Big Sur Photography Workshop
Big Sur conjures up romantic notions of dramatic scenery, incredible vistas, and a rugged coast. Big Sur also has a number of spectacular beaches, complete with towering rocks, massive arches, and golden sands. These singular features make Big Sur an overwhelming joy to photograph. Join us as we explore and photograph some of the most interesting and jaw-droppingly beautiful coastline California has to offer.
Josh and Jim were GREAT. Easy to talk to and had alot of enthusiasm toward instruction. [They] made us feel comfortable and were more than willing to share their knowledge and creativity. They made a point of spending time with each participant.
~ Bob and Paula S.
Pricing & Dates$220 - Winter 2013/2014 dates coming soon.
Small Class Size
We keep our workshops to a 4:1 student to instructor ratio and cap the workshop at 8 total students, so there is plenty of time for individual questions.
Creative Camera Settings
Learn how basic camera settings can influence your final image...in the field.
• Transforming your artistic vision into memorable photographs
• Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO - their relationship to one another and how to change them for exposure control
• Metering and getting a correct exposure
• Histograms, how to read them, and how to fine-tune exposure
• Creative depth-of-field effects using aperture control
• Capturing motion within your photos using different shutter speeds
• Timing waves to capture crashing spray, water streaks, and sandy reflections
• White balance and creative coloration
• Creating perspective, depth, and a sense of "being there" in your photos
• Creating powerful compositions with impact
• Composing to control your viewer's attention in your photos
• Compositional balance, tension, and visual flow
• How to use filters to capture dramatic light or create long-exposure effects
• Lenses. Wide and ultra-wide angle lenses are highly recommended
• A sturdy tripod
• Footwear with good traction (waterproof or rubber boots recommended) and warm socks (very important!)
• Creativity and a positive attitude
• Warm clothes in layers, gloves, a warm hat, and a rain jacket
• A wide-brim hat and sunscreen
• A one-liter (or larger) water bottle
Highly recommended items• Filters (ND, Grad ND, Polarizers)
• Remote shutter release
• Camera rain sleeve
Fitness levelThis workshop is appropriate for photographers of most fitness levels. We will walk approximately 2 miles over the course of the workshop. This includes walking on sandy, uneven, and slippery terrain. All participants are expected to be able to carry their own camera, personal gear, and water during the workshop.
This workshop is organized to take advantage of the best and most interesting locations northern Big Sur has to offer. However, the exact itinerary and places we visit may change depending on the group and weather conditions.
• ~5 hours of in-field shooting and instruction
• Water and snacks throughout the workshop
• A fun, positive, interactive learning environment
• Small class size of 8 students maximum
What's Not Included• Transportation. While students are expected to provide their own transportation during the workshop we will be carpooling as much as possible.
Jim Patterson has lived an hour north of Big Sur for over 15 years. His explorations into Big Sur started beneath the ocean's surface while SCUBA diving. This knowledge of the small coves and rugged shoreline came in handy when he started photographing the topside landscapes in 2008.
Josh and Jim are both professional photographers from Santa Cruz, California. They have been teaching together since 2010 (and separately since 2008) and have developed a tag-team approach to helping students understand photography concepts. Through a combination of theory, philosophy, examples, and on-the-spot feedback, they help students reach those "a-ha!" moments that take their photography to the next level.
Getting to the workshopThis workshop is based out of Carmel, California, and ventures south into Big Sur from there. Carmel is about 1 hour 20 minutes south of San Jose, 2 hours south of San Francisco, or 6 hours north of Los Angeles
Getting around during the workshopTransportation is not provided. While students are expected to provide their own transportation during the workshop we will be carpooling as much as possible.
ClimateBig Sur experiences a slightly cool climate, with mild temperatures all year round. In winter the nights are typically chilly and days are cool, with temperatures ranging anywhere from 32°F to 70°F. Summer brings warmer days but also thick fog to the area. Summer can also be excessively windy and exceptionally clear, both of which are bad for photography. Big Sur receives the vast bulk of its annual precipitation during the months from November to March. Along with rain, those winter storms bring dramatic light to the coast, making winter the best time for coastal photography in this area.
Recommended clothingDue to the cool days and chance of getting wet (either from the ocean or a rainstorm), we HIGHLY recommend bringing multiple layers of non-cotton clothing, a sturdy rain jacket and rain pants, a warm hat, gloves, a change of socks and shoes, and waterproof or rubber boots to wear while shooting. A wide-brim hat, sunscreen and sunglasses, and a large water bottle will also be indispensable.
A few nice things folks have said about this workshop...The one on one was great.. [I] learned manual mode, how to read a histogram, how and when to use ND filters, and I finally understand light metering. [My favorite parts of the workshop were] shooting in an amazing location and learning more about photography than I ever have in a single day... basically everything. Thanks Jim and Josh! ~ Andy P.
It was great to hear your insights on composition. [Josh and Jim were] very committed to giving students a new skill or additional knowledge. Clearly passionate about photography, which is always a joy to share! ~ Juli G.
Josh and Jim were GREAT. Easy to talk to and had a lot of enthusiasm toward instruction. Josh and Jim made us feel comfortable and were more than willing to share their knowledge and creativity. They made a point of spending time with each participant [and] answered questions in an easy to understand manner. ~ Bob and Paula S.