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 gem in California. No other region in the country offers the dramatic granite peaks, glacier-carved valleys, dense foliage and roaring mountain streams. Join HSW instructors Michael Mariant and Aaron Lambert for SIX incredible days of stunning photography and comprehensive photo education like no other workshop offers. This highly-acclaimed and famous course is limited to only 12 students with two instructors, to ensure the best student to instructor ratio.

Eventbrite - Eastern Sierra & Owens Valley Photography Workshop

  WHEN: OCT. 2 - 7, 2017 - Six-Day Workshop Course
  TUITION: $1,496

100-Level: Essentials
Course topics include: Learning to read a scene, pre-visualization, compositional principles, technical & visual assessments

Trails w/significant inclines/elevation changes, possible high altitude, possible full day from cars

COURSE CAPACITY: Minimum 5 students, maximum 12


This essentials-level workshop course addresses these standardized curriculum topics:

The key to knowing what you are going to photograph is knowing how to assess what constitutes the photograph in the first place, and what in the scene before you justifies being in the photograph
Ansel Adams knew how he was going to print the photograph in the darkroom — down to every detail — before he even clicked the camera shutter. Learning the full pre-visualization methods ensures that your final image is what you intended the photograph to depict.
Sought by professional photographers to craft the powerful final image, these principles provide direction in the composition.
The core of the curriculum is learning to read the light for proper exposure and visual impact
A set of principles will provide the foundation of visual composition.
Separation of the technical from the visual will be presented as a fine art approach.

The Eastern Sierra & Owens Valley is an incredible diverse area with more shooting locations than we can utilize.

The workshop begins at 9am with the requisite working breakfast orientation and academic lesson. Following the lecture, the students head out to to a private ghost town for the afternoon and sunset, focusing on the core fundamentals presented in the morning lesson.

The second day of the workshop begins with a pre-dawn departure to the Alabama Hills before heading up to Whitney Portal, followed by a fun painting with light trip inside a mine shaft The day ends with sunset and moonlit photography back at Alabama Hills.

The third day of the workshop begins with a return sunrise trip to Alabama Hills followed by a challenging academic session in an Alabama Hills canyon. Sunset caps the day at a premiere mountain lake with colorful and flowing mountain ridges, a favorite of past students.

The fourth day of the workshop begins at sunrise in the mountains west of Bishop for a combination of timed stops at lakes, rivers and ponds, before heading down to a secret slot canyon. The day wraps at the Ancient Bristlecone Pines at sunset, followed by moon-lit photography in the forest.

Logo_Day5-IconThe fifth day of the workshop begins with a sunrise return to the mountain lake with colorful, flowing mountain ridges. The early afternoon session focuses on fall colors and lakes in a workshop favorite location, followed by sunset at a secret and dramatic mine with towering buildings.

Logo_Day6-IconThe final day of the workshop begins with a pre-dawn departure to Mono Lake followed by a full day of shooting in the amazingly preserved and famous ghost town of Bodie, the largest and most diverse ghost town in the west! The workshop wraps with an evening dinner in Bridgeport.

PlaceholderImage_1x400TransparentWORKSHOP PREREQUISTES
This essentials-level workshop has specific prerequisites for all participants:

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

All participants must watch the episodes of HSW.tv on content matter specific to this workshop course, as directed by their instructor. While the episode titles might reflect subject matter that is basic or rudimentary, all participants must watch each requisite episode as it is expected you will be knowledgeable and fluent on the concepts presented. (Each episode is comprehensive and short, about two minutes in length.)

"Logo_HSWtv_250x94pxBut I already know about exposure, your very first episode. It's the combination of shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Do I really need to watch it?"

That's the extreme basic misconception about exposure. If you come to the workshop with that premise and not what Episode #1 details, then you will be behind right from the start. All students need to be able to understand the instruction presented by the instructor, based off of the principles in the HSW.tv episodes listed below.

For this Eastern Sierra & Owens Valley workshop, your instructors have requested that you watch and familiarize yourself with the following episodes:
> HSW.tv SEASON ONE: Episodes #1 - #7, #9 - #11

PlaceholderImage_1x400Transparent Michael Mariant is a travel & documentary visual journalist based in California. Following several years as a newspaper photojournalist and desk editor, Michael moved away from local and regional coverage and up to wire service photography. For over a decade, Michael has been a contract photojournalist for The Associated Press, responsible for coverage of the Central Coast of California along with sports and entertainment assignments in Los Angeles, notably anchoring the agency’s coverage of the Michael Jackson trial from 2003 to 2005.  Michael is also the consultant & multimedia coordinator for the Semester at Sea study abroad program, providing lectures & instructions to the college students while shaping the direction of the programs multimedia efforts in video & still photography through social media. While still taking on editorial and Associated Press assignments, Michael has shifted his shooting focus to commercial video & his B&W landscapes. Outside of shooting, Michael leads educational travel photography workshops as well as university & industry lecture engagements.

View Your Instructor's SlickPic Gallery  |  Your Instructor's Website

Aaron Lambert is the Director of New Media and a workshop instructor for High Sierra Workshops. As a former photographer and videographer for the State of California Chamber of Commerce, Aaron wore two hats simultaneously: photographing presidents, dignitaries and governors while editing video from the California State Senate and Assembly. Previously, Aaron spent 12 years as a photojournalist for several newspapers and magazines in California and Texas. His images have been published in newspapers and magazines around the world, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, The Washington Post, USA Today, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The towns of Lone Pine, Bishop, and Bridgeport are the workshop base locations and are located on a major highway but are not close to any major cities.


Travel time from Mammoth/Yosemite Airport to Lone Pine (workshop start location) is approximately 1:45 minutes.
Travel time from Bridgeport (workshop end location) to Mammoth/Yosemite Airport is approximately 1:15 minutes.
Inquire with car rental companies about availability PRIOR to booking any flights. (NOTE: Mammoth/Yosemite Airport is a regional airport served from nearby major airports, including LAX and SFO

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Lone Pine is approximately 7 hours, and 5.5 hours from Bridgeport.
Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) is approximately 4.5 hours to Lone Pine, and 2 hours from Bridgeport.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
is approximately 4 hours to Lone Pine and 6 hours from Bridgeport. (NOTE: Travel time for LAX does not take into account travel in/out of Los Angeles.)

CARPOOL DETAILS: Carpool arrangements, if needed, will be reviewed and discussed in the workshop forum discussions

For the Eastern Sierra & Owens Valley Workshop, workshop participants must make their lodging reservations at one of the hotels listed below for each city/town, following the arrival and departure dates listed. This workshop begins in Lone Pine, continues up to Bishop, and concludes in Bridgeport. We recommend researching each of the hotel options as some hotels are "rustic" or "historic" in nature.

THREE NIGHTS: Sunday check-in, Wednesday check-out
Dow Villa Motel (Strongly recommended; BOOK EARLY!)
TWO NIGHTS: Friday check-in, Sunday check-out
(Recommended Sunday check-out, as workshop late Saturday)
Mono Lake Village at Twin Lakes Resort
(REQUIRED LODGING; Choices include rustic cabins, modern cabins, and motel rooms; BOOK EARLY!)

In order to balance the various individual meal and budget preferences, time is allocated for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day at one of the various dining establishments in Lone Pine, Bishop, Bridgeport and near the workshop locations. While we will eat as a group, meals are the individual responsibility of each workshop participant. Each dining establishment is chosen to provide a wide variety of meal options to satisfy multiple dietary preferences.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: How big is the group? How many students are there in the workshop?
    A: This workshop is always limited to only 15 participants with two instructors, to ensure the one-on-one educational environment.
  2. Q: Is there a deadline to sign-up for this workshop? Does it sell out? Will you add more room if it does?

    A: No, there is not a deadline to sign up for the workshop. However, space is limited. And it does sell-out, as it is popular course! We inevitably receive emails from those who waited until it was too late, inquiring if more spots can be added. Unfortunately, to keep the small group size and to ensure the critical one-on-one educational environment between the instructor and student, we do not add additional seats.

  3. Q: Is there any special camera gear I need to bring?

    A: There is absolutely no requirement on which camera you bring. All cameras will work within the workshop curriculum.

    > A sturdy, solid tripod is required. It can be anything from a Manfrotto aluminum tripod to the expensive carbon fiber tripods. We strongly advise against a “low-budget” tripod (in the sub $100 range), as they have never made it through any of the High Sierra Workshops. They are not designed to withstand regular tripod use, do not have the features and movements of higher quality tripods, and rarely if ever are solid and sturdy.

    > As for lenses, we do not recommend a specific lens or set of lens for the workshop, as that is always dictated by one’s own personal preferences and budget.

    We do say that, in general terms, you will  need a wide angle lens to medium-length lens to long telephoto lens for the workshop. Essentially, something in the range from ~16mm on the wide side to ~200mm on the long side. How you choose to fulfill that is at your discretion. Would an 18-200 work? Absolutely. Would all prime lenses work? Absolutely. Do I need a 400/2.8 with a 2x tele-convertor? Not really, unless you like carrying that hunk of glass around AND have an idea for a shot you want to accomplish.

    > In regards to carrying your camera equipment, a small photo backpack, waistbelt and/or chest harness (such as those from ThinkTank) is recommended as it will be much easier to carry your gear in this manner than with a bulky camera bag. When packing and choosing your gear to bring, remember one thing: keep it simple and light!

    > NOTE: One piece of equipment that we strongly recommend is a GRADUATED NEUTRAL DENSITY (ND) FILTER. There are several options out there for filters, varying from graduated to the Vario-n-Duo. The graduated ND filter that we would recommend would be either a 2-stop or 3-stop soft graduated filter. These help balance out the brighter sky to the dark foreground. This filter is not required but would be helpful. Can you survive without the grad filter? Absolutely.

    Some details about ND Filters:

    There are two options for these graduated neutral density filters: glass or plastic/resin. Glass is more expensive, but better quality, while some of the cheaper plastic/resin filters produce some horrible and unacceptable color casts on longer exposures. Stay away from the cheap plastic ones at all costs, if you can.

    Within these graduated ND filters, there are two types referred to as ‘hard’ or ‘soft’, in reference to the degree of gradation. Hard has almost a delineated line between the clear portion of the filter and the darker ND portion. Soft has a more gradual gradation and we recommend the ‘soft’ filter for first-time use.

    Note the the amount of ND is referred to in a decimal form, with every .3 being -1 stop of light. So a .9 would be -3 ND. For landscape photography, we would recommend a -3 stop soft graduated ND filter. (For the purpose of landscape photography, and especially the scenes we will find on our workshop as well as most landscape scenes, you WILL NOT need a “transition over full length of filter” ND filter, but rather one that has a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ gradation, ideally a ‘soft’ for this type of landscape purposes.)

    ALSO: It is strongly discouraged from purchasing a screw-mount graduated ND filter, one that would screw on to the end of the lens. This doesn’t allow for any adjustment of the gradation, and you have to sacrifice your composition just to accommodate the filter.

    Note that these filters measure 4″x4″, 4″x4.5″ or 4″x5″ in dimension. They can be hand-held or (ideally) placed in a Cokin P-filter holder. This opens up another proverbial ‘can of worms’ as the P-filter holder attaches to the end of the lens on the P-filter adapter ring. So the ring goes on the lens, the P-filter holder goes on the adapter ring and the filter goes in the P-filter holder.

    NOTE: While Cokin makes a great filter holder, their ND filters can create color casts and we recommend avoiding them.

    > NOTE: It is suggested to bring a flash if you have one, as you might want to use it to ‘paint’ the foreground in the sunrise or sunset shots or in certain locations.

  4. Q: What about non-photo gear? What do I need to bring?

    A: In the non-photographic equipment, a hat and sunscreen is a must.

    Good light-duty hiking boots with excellent traction are REQUIRED as we will be off-trail and might be doing some light boulder scrambling at times and good foot traction and strong ankle support is necessary.

    Another highly recommended item is hiking/trekking poles. Many workshop participants in the past have utilized the poles and commented that they couldn’t have done it all while carrying the heavy gear without the trekking poles.

    A flashlight/head lamp is REQUIRED as there is night shooting and post-sunset photography.

    NOTE: Everyone is required to bring at least 1 water bottle of 32 oz. capacity.

  5. Q: Why is the ‘Activity Level’ considred a three-heart rating? Is the workshop strenuous? Lots of hiking?

    A: There are two factors in this workshop that give it the three-heart rating in the Activity Level: Altitude and Long Days.

    ALTITUDE: Several of the workshop locations are at altitude of near or above 10,000-ft in elevation. At that altitude, the air is thing and any activity can quickly become strenuous, including walking. During the orientation, we discuss the our safety operations for shooting at high altitude, to ensure that everyone can tackle the thin air and capture their photographs. As safety is our #1 priority, we are constantly monitoring all individuals while at these high-altitude locations to keep everyone healthy and free from altitude sickness.

    LONG DAYS: The three mornings of the workshop have very early pre-dawn group meets/departures of between 4:45am to 5:00am, followed with late returns to Bishop each night. This makes for very long days that can wear people down quickly. We have integrated into the workshop itinerary “rest times” on all afternoons, to ensure that the pace is kept at a manageable level.

    The combination of the high altitude locations and long days leads to a quicker rate of exhaustion than most of our workshop offerings. Our instructors are constantly monitoring the workshop participants for any sign of fatigue and are trained to respond accordingly.

  6. Q: Will we be carpooling during the workshop?

    A: During the pre-workshop forum discussions, we will make carpooling choices to avoid having a caravan of vehicles with one driver in each vehicle! Three to four cars will easily support transportation needs each day. If there are members of this workshop group who have a vehicle ideal for carpooling and are willing to volunteer, we applaud you for your efforts.

  7. Q: Should we arrive in Bishop on Wednesday night for the Thursday morning start?

    A: Absolutely. Unless you can make it to the workshop meeting location by 9am, we strongly recommend that everyone arrive in Bishop on Wednesday evening. Please do not attempt to do a early drive on Thursday morning, as the that day is the start of four days of intensive, long shooting sessions with very early departures and late-night returns. We need everyone 100% for the workshop!

Cancellation Policy:

In order to ensure availability for those on our waiting list, all workshop cancellations will have the following fees applied:

Cancellation up to and within 60 calendar days prior to workshop start date:
Full refund of workshop tuition; no cancellation fee (Refund applied within 3 business days of cancellation notice)

Cancellation up to and within 30 calendar days of workshop start date:
Refund of workshop tuition minus $100 cancellation fee (Refund/fees applied at conclusion of scheduled workshop; waived if workshop seat booked prior to workshop start date)

Cancellation up to and within 7 calendar days of workshop start date:
No refund of workshop tuition (Waived if workshop seat booked prior to workshop start date with applicable refund applied at conclusion of scheduled workshop)

Logo_DidYouKnow65px(transparent)Did you know that HSW offers GROUP DISCOUNTS? Groups of 3 or more participants receive a 5% discount on tuition, while groups of 5 or more participants receive a 10% discount on tuition.
Plus, intermediate and advanced-level workshops are limited to only five participants, so your whole group can exclusively attend a workshop course together!
CONTACT US TODAY to schedule your group on any of our workshop course offerings.