We will leave the park via the northwest and spend the night in Lone Pine. Lone Pine is where many movies have been filmed, especially old westerns. Many a John Wayne movie was filmed here, as well as old TV series like the Lone Ranger. Movies are still made here; the first Iron Man movie used the scenery as a stand-in for Afghanistan. We will be photographing that scenery. The location will make you feel like you are on a different planet. We may also go up to Whitney Portal (the highest mountain in the continental U.S.) if the road is open.


After photographing the Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills at sunrise, we will go north to Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. Along the way we will photograph alpine lakes (if the snow doesn’t stop us). Places we may photograph include McGee Creek and Convict Lake. We may also photograph wilderness or petroglyphs near Bishop.











Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra

Saturday - Friday, 2023 Dates TBD - $795

Did you ever want to photograph Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra, but don’t know where to start? Death Valley is the largest national park outside of Alaska. There are many things to photograph there, but points of interest can easily be 50 miles apart. You could spend most of your time driving and not photographing. This tour will be as efficient as possible in minimizing driving and maximizing shooting. We will spend a couple of days in the park to let you photograph most of the main points of interest from a photographer’s perspective.


We will stay in inexpensive lodgings just outside the park (but you could splurge on lodging in the park). The first day we drive from Petaluma to Ridgecrest California. A town next to the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, the Navy’s largest landholding. The base is larger than the state of Rhode Island, and occasionally we may see jet fighters zipping by.


The second and third days will be spent photographing in the park with an overnight stay in Beatty Nevada, just over the border. While in the park, in addition to photographing the 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 the ghost town of Rhyolite, the Ubehebe Crater and Scotty's Castle. There will be a variety of subjects. The topography will range from valleys and canyons, to mountain peaks with wide vistas.

The final full day of photography will include the June Lake Loop (June and Silver lakes), as well as Mono Lake. If conditions allow, we will spend the sunrise of our last day photographing at Mono Lake. You will be taught techniques to keep your camera functioning if it is really cold. From there, we will return to the North Bay via Lake Tahoe, or you can linger and continue to explore the area.


Whether and when we make it to the destinations is 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. You only need an ordinary car and chains to go along.




Our Focus

Using histograms, the workshop will focus on how to photograph in harsh light, capturing detail in both the light and dark areas of a scene. If it is overcast, we will go over the settings needed to get vibrant pictures.


General Topics Covered

We will build up your technical foundation no matter your current level, including:


Focusing, depth of field, and image sharpness

Getting the ideal exposure for each situation

Proper camera settings to get high quality images

When, how, and what filters to use to improve images

Evoking a sense of place and emotion in your imagery

How to spot new ways of identifying strong compositions

The exact locations of beautiful places to photograph

Capturing the "spirit of your subjects", and not just their surfaces


Workshop Notes


CLASS SIZE: Limited to 5 participants


We will make a big circle in our travels, going directly to Ridgecrest in the south over the Tehachapi Mountains, spending a couple of 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. Many days we will get up at dawn and shoot again at sunset, a couple of days we will sleep in and during the trip there can be a critique of some of the images you shot in the workshop, if you want. 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.


Online Registration (full payment is due 10 days in advance)


Due to Covid19, we will only carpool with people who were vaccinated.


The fee is for tuition only. It does not include transportation, lodging, any park entrance fees, or meals.

Back to Death Valley