Ask any aficionado of workshops and photo treks, "Why the southwest?" and the answer comes easily: an abundance of photo opportunities. Ask Justin Black, co-founder and managing director of the Visionary Wild Workshops, and he'll quickly get down to the specifics of the area's appeal, starting with the generally good weather and the translucent quality of the light in the desert air. Then he'll mention the graphics of a wide-open landscape, much of it on public land that's easily accessible for day trips, weekend excursions and longer trips and travel. Not to mention the sense of discovery in many of these areas. "Even though people have been there," Justin says, "there's little evidence of it, so you're an explorer as well as a photographer."
So there you have it: in southwestern Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and areas of the California desert—big, graphically clean landscapes that offer everything from broad vistas to the intimate details that are revealed as, say, sunlight reflects off the walls of sandstone canyons.