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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Piedras Blancas Lighthouse

The Central Coast of California
– A Photography Tour –

With Dave Wyman and Ken Rockwell

Dates: Thursday through Monday, June 17-21, 2010

The Trip: We will explore and connect with the natural wonders found in abundance along the beautiful California coast, which include some of the most beautiful seascapes and landscapes found anywhere in the world. In the process we'll learn to see and experience the world around us in new ways with our cameras. Our primary locations in the field will include the the rocky coves at stunning Montana de Oro state park, the southern reaches of famed Big Sur, and the rural landscapes along the back roads of San Luis Obispo county. Subject matter will range from macro subjects to wildlife to impressive seascapes and landscapes, and we'll probably find more than a few human subjects, from the locals who fish the sea for a living, to vintners and ranchers who work the soil for their own livelihoods.

Who is This Trip For: Do you enjoy exploring the natural world? This is your trip. Do you like looking for wild creatures, from spiders to elephant seals? Do you like to watch the setting sun drop into the sea, or look up to see hawk or an egret or a turkey vulture take wing? This trip is for you. Do you like the sound of the surf as it pounds against a cliff, or the hiss of a wave as it rushes from the beach to return to the sea? Do you find serenity in the mountains, or a connection with the earth in pastoral landscapes? This trip is for you. Do you like nature and travel photography? Do you revel in the company of fellow photographers? This is the trip that is for you.

Our locations over this long weekend will include some of the most beautiful scenery in California, indeed anywhere in the world. Big Sur was the spiritual stomping grounds of photographers such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, and writers such as John Steinbeck; the coast from Montana de Oro to San Simeon offers vast photographic opportunities, as do the highlands between the towns of Paso Robles and Cambria. And we won't overlook the more mundane, for we'll spend some time strolling the Embarcadero in the tourist-oriented town of Morro Bay, where we will also be on the lookout for the always entertaining sea otters, who often float in the waters beneath massive Morro Rock.

This will be the weekend to stretch our creative selves, to learn to see with our inner as well as our outer eyes.

Simon Hookway Photo
Dave Wyman has conducted photography workshops and natural history outings since 1984. He originated and directed the travel photography program at the University of Southern California, and conducted 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. He brings unbridled passion and commitment to his photography and his travels, whether he's peering at a sea anemone in a tide pool, or summiting a mountain.
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.

Ranch House in Tide Pool Reflection - Montana de Oro State Park
Accommodations: We'll stay in a comfortable motel (double occupancy, non-smoking; single supplement is available) in the little community of San Simeon, not far from the town of Cambria (where we'll have a few meals), and across the highway from the ocean.

Trip difficulty: None; conducted at a leisurely photographer's pace. There will be some walking (see below); participants should be able to walk up to two miles over the course of a day.

Cost: $885 – single supplement: $200.

Cancellations: $25. No refund after June 1, unless another participant takes your place, in which case all but the $25 cancellation charge will be returned.

Who can attend: Anyone; however, participants need to be at least 18 years of age. Space on this trip is currently limited to seven participants and two instructors. If we have more interest in the trip, we may add a second vehicle and take a few more participants. 

What the Will be Provided:

- Trip leaders
- Guided field sessions
- Travel by van
- Accommodations
- Evening presentations
- Help with car pooling where possible
- Two picnic meals (weather permitting)
- Help with carpooling

What You Need To Bring:

- Clothing for warm and cool conditions - items to include: mittens, ski or knit cap for cool mornings, comfortable walking shoes
- Money for meals not provided (we'll be near restaurants at meal times)

Camera Equipment: If the truth be told, a basic digitial or 35mm camera point-and-shoot camera will work well for most of the locations on this outing. For those with more equipment, this is the trip to bring it along - super wide angle lenses, telephotos, filters, and medium format cameras. 
                                                                                                               Kiss atop Black Hill

- Bring along a tripod and you will be able to make blur-free images during our early morning and late afternoon field sessions. If you want to purchase one, and have questions about what to look for, contact Dave (see below).

- Digital Memory: Make sure to have enough storage on CF or SD cards.

- Battery power: bring enough to last through a day.

Film Considerations: Bring any sort of film. If you use print film, film speeds from ISO 200 to 400 will allow you to more easily hold your camera, without incurring blur from camera shake.

- Both Fuji and Kodak have excellent print films. Fuji has its premium Reala as well as its basic Fujicolor, and Kodak has its Kodacolor films.

- Slide films: Currently, Fujichrome films offer the best color saturation combined with very fine grain, and are the instructors' choice. Another excellent choice would be the Kodak Ektachrome films.

Weather: Expect warm sunshine, but be prepared for fog and mist. Inclement or cool weather will not cancel the trip, inasmuch as "bad" weather can produce some of the best pictures.

Basic Itinerary: Travel day - arrive anytime after 3 p.m. on Thursday, when our accommodations will be ready. We'll enjoy sunset over the beach, a group dinner, an evening slide show at our motel, and we'll make group introductions. On Friday we'll explore early morning light along the coast. After breakfast we will drive north, into the magical southern realms of Big Sur. By the end of the day, we'll return to San Simeon. In the evening, we'll drive into the nearby picturesque town of Cambria for dinner. On Saturday we'll turn our attention inland to photograph the rural landscape, including country farms, vineyards, and a picturesque country store, by driving up into the mountains. We'll travel to the lovely town of San Luis Obispo before returning to San Simeon. We'll finish the day of photography to the north of our accommodations, near the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. On Sunday, we'll head south, to explore superb Montana de Oro state park, with its collection of rocky coves and tide pools, as well as the picturesque town of Morro Bay. On Monday, we'll depart San Simeon after a morning session of photography and breakfast, ending the trip officially; those who wish to can follow the instructors as they make their way east over the coast range mountains, with stops en route for final photographs. By afternoon, in San Luis Obispo, Ken and Dave will head for home.

Note: Want to share some of your own images with the group, on any subject? Bring up to a dozen digital images (on a CD, thumb drive, or your laptop), and/or as many prints as you wish. We'll view them during our evenings.

Boats, Heron and Sunset Over Morro Bay
Summer Light: Days aren't any longer than at this time of year. For that reason, we're going to enjoy a relaxed pace. While this is more of a tour than a class, we will learn much over the course of our travels; Ken and Dave have some basic tips and some advanced techniques to share with the group. While we'll have a chance to look at photos in the evenings, most of our days will be spent in a hands-on enterprise, at our variety of field locations, rather than spending time looking at our photographs on computer monitors during daylight hours.

What About Walking?
This trip includes some walking. We won't walk very far at any one stretch, and much of our photography will be next to the van. However, we will walk to a number of locations, and the weight of a tripod, lenses and camera bodies can add up. Participants should be in reasonably good shape, able to amble for up to a couple of miles over the course of the day (although we may walk far less than this).

Ken – and Dave to a similar extent – are minimalists in their approaches to carrying camera gear; while they might bring a variety of camera bodies and lenses, they don't carry that much, varying what they want/need at any particular field location. 

Transportation: Passenger van; the trip leader will help arrange carpooling for participants to San Simeon where possible.

Payment: Send a check or money order by good old fashioned U.S. snail mail to: Image Quest Tours, 1164 Alvira Street, Los Angeles, California, 90035.

Although we prefer payment via the mail, you can also easily use your credit card, via (check with Dave first).

When you send payment: you'll receive via email a receipt and any additional information, such as maps and directions to our accommodations in San Simeon, thoughts about photography and the Central Coast of California, and a liability form. An instructor will touch base with you by phone and/or e-mail prior to the departure date and, where possible, help arrange for carpooling for participants.  

Where is San Simeon? It's north of Los Angeles and south of San Francisco, west of the town of Paso Robles. Contact Dave for any questions about travel to or help with making travel arrangements to San Simeon.

If you have questions, call the instructor, Dave Wyman, at 323 377-7565, or send e-mail to:

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