Who are you guys?
Muench Workshops was founded on the friendship and common love of photography shared by Marc Muench, Andy Williams, and David Rosenthal. We are passionate about photography and teaching and along with our pros we bring many decades of experience in shooting, printing, publishing, instructing and travel. We are really proud of the depth of experience we have. Drop us a note, we’d love to hear from you, and we answer every email we receive.
Photo Workshop vs. Photo Tour
We lead photo workshops—not photo tours, and there's a big difference! Expect to be immersed in photography every day with both group and individual instruction, and trust us: you can sleep in at home! Our workshops provide instruction and inspiration for composition, camera use, post-processing, and more. Many of our customers are repeats, some have been with us on over two dozen workshops! If you'd like to ever speak with some of them, just give us a shout, and we'll arrange a phone call.
Are you a real business?
Indeed we are. We're incorporated in the State of California, as Muench Workshops, LLC. Our address is 3992 Primavera Rd., Santa Barbara, California 93110. We always carry proper permits and insurance, and have the right field safety certification for our workshops. Our leaders are current with first aid training and certifications. All workshop deposits are held for that workshop, we never spend future money today. We routinely handle large amounts of money and we've never disappointed a client, something we are very proud of. Our phone number is +1 917-854-8118.
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
We do offer refunds, with limitations. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information. We strongly suggest that you obtain some travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances that require you to cancel your participation in a Muench Workshop.
Levels of Difficulty
Our workshops can be challenging because of the long days, often from before sunrise to well after sunset. You are responsible for being open and honest about your physical fitness, and we reserve the right to remove you from the workshop if we find your fitness to be less than that which you have described. For all workshops we require that you are able to carry all your own camera gear and luggage, and enter and exit the vehicle without assistance, unless otherwise pre-arranged assistance is agreed upon.
Easy: Most photography is from within several hundred yards to as much as a mile or so from where we park the vehicle. Terrain is typically level and smooth, but can be uneven and the walks up or downhill have minimal elevation change.
You are able to:
Stay out for most of the day, driving, walking, and carrying your gear
Climb several flights of stairs without difficulty
Walk on uneven ground without assistance
Walk on wet, slippery surfaces without assistance
Climb over obstacles (like a log on a trail)
On a ship, you are able to:
Walk up and down steep stairs to move between decks
Move about the vessel in rough conditions
Get into, and out of, small craft such as Zodiacs
Sleep in a bunk bed (upper or lower)
Moderate: You may have to walk up to two miles or more at a time over uneven ground, with moderate elevation gain. You may need to walk through ice, deep snow or sand, or boggy ground.
You are able to:
Walk for extended periods, carrying your gear
Climb and descend ten flights of stairs without difficulty
Tie your shoes without the use of a chair
Cross a small stream using rocks as stepping stones
Walk through deep sand or snow
Stand on one foot for a full minute
Spend long hours in very cold or very hot temperatures
Stand up from laying on the ground without difficulty
Challenging: Some strenuous hikes of several miles, often with elevation gain of several hundred feet on uneven ground. There can be locations where you are required to stand in water on slippery rocks or other non-flat conditions. May require acclimation to higher elevations of 10,000 feet and above. If you have any known heart conditions, then a doctor’s note will be required for participation.
You are able to:
Walk at elevation with your backpack
Climb up and stand on your kitchen counter without assistance
Squat twenty times with your camera backpack on
From a seated position on the floor, rise to standing without using your hands
Difficult: Multiple hikes of three or more miles with elevation gain, possibly at altitude greater than 10,000 feet on steep and possibly slippery trails or paths. You must be in excellent physical condition, willing to train as we outline prior to the trip (exercise and acclimation to altitude). You will be interviewed regarding all of the requirements. We will also require a note from your physician at the time of registration and prior to the beginning of any training you might do for the workshop.
What about Travel Medical, Evacuation, and Trip Insurance?
Trip Insurance typically covers you when you have to cancel a trip due to an illness or injury, or sometimes even work-related reasons, or family medical reasons. Coverages can include reimbursement for money paid to airlines, Muench Workshops, and other travel providers. It's your choice to purchase this insurance, or not.
Travel Medical Insurance covers you for medical treatment, hospitalization, doctor's visits and more, in countries where your home-based medical insurance will not cover you. We strongly urge you to obtain this insurance for any workshop that is outside of your home country, because your existing medical insurance will not cover you. You will be surprised at how little it can cost for lots of coverage. This coverage is a requirement for some workshops, and we will note that on the workshop website.
Medical Evacuation Insurance covers your medical evacuation from a remote region of the world to the nearest hospital for medical treatment. Some policies will even medically evacuate you to your home hospital, as well. This type of insurance is an absolute requirement for some of our more remote workshops, and we will specifically state this requirement on the website page, where appropriate.
For all of these types of insurance, we recommend Ripcord, from Redpoint Resolutions. One reason for this recommendation is that we work with Ripcord in advance of our workshops, so that they have specific plans in place, in the event that a medical evacuation is required.
To learn more about these types of insurances, check out our blog post.
Can I bring along a friend or my spouse on a workshop?
Sure! Though there are some workshops that are better for the non-photographer than others. We'll help you decide, just ask us.
What's included in the workshop?
All of the information you need for any specific Workshop should be on the sign-up page, and you are always welcome to contact us if you have more questions. For most workshops, all transportation, lodging and meals are included. Of course there are some exceptions, and they are noted on the workshop pages. Also, please refer to our Terms and Conditions.
All-inclusive really means all! You won’t have to worry about tips for guides, drivers, hotels, camps, servers, or bellhops. We’ve taken care of all of this. All meals are included, everywhere, every day, from the time our workshop starts to the time we say goodbye. All travel during the workshop is included. We don’t crowd you in our vehicles, we’ll always have plenty of room for you and your camera gear and luggage. And when we’re shooting from vehicles, you’ll have unobstructed access out of both sides of the vehicle.
How many guests are on your workshops?
It depends on the workshop. A typical workshop is 8 guests with 2 leaders. A very few are larger (for example, Galápagos, Antarctica, and Svalbard). And some are much smaller (examples are Alaska Wildlife, California Redwoods, Death Valley, Mongolia, and some Africa safaris are only 5, 6 or 7 guests).
What About Lunch?
We have learned over the years that lunch can eat into either valuable photography time or rest time. What this means is that on some days lunch might mean a sandwich on the road, or maybe just a granola bar or energy bar, some fruit, and other snacks. If there are convenient and quick lunch options available we will, of course, take advantage of them. And don't worry, you'll be well-fed on our workshops.
What should I bring to the workshop? How should I prepare?
Please see our How To Prepare For Your Workshop page for guidelines on camera prep, gear list, and packing tips. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.
What are the basics I should know about my camera before the workshop?
Knowing your camera is important - here are the things you should be comfortable with. Don't worry, if you need extra help we'll be there for you!
What are your payment options?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards, personal checks, and bank wires. If you need special payment arrangements or want to work out a payment schedule, no problem, just ask us.
What happens if the weather is bad?
We don't claim to have any control over the weather, but we'll do our best to ensure that you have a great time, no matter the conditions. Bad weather often brings great shooting opportunities, and we feel there's always something to shoot! Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for more information.
What about single rooming?
We offer single rooming on most workshops, for a fee. Just ask us and we’ll let you know the cost. Most workshops are set up for double occupancy. If you’re traveling alone, single rooming is not required, and no worries, we’ll find you a suitable roommate!
To be fair to all guests, if you require use of a CPAP machine, then you must choose single rooming.
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