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1164 Alvira Street
Los Angeles, California 90035
323 377-7565

Spring Light: Yosemite by Foot, Bike and Car

with Ken Rockwell and Dave Wyman
Sponsored by the Yosemite Conservancy

Please Note: Four Spaces Left on the Trip as of April 20


Dates: Thursday through Sunday: May 19-22, 2011

Yosemite National Park: Come to Yosemite and explore a unique part of the natural world. In mid-May people are less obvious, and waterfalls are flowing with enormous vigor. There are juxtapositions of light and shadow, and a natural sense of form and texture. We'll photograph Half Dome and El Capitan, watch for animals, and look for the "intimate" landscapes of reflecting pools and wildflowers, and explore a bit of gold rush country. The past winter and current spring, abundant with late rains and snows, promises spectacular waterfalls and an intensely green landscape, and a chance to view colorful wildflowers. 

This will be a hands-on photography tour of one of the most beautiful places in the world. As such, we won't spend much time in front of a computer, we'll be in the field making photographs, learning new ways to see the park from the instructors and participants, and discovering new ways to connect with the world around us.

Who this trip is for: Anyone who loves the natural world, history, and photography. The instructors will accommodate novice through advanced photographers.

Transportation: On bicycle, by car, shuttle bus and on foot

Arrival Date/Time for Yosemite: Thursday, May 19  

Return Time: We'll end officially about noon on the final day.

standup1b Accommodations: The Yosemite Conservancy has set aside some rooms for participants. Free camping in the heart of the Valley is also available through the Conservancy. Or make your own reservations through the park concessionaire. Here is the link. Rooms are also available not far from the Valley, in El Portal, either at the lovely Cedar Lodge, or the Yosemite View Lodge.

The Trip: Have you ever traveled to Yosemite by car and glimpsed the perfect dogwood in bloom, spotted a coyote sniffing it’s way across a meadow, or noticed a novel view of Yosemite Falls, only to find there’s no place to pull off the road?  All of  these subjects and more can be photographed when travel in Yosemite Valley is on a bicycle. Part of our workshop is designed to take advantage of this fact, allowing us to concentrate on photography instead of finding – and holding onto – that elusive sparking spot.    

– The bike portion of our itinerary will take us through the upper Valley, staying as much as possible on bike paths, and we’ll make one loop around the upper half of the lower Valley.
– We’ll travel by car to visit historic barns outside the Valley, and to travel to Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.

– And we’ll walk a little, down along the Merced River, up to the base of Yosemite Falls, etc. Most walks will be measured in yards, a few hikes might take us 1/4 mile one direction and 1/4 back.

The Bike Rides: Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition, and be able to navigate over the bike paths and roads that encircle and bisect the Valley (the roads and trails we will take will have very little elevation). Bring a bike in good working condition, or they can be rented in the Valley.

Trip difficulty: None - the trip will be conducted at a photographer's relaxed pace. We will be out to learn about photography and Yosemite, and we'll see a goodly chunk of the Park.

Ken Rockwell ( is a well-known – some might even claim notorius – web presence. Love him or hate him, he is a force to be reckoned with, as his Ken's voluminous website offers a cornucopia of lens tests, camera reviews, and his clear-sighted, if not occasionally contrarian viewpoints, about the meaning of art and photography. He has the training of an engineer and the soul of an artist and Ken is willing to share his encyclopedic knowledge of photography with all-comers. He has conducted numerous workshops in California's mountains, deserts and coastal regions, in the canyon lands of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, and along historic Route 66.
hatr Dave Wyman has conducted photography workshops and tours since 1984. He originated and directed the travel photography program at the University of Southern California, conducting the program's trips throughout California and the Southwest. His articles and photographs have been published in magazines such as Outdoor Photographer, Outside, and Backpacker; his pictorial guidebooks include Backroads of Northern California, Backroads of Southern California, and Yosemite in Photographs. Dave currently is working on a new book about nature photography. He brings unbridled passion and commitment to his photography, whether he's peering at a sea anemone in a tide pool, or summiting a mountain in the Sierra Nevadas.

What to Bring:

- Camera gear (see below)
- Clothing for warm and cool temperatures; recommended: ski cap for cool mornings and evenings, mittens (optional)
- Day pack and/or camera bag
- Bicycle (bring one with you, or they can be rented in Yosemite Valley


What Will be Provided:

- Three nights' accommodations (camping)
- Optional rooms at Yosemite Lodge (depending on         availability
- Entrance fee to the park
- Guided photography walks
- Equipment demonstrations and lectures
- Help with carpooling where necessary
- One picnic meal 

Photographic Equipment: you don't need to spend any money on equipment you don't already have. A basic digital or 35mm camera will serve you well.Two accessories: a tripod & cable release. These items will allow you to photograph in the early morning hours and into evening, and also allow for creative techniques.

CF or SD cards: bring plenty of storage space for your digital photographs. Bring enough battery power to last through a day.

Film: the instructors recommend film from ISO/ASA 25 to 200. Fujichrome slide film offers excellent color saturation for slide film and has fine grain. Fujicolor and Kodacolor are good print films. Print film speeds up to ISO 400 are fine.

Note: Participants are encouraged to bring up to 20 slides/digital images and/or prints to share with the group. Digital images can be on your laptop or a thumb drive or CD (that the instructors can show via a laptop computer or with a digital projector).

Weather: we can expect mild to warm days, and cool evenings. Just about anything is possible, from temperatures in the '80's in the Valley during the day and down to the 30's in the evening (but don't bet on either). Be prepared with a selection of clothing. "Bad" weather, often in the form of afternoon thundershowers, is sometimes the best weather for photography.

Basic Itinerary: “Like a light meter, a good itinerary is just starting point”  – we may have a slightly different itinerary to hand out when we meet, we may modify the itinerary depending on group size, dynamics, etc.

Thursday: Arrival day. No special activities planned, other than an optional, informal and  brief hello session with the instructors - meet 8 p.m. in the Yosemite Lodge lobby.

On Friday, early risers meet at 7:30 a.m. with bikes in front of the Yosemite Lodge registration office, for a ride ending at Stoneman Meadow, and sunrise over Half Dome. After breakfast, meet with the instructors (meeting room to be announced in the morning; probably Ken or Dave’s room). We’ll go over the itinerary, and enjoy a talk by Ken. Then we’ll walk over to photograph Yosemite Falls, and explore the Ansel Adams Gallery. After a lunch break, we’ll make a slow circuit of the upper half of the lower Valley on bikes, stopping to photograph at El Capitan, and at various locations along the Merced River. After dinner, we’ll cycle out to Stoneman Meadow again, to photograph last light over Half Dome. We’ll meet in the evening to look at photographs and we may have an evening photography session. In late afternoon, we'll drive to Tunnel View for an unusual rainbow visible in the Valley.

On Saturday, we’ll walk from Yosemite Lodge out to the Merced River, and look for reflecting ponds in Leidig Meadow. After breakfast, we will drive out to Foresta, to view the historic barns. Then we will drive to Wawona, to visit an Indian Jones-style bridge and visit the historic Wawona Hotel. We’ll also visit the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees. After returning to the Valley, we’ll make a walk to Happy Isles before dinner, and meet again in the evening to look at photographs and discuss photography.

Going light: A normal photographic workshop can rely on cars to ferry people and equipment to various locations in the Valley, and that will happen part of the time. Because we will carry our own photographic gear and other personal items in day packs and/or fanny packs on the bike portions of our seminar, we’ll need to carry only essential equipment. One or two camera bodies and one or two lenses should be sufficient. Don’t overdo it.

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How to register: Go to the Yosemite Conservancy website to register for the trip. Here is the link.

If you have any questions:
call the trip leader, Dave Wyman, at 323 377-7565, or e-mail him at

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