Yosemite Photography Workshops

         

Landscape & Night Photography Classes, Workshops
and Photo Tours
 
Our 10th year!


Photo by workshop student Kim. May, 2016.

The ONLY Yosemite Workshop chosen as one of the "50 Awesome Workshops Around the World"*

"I wanted to thank you, my friend, for lighting a fire inside me when I attended that Yosemite workshop with you.  I learned more than I thought possible and am currently building on the foundation you laid for me 4 years ago.  Right now, I’m attending the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana." - Kevin Black, San Diego, CA; student in 2011


Photo of workshop students at Taft Point in May of 2012. El Capitan is center.  

The Yosemite Photography Workshops
and Photo Tours
with

Phil Hawkins Photography Yosemite Photo Workshops

"I learned more in the first two days with you than in the last 3 entire workshops I have taken." - Sonia, workshop student January, 2012

"I 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." -Derek, from Glasgow, Scotland; workshop student February, 2012 and November, 2011.

"I learned more from you in 2 days than I did in 4 days with (well known photographer) and (well known photographer)" -Ron, workshop student January 2016.

"I could not have asked for anything more; it was perfect!" -Edoardo, workshop student June, 2014

Award-winning landscape photographer from Fresno, CA.
Photoshop, RAW processing and Lightroom instructor.
I've been backpacking and photographing the High Sierra for 36 years.
My work has appeared in National Geographic books and magazine, Outdoor Photographer, Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, Digital Photo Pro, and many other publications.

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.

Want to see my work? See http://philhawkinsphoto.com

Feel free to call 559-307-7773 for more information.

 

Hands-on, one-on-one photography instruction conducted in awesome
Yosemite National Park, California
also
West Texas/Big Bend Night Photography
and
The Italian Dolomites


* Intensive 5-day and weekend workshops in different seasons
* Go places only a 36-year, award-winning, local Yosemite photographer will know
* Learn how to get those "Wow!" shots.
* Night instruction; shooting during a full moon (conditions permitting), capture star tracks, get the elusive "Moonbow" from Yosemite Falls
* All week-long workshops include post-processing instruction.

You'll learn
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 filters.
Use of neutral-density filters.
"Dragging the shutter"; extended exposures (motion blur), even in full sunlight.
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 conditions permitting)
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.

Plus, ALL workshops feature instruction on how to capture and process
stitched panorama photos!

Custom workshops can be arranged outside the published schedule. 
If you have a group or special timeframe that does not coincide with the scheduled workshops dates, let me know
and we'll schedule a special date or group sessions.


What we do, how we are different;
Please read this!

The 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 of 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.

The other thing I can absolutely guarantee, is that you will get exposure to all areas of the valley, all shooting vistas, all major Yosemite geographic views that your time will allow. The weekend workshops will cover the valley thoroughly with very little hiking. During early summer and fall, the weekend workshop can go to Glacier Point road and Sentinel Dome. The week-long can, obviously, do more, with trips to the higher elevations. IF OPEN (usually during fall and spring), we will visit Glacier Point Road, Sentinel Dome, Washburn Point, Taft Point, Tuolumne Meadow area and Tioga Pass area.

Beginners are welcome!

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!

We have a strict limit of 14 spaces per workshop.

Read This:
For the most part, we do not get up at the crack of dawn in the Yosemite workshops.  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...

NO Itineraries 

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 itinerary at that time.  

Yosemite 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, 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 36 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.

We 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 difficult-to-reach shooting locations.  I can absolutely guarantee you that my workshop students are the nicest, friendliest and most outgoing people on the planet.  Lifelong friendships have been created many times as a result of attending my workshops.  I have frequent repeat students.

If you want structure, schedules and rigidity, do not sign up for these workshops.  I will teach you how to get 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.

We 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, Mexico, Italy and Japan), and from all over the US.

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 final day.  Food is handled by each student.  You are on your own for breakfast.  Lunch is either 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.

Lodging
Lodging is up to each individual participant except for the Horsetail Fall workshops in February.  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 and you will receive a 10% discount.  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.



 

Upcoming Workshops
2017


 if you want to see what past students have captured, see our Facebook page here.

 

1/23/17
to 1/27/17
The West Texas/Big Bend Night Photography Workshop ($2,800) SOLD OUT! - SEE BELOW, THE NEXT CLASS IN JULY - Includes lodging for six nights!Five full days shooting in what many consider to be the darkest place in the US: West Texas Big Bend National Park country. We'll shoot the Milky Way, do light painting, and pay a visit to the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. We'll be in plush suuroundings at a private ranch at the 5,000 foot elevation level, many miles away from any light pollution. There will be a cook to prepare our meals. Go Here for full details  
2/24/17
to
2/25/17
The Yosemite Horsetail Fall weekend workshop two full days ($975)
Includes lodging for three nights! Two full days shooting the famous Horsetail Fall, the elusive waterfall shot that challenges a photographer's patience like nothing else. When it happens, it's magnificent to behold. But so much must occur for the back-lit effect to materialize. Join us as we pursue this challenging photo opportunity. We will be staying at the Enchanted Forest duplex in Yosemite West. Single occupancy; each student gets his/her own room AND private bath. Wood-burning fireplaces, large kitchen, plenty of room to spread out computers. $250 for non-shooting wife or husband.
Take a $200 discount on the price for two students who are sharing a room.
Each room has only one bed, fyi.
2/27/17
to
3/3/17
The Yosemite Horsetail Fall week long workshop five full days ($1,895) Includes lodging for six nights! Five full days shooting the famous Horsetail Fall, the elusive waterfall shot that challenges a photographer's patience like nothing else. When it happens, it's magnificent to behold. But so much must occur for the back-lit effect to materialize. Join us as we pursue this challenging photo opportunity. We will also have a day of post-processing instruction including the various RAW processors and Lightroom and Photoshop lessons. We will be staying at the Enchanted Forest duplex in Yosemite West. Single occupancy; each student gets his/her own room AND private bath. Wood-burning fireplaces, large kitchen, plenty of room to spread out computers. $600 for non-shooting wife or husband. Take a $500 discount on the price for two students who are sharing a room. Each room has only one bed, fyi.
5/5/17
to
5/6/17
The Yosemite Spring Waterfalls workshop two full days ($495)
Two full days shooting lots of moving water. We'll do extensive motion-blur shooting on waterfalls and rushing river water. The park's waterfalls are near their peak this time of year and it will be glorious. The park is greening up, days are longer and we stand a very good chance of being able to get up to Glacier Point Road.
5/8/17
to
5/12/17
  The Yosemite Spring Waterfalls week long workshop five full days ($895)
Five full days shooting
lots of moving water. We'll do extensive motion-blur shooting on waterfalls and rushing river water. The park's waterfalls are near their peak this time of year and it will be glorious. The park is greening up, days are longer and we stand a very good chance of being able to get up to Glacier Point Road.
6/5/17
to
6/9/17
The Yosemite Early Summer week long workshop five full days ($895)
Five full days shooting
lots of moving water, motion-blur shooting on waterfalls and rushing rivers. The park's waterfalls are near their peak this time of year and it will be glorious. The park is greening up, days are longer and we stand a very good chance of being able to get up to Glacier Point Road and the high country at Tuolumne Meadows and Tioga Pass. We'll include a side trip to Mono Lake for the famous tufas!
7/17/17
to
7/21/17
The Texas Night Photography workshop five full days ($2,800) Only 4 spots remain!

All food and lodging included! Five full days shooting in what many consider to be the darkest place in the US: West Texas. We'll be at a private ranch at the 5,000 foot elevation level, many miles away from any light pollution. We'll shoot the Milky Way, do light painting, and include a side trip to the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. Plus, we'll have a full day of post-processing for night photography. Go Here for more information!

To leave a deposit of $1,000

9/11/17
to
9/15/17
The Italian Dolomites Week Long workshop 5 full days ($3,800)
6 days in the Cortina D'Ampezzo area of the Dolomite Mountains of Northern Italy. All food, lodging, cable cars, ski-lifts, park entrance fees for 6 days 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 full details

To leave a deposit of $1,000

 

Lodging
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 and you will receive a 10% discount.  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.

Transportation
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.  

If you do not drive and plan on taking the YARTS buses (Yosemite Area Rapid Transit) for the winter workshops, I would strongly advise against this. With the heavy snowfall Yosemite has had this year, YARTS buses have been breaking down frequently leaving passengers stranded. Every storm so far this season has seen multiple YARTS buses slipping off the road or breaking down. They have been responsible for road blockages lasting hours in some cases.

As for local transportation, we will carpool to the various shooting locations.  Otherwise, we will use the local Yosemite valley public transportation system.

Schedule
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 final day.  


Food
Food is handled by each student.  You are on your own for breakfast.  Lunch is either a sandwich on the trail or at the food court, and dinner is usually at the food court or the fanicier Mountain Room restaurant.  In spring we can also eat at Curry Village.

Photoshop, Lightroom, RAW conversion and general post-processing instruction
All week-long workshops will include at least one day of Photoshop, RAW conversion software, Lightroom 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.
Best 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)

***Cable release***
 I emphasize this due to so many students not bringing them.  You will not get the maximum out of the class unless you bring a 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.
Polarizing filter; buy the size for your largest diameter lens (82mm?) and then a step-down adapter for use on smaller lenses (77mm, 67mm etc).
 

Don't forget your lens shades
Extra memory cards and spare camera batteries
Bring your camera's owner's manual; this will help solve problems with settings.

Bring 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.

Though 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...  So bring a laptop computer.  Don't forget your CF card reader!!  People forget these all the time!

Rain 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.


 


Details

Photos by workshop student Caleb Austin

 

Testimonials

"I would NEVER have thought to use a 400mm lens on a sunset shot till you showed me how good it could be. I can't believe it!" -Paul from Sacramento.

-and-

"This was one hell of an education. I learned a lot!" Bruce, from southern California

-and-

"Great workshop....worth crossing two continents and an ocean!" -Karim El Baradei from Egypt

-and-

"This is easily the best day of shooting I've ever had" -Will from San Diego

-and-

"You have, by far, the best workshops anywhere!" -4x returning student Julie from Redlands, CA

-and-

"I could not have asked for anything more. It was perfect." -Edoardo from Padua, Italy

-and-

"On a scale of 1 to 10 this was a 15!" -David from San Francisco

-and-

"This was way, way beyond my expectations" -Brad Warner

-and-

"I can't remember the last time I had this much fun" -Randy Welton

-and-

"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

-and

"Thanks again for the workshop! I've never had so many awesome landscapes from a single photo trip" - Chris Stark

-and-

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, 4x returning student from Redlands CA on her first workshop.

-and-

"Thank 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

-and-

"Thank 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

-and-

"Phil, Fabulous workshop. Sharon and I had a great time, learned a lot, got some great shots! Definitely would recommend to anyone ..."  - Ken Haley

-and-

"...Not 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.  

-and-

"Again, I can't tell you how much fun I had.  Look forward to doing it again sometime, perhaps in the UK? Italy?
..
.great memories from a wonderful week that I'll never forget."
   - Leana Di Benedetto from Baltimore, MD.

-and-

Phil- 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

-and-

"I just 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 scene. 
Thanks again and I hope to see you soon." -
Tom Collins from St. Louis, MO.

-and-

"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.

-and-

"I 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."
-Raul Lopez

-and

"
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

 

Terms and Conditions

In the unlikely event that the workshop does not fill enough spaces to warrant continuing (which, in 10 years, has never happened), the class will be canceled and a full refund given. You will be notified at least two weeks in advance if a workshop is not going to take place.  The Yosemite Photography Workshop is not responsible for non-refundable airline reservations in the event of workshop cancellation.  I strongly recommend retaining trip insurance.

Participant-initiated cancellations of weeklong workshops received 60 days or later before the workshop will receive no refund. Participant-initiated cancellations of weeklong workshops received prior to 60 days will receive a refund minus $300. (Refunds for weekend workshops received after 60 days prior to a workshop will receive no refund. Cancellations received prior to 60 days will receive a refund minus $100.) Due to the unusual complexity and extensive planning required for these workshops, no refunds will be offered for participant-initiated cancellations after 60 days prior to workshop date unless the spot can be re-filled.

Bears
Bears are a natural part of the national park environment.  It's not likely, but it is entirely possible we will see bears.  There are NO Grizzly bears in the Sierra Nevada range.  Our species is 100% Black Bears, also known as 300 pound furry chickens.
  If you follow the protocol for food handling we will have no problem with bears.

Weather

Yosemite Photo Workshops accepts no responsibility for extreme weather conditions that prohibits us from moving about as we wish, or accessing certain areas of the park.  Each student accepts responsibilitiy for providing your own tire chains in winter.  Carrying them at all times is required by park policy, and at various times you may be asked to show them in your car at checkpoints established by the park rangers.  

It is not uncommon for Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas to experience extended periods of electrical failure during bad weather, particularly in winter.  Yosemite Photo Workshops accepts no responsibility for inconvenience resulting in park closure or extended periods of road closures.  If the workshop is unable to function due to either weather or park closure (which, in 7 years of operation, has never happened), a spot in a future workshop will be offered to affected students.  No refunds will be given.

*Photoshelter's "50 Awesome Photography Workshops Around the World" February, 2014

 

Yosemite Photo Workshops operate under a Conditional Use Authorization (CUA) permit #8800-11-290 issued by the
Office of Special Park Uses,
Yosemite National Park,
El Portal, CA.

Workshop liability insurance provided by Great American Insurance Group

2016 Phil Hawkins Photography
5132 N. Palm, #118
Fresno, CA 93704
559-307-7773
philhawkinsphoto.com