The Majestic Landscapes of the Eastern Sierra Masterclass
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Marvel at the majestic beauty of snow-capped mountains in the early morning light, experience the humility of standing amongst ancient trees as old as the pyramids, savor the serenity of stunning glacial lakes, and enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of gurgling geothermal hot springs!
The Eastern Sierra region of California is a treasure trove of natural beauty and photographic opportunities. Marvel at the majestic beauty of snow-capped mountains in the early morning light, experience the humility of standing amongst ancient trees as old as the pyramids, savor the serenity of stunning glacial lakes, and enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of gurgling geothermal hot springs.
Much of the Sierra Nevada consists of federal lands either protected from development or strictly managed. The mountain range is home to three national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon), two national monuments (Giant Sequoia and Devil’s Postpile), ten national forests, 26 wilderness areas, and the second deepest lake in North America (Lake Tahoe).
The Eastern Sierra region, stretching from Lone Pine at the southern end to the Nevada border in the north, contains some of California’s most impressive superlatives, including the highest, lowest, deepest, biggest, tallest, largest, hottest, and oldest.
From 14,000-foot mountain peaks to sage-filled plains and the world’s largest calderas, every corner of the Eastern Sierra Corridor is a photographer’s delight. The landscapes’ diversity and the geological formations’ uniqueness make it a remarkable destination for amateur and professional photography enthusiasts.
Itinerary & General Information
- Arrival – Arrival at the hotel / 5 PM Meet-and-Greet and group dinner
- Day 1 – We’ll spend our first day in the Alabama Hills, starting with sunrise and then staying throughout the day to do Astrophotography in the evening. The Alabama Hills are a range of hills and dynamic rock formations set between the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the Inyo Mountains in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine. Mt. Whitney – the tallest mountain in the “lower 48” states, rising to 14,505 feet – is part of a chain of mountains called the Great Western Divide. All of this adds up to an endless array of fantastic photographic opportunities. We’ll spend the night in Lone Pine.
- Day 2 – We’ll spend a second morning in the Alabama Hills for sunrise before heading to our hotel in Bishop. We’ll use the afternoon for class instruction and to work on our images.
- Day 3 – Our third day will start with an early sunrise at the Hot Creek Geological Site. Hot Creek is a scenic wonderland with dozens of natural hot springs bubbling up within the rocky walls of a river gorge in the shadows of towering Eastern Sierra mountains. After sunrise, we’ll stop to capture the marshlands along the serene Owens River set against the spectacular backdrop of the Eastern Sierra. We’ll then drive high into the White Mountains to photograph the ancient Bristlecone Pines. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is home to some of the oldest living trees in the world (some more than 4,500 years old). These magnificent trees exist in one of the most inhospitable environments in the American Southwest. Found between 10,000 and 11,400 ft, these warrior-like survivors have endured brutal temperatures and gale-force winds dating back to the time of the Pyramids. As a result, their shapes provide great possibilities to photograph everywhere you look.
- Day 4 – Our fourth day will be another early sunrise at Mono Lake. Mono Lake is a majestic saline body of water covering about 65 square miles located at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park near the small town of Lee Vining. The lake is over a million years old and one of the oldest lakes in North America. It is also a closed lake, meaning that it has no outlet. Throughout its existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind, so the lake is now 2.5 times as salty as the ocean and very alkaline. The Mono Lake Reserve was established to preserve the spectacular “tufa towers,” calcium-carbonate spires, and knobs formed by interacting freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. It also protects the lake surface, wetlands, and other sensitive habitats for the 1 to 2 million birds that feed and rest at Mono Lake yearly. We’ll spend the day working on our images in the classroom and conclude with a group dinner.
- Day 5 – We’ll spend our final morning working on our images in the classroom before concluding our adventure.
John Bosma Fine Arts Photography is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.
What to Expect
The majority of our days will start early, before sunrise. After a quick coffee or tea, we’ll be off to get into position at a location in the best light of the day with breakfast in the field to maximize our shooting time. We’ll often continue until mid-to-late morning before heading back to Basecamp.
Back at Basecamp, we’ll have time for off-loading memory cards, classroom lectures & instruction, working on our images, one-on-one guidance, or time to relax. Then, in the mid-to-late afternoon, we’ll head out again to capture the evening skies, getting the most out of the sunset and shooting the stars in the night sky.
More important than just getting you to some of the best and most remote locations at the best times of the day, this five-day full-immersion landscape photography workshop will teach you how to visualize an image, how to plan your shoot, how to capture your image in the field, and how to bring your image to life using a variety of post-production techniques.
In the Field:
We’ll learn how to scout and visualize a scene, compose a ground/sky/sea landscape to show scale and tell a story, how to manage complex highlight and shadow scenes, how and when to use filters, how to plan your images for a blended blue hour composite, how to focus your camera at night to capture pin sharp stars and foreground, and how to use apps like PhotoPills to plan a shoot. We’ll also use techniques such as dynamic bracketing and exposure blending, focus stacking and focal length blending, neutral density filters, and stacking for noise reduction.
In the Classroom:
We’ll spend time developing your post-production workflow – learning when Lightroom is enough and when you need to move your work into Photoshop. We’ll learn how to use techniques such as luminosity masks to create and solve contrast, color, and blending issues; how to blend multiple images together in Photoshop to create blue hour blends, focal length blends, and exposure blends; how to use start stacking to create pin sharp starry night skies; how to create Orton glows and sharpen your final image; and how to use apps like ProPanel to increase your efficiency.
You’ll benefit from hours of capture time in the field with an instructor by your side, and classroom instruction as you learn new techniques and strategies for creating dynamic images.
Tuition & Payment Terms
What’s Included in Your Tuition:
- 5 nights lodging / 4.5 training days
- Field meals and snacks
- All ground transportation during the workshop
- Workshop course materials
- In-the-field photographic training
- Online prep & orientation classes prior to the workshop
- Post-production classes and techniques during the workshop
- Online post-production classes after the workshop
What’s Not Included in Your Tuition:
- Transportation to/from your home to Basecamps in Lone Pine and Bishop, California
- Lodging beyond the 5 nights included in the workshop
- Alcoholic beverages
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Personal expenses, gratuities, and anything not listed as included
What to Bring and How to Prepare for Your Workshop
Please see our How to Prepare For Your Workshop page for guidelines on workshop prep, gear, and packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.