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Autumn Light - Photography in Yosemite

Sponsored by the Yosemite Conservancy

Instructors: Dave Wyman and Ken Rockwell


The Basics

Dates: Thursday through Sunday, October 17-20

This is an outing for anyone who loves the outdoor world and photography. To those willing to search them out, there are infinite images and stories and ways to connect with a larger reality, in one of the world's most famous and beautiful places.
It's a time to learn to see in new ways and it's a weekend to tunnel through to the essential nature of nature. It may just be a way to find some of the core of yourself, too. And you'll do it with your camera, in the company of  people who will enjoy sharing the weekend's experiences with you.

Yosemite National Park: This is a favorite time to explore a unique part of the natural world. People are less obvious, and autumn days can be crisp as winter approaches, or bathed in inexplicable warmth. There are juxtapositions of light, shadow, shape and texture, with iconic locations such as Half Dome and El Capitan as the backdrops. There are more intimate landscapes, too, as well as wildlife and historic architecture.

Arrival Day: Anytime on Thursday, October 17;  a short group meeting will be at 7:30 p.m; participants are invited to join he instructors beforehand - at 6:00 - for dinner at Yosemite Lodge.

Transportation to Yosemite: Via private auto. Transportation in Yosemite: Via private auto, and on foot (minimal walking).

Trip difficulty: None - the trip will be conducted at a photographer's pace.

Workshop ends: We'll finish officially about noon on Sunday.

NOTE: Ken and Dave are conducting another photo trip to the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (to the ghost town of Bodie any mysterious Mono Lake) and to photograph fall color, beginning after the Yosemite trip ends. Click here for information.


The Instructors

- Ken Rockewell is a talented photographer as well as the creator of his well-known web site, Ken's website is an amazing and constantly evolving compendium of thoughtful and thought provoking essays, photography galleries, Photoshop lessons and detailed test reports of new and vintage camera equipment. Ken is engineer by training, he has an artistic eye, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and opinions about photography. He has fully embraced digital photography, and is equally adept with 35mm, medium and large format cameras. Listen to a May, 2006 radio interview with Ken here.

- Dave Wyman has had his photographs and articles appear in Outdoor Photographer, Outside, Backpacker, Sky and Telescope, and many other publications. He has conducted photography and natural history tours in California and the American West since 1982, for the Conservancy, the Los Angeles and San Diego Natural History Museums, the Los Angeles Zoo, the University of Southern California and UCLA. His most recent book is Yosemite in Photographs; he is also the author and photographer of Backroads of Northern California and Backroads of Southern California as well as Yosemite in Photographs.


The Accommodations

Campground space in the Valley is included. The Yosemite Conservancy has set also aside indoor accommodations in the park. If indoor accommodations are filled, and you don't want to camp, the alternate is to book a room either at Cedar Lodge of Yosemite View Lodge, just outside the park entrance, and about 20-25 minutes from our morning meeting places. Secret tip: it's always possible to pick up room cancellations, starting a couple of weeks before the trip, inside Yosemite Valley - persistent phone calls will do the trick - 866 486-9310. (You can check with Dave if the Conservancy is out of rooms and you want help with accommodations.)


The Details

What to Bring:
- Camera gear (see below)
- Clothing for warm and cool temperatures, including a ski cap for cool mornings and evenings
- Day pack and/or camera bag
- Money for meals
- A sense of adventure

What Will be Provided:
- Instructors
- Guided photography walks
- Equipment demonstrations and lectures
- Slide shows

Camera Equipment: Digital or film cameras (35mm and medium format) are all welcome. This is the trip to enjoy a variety of photographic equipment, including wide angle lenses, telephotos, filters, CF or SD cards, three kinds of film and at least two camera formats.

However, if the truth be told, a basic digital or 35mm camera with one lens will work just fine during most of this photography workshop. Two filters for aficionados: the polarizer, and the 81A or 81B warming filter (the latter more for film photographers) will allow saturation of colors and keep a blue tone out of photographs made in the shade or under cloudy skies. A tripod will help insure the sharpest images and will be particularly useful at dawn and dusk. Graduated neutral density filters can work well in some locations, too (there are many varieties, contact Dave if you'd like some tips on purchasing/using one). 

Bring enough CF or SD cards for digital cameras, as well as a battery charger; some cameras require more than one battery to last through a day, some survive on a single battery. Make sure you have enough battery power.

Film Considerations: Bring any sort of film. The less sensitive to light the film (lower ISO numbers, such as 25 to 100 with slide film, 200 to 400 with print film), the better the color saturation and image sharpness. 


Bring Your Own Photographs: If you like, bring your own photographs - up to 10 - for critique, or simply to be enjoyed by the group. Bring them on a memory stick and we'll show them on a digital projector or laptop; feel free to bring your own laptop or tablet. (If you have 35mm or MF slides, scan them onto memory stick). Bring prints, too, if you want to share them.

Weather: we can expect mild to warm days, and cool evenings. Just about anything is possible, from temperatures in the 80s in the Valley during the day and down to the 30s in the evening (but don't bet on either). Be prepared with a selection of clothing. "Bad" weather, often in the form of afternoon thundershowers, is sometimes the best weather for photography, and won't cancel or curtail our photographic field sessions.


The Itinerary

Arrive anytime on Thursday no activities are planned, campsite space and indoor accommodations will be available in the afternoon.  You are invited to join Ken and Dave at Yosemite Lodge, in the Food Court, for dinner (cafeteria style, lots of choices for good). We'll meet again after dinner for a brief hello session and short slide show in Dave or Ken's room.

Heart of the Valley: On Friday we'll meet at Yosemite Lodge for an early morning session. After breakfast, we will enjoy looking at participants' images, and then explore the remainder of the day in the Valley, photographing the languid Merced River, views of Half Dome and El Capitan, and we'll watch for the rainbow on Bridalveil Falls. After photographing sunset over Half Dome, we will have dinner and enjoy another a slide show.

The Human Imprint: On Saturday we'll visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, the Ahwahnee Hotel, view the historic barns at Foresta (a few miles outside the Valley), and later travel to Glacier Point (weather permitting), stopping along the way to look for coyotes and tree frogs, and to enjoy the views afforded at Washburn and Glacier Points. We may also have time to visit the historic Wawona Hotel and the unusual suspension bridge over the South Fork of the Merced River. We will return to the Valley for dinner a final evening session.

On Sunday
, we will finish the seminar by noon

Ken and Dave are conducting another workshop on the east side of the Sierras (Mono Lake, the ghost town of Bodie, autumn colors), and you are invited to join that trip, too. Just follow Ken and Dave across the Sierras after lunch and explore the other side of the mountains. Click here for information.

To Register

Cost: $450.00. Reservations are on a first come, first served basis. 

How to Register: For this workshop, participants will register via the Yosemite Conservancy, which is the sponsoring organization. Click here.

If you have any questions:
contact the trip leader, Dave Wyman, at 323 377-7565, or send e-mail here.


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Phone: 323 377-7565