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


Going for Baroque: Italianate Landscape Photography 
Tuscan Cuisine

With Ken Rockwell, Dave Wyman and Irene Shibata

Photographs from prior outing are here.

Note: We are, most unfortunatly, not able to provide the Tuscan Cuisine portion of our trip. We are going to conduct another outing, with the Tuscan theme, for September - head over to for more information later this spring.

The cost of the trip is now $350, our headquarters will be the Casa Grande motel, and all other aspects are otherwise the same.

: Saturday afternoon through mid-day Tuesday, March 29 - April 1, 2014

The Trip: Long ago, during the Baroque period, Dutch artists painted the landscapes of an imagined Italy. They were imagined landscapes because most of those who painted scenes of Italian mountains and seacoasts, farm scenes and golden light, never left the Netherlands. 

For our annual spring photography excursion, we won't travel to Italy, either. Intsead, we will create our landscape images in a part of California that boasts the same mild, Mediterraean climate found in Italy (imagine the rolling hills and vineyards, for example, found in Tuscany, and you'll have a picture of what we'll see in California, too). Rather than use paints and brushes like as the Dutch did, we will use our cameras and lenses to record and interpret the spectacular landscapes and seascapes, the historic architecture, and the people of the famed Central Coast of California. We'll even spy an old castle atop a distant hill. As we explore and connect with the world around us, we'll learn to see in new ways.

Our primary locations in the field will include the rolling hills and 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 wildflowers to wildlife, from impressive seascapes to 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. 

What is special about this trip? Photographers who have joined our trips for the past several years know that Irene Shibata has provided us with many exquisite meals. To add to the fun, Irene will create for our group several Tuscan-themed meals, which she will prepare on-site. We'll enjoy a couple of breakfasts, two picnic lunches, and hors d'oeuvres our first night.  We've rented a small guest cottage in the foothills of the Coast Range Mountains where Irene will preare our meals, and where we will meet during the trip for food and discussion.

Who is This Trip For: Do you enjoy exploring the natural world? This is your trip. Do you like looking for wild creatures, from insects 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? Do you like nature and travel photography? Do you revel in the company of fellow photographers? Do you like sharing a great meal with friends? This is the trip for you.

This will, therefore, be the weekend to stretch our creative selves, to learn to see with our inner as well as our outer eyes, and to make a connection with the wider world around us, as well as satisfy our deepest gustatory cravings.

The Instructors:


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.

Accommodations: Ken and Dave will stay at the Best Western Case Grande motel (see below).

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: $550. Deposit: $100 Full Amount Due: March 25

Cancellations: $100. No refund after April 5, unless another participant takes your place, in which case all but the deposit will be returned.

Who can attend: Anyone; however, participants need to be at least 18 years of age.

camally What will be provided:

- Trip leaders
- Guided field sessions
- Equipment demonstrations
- Help with car pooling where possible
- Four gourmet meals (and first evening hors d'oeuvres)
- Any entry fees
- Critique session

What You Need To Bring:

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

Where to stay: Ken and Dave will stay in the town of Arroyo Grande, at the comfortable Best Western Casa Grade motel, just a few minutes from the cottage we're using as Irene's culinary base. You're invited to join us there; it's clean, it's comfortabe, has an interesting decor, and is reasonably priced. There are, though, many places to stay in the nearby area, from Pismo Beach to San Luis Obispo. If you want help making a reservation at the Best Western, or anywhere else, let Dave know. Also, if you're looking to share a room, let Dave know too, and he'll try to match up participants.

Camera Equipment: If the truth be told, a basic digitial or 35mm 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.     

- Bring along a tripod and you will be able to make blur-free images during our early morning and early evening field sessions. If you want to purchase a tripod and have questions about what to look for, contact Dave. We may have a tripod or two extra to loan out, and some photo shops will rent tripods.

- 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. 

- Slide films: Currently, Fujichrome films offer the best color saturation combined with very fine grain, and are the instructors' choice. 

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: Saturday is the travel day. Meet at the Best Western with Ken and Dave (Irene will be up at our hideaway cabin making hors d'oeuvres). We'll head up to our cabin, about ten minutes from town, enjoy a talk by Ken and some appetizers, and then make a drive into the wonderful town of San Luis Obispo to photograph the famous Farmers Market (which must be expereienced to be believed). On Sunday, we'll have an early morning photo session before brunch with Irene. The rest of the day will see us at Morro Bay State Park, traveling up and over the Coast Range Mountains, and exploring Montana de Oro State Park, with lunch provided by Irene. Monday, after a get-together and breakfast with Irene, we'll head north, to Cambria and San Simeon, enjoy another picnic lunch, look for elephant seals along the rugged coastline, and we'll head into the southern reaches of the Big Sur area. On Tuesday, after a final breakfast with Irene, we'll photograph nearby vineyards and the mountain vistas, before ending the trip by noon. 

Note: Want to share some of your own images with the group, on any subject? Bring up to a couple dozen digital images (on a CD, thumb drive, or your laptop or tablet), and/or as many prints as you wish. We'll view them during our downtimes at the cottage or our motel. If there's time in the evenings, we'll take a look at photos made during the trip.    

Spring Light: At this time of year, the sun isn't particularly high in the sky for much of the day, which means we will have plenty of good light for making photographs.

The Slant: 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 lots time looking at our photographs on computers and tablets during daylight hours. This will be an outing for photography, not for intensive lessons in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture. And of course, there are those wonderful Tuscan meals from Irene to really make this a special trip.

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 our cars. 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 will probabably 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 and accessorie on this trip, they don't carry that much in the field, varying what they want/need at any particular location to a camera body and a lens or two, pulling out tripods only when the light is very low.

Transportation: By private auto; the trip leader will help arrange carpooling for participants where possible and we'd like everyone to carpool once we are all on site.

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, 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 Arroyo Grande/San Luis Obispo? 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.

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

Dave's Blog

Dave's Galleries


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