is designed for amateurs and professionals who are interested in improving their photography skills and receiving valuable coaching. Participants will be divided into two groups to ensure top shooting locations in the area. This tour is limited to 30 participants to give time with each instructor and to retain flexibility based on weather and the best opportunities. Focus areas of photography include: Landscape, Wildflowers, Birds & Wildlife, Travel, Macro & Infrared.

Just the Facts –

Cheryl Opperman

© Cheryl Opperman

Date: July 29 – 31 (Check-in July 28 @ 6:00 p.m.)

Cost: $395 NANPA member, $595 non-members (Sunday Brunch included)

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park), CO

Last date to register: July 25, 2016

Maximum number attendees: 30


Lodging –

rodeway-innRodeway Inn at Estes Park
1701 North Lake Ave.
Estes Park, CO   80517
Reservations: 800-458-1182

NOTES: A block of rooms have been reserved under NANPA, so make sure to mention NANPA Photography Group rate when registering.  CALL FOR RESERVATIONS!  Don’t book online…

Rooms: $107.96/night (+tax) – Wed. & Thu.
$143.96/night (+tax) – Fri. & Sat.
Cutoff date for room rate is July 8, 2016

Map & Directions

Leaders –

Photo Chase Opperman

© Chase Opperman

Cheryl Opperman

Cheryl is a nationally acclaimed nature photographer who has traveled to every continent in the world capturing spectacular images of nature, wildlife, and indigenous cultures. Widely published, her photographs have appeared in print, on the web, on television, and in solo and group exhibits, resulting in a list of clients or credits which include The American Humane Association, Overseas Adventure Travel, The Denver Post, the National Geographic Society, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Cheryl’s esthetic compositions, artistic use of light, and exquisite detail have been honored with several prestigious awards from organizations including The Earth Day Network, Nature’s Best Photography, the International Photography Awards, and the National Wildlife Federation. She was also featured as a leading female nature photographer by Outdoor Photographer Magazine in 2010. To learn more about Cheryl, go to

Hank Erdmann PortraitHank Erdmann

Hank is a professional natural history photographer and photographic educator who resides in Will County, Illinois. He has photographed throughout North America, making the Midwest his primary geographic area of interest. A love of history, especially the maritime history of the Great Lakes, kindles a special interest in the ports, shorelines, islands and natural areas of Lakes Michigan and Superior and their surrounding environs. His image of the Lake Michigan shore with a curved wave was selected for the cover of the Sierra Club Engagement Calendar. Hank has an extensive publishing resume including National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, The Nature Conservancy, Lake Michigan Travel Guide, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Wilderness Magazine to name a few. To learn more about Hank, go to

Photo Locations –

© Cheryl Opperman

© Cheryl Opperman

Sprague Lake – Sprague Lake was formed when homesteader Abner Sprague built a dam to create a fishing pond. On a calm morning, stunning reflections of the distant mountain range along the Continental Divide can be photographed on the water. Ducks, beaver and other park wildlife may be seen as well.  This lake is very easy to access and has a half-mile walking trail around the lake for various vantage points.

Alberta Falls & Bear Lake – Named after Alberta Sprague, Alberta falls is a scenic 30 foot waterfall about a one mile hike (one-way) along an easy and well maintained trail. The large boulders and gentle cascades at its base make for a number of interesting compositions. Bear Lake is one of RMNP most popular destinations and one of the easiest to access. From the eastern shoreline there are great views of Hallett Peak and on the north side of the trail it is possible to photograph Longs Peak.

Trail Ridge Road & West Side – Linking Estes Park and Grand Lake Colorado, this 48 mile road provides ample opportunities for scenic and wildlife photography. In summer, elk and bighorn sheep can be found roaming the alpine tundra with spectacular views of the rocky mountain range in all directions. Smaller wildlife such as pikas and marmots are also common as well as summer wildflowers. The west side of the park provides perfect moose habitat and the charming mountain town of Grand Lake.

Alluvial Fan (Waterfall) & Old Fall River Road – Alluvial Fan Waterfall is a very short hike from the parking lot and the perfect location to experiment with slow shutter speeds for silky smooth water. The trails have been damaged in the floods, so access may be more limited depending on the progress of Park Service repairs. Old Fall River Road is a winding, unpaved road that follows a route originally frequented by Indian hunters. It is off the beaten path and a good place to find wildlife and photograph the montane and subalpine forests.

© Cheryl Opperman

© Cheryl Opperman

Nymph & Dream Lake– Starting at the Bear Lake Trailhead both of these beautiful lakes provide opportunities for dramatic images. The trail is a bit more strenuous, but well worth the effort to capture the morning light. Nymph lake is only a half mile walk and offers nice views of Hallett Peak, Longs Peak and Flattop Mountain with a foreground of beautiful water lilies. Dream lake is a little over a mile walk with a fantastic view of Hallett Peak that forms a perfect reflection in the water on a calm morning. Wildflowers are also very common in the summer.

Moraine Park – Moraine Park is a vast flat expanse of meadows and streams and a perfect place to witness the sunrise.  Mule deer are common in the area and a few lucky photographers may even find coyote, fox, raptors and even an occasional bear. There are plenty of places to photograph from the road as well as a 4.65 mile loop walking trail.

Schedule –

Locations and times can change depending on conditions.

Session Group Location
Friday AM
(5am – 10am)
Group 1 – Nymph & Dream Lake
Friday PM
(3:30pm – 8:30pm)
Group 1 – Alberta Falls, Bear Lake & Moraine Park
Friday AM/PM
(5am – 8:30pm)
Group 2 – Alluvial Fan (Waterfall), Old Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road and West Side
Saturday AM /PM
(5am – 8:30pm)
Group 1 – Alluvial Fan (Waterfall), Old Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road and West Side
Saturday AM
(5am – 10am)
Group 2 – Nymph & Dream Lake
Saturday PM
(3:30pm – 8:30pm)
Group 2 – Alberta Falls, Bear Lake & Moraine Park
Sunday AM
(5am – 10am)
Group 1 – Sprague Lake
Sunday AM
(5am – 10am)
Group 2 – Sprague Lake



NANPA is authorized by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conduct services in Rocky Mountain National Park.