4-Day Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop
Join us for a four-day workshop in the high desert of Eastern California that includes a special night of photographing historical Bodie Ghost Town at night! That's right! Photographing this very special Ghost Town at night is an exclusive opportunity for very few workshop companies, so we're very excited to have the park all to ourselves, and be able to offer this opportunity to our students! We'll be visiting other exciting locations such as Mono Lake, Convict Lake, Bristlecone Pine Forest, Sabrina Lake and the Alabama Hills.
This workshop is one of our most diverse. We will spend time shooting landscapes during the day, and the stars once it gets dark. The extreme contrast of the Eastern Sierra is a photographer's paradise, from mountains and streams to the alien landscapes of the Alabama Hills. The Eastern Sierra mountain range runs almost 400 Miles in length, so the photographic possibilities are endless. Long before this area was a beacon for landscape photographers it was a hub for rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts who knew of a grand landscape filled with endless possibilities to explore, all under one of the state's most amazing views. Spend a few days with the Aperture Academy as we photograph some of the best this area has to offer!
Orientation: We will meet for a very important orientation the evening before our workshop starts. At that time we will review everyone's camera gear, and talk about the locations we'll visit and what to expect.
We'll begin our day with a sunrise shoot over the beautiful and other-wordly Tufa formations at Mono Lake, moving on to our next planned stop, June Lake.
After a break back at our hotel, we'll set out for Bodie Ghost Town where we will be met by our docents and guided into the park! Very few workshop companies have the opportunity to bring students into Bodie after hours to photograph, so we're thrilled to be able to share this experience with our students. Plan for a late night, but we promise it's worth it!
We'll be up early for sunrise at Convict Lake, one of the most picturesque alpine lakes in the area, and ready ourselves for departure to Bishop, CA to continue our adventure.
After our transfer to Bishop, we'll explore the surrounding area, photographing the hidden gems that only exist in the Eastern Sierras, finishing up with our visit to shoot way up high in the White Mountains with photography in the Bristlecone Pine Forest.
Starting with a sunrise shoot, our instructors will guide you from location to location within this vast and very photogenic area, helping you capture images you'll be proud of! Since our instructors know all the hot spots for photography in this region, we'll continue well into the evening, chasing the best light!
We'll start the day with a sunrise shoot in the Alabama Hills, returning to the hotel for our post processing session. We'll be using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, along with other editing tools to help you get the most from your photos we've captured during our trip. We'll wrap up post about 1pm, getting you on your way home with your memory cards full of images you can be proud of!
While lodging is NOT included in the workshop price, we will relay specific hotel recommendations for your lodging upon sign-up. The Aperture Academy makes every effort to secure a discounted block of rooms for every workshop we teach, so please check with us before booking your room.
Equipment To Bring
DSLR or Mirrorless Camera
Required: You'll want, and need, the full power and creative control of a Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera to get the most out of your learning experience on this workshop. We teach all brands and models of Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and more!
A wide angle lens starting at 16-18mm. (If you have a crop sensor you need 16-18mm equivalency. If you're unsure what this means please email us!)
A zoom lens that will allow you to zoom up to about 100mm. Longer than 100mm is fine too.
A sturdy tripod that will allow you to adjust for horizontal as well as vertical compositions.
Be sure to bring your shutter release cord or intervalometer (Ideally a corded model that plugs in as remotes are notoriously problematic.)
- Filters. Optional but if you have them, bring them. A polarizer and graduated neutral density filter is a great tool to have along just in case.
- Bring your laptop and a good camera backpack. if you are bringing your laptop and would like to back-up your cards, be sure to bring a memory card reader and an external hard drive.
- Extra Memory. Ideally you should have at least four memory cards of 16gb or greater
- Extra battery + your charger. Long exposure night photography will consume more power than you may be used to.
- A Headlamp or Flashlight
Need Gear? Visit BorrowLenses for a special package designed specifically for Aperture Academy students for this workshop.
Meet Our Workshop Pro Instructors...
Meet our master instructors and learn what qualifies them to give you a great experience during your workshops! While you're joining us, you will receive comprehensive digital photography instruction and tutoring by our team of award-winning photographers.
→ Mike Wardynski
My name is Mike Wardynski, AKA Nature Mike.
I’m a landscape and travel photographer based out of Oakland California. Although the city is where I live, nature is where I feel at home. Growing up in rural Michigan, I had the desire to travel and document my adventure along the way.
After graduating with a broadcasting degree and realizing I was a much better photographer than musician, I packed up my van and headed out west to a little park known as Yosemite. There I would spend the next three and a half years working in the wilderness department for The Yosemite Conservancy. It was during those years that I deliberately made the decision to dive headfirst into the photographic rabbit hole for good. While working in the park, I spent much of my time lugging camera gear around the high country and hanging out with my friends at the Ansel Adams Gallery.
I currently reside in the SF Bay Area where I work as a photography instructor. My travels have given me the opportunity to photograph the erupting Kiluaea volcano from air, as well as document dolphins in the Pacific Ocean. I’ve witnessed unbelievable light unfold before me and in an instant disappear. Those are the moments that I live for. I love sharing my passion for photography and nature with others and I’m grateful for the path that has lead me here.
→ Scott Donschikowski
Scott Donschikowski is a professional photographer, speaker and instructor of photographic arts and digital darkroom techniques. He is a master of the digital workflow, is an Adobe Certified Expert and has taught and lectured all over California about the benefits of becoming proficient in the digital darkroom.
Scott is a versatile photographer, specializing in architecture, lifestyle and landscapes but also having completed work in weddings, editorials, events and product photography. He has worked extensively covering events for the City of San Jose and has contracted his work out to a number of local businesses providing them with his own unique style of photographic imagery.
A tech geek at heart, when Scott is not out taking pictures in his native California, he spends his time writing for numerous blogs, maintaining several websites, reviewing photography gear, and refining his digital darkroom craft. He is also an avid astrophotographer and when the available light runs out, he brings out his telescope and captures images of the heavens above.
Note: In the event a scheduled instructor for a particular workshop is unavailable, a replacement instructor will be scheduled.
While we make every effort, there is no guarantee that the assigned instructors for a scheduled workshop will be present.
What other gear is recommended?
Walking/hiking shoes. We will be walking across uneven surfaces to reach some locations, 1-2 miles total per day)
Snacks (we will have water and light snacks but something you prefer is a good idea as our meal times will be a little unusual given we'll be out at night)
Sense of adventure!
Is this a tour or a workshop?
→ This is a workshop but it is best if you are familiar with the basic settings of your camera because you don't want to be figuring out basic exposure while the action is unfolding in front of you - that would probably not be the best situation for getting the "shot," nor for learning. However, our instructors will be available in the field with suggestions about exposure, composition and technique; but in general, its best to come with a working knowledge of your camera gear. Back at the hotel, we have options that are more of a workshop format where we focus specifically on Photoshop post-processing techniques to bring out the most in your images.
What type of clothing and shoes should I pack for the trip?
→ For travel in the Eastern Sieras, we recommend comfortable, casual clothing. Essentials include sneakers, shorts, long and short-sleeve lightweight shirts, a wide-brimmed hat, long pants, and a wind-breaker or light jacket for evenings. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and of course, your camera. :)
Because we are in the desert, and sun rays are direct, we strongly recommend sun block with SPF30 or higher.
Most walking will be over rocky, uneven surfaces. Therefore tennis shoes, sneakers or walking shoes with rubber soles are highly recommended.
What will the weather be like?
→ High temperatures average 65 degrees, and overnight temperatures average 32 degrees. There is a chance for both sunny and cloudy days which provides a nice mix of conditions.
Will there be Internet Access?
→ Yes. The hotels all have wifi access.
Do you recommend trip insurance?
→ YES! We recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover any non-refundable registration fees, travel, lodging, equipment rental or any other related expenses.
I've got a bunch of little questions. Who should I contact?
→ Always feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do our best to answer all your questions.
Workshop Price and Deposit
The workshop fee is $1,795. Due to the exclusivity of this trip, and the limited number of seats available, refunds are as follows:
- 100% refundable: 150 days (five months) or greater
- No refund within 150 days or less of the start date
- Seats are transferrable
What is/isn't included?
The workshop/tour price includes:
- Professional photography instruction by one or more professional photographers
- Post-processing session
The workshop/tour price DOES NOT include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Instructor gratuities
- Travel insurance
Photos and Comments From Past Customers
Behind the Scenes:
Wow, what a weekend! Got some great shots and got wet! Jean and Brian are great to work with, they are knowledgeable, patient and friendly. Looking forward to the next adventure with the Academy!!
If you are a visitor to this site and wondering if you should sign up for a workshop I'll quote Jean and say "it's all in there" for whatever you are looking to get out of workshop!
This was a great workshop! Not only did I get to go to several "must see" places but Brian & Scott were very helpful in improving my composition skills. All the workshop participants were a lot of fun and willing to share tips & secrets.
I highly recommend this workshop!