March 2017 update: My 2017 dates are approved! and now released! I don’t visit the Eastern Sierra, it’s where I have lived, worked and played for many years. It’s not my Eastern Sierra photography that is of most use to you as I lead workshops, it’s the portfolio of places and experiences that I’ve been through in the Eastern Sierra, in all seasons, that enable me to recognize opportunities and get you to them in the best seasonal conditions and at the right time of day in the best light.
After a great tour last year, we’re including Bristlecone Pines in two workshops this year, including fall colors! We’re offering Bodie as an add-on to many Eastern Sierra or Yosemite tours again this year to make it even more worthwhile to come to this spectacular area for photography.
The prices below link to a PayPal secure payment system: you can pay using a credit card without creating a PayPal account! If there’s no link attached to the price, the workshop may be full, but openings often come up as the workshop approaches if you’d like to be placed on the waiting list.
Jun 16 – 18 – Bodie Sunset/ Milky Way Night Photography plus Eastern Sierra
Friday through Sunday. Sunset 8:21, no moon, full darkness 10:18 pm. $695
This is a great time of year for the possibility of monsoon moisture and afternoon thunderstorms that bring rainbows and colorful sunsets, then clear up or blow to the east as the decline of daytime heat stops the processes that built the clouds. The Milky Way starts rising by 9 pm and has cleared Bodie Bluff by the time it’s full dark, so compositions can put the Milky Way just over subjects to the southeast. Milky Way arch panoramas are possible for eastward subjects.
June 17 – Bodie night workshop only: $395
June is my favorite month for Milky Way photography, as the Milky Way is rising and low to the horizon as soon as it gets fully dark.
Classroom 2 pm, Sunset 8:22, full darkness occurs after 10:20 pm.
On the following night, June 24, you may choose to shoot in Bodie yet again, when the public may stay in the park until 10 pm, but expect crowds!
Initial enrollment priority will be given to photographers who sign up for both, June 19 – 22, and the separate Bodie workshop June 23 (5 nights total), then if there’s space left, I may open them up separately:
Add the June 16 – 18 weekend with night Bodie access sessions for a total of two Bodie nights plus five more days and nights in the Eastern Sierra:
July 17 – 20 – Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra Spring and Night Photography (4 nights)
Join us for landscape and night photography in some of the most interesting and dramatic settings on planet earth. Capture the Milky Way over the twisted trunks of Bristlecone pines, the oldest living single organisms. Along with Mono Lake, we’ll have access to some of the most interesting and dramatic settings on planet earth.
For this Eastern Sierra workshop in July, we’ll meet Monday and shoot though Thursday evening in the Eastern Sierra, including four nights of night photography: in the Mono Basin, Yosemite Tioga Pass area and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, with daylight pursuit of landscapes and wildflowers. We may take short hikes to reach a good shooting spot, which is more strenuous than normal due to elevations of 10,000 – 11,000 feet in the Bristlecone Pines and Tioga Pass areas. We’ll rest Friday morning before starting the Bodie night photography workshop. July 17-21 including a night in Bodie:
July 21 – Bodie Sunset/ Milky Way Night Photography
Sunset 8:13, full darkness occurs after 10:02 pm.
The June and July dates are best for Milky Way shots including panoramas capturing the whole arch of the Milky Way across the sky.
July 21 a la carte: $395
Oct 8 – 12 – Bodie $ Death Valley to Eastern Sierra Landscape & Milky Way Night Photography! Join me for a “grand tour” of my back yard!
We’ll start in Death Valley National Park, visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, enjoy fall colors midweek without the weekend crowds. With early sunsets we’ll also shoot at night, including Mono Lake and probably Yosemite’s Tioga Pass! October 8 – 12 a la carte: $1195
Oct 13 – Bodie Sunset/ Milky Way Night Photography $395
Sunset 6:18, full darkness 7:47 pm, Milky Way best to 9:35 pm.
In October we’ll have hours of dark sky shooting each night for a combination of Milky Way, light painting and star trails shots! For this workshop we will be shooting in both Mono County and Inyo County, some of the most productive areas for photography in the state, with exotic limestone formations lining an alkaline, saltwater lake, sunrise alpenglow on adjacent 13,000 foot peaks, many volcanic features and an adjacent volcanic caldera second only to Yellowstone in size. We’ll hit the best spots that I’ve scouted for current fall colors, and shooting midweek to avoid the crowds.
October 8 – 13 inclusive:
Temperatures can get chilly late at night in the fall, but we’re moving a lot and with warm layers of clothing we tend not to have any problem enjoying the town like we have during four workshop sessions in October 2012 and 2013.
Our first three customers who enrolled wanted a “grand tour” including Death Valley, so I’ve added that to the front of the Eastern Sierra workshop, and opened up enrollment for everyone:
Individual Bodie night workshops are not sustainable (I can’t charge a reasonable market rate for what they cost to run), so this year I’m continuing this sixth year of night workshops in Bodie as a reward to photographers who sign up for my longer workshops.
All prices include expert guiding and photography instruction, post-processing demonstration and a reasonable amount of post-workshop support (I have a Facebook group where you can ask questions, and where I post information on shooting opportunities and locations). Lodging is not included, but camping is generally available for people who prefer not to add extra cost. I have a camper with five batteries of solar power, so we should be able to set up comfortable base camps. Enroll early to not miss out on nearby motel reservations if you’d prefer to go that route. Meals are not included; we’ll get those in nearby restaurants.
My average enrollment is about four, and I usually have a co-instructor, so you should be able to get all the attention and assistance that you want.
I’ve been exploring the Eastern Sierra and the Sierra Nevada for more decades than I’d like to admit, hiking, fishing, backpacking, camping, and of course pursuing photography. I went on the road full time for landscape photography in 2006, and started writing a photography guide to my favorite locations in Yosemite National Park and the Eastern Sierra. In 2010 I moved to the Eastern Sierra, and expanded the scope to cover Southern California. My main job from 2010 – 2015 was to complete this 320-page “Photographing California – South” book to present you with California’s most amazing locations for landscape photography, around my home and beyond.
One of the great opportunities in the summer is night photography, since the Milky Way is as high as it gets in the sky, and in the dark skies of the Eastern Sierra it can be spectacular. I particularly like locations around Mono Lake, in Yosemite National Park, among ancient Bristlecone pines in the White Mountains, around abandoned mines, and the granite and exotic tufa limestone rock formations. By June the Milky Way has risen just before the sky gets fully dark, so you can be immediately productive with starry night photography.
The Eastern Sierra is also a great place to find wildflowers. If you know where to look, you can find wildflowers can be found carpeting the landscape in April, May and June, and you can move up in elevation to find alpine wildflowers in July and August.
This is your chance to benefit from the special places I’ve discovered through my explorations of the region over the past decades, and my targeted research and shooting designed to expand my landscape photography site knowledge over the past 10 years. Some of these locations may get more crowded as my “Photographing California – South” guidebook sells more copies. Some sensitive sites I couldn’t disclose in the book due to possible impacts. Maintaining a reasonable degree of anonymity for certain delicate sites reduces damage by trampling feet, protects the site for wildlife, and supports the value of the photographs you’ll take there.
I haven’t seen any other workshops assume this degree of stewardship of the land and the wildlife which lives on it (and respect for the value of their customer’s images). There are some sites I’ve found that I won’t even take a high quality DSLR photo at… I don’t want anyone using my work to publicize those sites even after I’m gone. I shoot landscapes because I love these places. The Eastern Sierra is my home. I prefer to shoot with people who will take reasonable care when shooting around my neighborhood; I’d show the same courtesy when shooting in yours. If you share my passion for nature and the outdoors, and can keep a secret or two, consider joining me and I’ll provide you with the tour that only a local can give.
I select dates and script my itineraries very carefully to take advantage of the best astronomical opportunities, so whether it’s a full moon rise, “moonbow” lunar rainbows at night, or the best Milky Way viewing conditions, we’ll be in a given area an optimal season, on the best dates. In 2016 I’m also offering Bodie, Yosemite and Death Valley photography workshops. I hope that you can join me!