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Workshop Dates: September 18-21, 2014
California's Eastern Sierra, a jagged and prominent escarpment rising over 10,000 feet above the Owens Valley, is one of the hidden photographer's gems in California
Many prominent landscape photographers, including the late Galen Rowell, have called Bishop and the Eastern Sierra home and their base for their photographic expeditions into the stunning surroundings
No other region in the country offers the dramatic granite peaks, glacier-carved valleys, dense foliage and roaring mountain streams. And the Fall Season is the time of year prized by all Sierra photographers, as the colors of the Eastern Sierra explode into a visual contrast against the stark gray of the granite, bleached white of the mountain glaciers and the deep blue sky
"What a remarkable workshop, what a fantastic job by Michael, and what a learning experience.
The variety of locations - it was truly multi-dimensional. We covered the length and breadth of the Eastern Sierra¹s and Owens Valley ... at elevations of between 4,000 to 10,000 feet, and beyond, if you take into account the fantastic Astrophotography location.
The variety of subjects which included fall colors in mountain, river and lake settings, the Bodie Ghost Town, Petroglyphs, the Tufa Towers at Mono Lake, Bristlecone Pine Forests, rock formations and the night sky.
And time of day. We saw every sunrise and sunset on location. This variety created a very wide range of shooting opportunities to fully explore the lessons of composition and technique, including (for my part) lens choice, filters, white balance settings, lighting, flash photography and night shooting.
At each location Michael explained the significance and history of the location, and tracked us down to make sure we understood the lessons, reviewing our images, answering questions and pushing us to experiment to take us to the next level. And who needs sleep and oxygen anyway!"
A rare and special treat, exclusive ONLY to the Eastern Sierra & Owens Valley workshop, is an evening at a Deep Space Satellite Dish Array Complex to photograph star trails and the Milky Way, while surrounded by giant satellite dishes. Each workshop participant gets to pick out their own satellite dish on the pad to use in the foreground of their astrophotography. Past workshop participants remark that this is the highlight of the entire workshop!
Capture the vibrancy of the Eastern Sierra during shooting sessions throughout the day interspersed with extensive specialized instruction in landscape photography. 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, building on the previous locations techniques and lessons to culminate in a comprehensive lesson in composition, modified exposure, light controls, and High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography to name just a few.
This truly is a collaboration of extensive, comprehensive landscape photography education coupled with a dynamic locale.
NOTE: This workshop sells out fast every year, due to the incredible diversity of shooting locations coupled with the extraordinary astrophotography session. The workshop is limited to only 15 participants; it is highly recommended to sign-up as soon as possible.
Day 1 - We begin the workshop at 9:00am with a welcome orientation during breakfast in Bishop followed by departure to the first location for our first exercise in pre-visualization, composition and layering. We move on to our second location, climbing in altitude to 10,000 feet, capturing the colors up the Rock Creek drainage as we head to the high sierra, granite-walled meadows of Little Lakes Valley. We then drop back down from the glacier-studded high sierra to the volcanic tableland to capture sunset in a rocky slot canyon, followed by post-sunset photography using Nikon CLS to document the Native American petroglyphs before ending the day capturing the infamous alpen glow of the high sierra.
Day 2 - A stark contrast from the lush vegetation the night before, Day 2 begins at sunrise deep in the Alabama Hills beneath Mt. Whitney. Additional applications in this exercise will continue in the Tuttle Creek following breakfst, before heading on to Bishop for an editing session and early dinner. We then swing across Owens Valley to the top of the White Mountains and into the home of the unusual and dramatic Bristlecone pine forest, illuminated by the warm setting sun. Following sunset, we head to what has been hailed as the highlight of the Eastern Sierra & Owens Valley workshop: the astrophotography session at the deep space research station, capturing the stunning star fields and the gases of the Milky Way.
Day 3 - Heading north from Bishop, we begin the day before sunrise at Mono Lake, capturing the alpenglow of the Sierra Range over the still waters of the lake, with the towering and bizarre tufa spires (composed of calcium carbonate) illuminated by the rising sun. Following breakfast, we head deep into Lundy Canyon, one of the strongholds of color in the Eastern Sierra, as we head to Lundy Lake and up Mill Creek to the beaver ponds and aspen forests. Following our time in the changing colors of the canyon, we head to the iconic ghost town of Bodie - a true photographic treasure where over a hundred buildings remain in various states of decay, some with the interior furnishings complete but trapped in time, still living in the 19th century. As the sun drops down, we head back to Mono Lake for sunset, seeing the tufa spires in entirely new light, coupled with the high sierra alpen glow.
Day 4 - The day begins back deep in the canyons of the Eastern Sierra, this time up the Bishop Creek drainage, the favorite of the local photographers and a fitting end for the workshop. We start with sunrise over South Lake, capturing the alpen glow colors, white mountain-top glaciers and the emerald blue colors of the lake, followed by a slow meander down the canyon to capture the endless photo opportunities of color against the stark granite. We move on to Lake Sabrina for our final shooting location before heading down to Bishop for a farewell lunch and our goodbyes.
The workshop pricing includes the training and resources, but does not include food and lodging. You will need to book a room at a hotel in Bishop. Upon signing up for the workshop, a list of recommended hotels/motels in Bishop will be provided to you.
We will be carpooling to our shooting locations each day. The city of Bishop is located on Highway 395 in a remote location. There are three airport cities to choose from in planning your arrival: Reno, Nevada is located 4 hours north of Bishop with an easy drive on Highway 395; Las Vegas, Nevada is located 5 hours from Bishop, requiring desert travel between the two cities; Los Angeles and LAX airport is 5+ hours away and a relatively easy drive (there are other airport options in Los Angeles, such as Ontario Airport or Burbank's Bob Hope Airport that can reduce the driving time slightly). The driving routes from all three airports, do provide for some additional spectacular photographic opportunities (while adding driving time, of course) from Death Valley to the Red Rock Canyon to Walker River to Lake Tahoe. Upon signing up for the workshop, a travel guide will be provided that will highlight photographic opportunities along all three routes.
NOTE: Several of the workshop locations are at elevations in excess of 10,000 ft. At that altitude, our short hikes with camera gear will feel like an attempt on Mt. Everest. While the workshop terrain is not strenuous, the altitude combined with the multitude of locations can lead to this workshop being classified as 'physically demanding'.
Nikonians Academy is operating this workshop under a special use permit with the Inyo National Forest.
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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.