Trona Pinnacles

Night Photography – Alabama Hills and Trona Pinnacles

Dates: October 13-16, 2016
Location: The Alabama Hills and Trona Pinnacles, California’s Eastern Sierra
Cost:  $1095, maximum 8 students and one assistant

The Alabama Hills are a range of hills and rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Owens Valley, west of Lone Pine in California.  Television and movie productions- especially westerns- have been filmed here since thew 1920s. Dozens of natural arches are among the main attractions at the Alabama Hills, and these will be the focus of our workshop. The best known is Mobius Arch, and others include Lathe Arch, Lady Boot Arch and Cyclops Arch. Trona Pinnacles is a large area of tufa formations in the Mojave desert, but they are quite different from the more familiar ones at Mono Lake. The Pinnacles make for an otherworldly landscape unlike any other.Mobius Arch

Workshop Description

This workshop occurs during the full moon, which provides great opportunities for light painting. It is primarily intended for photographers who are interested in photographing by the light of the moon, and light painting. This workshop will feature two nights at the Alabama Hills in California’s Eastern Sierra, and two nights at the Trona Pinnacles in the Mojave desert. Participants must have at least basic photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or high end mirror-less camera. You’ll go home after the workshop with a solid grasp of Night Photography in a moonlit environment, and a good foundation in light painting techniques. Topics covered will include scouting and planning, composing and focusing in low light, optimizing exposure for RAW capture and development with Lightroom 6, and light painting. Those with more experience are welcome, and I will offer guidance in the field if you mainly want to concentrate on creating portfolio images or more advanced techniques. The workshop is strictly limited to 8 participants and 1 assistant, ensuring that everyone has plenty of room to spread out and make images without getting in each other’s way, and to make sure that everyone has a chance to work one on one with me in the field. We’ll be based in Lone Pine, and Ridgecrest, CA.


Getting There

The Eastern Sierra is isolated. The closest major airports are Ontario/LA, and LAX, about 200 miles away. Driving from LA takes about a 4-5 hours, but there are lots of things to stop and photograph along the way. There are also regular commercial flights to Mammoth Airport, which is 90 miles North of Lone Pine. It’s well worth the effort to get there. If you are interested in carpooling or sharing a rental car, let me know, and we will try to connect you with someone.

Food and Lodging

Workshop accommodations for the first two nights are at the Best Western Plus Frontier Motel in Lone Pine and then at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Ridgecrest. You may stay elsewhere in Lone Pine or Ridgecrest if you like, and there are numerous options, including the historic Dow Villa Motel in Lone Pine, where John Wayne stayed while in town for filming. As with most of my workshops, we’ll be operating on a 2 meal schedule, breakfast, and then our main meal will be a late lunch before going out to shoot. Most people bring sandwiches to eat on location at night.


Lady Boot-1The cost of this workshop is $1095.  Once you secure your spot by paying a deposit for the workshop, you will be contacted with detailed information about the workshop. I expect this workshop to fill by August, so secure your place as soon as you are ready to commit by placing your deposit. Refunds, less a $100 cancellation fee to cover expenses are available until the payment due in full date. You can make a deposit at any time, but space is available on a first come basis. Payment is due in full by September 1, 2016. You can still sign up after September 1 if there is space available, but you need to pay in full at that time. If you need to cancel after the due in full date, you may request a refund if you are able to find a replacement to take your place. Many of the expenses are paid in advance, and we cannot offer refunds after the payment due in full date unless your spot is filled by someone else. If the program is cancelled for any reason, you will receive a full refund.