| Photo of workshop students at Taft Point in May of 2012. El Capitan is center.
and Photo Tours
"I learned more
in the first two days with you than in the last 3 entire workshops I
have taken." - Sonia,
can and do
travel anywhere in the world and yet I chose to come back to Yosemite
for a second Phil Hawkins workshop - something must be right."
workshop student February,
2012 and November, 2011.
blown away; totally blown away!" -Kelvin, workshop student
"I could not have asked for anything more; it was perfect!" -Edoardo, workshop student June, 2014
photographer from Fresno, CA.
Photoshop, Lightroom instructor
I've been backpacking and photographing the High Sierra for 29 years.
My work has appeared in National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer,
Sports Illustrated, Digital Photo Pro,
and many other publications.
free to call
559-307-7773 for more information.
The 2014 schedule
popular demand, I am
adding more workshop dates
photography instruction conducted in awesome
Yosemite National Park, California
more on Yosemite, see
* Intensive 5-day and weekend workshops in different seasons
* Go places only a 33-year, award-winning, local Yosemite photographer
* Learn how to get those "Wow!" shots.
* Night instruction; shooting during a full moon (conditions
permitting), capture star tracks, get the elusive "Moonbow" from
* All week-long workshops include Photoshop instruction.
Concepts of exposure; the histogram and how to
read the graph.
ISO speeds, aperture and shutter speed, how to ignore the numbers and
get GREAT shots.
Composition; learn the rules and then how and when to break them.
Use of polarizing
Use of neutral-density filters.
"Dragging the shutter"; extended exposures (motion blur), even in full
How to make sure you got "the" shot in any given situation.
Learn the value of patience; how to read the weather
Reflections in small pools or on the majestic Merced River (seasonal
Yosemite's waterfalls; the different ways to capture flowing water;
Moonbows and "Sun" bows
Night photography; shooting the Milky Way, stars, and moonlight
Shooting for black and white conversion
Wide angle and telephoto lens use.
feature instruction on how to capture and process
stitched panorama photos!
can be arranged outside the published schedule.
you have a group or special timeframe that does not coincide with the
scheduled workshops dates, let me know
we'll schedule a special date or group sessions.
we do, how we are different
Yosemite Photo Workshops are different; please read
below so you will
not be disappointed when attending.
the goal of my workshops is to teach you to reduce the amount of time
thinking about your camera and increase the amount if time thinking
about your subject matter and still get mind-boggling shots. I
will teach you how not to agonize over settings and still get the
highest quality image your camera can capture.
We shoot at night!
First, we are
for any level experience photographer. If you
don't know the difference between an aperture and a hole in the ground,
fear not. There is no such thing as a dumb
question. We welcome brand new photographers.
Sometimes we have photographers who are well familiar with their
equipment and only need to be shown where to shoot. Or, they
know the equipment, but have never shot night photography, so they need
instruction. But no matter your level of experience, you will
come away with new knowledge about how to get the most out of your
equipment and your effort.
Newbies are welcome and encouraged to attend!
have a strict limit of 14 spaces per workshop.
the most part, we do not get up at the crack of dawn.
Yosemite National Park is a west facing park, and the light is best
during late afternoon and sunset. During the summer, we will
be shooting sunsets until 8:30 and 9pm, sometimes at Glacier Point,
which is an hour's drive from Yosemite Valley. We often do
not get into bed until 11pm or midnight. Night shooting
adventures can keep us out until the wee hours if people want, so
getting up at 5am is almost never an option. (Many workshops
will grind out an 18-hour schedule every day, leaving you burned
out. We want to have fun and not be pushed to the limit of
physical and emotional endurance). The opportunities for good
sunrise shots are far less than what we can find at sunset.
Most mornings we start about 10am, and after a hard day hiking, or on
the 3rd or 4th day of a week long, we might not start until
12noon. Basically, we start late and stay out late.
HOWEVER, having said that, the exception might be during winter; if by
chance, a strong winter storm clears out over night leaving a pristine
blanket of snow on the valley, we will be up before dawn.
Nothing is quite so beautiful as Yosemite Valley early in the morning
after a good snowfall. We will know the night before if this
is going to be the case...
The whole reason one comes to Yosemite is to
find the best opportunity to get the best shot. And that is
dictated by the weather. We wait until we know what the
weather is going to do and then decide on the next day's loose
National Park is it's own climate. Clouds, rain, snow, fog, mist
etc comes and goes in fleeting moments. Understanding these
patterns comes from long experience and research enabling me to know
exactly where to be when, and whether we need to race to the next
location or simply wait for conditions to evolve. You will be able to
take advantage of my 32 years shooting Yosemite to know where to be
when, and what to expect as conditions evolve. My past students
can tell you things can change on a dime. We issue two-way radios
to drivers in the car pool which enables me to instantly communicate
with students when I see changes in light, clouds, etc. We also
use these radios for folks who wish to roam and explore alone,
enabling them to maintain communication with the group and myself.
Many times we have been on the way to some area to shoot based on
current observations, then en route, seeing a change, I have issued
instructions that we are going somewhere else based on what's going on
NOW! We are flexible, always observant, and react quickly to
avail ourselves of the best opportunities for the best shots possible.
also hike. Although people differ in their abilities, hikes are
generally about a mile or less. Some can be steep and require a
modicum of fitness, although I can tell you several times that for
folks who felt they could not make the hike, we split up their gear,
carrying it for them, and several times we have actually
assisted students walking up some of the steeper grades, literally
bearing 50% of his or her weight as we go up. No one is excluded
from hikes and if we can do it, we will get you there. I don't
want ANYONE missing out on a potentially spectacular shooting scenario.
People in my workshops are extremely nice and helpful, and
generally will do whatever is necessary to help a fellow student with
access to the various, more dificult-to-reach shooting locations.
I can absolutely guarantee you that my workshop students are the
nicest, friendliest and outgoing people on the planet. Lifelong
friendships have been created many times as a result of attending my
workshops. I have frequent repeat students.
you want structure, schedules and rigidity, do
not sign up for these workshops. I will teach you how to
the most out of your camera and your efforts, and the way to do that is
maximize what mother nature gives you. Flexibility.
This is what we do.
help each other. Experience levels differ, and when someone
needs help, we help each other. I'm a Canon guy, but someone
else may know Nikon much better than myself and will help you
out. I can honestly say that by the end of every workshop,
especially on the week long workshops, students have all become
friends, and stay in touch after
returning home. We've had students from foreign countries
(England, Scotland, China, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Japan), and
over the US.
workshop begins at 6pm the evening before the first full day of
shooting and ends after sunset on the last day. Travel should
arranged to arrive on the day before the first full day of shooting and
depart the day after the final day. Food is handled by each
student. You are on your own for breakfast. Lunch
a sandwich on the trail or at the food court, and dinner is usually at
the food court or the fancier Mountain Room restaurant. In
spring we can also eat at Curry Village.
you want to see what past students have captured, scroll down to "Past
Workshops" and choose one corresponding to the workshop your are
Yosemite Early Spring Weekend Workshop 2 full days ($435)
Early spring is a perfect time to see and shoot Yosemite! Waterfalls, green coming back, no mosquitoes yet and no crowds (yet)! And in some years the higher elevations are open like Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows and the like! We shoot waterfalls, obviously, and motion-blur, lots of moving water and bears! Bears are emerging from their dens and roaming around looking for a meal. Humans are not on their menu, luckily, and if we are observant, we can see bears in their natural habitat.
Yosemite Early Spring Week Long Workshop 5 full days ($795)
Early spring is a perfect time to see and shoot Yosemite! Waterfalls, green coming back, no mosquitoes yet and no crowds (yet)! And in some years the higher elevations are open like Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows and the like! We shoot waterfalls, obviously, and motion-blur, lots of moving water and bears! Bears are emerging from their dens and roaming around looking for a meal. Humans are not on their menu, luckily, and if we are observant, we can see bears in their natural habitat. The week long features post-processing instruction with Photoshop, Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro 9.
Yosemite Early Summer Week Long Workshop 5 full days ($795)
The High Country! Early summer/late spring is a perfect time to see and shoot Yosemite! Waterfalls, and the high country; Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows and the like! We shoot waterfalls, obviously, and motion-blur, lots of moving water and bears! Bears are emerging from their dens and roaming around looking for a meal. Humans are not on their menu, luckily, and if we are observant, we can see bears in their natural habitat. The week long features post-processing instruction with Photoshop, Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro 9.
Italian Dolomites Week Long Workshop 5 full days ($4,395)
5 days, 6 nights in the Cortina D'Ampezzo area of the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy, some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in all of Europe. All food, lodging, cable cars, ski-lifts, park entrance fees for 5 days and 6 nights is
included. Please note; For lodging, there is NO single supplement! Each student will have his or her own private room. We have room for only 10 students for this special workshop!
|Go Here for more details
Colorado Fall Colors Week Long Workshop 5 full days ($2,895)
5 full days shooting the spectacular fall colors, wildlife and mind-boggling sunsets of the southern Rockies and San Luis Valley. We have exclusive use of an 80,000 acre private ranch, the Cielo Vista Ranch near Alamosa, CO. All food and lodging is included in this price. We will have a guide with 9 years experience guiding hunters on the ranch. Meals will be prepared by the cook who has been cooking for large groups of hunters for 5 years. We will not go hungry! For details, Go Here
|Go Here for more details
| The Yosemite Spring
Waterfalls; See Full Report
Photo by workshop student Huw
workshop student John
Photo by workshop student Pam
Fall Colors; See Full Report
by workshop student Phil Bull
by workshop student Robyn Bottens
by workshop student Staci Gahm
| The Yosemite Fall
Colors Week Long; See Full Report
by workshop student Bernie
by workshop student Laurie
Winter Private Workshop; See Full Report
Shot by private workshop student Andrew
Spring Weekend Waterfall Workshop; See Full Report
Photo by workshop student Huw
Photo by workshop student Wanda
The Yosemite Fall Colors Weekend Photo Workshop; See Full Report
Photo by workshop student Karim
Photo by workshop student Karim
Photo by workshop student Henrik
The Yosemite Fall Colors Week Long Photo Workshop; See Full Report
Photo by workshop student Michon
Photo by workshop student Cong
Photo by workshop student Michon
The Yosemite Early Spring Two-Day Photo Workshop; See Full Report
A mom and her two cubs
Photo by workshop student Holly Fisher
The Group on Sentinel Dome
The Yosemite Early Spring Week Long Photo Workshop; See Full Report
The view from Taft Point
Christine shooting the waterfall on Tioga Road,
Tioga Lake still frozen over!
The Yosemite Early Summer Week Long Photo Workshop; See Full Report
by workshop student Caleb Austin
Lodging is up
to each individual participant. However, we have reserved
accommodations for workshop participants at Yosemite's Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals where, for the price of a
tent cabin at Curry Village, you can get a condo w/ kitchenette, sat.
TV, and full bath. Be sure to call about the special rate for workshop students! See http://scenicwonders.com and tell
them you are part of the Yosemite
Photo Workshop w/ Phil Hawkins. I encourage participants to
stay here so as to make it easier for us to all convene and conclude
the days activities with a minimum of travel.
You are responsible for
getting to Yosemite National Park. American Airlines has
great connections to Fresno through Dallas, Texas. For those flying in
from distant locations, it is recommended you rent a car. I
have found that once in a while participants have to leave early for
family emergencies, sickness, etc and so as not to disturb the agenda
for remaining participants, your ability to travel independently is
important and required.
local transportation, we will carpool to the various shooting
locations. Otherwise, we will use the local Yosemite valley
public transportation system.
The workshop begins at
6pm the evening before the first full day of shooting and ends after
sunset on the last day. Travel should be arranged to arrive
on the day
before the first full day of shooting and depart the day after the
is handled by each student. You are on your own for
breakfast. Lunch is either a sandwich on the trail or at the
court, and dinner is usually at the food court or the fanicier Mountain
Room restaurant. In spring we can also eat at Curry Village.
workshops will include at least one day of Photoshop CS4/CS5
instruction and image critique.
Items to Bring
Although it does not matter what equipment you have, you will get the
most out of it if your camera has manual exposure settings and shoots
RAW and the ability to connect a cable shutter release.
Obviously, bring your wide-angle lenses.
tripod you can muster w/ extra clamp plates (that go on the
bottom of the camera).
You'll be very disappointed if you lose your one and only tripod clamp
plate... (This happened one time)
(I emphasize this due to so many students not bringing them.
You will not get the maximum out of the class unless you
cable release. We will use them for all shooting situations.)
Neutral density filters;
one .6 (or 4x) and one .9 (or 8x) if possible; these should be the screw-in type.
buy the size for your largest diameter lens (82mm?) and then a
step-down adapter for use on smaller lenses (77mm, 67mm etc).
forget your lens shades
Extra memory cards and spare camera batteries
Bring your camera's owner's manual; this will help solve problems with
several lens cloths and cleaning liquid; I will have liquid, but bring
your own cloths, if possible please.
Be sure you have a wearable backpack photo case for daily hiking trips.
it's not crucial, you will find that you will want to look at your
images at the end of every day to enforce what you learned...
bring a laptop
computer. Don't forget your CF card
reader!! People forget these all the time!
and cold weather gear, both for your equipment and for you.
Winter shooting could involve standing out in the rain or snow.
Water-proof hiking boots would be very useful, especially in winter.
"Great workshop....worth crossing two continents and an ocean!" -Karim El Baradei from Egypt
"You have, by far, the best workshops anywhere!" -2x returning student Julie from Redlands, CA
"I could not have asked for anything more. It was perfect." -Edoardo from Padua, Italy
"On a scale of 1 to 10 this was a 15!" -David from San Francisco
was way, way beyond my expectations!" -Brad
can't remember the last time I had this much fun!" - Randy Welton
"Thanks for another wonderful weekend. You do such a great job! I learned more stuff, met some wonderful people, and had a great time out in nature. I love it!" - 4x returning student Jeff Bushnell, from San Diego, CA
"Thanks again for the workshop! I've never had so many awesome landscapes from a single photo trip" - Chris Stark
Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for the time you gave so generously. You have enriched my Yosemite experience so much, that I'll definitely be looking to do it again next year. -Julie Haynes, from Redlands CA
you so very much for a
most educational and fun photo workshop. Mena and I enjoyed
every moment of the workshop, but more so, your company and photography
skills. Your knowledge of the area enabled us to be at the right place
at the right time to capture some stunning shots. Our only
regret was that our time in Yosemite was all too short.
By the way, on the last day
out of Yosemite there was a bear sighting and we were able to get some
photos before it was chased away. That was a fitting end to
our Yosemite adventure. Thanks again for the hints and tips,
as well as teaching me to actually “see” the scene through the
viewfinder and to shoot in the manual mode… you’ll be happy to learn
that I’m still doing so. We hope to be able to join you in another of
your workshops in the not too distant future (read Patagonia ;-))
All best wishes and warm
regards" - Earl and Mena
you for the great time I had photographing Yosemite National Park. You
provided perfect timing for photographing the many sites we were able
to reach during the workshop. It would not be easy to find these sites
with good lighting without your experience. I also enjoyed meeting
everyone in the workshop and sharing with like minded photographers.
Perhaps we'll meet again during the winter season and photograph the
snows of Yosemite." -Earl Merritt
Fabulous workshop. Sharon and I had a great time, learned a lot, got
some great shots! Definitely would recommend to anyone ..." -
knowing quite what to expect, it surpassed any expectations that I had.
I learned loads in those 5 days, not only about my camera, but how to
shoot and some great Photoshop tricks, and I've been into photography
for years. We had great fun too, we had a lot of laughs. I
just hope I get the chance to do another one of your workshops. I
highly recommend this to anyone that wants to learn how to be a better
photographer, have fun and see Yosemite."
- Lem Lattimer from Long Island, NY.
I can't tell you how much fun I had. Look forward to doing it
again sometime, perhaps in the UK? Italy?
memories from a wonderful week that I'll never forget." -
Leana Di Benedetto from Baltimore, MD.
Thanks for an amazing experience.
Our small group of four was great fun! Not only was I able to
develop my photographic skills under your expert and easy to understand
tutelage, but I was able to explore the wonders of Yosemite at just the
right time and at just the right place to capture photos I had only
dreamed of taking in the past.
Thanks for a great time!!!" - Scott Jenkins from San Diego, CA
wanted to pass along a heartfelt thank you for the wonderful time I had
in the Yosemite Falls weekend workshop. I not only had a
great time seeing the park, getting to know you and making new friends,
but I genuinely feel that I’ve returned a better photographer then when
I arrived for the workshop. My overall skills have improved
and very importantly I’ve learned more about “seeing” the subject and
the patience it takes to truly become open to a landscape
Thanks again and I hope to see you soon." - Tom Collins from St. Louis, MO.
"It was nice meeting you
! I've enjoyed very much ! I will receive my
developed films on SAT. night in Osaka ! I will let you know
more in details later soon. I would like to say JUST "Thank
you very much" for your kindness. With my best regards," -
Shiro Tanaka from Hiroshima, Japan.
want to thank you for the great time that I had on the Yosemite
workshop. I'm not so sure that I was ready for that type of
shooting but I learned so much. Every time I describe my
experience to someone I can hear the excitement in my voice grow as I
tell them about the workshop. And I have sent numerous people
to your website and hear nothing but praise about your
photography. It was truly an honor to be able to
spend that time with you and hope that I can enjoy that experience
again in the future."
"Just wanted to say thank you, it was the best experience I
have had, I learnt a lot. It was wonderful to be at the right location
at the right time which made a huge difference.
Looking forward to more workshops with you in future and I would
definitely recommend this to any photographer who wants to shoot in
Yosemite." - Sunkara