Yosemite - Spring Waterfalls and Spring Blooms

Discuss this workshop

Join us for the premier season for Yosemite photography

Workshop Dates: May 14-17, 2015

The premier season for photographers in Yosemite Valley is spring, with its countless blooming flowers, tall green grasses, roaring rapids in the Merced River and the showcase of them all: over a dozen waterfalls pouring over the towering cliffs of the valley's rim, dropping thousands of feet in sheer free-falls, stair-cased steps or series of cascades. Coupled with the dramatic backdrop of the sheer granite walls and iconic lofty, precipitous spires, peaks and domes, spring time in Yosemite is a sheer photographer's playground.

This workshop focuses not only on the 'where' to take the pictures, but also on the 'how' to take pictures, incorporating photographic education throughout the workshop at each location. By building on the previous location's techniques and lessons, this allows for culmination in a comprehensive lesson in composition, modified exposure, light controls, Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS), and Infrared (IR) photography.

This truly is a collaboration of extensive, comprehensive landscape photography education coupled with a dynamic location.


Requires understanding of camera operations & functions, standard photography principles of exposure & composition

You can also read what last year's workshop participants had to say about the experience.

Also, you can look at the images from the 2011 workshop in the Yosemite Spring gallery

And, lastly, for a wonderful and very entertaining first-person perspective of the workshop experience, read Todd Jackson's blog


Day 1 - Following an early afternoon session at our meeting location reviewing the workshop schedule, safety, photographic concerns and techniques, we will depart for our first location at the Cascades, photographing the convergence of two waterfalls above our vantage point into a roaring cascade just below us, beginning our exercises in visual composition and application. We will then return to Yosemite Lodge for an early dinner before heading to a profile vantage point of Bridalveil Falls at sunset. Evening time will be spent reviewing images in the group environment at the Curry Village Lounge.

Day 2 - Following an early breakfast, we will depart to photograph Yosemite Falls from the Merced River, at a specific time and specific place. Late morning will be spent focusing on the blooming dogwoods, apples and other spring flowers in the center and west end of the valley. Following lunch, we head back to Curry Village for edit, review and critique of our images from the past two days. We will depart the valley in late afternoon to head south to Wawona for a photographic study of the Merced River and spring foliage in an unlikely but remarkable location, held secret and in high regards by Yosemite landscape photographers. (This secret location is a favorite of all those who attend, prompting countless return visits!)

Day 3 - The entire day will be a hike from atop Glacier Point (2000 feet above the valley floor) back down to the valley passing three glorious waterfalls in full force with photographic angles not easily acquired by the passing tourist. We will begin with the light still striking Illilouette Fall before heading down toward Nevada Fall as the afternoon sun shifts to fall on the waterfall and Liberty Cap in the background, before continuing down to Vernal Fall in the late afternoon light, then heading into the Valley for dinner. Following dinner, we head back up to Glacier Point to photograph sunset on Half Dome and the valley below.

Day 4 - Following an early breakfast, we will depart to the east end of the valley for first light on Mirror Lake, just below Half Dome. After, we head to to Yosemite Lodge for our workshop conclusion/farewell lunch, allowing to return to Fresno International Airport, for late/early evening departures


The workshop pricing includes training and resources, but does not include lodging or food. We will be carpooling or using the free park shuttle to get to our shooting locations each day. The airport of arrival & departure should be Fresno-Yosemite International Airport (FAT).

  • You will learn

    • Photographic techniques:
    • Directly related to Yosemite spring conditions
    • Macro photography, waterfall methodology
    • Studies in water photography
    • White balance shifting
    • Evaluative composition
    • Pre-visualization of final image:
    • From exposure
    • Through post-production
    • To presentation
    • Alternative digital processes/approaches
  • What to bring

  • Required

    • Water bottles, at least two of at least 32oz capacity. (Not bottled water but bottles that can be filled with water, such as Nalgene.) This is a must-have item; anyone not carrying at least two 32oz bottles will not be allowed on the Day 3 hike. Bottles can be purchased in Yosemite at the Valley store on Day 2 or in Curry Village.
    • Sturdy hiking boots, light-weight long-sleeved shirts, light-weight pants, hat (ideally a wide-brimmed, no visors or ballcaps), rain or all-weather jacket. (Prepare for cool nights and pleasant days. Layered clothing is ideal.)
    • Camera equipment should include the full range of lens from ultra-wide to zoom, sturdy tripod and cable release (capable of keeping the camera shutter open longer than 30 seconds). A 6-stop Neutral Density (ND) or a Fader ND/Vario-ND filter is required for this workshop, along with a polarizer filter. While not required, Gradated ND filters are highly recommended. Usually our shooting locations are far from our venue, so spare memory cards and batteries are a must.
    • Laptop computer to edit your images. Additional memory cards and/or download device or hard drive.
  • What is provided

    • Guidance by our professional photography instructor
    • Training materials from the workshop
    • Amazing photo opportunities
    • VENUE INFORMATION: For the Yosemite in Spring workshop, workshop participants need to make lodging reservations at either Curry Village or Yosemite Lodge inside Yosemite Valley, or at one of the two hotels located in El Portal, immediately outside of Yosemite Valley.
    • Curry Village or Yosemite Lodge: Located in Yosemite Valley
    • Yosemite View Lodge: Located on Hwy. 140 right at the park boundary.
    • Cedar Lodge: Located further down Hwy. 140 away from the park boundary.
  • Venue Information

      Please check your venue by specific city area location.


Spring waterfalls and verdant fields in front of Yosemite's grand monoliths. Don't miss it!

Workshop is limited to 10 participants

Cancellation policy: If you cancel more than 30 days before the workshop, we will refund your tuition except for a $150 fee. If you cancel less than 30 days before the workshop, we will refund 50% of the tuition. If you cancel less than 15 days before the workshop, we cannot offer any refund.


Yosemite - Spring Waterfalls and Spring Blooms workshops are provided in the following locations:

City Area Date Instructor Price (Member) Price (Non-Member)
Yosemite 14-MAY-2009 Michael A. Mariant $1245 $1275 Sold out
Yosemite, CA 26-MAY-2011 Michael A. Mariant $1495 $1525 Sold out
Yosemite, CA 18-APR-2013 Michael A. Mariant $895 $925 Sold out
Yosemite, CA 14-MAY-2015 Michael A. Mariant $995 $1095 Sold out

Member prices are only applicable to Nikonians Silver, Gold and Platinum Members. Non-members can register as Nikonians members here. Nikonians Basic members can upgrade the membership level here. Membership payments help sustain the growth of the Nikonians community and its services such as the Nikonians Academy.