Atacama & Puna – High Deserts






Limited to 12 participants


This is a Digital Photo Destinations workshop. Caponigro Arts & D-65 discounts do not apply.

Instructors – John Paul Caponigro and Seth Resnick

Find out more about Digital Photo Destinations adventures here.

View images from our Atacama adventures here.

7 Days / 7 Nights


The Destination

Prepare to be amazed by Argentina’s majestic Atacama and Puna high deserts of surrounded by ancient volcanic craters, lava fields, cinder cones, salt flats, and white dunes. From the tall white stone towers of The Pumice Stone Fields, to the clay canyons of The Red Labyrinth, to the crystal-crusted playas of Dead Man Salt Flat, Laguna Verde and Salinas Grandes. (It’s like Death Valley – on steroids.) The surrounding mountains collect billowing clouds that shed rain, which rarely hits the ground because the air is so dry. It’s all transformed by dramatic shifts in light and temperature, several times a day. Night brings an entirely new dimension as the clearest skies on the planet offer dazzling celestial displays, which is why we’ll have special night photography sessions. It’s a landscape few people know and fewer still have visited; it will feel like we have it all to ourselves. Join us and you’ll think you’ve gone to another planet. (NASA and Hollywood both use it to simulate Mars.) It’s got to be seen to be believed.

View Seth’s Atacama images here.

The Program

This is more than a photo tour, this is a workshop! This is a unique opportunity (for no more than 12 people, with a 1 to 6 participant/leader ratio) to visit one of the most amazing places on this planet led by world-renowned photographers – John Paul Caponigro and Seth Resnick. We work closely with our exceptional local guides (some of the best we’ve ever worked with offering unparalleled customer service) who have an intimate knowledge of the area, to shoot in the most beautiful places at the best times. Most importantly, we’ll work closely with you to help you make the most of your personal adventure. We’ll help you energize your creative life and find new depth for your artistic vision. You’ll benefit tremendously from our guidance, advice, lectures, demonstrations and reviews. Creativity, composition, exposure, workflow, and post-processing are just a few of the topics presented. You’ll learn a tremendous amount from us during one-on-one reviews and from the other participants during group reviews. Together we’ll help you take your photography to the next level. World-class locations, world-class photographers, and world-class guidance. How could it get better? How about starting and finishing your trip with world-class Argentinian beef and wine?

The Itinerary

Day 1 – Salta – Cafayate We first drive south from Salta through the Calchaquies Valleys, with its dramatic rock formations eroded into wild shapes such as in the Quebrada de las Conchas and Cafayate. We finally arrive at the Altalaluna Hotel Wine & SPA ( for the night in Tolombon. Wine lovers can taste the fantastic world-class wines produced in this region.

Day 2 – Cafayate – Pumice Stone Field We climb to the high altitude deserts. This is one of the highlights of our trip. The Pumice stone field is approximately one hour away from our hotel, across a beautiful valley that requires some challenging driving. The field is about 55,000 square miles and lies in the heart of the Puna. It represents the largest Pumice stone concentration in the world, with some stones reaching 60-feet tall, surrounded by black sand from a volcanic eruption. Near the Pumice Stone Field we’ll visit giant white sand dunes under a blue sky. We will explore the north and south regions of the field as well as the Volcano of Carachi Pampa. Finally we will visit some huge white sand dunes that require skilled 4WD. The dunes are a few hundred feet tall and were originated by erosion of the pumice stones nearby. We’ll spend the night at the Hosteria de Altura El Peñon.


Day 3 – Sunrise & Sunset & Night in Pumice Stone Field

We return to the incredible rock formations, now under entirely different light – dawn and dusk with special low light an night photography sessions.

Day 4 – Dead Man Salt Flat – Sunset in Red Labyrinth

This is a fantastic day, with lots of great locations for photography. We leave El Peñon and head north towards San Antonio de los Cobres. We drive through a few oasis filled with llamas and vicuñas. We arrive at the Dead Salt Flat and the Red Labyrinth Desert with good light. Salt flats are very photogenic and this one is no exception. The Red Labyrinth is a vast region of eroded deep red rock. Simply incredible out-of this-planet place. Another of the many highlights of the trip.


Day 5 – Tolar Grande – Arizaro Salt Flat – Arita Cone

Dramatic salt flats and unexpected water holes form strange oases amid volcanic landscapes punctuated by tall cinder cone spires.

Day 6 – Sunrise Red Labyrinth – Sunset Salinas Grandes Leaving the fascinating Red Labyrinth after dawn, we wind our way through more marvelous landscape to finally reach Salinas Grandes at sunset, one of the most incredible salt flats we’ll encounter, with its geometrically carved turquoise pools. We spend our last night in the Puna at La Comarca Hotel in the colorful town of Purmamarca.


Day 7 – Sunrise Salinas Grandes – Salta We return to Salinas Grandes salt flats for an encore at dawn – under entirely different but equally beautiful light. Final reviews and a great dinner in Salta round out our amazing adventure.


Day 8 – Salta – Fly Home Participants return from Salta airport. If this is your second DPD workshop, you’re invited to join us for a special alumni day! Join us on our fabulous adventure!