About Sea to Summit Workshops

landscape photography workshop instructors

Founded in 2010 as a collaborative effort between Jim Patterson and Joshua Cripps, Sea to Summit Workshops is dedicated to providing the absolute highest quality seascape and landscape photography workshops in order to help you take your photography to the next level. Immerse yourself and a positive, fun learning environment, all while photographing New ZealandYosemiteDeath Valley, the Eastern Sierra, the California coast, the Palouse, the High Sierra and more.

Meet the Instructors

Joshua Cripps

Joshua Cripps

Co-Founder and Head Instructor

Josh Cripps is a wilderness landscape photographer living in the heart of the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He has traveled to 30+ countries in search of spectacular photography finds the landscapes of New Zealand, Peru, California, and Utah to be especially inspiring. Josh is a contributing photographer for Nikon and his work can be seen in homes around the US.

In addition to shooting, Josh loves to teach and has done so not just in photography but also in fields as wide-ranging as math and EFL (English as a foreign language). When he is not out taking pictures, Josh loves helping photographers of all abilities push their photography to new heights.

In addition to workshops, Josh runs Professional Photography Tips, one of the most popular photography channels on YouTube.

You can see more of his work on his Website.

Jim Patterson

Jim Patterson

Co-Founder and Head Instructor

Jim Patterson is a photographer living and working north of Seattle, Washington. His background in marine biology led to explorations beneath the sea where an appreciation for the natural world and photography began.

After years of dedicated underwater work, his focus has shifted to coastal landscape photography, a natural progression born from the inspiration found in and around the ocean. Coastal photography soon expanded into landscapes inland. Through photography as an art form, Jim works towards creating images which are both personally meaningful as well as making an impact with the viewer. His main joy with teaching is to see that switch flip in the mind of a photographer, when an idea grabs hold and creativity follows.

You can learn more about Jim, view his work, and purchase prints at his Website.

Why Choose Us

What makes us the best?

Spectacular Locations
Our workshops combine the very best scenery we can find along with in-depth knowledge of the areas we’re visiting. From the coast to the mountains to the desert, our workshops visit some of the most breathtaking landscapes you can imagine. And with hundreds of hours spent scouting and shooting in each location, Jim and Josh know the best times to visit, the best things to see, and the best shots to get. Plus, we’re constantly adding new and cool locations to our line-up so you can keep expanding your photographic horizons.

A “Go Happy or Go Home” Attitude
We believe that photography is as much about enjoyment as it is about scoring a keeper for your portfolio. We create a fun and dynamic environment where you can meet other photographers, learn at your own pace, enjoy the beauty of nature, and have a great time while doing it.

1-on-1 Instruction at Your Level

We take a three-tiered approach to our photography instruction: Philosophy. Theory. Technique. This means that no matter what level of photographer you are, you can expect to walk away from a workshop with your head bursting with ideas about how to refine your vision and find your own style, an understanding of camera technicals and compositional concepts that will springboard your photography, and the actual “How-To” of nailing a shot in the field. And with our relaxed, casual, 1-on-1 approach, you can soak up just the information YOU need to become a better shooter.

Small Class Size
Our workshops never have more than 6 students per instructor to ensure you get ample one-on-one time with the instructors. Our small groups also help us build camaraderie, plus we can go places big photography tours can’t.

We Never Stop Scouting
We are never content to rest on our laurels. Before and after every workshop we are scouting, scouting, scouting. Whether it’s to find new and exciting locations to shoot or to provide a different view of the old icons, we strive to show you the absolute best places for photography.

Fully Insured and Permitted, Leave-No-Trace Advocates 
Sea to Summit takes pains to ensure our activities are 100% above board. We obtain all the necessary permissions and insurances required in order conduct our workshops.

We are also strong advocates of Leave No Trace (LNT) wilderness ethics. We teach responsible photography practices and never sacrifice the environment for the sake of a photo. Our goal is to leave our photography workshop locations in better shape than the way we found them.

photographing death valley

Common Questions About Workshops

Why should I take a photography workshop?

Simple: because we teach you how to take amazing pictures. A photography workshop is the best accessory you’ll ever buy for your camera: an accessory that will allow you to take fantastic pictures wherever you go. We break down the art and science of photography into easy, understandable chunks of information you can use every single time you turn your camera on.

What will I learn?

In short, an incredible amount. Our workshops are designed to provide you with an excellent foundation in many aspects of nature photography.

You will learn the basics of camera control, including how to change your aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance for maximum creative effect. You will also learn how to create engaging and powerful compositions by employing the rule of thirds, leading lines, near-far concepts, different perspectives, focal lengths, dramatic lighting, and more.

In addition, you will also learn more advanced ideas such as how to balance light using filters, how to use shutter speed and timing to capture wave motion, and how to tell a story with your images.

What happens on a workshop?

All of our workshops start with a brief orientation where participants and instructors alike introduce themselves and talk about what they want to get out of the workshop. The instructors will briefly go over the itinerary and the highlights of what the workshop will cover.

On our workshops we visit locations chosen not only for their incredible natural beauty but also for their ability to help demonstrate specific aspects of nature photography. Throughout the workshop we’ll be giving a series of brief talks to the group on the most important aspects of landscape photography, ranging from the finer points of composition to how adjusting your camera settings can give you incredible creative control over your images. We also spend time discussing and getting you to think about photography philosophies as well as nature dos and don’ts.

In between those mini-lectures we turn the group loose to shoot while we go from photographer to photographer to provide 1-on-1 instruction on the topics they want the most help with. That way we are able to guide everyone through the process of creating a great landscape image from start to finish.

What equipment do I need to bring?

Each participant needs a DSLR, a tripod, and lenses. Bring every lenses you own, from ultra-wide-angle to macro to telephoto. We also recommend bringing any filters you have, including polarizers, solid neutral density filters, and graduated neutral density filters. Other handy items to bring are remote shutter releases, extra batteries and memory cards, your camera manual, a shammy cloth to wipe down your lens and filters, and a protective sleeve or shower cap to protect your camera from water.

What should I wear?

All our workshops occur outside and can experience variable conditions. Dress in layers and bring a raincoat in case we encounter wet weather. Prior to each workshop you will receive a recommended packing list.

A special note on footwear: on seascape workshops we will encounter rocks that are extremely slippery due to algae or seaweed. Wear shoes or water socks that give you good traction even if wet and won’t slip off your feet. Absolutely no flip flops unless you intend to stay on the sand.

Another note for our seascape workshops: It can be chilly near the ocean no matter what time of year, so we recommend you dress in layers. Wear clothes that will stay warm even if you get wet (no cotton!). On our workshops we may get very close to crashing waves so you may even wish to pack a rain jacket. We also recommend bringing a change of clothes just in case you end up getting wet. Another handy item of “clothing” to have on hand is a protective sleeve for your camera to keep salt spray out of your gear. You can get one on Amazon for less than 10 bucks.

Does the workshop price include lodging?

Some do, some don’t, depending on availability of lodging options and logistical constraints. Each workshop will state clearly in its description whether it includes lodging or not.

How about meals?

We provide snacks and water throughout the workshop and ensure that there are breakfast, lunch, and dinner breaks where you can buy meals. Some longer workshops will include meals as indicated. If you have special dietary requirements, let us know in advance.

Do you provide transportation?

For our US workshops we do not. Because our participants often come from different directions we ask that each guest meet us at a designated parking area for the workshop. We will carpool from there.

On our international workshops we do provide transportation.

What sets you apart from other workshop companies?

Our workshops are run by pros who have a deep knowledge of the areas where we teach. We keep our workshops small (8-12 people max) in order to ensure that every participant receives lots of 1 on 1 time with the instructors. And we have a three-tiered approach to learning which covers the philosophy behind using your camera to create art, the theory needed to put your ideas into practice, and the in-field advice to immediately start making great images.

Will we still go out if the weather is bad?

Most of the time, yes we will. Many fantastic landscape and seascape photos are taken during bad weather because of the added drama and interesting light a storm can bring. However, if conditions are completely miserable or unsafe, we will find other options, talk about post-processing or image critique inside, or reschedule the workshop (last resort).

Do I have to pay the registration fee all at once?

You can reserve your space on any workshop by paying a deposit. You will be billed for the remaining balance no later than 60 days prior to the workshop start date.

What’s your cancellation policy?

*** Please Note: Cancellation policies vary by workshop. Check each workshop’s specific cancellation policy for full details. That information supersedes anything shown here. ***

General Cancellation Policy

Booking, Payment, and Deposit

For multi-day workshops, you have the option of initially paying only the deposit, in which case you will be billed the remaining balance 60 days before the workshop start date. If you cancel at any time, this holding deposit is non-refundable; however if we are able to fill your spot before the workshop we will refund your holding deposit. Refunds made more than 60 days after payment are subject to a 3% processing fee. Up to 30 days before a workshop you can reschedule and apply your deposit to a future workshop (180 days for international workshops). Your entire registration fee becomes non-refundable and non-transferable 30 days before the workshop (120 days for international workshops).

If we cancel a workshop for any reason, your entire registration fee will be transferred to another workshop or refunded to you at your discretion.

For photographers who are traveling for workshops, we strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance to cover your costs in case of cancellation or withdrawal.

Rainy Day Policy

If it’s stormy or rainy, 9 times out of 10 we will still conduct the workshop. This is due to a number of reasons including the unpredictability of the weather, and the difficulties of rescheduling a large number of individuals. In addition many dramatic landscape and seascape images are captured during stormy weather due to the extra drama.

We will never cancel a workshop based on the forecast and will make a weather assessment the day of the workshop. The only time we will ever not go out is if the instructors determine that conditions are unsafe or absolutely unshootable.

Personal Emergencies

If you have a personal emergency such as a medical emergency or death in the family, please contact us. We are willing to work with you to reschedule or refund your fee on a case-by-case basis.

Under-Subscription

Our workshops require a minimum of 5 participants. In the case of under-subscription we reserve the right to cancel the workshop, in which case your registration will be transferred to another workshop of your choosing or you may request a refund. Or we may conduct the workshop with a single instructor.

Can I bring someone who is not a photographer?

You sure can! Non-photographers (children, spouses, friends, etc.) are welcome to join us, as long as we have space on our permits/transportation. However, because we undertake some liability for them when they join the group, we charge a companion fee which varies from workshop to workshop.