Yosemite Photography Tour California, USA

Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree … California’s parks are home to some of the most iconic views and landscapes on the planet. And we’ll see all of them on our 10-day Yosemite Photography Holiday adventure.

From the cerulean skies over Joshua Tree – completely devoid of light pollution – capture the vivid Milky Way, light falling gently over the trees and outsized boulders that dot the landscape; then north to the rugged expanse of Death Valley, and watch the late afternoon light tint the mountains at the lowest point of the USA. Completing our 11-day road trip, explore Yosemite’s granite wonderland, watching myriad waterfalls cascade into a sheer glacial valley.

Along the way, snooze in chic retreats once reserved for Hollywood movie stars, explore mid-century Modernist architecture in Palm Springs, shoot some pics on a 30’s Wild West set, and sample some of the finest wines California has to offer.

There is only one ultimate road trip.

People have flocked to California ever since the gold rush 1848-1855, with high expectations.  No place on earth can match California in terms of diversity and beauty; it has the largest, tallest and oldest trees in the world (Sequoia, Redwood
and Bristlecone Pine). And one of the highest waterfalls in the world – Yosemite Falls, and one what many consider the best view on the whole American continent – Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. All part of our trip!

On your Creative Escape to California, you’ll

  • Learn the art of the ‘opening shot’ deep inside Joshua Tree National Park
  • Shoot the 50’s architectural splendour of downtown Palm Springs
  • Create mysterious documentary images in Salton Sea, an abandoned town
  • Refine your composition skills on a Western movie set, Pioneer Town
  • Bag some famous travel vistas along Route 66, and Roys Cafe
  • Shoot the salt flats, moonscapes and moonlit dunes in the lowest point of the USA at Death Valley
  • Set-up your spot in myriad locations made famous by Ansel Adams
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Yosemite Tourism Photos & Highlights.

Yosemite Photography Tour Itinerary.

After touching down in LAX on the first day of your Yosemite Photography Holiday, we’ll whisk you off to our chic retreat in the Hollywood Hills – and chance to first meet the team who will be leading you on this tour of Calfornia – plus chance to unwind after a long flight. After a restful nights sleep, and a hearty American Diner breakfast, we hit the highway towards Coachella Valley, through the spectacular wind farms and arrive in Palm Springs in time for lunch at our luxury boutique hotel, Colony Palms, once a secret hangout for Hollywood stars in the 1930’s – now refurbished to the highest order for our comfort. Come the afternoon, we’ll start with an exposure session, learning all about your camera, then a tour of the area’s famous art deco architecture. You’ll then have time to relax around the pool and spa, then end the day with drinks and dinner at the uber-chic Parker Hotel, just down the strip.

A short landscape class in the morning looking at master landscape photographers will prepare you for our first shooting encounter in the afternoon, Joshua Tree. With its surreal geologic features, we will learn techniques on how to spot, approach and capture to best effect varied landscapes, in rapidly shifting light conditions. Later, we’ll review our images poolside, our team giving you both individual and group feedback on your images. Next morning, we’ll spend time looking at composition, finding more unusual approaches to make your images stand out from the norm – taking composition beyond the postcard ‘syndrome’ – then back out to visit Pioneer Town, an old ghost town with a saloon, church, working post office, and some very interesting locals – chance to step back in time and shoot the Wild West.

We set off first thing for Death Valley, arriving at the Furnace Creek in time for lunch. Our afternoon session will teach you how to understand light and prepare you for tonight’s first sunset shoot in this unique landscape. Later, your tutor will give a live demo – chance to learn some insider tips that will elevate your images to that next level. We then shoot a sequence of dusk images on the valley floor, and on into the darkness to shoot long exposures at night, in conditions with almost zero light pollution.

Next day, a whole day’s shoot in monumental Death Valley awaits, starting with a short trip to the salt flats of Badwater Basin, the lowest point in America (and the hottest place on earth). We’ll then catch the afternoon light on the Ubehebe Crater, located in the black volcanic sands in the northern half of the valley, before setting up our tripods in the Mesquite Sand Dunes, to pay photographic homage to the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. A day’s photography at its very best.

Up early, we head north and arrive for lunch at our final stop, Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, one of only a handful of hotels with access to Yosemite National Park. Here, we take our skills to the next level, in the park made famous by Ansel Adams, and reveal techniques on how to ‘see’ in Black and White, understand- ing tones and the Zone system, plus see how filters in-camera can make dramatic effects to your images. Next morning, we take our first glimpse at the valley floor, touring all the major locations made famous by Ansel Adams, and trying our hand at some of the techniques he used to create his world renowned images. Later, we’ll review the best of the day on the big screen, with the backdrop of the sun setting over Yosemite National parklands – and hold some 1-on-1 sessions to personally tune your work – before some fine dining at the Sierra Restaurant.

Over the next few days, we leave behind the trail left by Ansel Adams, and document our own version of Yosemite National Park, touring a multitude of incredible locations by dawn, daytime and dusky conditions. With 1-on-1 live tuition at each location, we’ll shoot Horsetail Falls in rich, sunset light, get incredible vistas over Half Dome shot from Glacier Point, then south to Mariposa Grove to capture the centuries-old Giant Sequoia’s. We’ll take our time at Tunnel View, waiting for the best light on El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall – this is two full days – a smorgasbord of the finest locations the Park has to offer, and you’ll bag each one in turn, amassing a killer collection of epic landscapes, in time for our outdoor pop-up exhibition and final nights feast, chance to revel in just how far we have come on our photographic journey through California.

Next morning, you’ll have chance to get some final 1-on-1 feedback from your professional tutors on your progress emerging style and tips on where next to take your photography. Before lunch, we sadly say our farewells, exchange email addresses with new found friends (and creative collaborators) and board the plane back home – chance to reflect on 11 days odyssey through magical California, from art-deco chic of Palm Springs, the historic Wild West beyond Joshua Tree, sparkling crystalline salt formations at the base of Death Valley – and it’s myriad alien landscapes to boot quite unlike anywhere else. And finally, Yosemite, the World’s most photogenic national park, where you’ll amass a bagful of photographic trophies, and complete the experience of our road trip of a lifetime.

Tour Details.

17 – 27 May, 2018
Spaces available

13 – 23 September, 2017
Spaces available

11 days. 10 nights. Starts and ends in Los Angeles, California.

£2395 sharing / £3015 single

Price includes 
11 days, 10 nights accommodation at the listed hotels
11 full days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
Entry passes to Yosemite, Death Valley & Joshua Tree National Parks
Entrances to Pioneer Town, Bodie, Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite & Mono Lake
All transfers to and from the airport
All transportation to shooting locations
Night shoot in Death Valley
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions

Price excludes international flights, lunch and dinner.

 

There are many direct flights from the UK into LA, serviced by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Delta and more. Prices start from £500.

"Trip was great. Mark was absolutely brilliant - great on the technical side obviously but also very thoughtful in his feedback, challenging where he needed to be and a great laugh overall.  "


Courtney Waterman, California 2016