Yosemite in Winter
As the season’s first snowfalls blanket the landscape, Yosemite is transformed into a winter wonderland full of jaw-dropping opportunities to photograph the snowy landscapes and wildlife in the Park!
Many have the impression that Yosemite closes up until spring once the winter snows have started; however, Yosemite and its residents do not hibernate! Although the Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Roads do close with the onset of winter, Yosemite Valley comes alive with a wide variety of winter sports and activities, some of which include skiing snow-shoeing, and ice skating. Imagine ice skating with the Half Dome as your backdrop!
The beautiful winter light also makes for superb sunrise, sunset, and night photography opportunities featuring iconic locations such as Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, the Gates of the Valley, and Tunnel View. We’ll also seek out off-the-beaten-path locations most people don’t know about.
This landscape photography workshop will also include Yosemite’s famous Horsetail Fall “Fire Fall.” This event occurs in late February each year (if conditions are right) when the last rays of sunlight set Horsetail Fall ablaze against the deeply shadowed cliffs during sunset. The iconic Horsetail Fall Fire Fall shot requires sufficient snowpack above El Capitan, a day warm enough to melt the snow to feed the waterfall, and clear weather to the west as the sun sets for the sunlight to strike the waterfall.
Regardless of Horsetail Fall, winter is an enchanting time of year to be shooting Yosemite Valley and the main purpose of this workshop will be to photograph the beauty of Yosemite Valley when the entire valley is covered in snow.
Itinerary & General Information
- Arrival – Arrival at the hotel / 5 PM Meet-and-Greet and group dinner.
- Day 1 – Our first day in the field will start with a sunrise shoot at Tunnel View – one of the most iconic views in the entire Park. We’ll arrive early enough to capture the initial halo of the sun as it silhouettes Half Dome in the east, the sunbursts created as the sun first begins to peek above the horizon, and the warm golden colors as the sun slowly begins to flood the Valley. We’ll spend the rest of the morning in the western end of the Valley Floor capturing images of El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, and the Merced River. After lunch, it will be time to start getting into position for shooting the Fire Fall at sunset. We’ll use the late afternoon to get our camera settings organized so that we are ready for sunset. Time and weather permitting, we’ll end our day with some night photography at Tunnel View on our way back to the hotel.
- Day 2 – We’ll spend the morning of our second day in the middle section of the Valley Floor, photographing El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, the Three Brothers, the Merced River, and Half Dome. We’ll also take daytime photos of Valley View. After lunch, it will be time to start getting into position for the second night of shooting the Fire Fall. We’ll use the late afternoon to get our camera settings organized so that we are ready for sunset. Time and weather permitting, we’ll end our day with some night photography at Valley View on our way back to the hotel.
- Day 3 – Our third day will start with a sunrise shoot at the Valley View – another iconic view of Yosemite Valley. In contrast to the elevated view of the Valley at Tunnel View, we’ll be shooting on the banks of the Merced River surrounded by towering granite cliffs on both sides of the Valley. We’ll spend the remainder of the day in the eastern section of the Valley Floor with a hike to Mirror Lake. We’ll end our day back at the Valley View for sunset on our way back to the hotel for a farewell celebration dinner.
- Day 4 – We’ll spend our final morning critiquing 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 cup of 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 in order 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/or shooting the stars in the night sky.
More important than just getting you to some of the best and most remote areas of the park at the best times of the day, this four-day landscape photography workshop will challenge you to take your photography to the next level and to develop your own photographic voice.
In the Field:
Out in the field, we’ll explore different approaches to scene visualization, ground/sky/sea compositions, and how to manage complex highlight and shadow scenes using techniques such as dynamic bracketing, focus stacking, framing, and neutral density filters.
In the Classroom:
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 – using techniques such as luminosity masks to create and solve contrast, color, and blending issues.
You’ll benefit from our guidance, 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. We’ll help you take your photography to the next level.
Tuition & Payment Terms
What’s Included in Your Tuition:
- 4 nights lodging / 3.5 training days
- Field meals and snacks
- All ground transportation during the workshop
- Workshop course materials
- In-the-field photographic training
- Post-production classes during the workshop
- Pre-workshop planning & research sessions
- Post-workshop post-production sessions
What’s Not Included in Your Tuition:
- Transportation to/from your home to Basecamp
- Lodging beyond the 4 nights included in the workshop