Bisti Moonrise Digital Expeditions

Policy and Guidelines


Exotic digital images from Bisti Badlands, located 35 miles south of Farmington, in nw New Mexico, bring tourists and award-winning photographers from all over our planet.  The Bisti is a hidden jewel inset in ancient, surrealistic Anasazi country, a photographer's most amazing off-world digital adventure.  Every 5th Bisti trekker is international.

Shoot surreal Hoodoos.  Hoodoo - seems such a strange name!  Yet, when you see a water-cut hoodoo, it's really only a hard, eroded sandstone remnant capping a softer shale base.  But, given orientation, lighting, and composition, a hoodoo becomes one of nature's most evocative, artistic creations. 

At Magic Hour, near sunrise or sunset, such surreal qualities become highly dramatic in New Mexico’s enchanting light.  During golden sunsets, Moonrise and the moon's famous Mare's, where Apollo 11 first landed, can backdrop sepulchral, other-world Hoodoos. 

Come, hike and shoot an amazing, pristine wilderness area as if you were trekking Mars! 


Two tours reach out to Advanced and Intermediate Photographers.


Bisti Moonrise Expeditions

Advanced photographers will love lighting and compositional challenges at Moonrise Ridge! Magic Hour is a spectacular time around dawn and dusk!  The Bisti's enchanting light softens and enhances a photographer's delight.

Large, swiftly rising harvest moons create fantasy moments when posed against strong foreground Hoodoos near sunset. 

GPS moon positioning relative to hoodoos is important for set up and composition of spectacular Moonrise shots.  We’ll show you exactly how to do it!


Bisti Digital Tours

Photographers enjoy trekking the Bisti wilderness, looking for a particular composition of unique Hoodoos which turns alluring landscape into surreal art.

The Bisti's Hoodoos invite your creative imagination, providing an environment where each participant seems to see a different, alluring form and invites your camera's eye.


2009 Bisti Moonrise Schedules

Date                                   Moonrise  Sunset   Sunrise Moonset

March     9-10#            1834*   1914     -           -

April       8-9#             1908     1940     -           -

May        7#                 1905     2004    -           -

May      8-9 (nite^) 1905   2004 0606 0612

*24 Hour time

^In May, since we'll probably get back to the vehicle about 9 p.m., and I've got to be back on site and set up in predawn before 6 a.m., I'll probably camp in a tent near the site. Otherwise, its 1 hour of driving, up at 0400, and 1 hour back to the site, before tramping in and setting up.

#In March and April, we can stay overnight in Farmington, NM, between shoots.


Suggested Equipment List

Sturdy Tripod, Panoramic Head, Digital Camera, Wide Angle Lens, Telephoto Lens 200mm, Cable Release or Wireless Remote or more!  Extra media cards and Camera battery charger. Zip lock bags come in handy for stuff during rain or sandy conditions. GPS (optional).  Laptop handy for storage and quick Lightroom evaluation of daily shoot.

Also from Dry, Hardscrabble Desert Rats to Mud Slogging Trekkers

Hat, Sunscreen, Layered clothing, Gloves, Water bottle(s), Rain coat, Boots (Ankle High Preferred), Flashlight, Head Light (Energizer).



The Bisti is 35 miles south of Farmington, NM.  The nearest restaurant is in Farmington; most are not yet open for breakfast on a sunrise shoot.  Numerous grocery stores can provide trekking food. So, you will want to carry your own food supplies for sunset and sunrise treks into the Bisti.

However, the Region Inn has a restaurant and bed - breakfast bar with cereal, fruit, and pancakes (make your own)!



Joe will bring Really Right Stuff pano equipment and show how it all works. He uses a LowePro camera backpack that also holds several additional items for short hikes, such as a sack lunch and water.

The longest hike planned would be ~ 2.5 miles one way if we decide to explore (5-6 miles round trip). However, most shooting will be within 1.5 miles of parking.

Remember, you are shooting off road, without trails, and no water in a dusty, treeless wilderness – just your compositional eye, GPS, and guide to rely on.  Do you have a good sense of direction?  Are you used to safely trekking in the dark?  Do you have an independent light source to aid that trek? Could you find your way back to transportation in unfamiliar terrain?  If you have a GPS, can you return after dark using its bread crumb capability?

Are your knees and hips capable of 6 miles of sustained trek under pack at 6000’?

In the unfortunate case of an accident, your guide may have to hike out, contact Red Cross, get help. Such expenses will be born by client, not guide (see Indemnity Clause below)!


Traveler’s Insurance

We strongly suggest you carry travelers insurance in case of accident, lost gear, cancellations due to weather, or other unforeseen conditions.  Remember, the Bisti is wilderness, no cell phones work, and rescue, should there be an accident, is rather difficult.

Bisti Digital Expeditions is not financially responsible for items mentioned above nor any other such items which happen as a result of a tour.



Client agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Owner of and from any and all claims, demands, losses, causes of action, damage, lawsuits, judgments, including attorneys' fees and costs, to the extent caused by or arising out of or relating to the work for the Client. In no event shall the maximum liability hereunder exceed the sum of $ 1.00 US.


Tour Guide

Your Tour Leader, Joe Bridwell, is an award-winning photographer, blogger, tour guide, educator, geologist, ancient Anasazi and natural history buff, and StoryTeller.  He has led several groups into the Bisti since 2005; including Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico and Albuquerque's Enchanted Lens Camera Club. Fall 2006 began formal tour syndication under sponsorship of Department of Senior Affairs, City of Albuquerque, and AP-T Camera Repair.  He has photograqphed the Bisti many times, so knows it well.

Joe also teaches wilderness travel workflow using Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS3.  At day’s end, he has processed all photos, digitally enhanced keepers, and prepared those images he feels suitable for competition.


Tour Fees

Tour guide charges $200/day per person.  Expenses will be split between several clients.


A $250 deposit reserves your slot; final payments are due 30 days prior to departure.


Client is responsible for personal transportation, lodging, and food.

Client will carry all personal gear and food during treks.


Payment is in the form of Check for

Chopawamsic LLC

12200 Montgomery, F205

Albuquerque, NM, 87111.


Bisti Digital Expeditions, a subsidiary of Chopawamsic LLC, provides photographers opportunities to create unique, award-winning portfolios of off-world imagery.


©2006-2009, Chopawamsic LLC, All Rights Reserved.