The towering, 40-story tall Giant Redwoods of Northern California are the stuff legends are made of… Trees so wide at the base it takes 20 grown men, linked hand-to-hand, to circle the circumference. Thousands of redwoods clustered in hundreds of groves tucked away on the fog-shrouded coast. Each location has been carefully scouted for the optimum time of day and angles to ensure you get the best photographic experience, and bring home the best images portraying the Giant Redwoods of Northern California. Spend three full days deep in the dense giant redwood forests of Northern California during this intermediate-level photography workshop course. 

  WHEN: JUNE 23- 25, 2017
  TUITION: $995

Mild, light hiking, flat trails, near to cars

  200-Level — Intermediate:
Starting where our beginner courses end, academic principles in the intermediate courses push the level of learning, incorporating the visual with the technical.

COURSE CAPACITY: Minimum 3 students, maximum 5


The Giant Redwoods of Northern California workshop is an intensive study mastering control of extreme natural light conditions in a wide variety of situations and scenes. The primary focus of this intermediate-level workshop is reading the scene for the natural light and tonal values, and learning how to master exposure, light and tonal renditions.

Understanding the methods and controls to manage your exposure beyond the camera’s meter.
Separation of the technical from the visual will be presented as a fine art approach.
Extreme lighting conditions will form the field exercises in reading, understanding and controlling the exposure of natural light
A comprehensive and immersive lesson in traditional tonal value determinations intertwined with exposure values
An extensive understanding of this concept, the biggest challenge in photographing the giant redwoods.
Understanding how the in-camera meter truly operates, and how to efficiently use the spot meter for exposure management

This intermediate-level workshop covers a great deal of diversity in topography and locations in three days. Academic lessons along with evening image critique/review is integrated into the course itinerary.

The workshop begins at 9am with a requisite working breakfast orientation and the first of several academic lessons. The group heads to the first redwood grove, focusing on compositional challenges related to exposure. The second grove is considered the workshop's most photogenic yet also the most challenging. As the sun lowers, the workshop moves to a hidden grove and one of the locations used in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

The second day begins at a true mountain-top redwood grove to capture the challenging early-morning light. The following location offers a complete contrast as the grove is tucked along a river's edge in a test of the day's academic lesson. The afternoon is devoted to a predetermined network of trails in one of the most treasured redwood groves, followed by a secluded and private grove for the day's last light.

The final day provides a visual treat and diversion from the giant redwoods, as we head to the coast for a morning of photography in a narrow and towering fern-walled canyon, as seen in numerous films, including Jurassic Park II. We then head back inland to two towering groves along with mixed conifers and a variety of understory, before heading back to the coast for the final grove being the classic ‘sunset in the redwoods’ location.

Mild, light hiking, flat trails, near to cars

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

Starting where our beginner courses end, academic principles in the intermediate courses push the level of learning, incorporating the visual with the technical. All participants MUST have attended a prior HSW 100-level course or have equivalent/comparable experience. Please contact your instructor to ensure you meet the workshop course prerequisites. EPISODES:
All participants must watch the episodes of 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 episodes listed below.

For this California's Big Sur workshop, your instructor has requested that you watch and familiarize yourself with the following episodes: SEASON ONE: Episodes #1 through #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

The workshop base of Arcata is centrally located to all the workshops locations both to the south and the north. The town of Arcata, located just north of Eureka and home to Humboldt State University, is located in the northern section of California, several hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Arcata/Eureka Airport (ACV)

Travel time from Arcata/Eureka Airport to the hotel workshop base is approximately 20 minutes. There are car rental operations located on-site at the airport. The Arcata/Eureka Airport is a regional airport served by several airlines from most major west coast airports

San Francisco International Airport (SFO), via Highway 101 north, is approximately 5 hours.
Sacramento International Airport (SMF), via Highways 5 and 299, is approximately 5 hours. (Note: Hwy. 299 is an extremely windy road over the coastal range of mountains.)

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

For the Redwoods of Northern California workshop, it is recommended workshop participants make their lodging reservations at one of several hotels listed below (in no particular order), clustered close together in Arcata, located directly off Highway 101 and Guintoli Lane, on Valley W Blvd.

Best Western
Motel 6
Days Inn
Howard Johnson
Super 8
Hampton Inn

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 Arcata 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 strictly limited to only 5 participants, to ensure the one-on-one educational environment in our intermediate-level courses.
  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!

  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 if there is night shooting or sunset photography.

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

  5. 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.

  6. Q: I’ve heard that it’s like a rain forest up there. What kind of clothing do I need?

    A: Calling this region a rain forest is a good description. For the past two years, we have been rained out for at least part one day of the workshop. (The itinerary is designed for this, with the academic classroom time structured to accommodate any rain delays.) The other days were pure sunshine!

    Your clothing choices will be based on your personal perspective, but obviously a range of clothing is necessary. A jacket that can keep you warm in the pre-dawn and late evening chilly temperatures is necessary. Remember that you will be carrying camera gear that will be heavy. You will get hot quickly as we go from location to location. Come with comfortable walking shoes & loose fitting clothing. Dressing in layers is highly recommended. And, as explained, this is a rain forest so a chance of rain sprinkles is always possible.

    NOTE: In the event of rain, we do NOT go out and shoot. At no time will we put workshop participant safety at risk, or expose any camera equipment to elements that could cause harm.

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.