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Death Valley & the Eastern Sierras


COST: $695.00

The Place

Death Valley is a land of extremes. It is the lowest spot in North America, and less than 100 miles from the highest spot in the Continental United States (Mt. Whitney). It is the largest national park outside Alaska, one can easily drive hundreds of miles exploring it. The photo tour will be as efficient as possible in minimizing driving and maximizing shooting. We will also work our way up Highway 395 and photograph the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, other photographic destinations include Mono Lake and the June Lake Loop. On our last day we may photograph around Lake Tahoe on our way back home. The timing, and whether we make it to all the destinations will be dependent upon weather conditions. The itinerary can change at any time due to weather. We will pursue the best photographic opportunities at any particular time, while keeping as safe (and warm) as possible.

Our Focus 

In addition to classic scenes such as sand dunes at sunrise and sunset, we will try to visit Artist's Palette, Zabriskie Point, Dante's View, and Mosaic Canyon, as well as ghost towns such as Rhyolite and Leadfield, the Ubehebe Crater and Scotty's Castle. We will also be shooting the iconic Alabama Hills (with Mt. Whitney in the background), alpine lakes, Mono Lake and possibly Lake Tahoe. There will be a wide variety of subjects, topography, and weather.

This particular workshop will focus on how to photograph in hazy light/harsh light. In addition, we will focus on how to capture shadow detail in high contrast scenes without losing detail in highlights. We may also be taking snow pictures, and will go over the proper exposure settings for that. We will also discuss ways to keep your gear operating smoothly in harsh winter conditions.

General Topics that will be Covered

We will focus on building up your technical foundation, including:

  1. Setting color and image quality settings for best results
  2. Focusing, depth of field, and image sharpness
  3. Getting the right exposure through the use of histograms
  4. Learning how to use exposure compensation to get better results
  5. How to identify strong compositions
  6. How to improve contrast and clarity in difficult lighting
  7. And, the location of several beautiful places to photograph
  8. There will also be at least one critique of your images and guidance on how to capture the "spirit of your subjects", and not just their surfaces

NOTE: I will need 3 participants for this workshop to happen. If I don't get 3 paid participants at least 14 days in advance (December 17th), the workshop will be cancelled.

Workshop Summary

WHERE: Ridgecrest, Furnace Creek, Lone Pine, Bishop or Mammoth Lakes, and South Lake Tahoe or Truckee.

DATES: Monday, January 2nd to Sunday, January 8th

TIME: Sunrise to Sunset

CLASS SIZE: Limited to 6 participants 

We will make a big circle in our travels, going directly to Ridgecrest in the south over the Tehachapi Mountains, spending several days in Death Valley, and working our way north to the Lake Tahoe area before heading directly back to the Bay Area. Our travels will take us well over 1000 miles, carpooling will be strongly encouraged. Most days we will get up at dawn and be shooting again at sunset, a couple of days we will sleep in and at least once during the trip there will be a critique of some of the images you shot in the workshop. There will also be an optional post-workshop critique of your images a few weeks after the workshop has ended. A map of our itinerary will be supplied to participants after the workshop, so that you can re-visit any of the places we photographed.

The price is for tuition only. This course fee does not include transportation or meals.

Online Registration (full payment is due 14 days in advance)

Earlier Event: December 4
Sonoma County Backroads
Later Event: February 4
Early Winter in Wine Country