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Questions or comments and/or requests for information about specific trips: Phone: 323 377-7565

Yosemite in Winter
An Exploration of the National Park

Dates: Thursday through Sunday, February 21-24, 2013

Transportation: by private auto. We will carpool where possible, the trip leader will help make connections between participants. (Travel by van is also possible, depending on interest - contact Dave).

Accommodations: The instructor is staying just over 20 minutes outside Yosemite Valley, along Highway 140, at Cedar Lodge, which is a very comfortable, reasonably-priced motel, along the picturesque Merced River (the park itself is about ten minutes away).  Cedar Lodge will give us access both to Yosemite Valley, the forested high country, and the park's historic barns at nearby Foresta. Note: reservations can be made through Cedar Lodge directly, by phone or online; try or, which have terrific prices on occasion). Participants may stay wherever they wish; Yosemite View Lodge is a little closer to the park, and there may be accommodations available in Yosemite Valley. 

The trip instructor will try to match participants who would like to share a room (and the cost). 

Trip difficulty: None; conducted at a photographer's pace. Limited to six photographers plus the instructor.

Weather: Expect cool to cold days, snow or rain are possible. Ideal conditions will give us snow in Yosemite Valley. There is no guarantee we'll see any snow at lower elevations. However, Yosemite itself, no matter what the conditions, is guaranteed to be gloriously beautiful.

Cost: $225 Deposit: $100 Full amount due by: January 15.

Cancellations: Cancellation fee: $100. No refund after January 15, unless another person takes your place.

The Trip: Explore Yosemite National Park during its most extreme season - the sunlight is at its lowest angle, the fewest number of people are in the park, and conditions can create snow and ice. Our photography tour will take us around Yosemite Valley, and to fire damaged Foresta (with its old barns), and - conditions permitting - we may see the famous "natural firefall" that pours molten light off massive El Capitan. We will also photograph pines and peaks mantled in snow, bare aspens along the Merced River, the Ahwahnee Hotel against granite cliffs, oak trees in El Capitan Meadow, and the textures and shapes that define the visual sense of winter in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We will also explore, on our way home, some of the backroads west of the park that lead through historic Gold Rush country.

Do we need skis, snow shoes, or winterized cameras? No. We'll make our forays on easy terrain, out of the cars and/or free shuttles buses. A comfortable pair of hiking boots should do, or even comfortable walking shoe,s if you're careful not to step in a snow drift and bring along an extra pair of socks.

: Dave Wyman has conducted photography tours and workshops since 1982. His photographs and articles have appeared in various publications, including Backpacker, Cross-Country, Outdoor Photographer, Outside, and Sierra magazines. Dave, who lives in Los Angeles, is the author and photographer of two pictorial guidebooks, Backroads of Southern California and Backroads of Northern California, and the guidebook, Yosemite in Photographs. He's conducted workshops to Yosemite for many years, and works each year with the Yosemite Conservancy.

Weather: Should be mild, but be prepared for cool temperatures. Dramatic weather, if it comes, can enhance photography, and if rain comes or snow comes, we won't cancel the trip (although we might hang out in the Mountain Bar or the lounge at the Ahwahnee Hotel).

What Image Quest Photography Will Provide:
- Instructors
- A variety of field locations, from the iconic to the intimate
- Special session, weather conditions permitting, to view the "natural firefall"
- Two group meals
- Help with carpooling and with room sharing


What You Need To Bring:
- Clothes for winter weather: gloves or mittens, knit cap, warm coat, sweater, or parka, and rain gear (such as a raincoat or even an umbrella). Comfortable, broken-in boots are a good idea; depending on the conditions, you might also be able to wear comfortable walking shoes (bring extra socks). The instructor usually wears a light pair of hiking boots.
- Money for meals not provided
- Tire chains if you are driving

Camera Equipment: this is the trip to bring it all along - super wide angle lenses, telephoto optics, filters galore, three kinds of film and at least two camera formats. But if the truth be told, a basic digital or 35mm camera with one lens will work just fine on this photography workshop.

Two filters for aficionados: the polarizer and the 81A or 81B warming filter (the latter more for film photographers) will allow you to saturate colors and keep a blue tone out of your photographs made in the shade or under cloudy skies.

Bring plenty of CF or SD
cards for your digital camera. Make sure you have enough battery power to last through a day.

Film Considerations: bring any sort of film. The less sensitive to light the film (lower ISO numbers, such as 25 to 100), the better the color saturation and image sharpness. Higher speed films, such as ISO 200 to 400, allow you to more easily hand hold your camera. The faster films, to a slight degree, do not as accurately record color or hold image sharpness. Fujichrome film offers the best in color saturation for slide film and is very fine grained. 

When you send payment: We'll send back a receipt.

If you have more questions, call Dave at 323 377-7565, or e-mail him at

Itinerary: Meet on Thursday at El Portal by 2 p.m. If the sun is out, we will head up to the Valley to look for the "natural firefall." Presentations by instructors after dinner (we will probably have dinner. On Friday we'll drive to Yosemite Valley and spend the day there, photographing along the Merced River, beneath El Capitan, under Valley oaks, at Tunnel View and at the Ansel Adams Gallery. On Saturday we'll photograph the Merced River below the Valley, and travel to Foresta, with its old barns and burned pine forest. Weather permitting, we'll explore along the upper reaches of Highway 120 to look for snow if there is none in the Valley, and we will spend time at the lovely Ahwahnee Hotel. On Sunday we'll head for home, stopping in the gold rush town of Mariposa for brunch, and those participants who are up for it can travel with the instructors to the gold rush town of Hornitos. We'll end the workshop there, by noon.

Note: The park entry fee is $20 and is not included in the cost of the trip (a good reason for carpool); the pass is good for a week. Entry is free, of course, with park passes like the Golden Eagle and Senior Pass. The instructors will help set up carpooling where possible, both to El Portal, and for our field excursions into the park. 

Tire chains: It's rare, but chains are sometimes required in the park (chains are almost never necessary to reach Cedar Lodge). All-weather tires, however, usually pass muster, as do snow tires. If participants have chains, though, they should bring them. (Ask Dave about renting or purchasing chains if you plan to bring them.)

How to Register: Send a check to Image Quest, 1164 Alvira Street, Los Angeles, California. We'll send back a receipt and any additional necessary information. You can also use if you would like to use your credit card.

Back to IQTours / The Image Quest Home Page | Backroads of Northern California Pictorial Guidebook
Questions or comments and/or requests for information about specific trips: Phone: 323 377-7565