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Photograph Yosemite: Capturing Waterfalls, Cliffs, and Domes

Program Number: 8713RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/16/2014 - 2/20/2014; 2/15/2016 - 2/19/2016; 5/8/2016 - 5/12/2016; 10/16/2016 - 10/21/2016;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Oakhurst, California
Price starting at: $699.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography; National Parks
Meals: 12; 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; None    

Capture on film the magnificence of Yosemite, loved by photographers since it was made famous by Ansel Adams. The queen of our national parks will be the classroom for two full days of embracing nature through photography. Your leader, John Boyd, is a professional photographer who specializes in this breathtaking region and will share his favorite places in the Park. Your photo workshop comes full-circle with a visit to the Ansel Adams Gallery in the park.


• Learn to photograph water to achieve stunning results, from the “cotton candy” effect of a fast-moving stream to reflections of a gently rippling lake.
• Scan the face of El Capitan for daring rock climbers while on a hike to photograph beautiful oak trees.
• Harness the sun's color-enhancing properties in shots of the "fire" on El Capitan and of the granite monolith Half Dome in the final light of day.

Activity Particulars

Moderate walks of 1-3 miles. Elevations of 7,000 feet. All experience levels, digital cameras, welcome.

Program focus is on traditional photography, though all camera types are welcome. All experience levels.

Date Specific Information


Horsetail Falls, an occasional occurrence only during February, is on our photographic agenda. Water falling from El Capitan, lit by the late setting sun low on the horizon, gives the illusion of a fire fall. Photographing morning frost in the meadows and snow on the surrounding granite cliffs is probable. Photograph snow covered Half Dome. Hike along the Merced River in search of unique reflections in the slow moving water.

Coordinated by Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst.


With Yosemite National Park and the expansive Sierra Nevada just out the backdoor, Oakhurst is an active community and gateway to the region’s many natural splendors, including fine hiking trails and native wildlife.

Clean, comfortable, rustic conference center on 162 forested acres, walking trails on-site. Rooms are without televisions or telephones (both available in main lodge). Main lodge is about 500 feet from lodge rooms.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
John Boyd

John has taught photography for 24 years, sharing his knowledge and experience in the fields of graphic arts, computer applications, photography and digital photography. He has led photo workshops in Yosemite National Park, Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve and Mono Lake, and his art has been shown in shows throughout California. John enjoys teaching Road Scholar participants all aspects of photography, including camera capabilities, composition, exposure, post processing and use of software.
Glenda Gilreath

A native Californian, Glenda Gilreath grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, but moved to the Sierra foothills in 1990. She has lived in the Caribbean and has journeyed to a number of other countries, and considers travel to be one of her favorite hobbies. Glenda can often be found with a camera in hand, taking photos of her adventures as well as creating fine art compositions. She looks forward to sharing the beauty of the Sierra Nevada on this learning adventure!
Meals and Lodgings
   Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
  Oakhurst 4 nights
 Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Type: Conference Center
  Description: ECCO sits on 160 lovely acres forested with oaks, manzanita, incense cedar and ponderosa pine. Our dining room overlooks a pond populated by mallards, egrets, herons--and one mute swan. We are set back from the highway 1 mile , away from traffic and noise. It's a perfect place to reflect, relax and learn. We are at the gateway to Yosemite, only 12 miles from the southern entrance to the park and about 45 miles from Yosemite Valley itself. As you enjoy a walk on our grounds, you may find yourself accompanied by mule deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife.
  Contact info: 43803 Highway 41
Oakhurst, CA 93644 USA
phone: 559-683-8162
  Room amenities: Climate-controlled, hair dryers.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  Because we are a conference center, we are not often able to accommodate either early arrivals or late departures.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Because we are a conference center, we are not often able to accommodate either early arrivals or late departures.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in 3PM (but not earlier than 2 PM nor later than 6:00 PM, please!) Staff is not available to assist you before or after those times. Program Orientation Begins at 5PM You will be staying at Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst that night.
  End of Program:
Hotel check-out is at 9:00AM - Lunch is at 11:30AM - Program ending at noon- after lunch. You will be staying at Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available directly in front of lodge rooms. All rooms have ground-floor entry.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Oakhurst
  Nearest city or town:  ECCO is 4 miles north of the center of Oakhurst
  Nearest highway: ECCO is set 1 mile back from Highway 41.
  Nearest airport:  Fresno/Yosemite International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Oakhurst
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Fresno, CA


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
phone: 559-683-8162
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$75.00 - subject to change until reservation is confirmed with ECCO
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour 




50 miles


ECCO highly recommends renting a vehicle if at all possible, for free time options. ECCO shuttle is available only on program opening/closing days; maximum capacity is 4 persons. Other private transportation companies are available in our area; call Kristen at 559/683-8162 for names and contact information.

Driving Directions
  From Fresno Yosemite International Airport BE AWARE THAT GPS AND ONLINE MAPS WILL USUALLY SEND YOU DOWN THE WRONG DRIVEWAY. FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS PLEASE. From FYI turn left on Clinton Avenue. Cross McKinley Avenue, which becomes Peach Avenue. Turn right at the on-ramp to Fwy 180 headed westbound. Merge onto Hwy 41 northbound (toward Yosemite). Stay on Hwy 41 for approximately 45 miles. You will drop down into a valley where the town of Oakhurst is located. At the traffic signal at the intersection of Hwy 41 and Hwy 49, YOU WILL NOT TURN. This is just for identification purposes. Stay on Hwy 41 approximately 4 miles north of Oakhurst. ECCO is on the right. Our driveway on HWY 41 is just a few feet after you pass Road 632. We share a driveway with Christ Church. On our driveway, continue past the church and a small retirement community. The driveway ends at ECCO.
  From San Francisco International Airport (Option 2) BE AWARE THAT GPS AND ONLINE MAPS OFTEN LEAD YOU DOWN THE WRONG DRIVEWAY. PLEASE REFER TO THESE DIRECTIONS. From SFO go either to Oakland or across the Hayward Bridge (92) to Hwy 580. Travel 580 east (toward Stockton) to Hwy 205 (toward Stockton) east to Hwy 120 (Manteca) to Hwy 99 (Fresno/LA). Travel south on 99 to Merced, exit Hwy 140 east to Mariposa. Turn right onto Hwy 49, follow Hwy 49 to Hwy 41 at Oakhurst. Turn left onto Hwy 41 and travel north about 4 miles. Our driveway on HWY 41 is just a few feet after you pass Road 632. We share a driveway with Christ Church. Once on our driveway, continue past the church and a small retirement community. The one mile driveway ends at ECCO.
  From Southern California: BE AWARE THAT GPS AND ONLINE MAPS OFTEN LEAD YOU DOWN THE WRONG DRIVEWAY FOR ECCO. PLEASE USE THESE DIRECTIONS. Take Interstate 5 north to Hwy 99. Take Hwy 99 north to Fresno. In Fresno take Hwy 41 north toward Yosemite. ECCO is approximately 1 hour from Fresno. On Hwy 41 you will go up into the Sierra foothills and then drop down into the valley where Oakhurst is located. Although you will stay on Hwy 41, your first landmark will be the traffic signal at Hwy 41 and Hwy 49 in Oakhurst. Continue north, toward Yosemite for approximately 4 miles. ECCO will be on the right-hand side of the road just past Road 632. We share a driveway with Christ Church. Once on our driveway, continue past the church and a small retirement community. The one mile driveway ends at ECCO.
  From the Eastern Sierras NOTE: THIS HIGHWAY IS SEASONAL AND CLOSES BETWEEN LATE OCTOBER & JUNE/JULY--DEPENDING ON WEATHER CONDITIONS. IF TRAVELING CLOSE TO THOSE DATES, BE SURE TO CHECK ROAD AVAILABILITY. From Lee Vining/Hwy 395, take Hwy 120 westbound over Tioga Pass through the Yosemite high country. At the stop sign at Crane Flat turn left. At the Hwy 140 intersection turn left. Watch for signs directing you to Hwy 41. Turn right then right again at Hwy 41 toward Tunnel View. Stay on Hwy 41. As you travel out of the park, you will pass the turnoff for Glacier Point and Badger Pass as well as the Wawona Hotel. Exit through the south gate of the park and continue on Hwy 41. ECCO is on the left approximately 12 miles south. Our sign may be difficult to see from that direction, so watch for the Christ Church Episcopal sign. Turn left there and follow the signs to ECCO about a mile back.
Elevation Note: ECCO's elevation is approx. 3,100 ft. On field trips bus may briefly stop at an elevation of 6,000.

Equipment Requirements: Bring photo equipment that you already have. You don't have to purchase expensive equipment unless you just need a new toy. 1. Your camera manual 2. A polarizing filter. This filter will saturate colors and reduce glare and reflections. 3. A back up camera. Cameras will sometimes fails and an inexpensive back up camera could save your photo adventure. 4. A sturdy tripod. If you opt to bring one, you'll likely end up with clearer pictures. 5. A memory card reader. IPad users will need an adapter to use a card reader and a flash drive. 6. Extra batteries and battery chargers for all equipment. 7. Camera rain coat. 8. 3-5 of your own images to share with the group. Bring these on a flash drive. A
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrivals and Orientation
(Sunday, February 16)

Note: Plan on cold crisp mornings and frost or snow covered meadows. Moderate walks of 1-2 miles at elevations: 4,000 to 7,000 feet. Most will be at the 4,000 foot level. All experience levels, beginning to advanced, digital or film cameras, welcome.

 Dinner: Please plan to arrive at ECCO between 3 to 5 p.m.--but no earlier than 2 p.m., please. Unfortunately, staff may not be available to assist outside of those hours. After check-in, take time to relax before our get-acquainted social hour. During our social hour, we will have a short orientation time to help answer your questions and properly welcome you to our home. Dinner follows at 6. We regret that we cannot hold dinners for those who arrive late so please plan accordingly.
 Evening: After dinner, your group leader will finish program orientation and lead a get-to-know-you session. Immediately afterward, the Instructor will give a class overview and answer your questions. then your instructor gives you an introduction to the class material. Afterward, we'll show the award winning short film "The Spirit of Yosemite."
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Class to Assess Skills and Learn Basic Instruction Followed by Free Time
(Monday, February 17)
 Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. -Breakfast served in Lyles Dining hall. All meals at ECCO are served buffet style. Food options include, but are not limited to, hot and cold cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, eggs, meat, starch, and bread. Our beverage bar, including coffee, is accessible 24 hours.
 Morning: Enjoy class time with the instructor, John Boyd, a local professional photographer. The class is appropriate for beginners and advanced photographers. No matter your current ability level, you'll leave ready to capture the magnificent landscape of Yosemite. He and his wife also both offer hands-on training with your individual equipment.
 Lunch: 12 noon - Lunch in Lyles Hall.
 Afternoon: Class resumes. If weather permits, we'll take a photo walk on ECCO grounds. ECCO is situated next to a pond, alive with waterfowl, is located on 160 forested acres, and a popular place to see wildlife. We are excited for you to test your skills on our ground.
 Dinner: Dinner in Lyles Hall at 6:00 p.m. Dinner options often include, but are not limited to, soup, salad, a meal entree, vegetable entree, a starch, bread, and dessert. Help yourself, and come back for more!
 Evening: Enjoy an evening presentation that may include a live birds of prey presentation, living history, musical talent, or other relaxing and educational experiences. All evening programs are optional. Lyles hall is accessible 24 hour and is a wonderful place to lounge in your free time. We have wifi, cable TV, a warm wood stove, comfortable couches, reading material, puzzles and games. It is a wonderful place to nurture new friendships.
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Itinerary Subject to Change - Photo Walk in Yosemite Valley
(Tuesday, February 18)

Note: A good amount of standing and walking is required. There is very little, if any, up or downhill walking required, however, sometimes the walking surface is a meadow, dirt, or uneven pavement.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in Lyles Hall. While breakfast time is TBA, it will likely be an early morning as to catch the beautiful morning light on high granite walls of Yosemite Valley.
 Morning: Board the bus for Yosemite Valley. You will stop at some of the most iconic destinations on earth. Additionally, your instructors will give you an inside tour of the Valley as to get unique shots that are likely to please. Bring your creativity!
 Lunch: Sack lunch in Yosemite Valley. Eat among the dramatic cliffs, domes, waterfalls.
 Afternoon: Photo walk in Yosemite Valley with instructor. Those who do not wish to participate in the photo walk are free to explore the Valley's wonders on their own. (Free shuttle buses are available on the valley floor.) Around 3:30pm, board bus to return to ECCO.
 Dinner: Dinner in Lyles Hall at 6:00 p.m. After dinner, meet with your group leader to discuss the procedure for the following days' field trips.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening presentation by local experts and talent.
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Itinerary Subject to Change - Photo Walk in Yosemite Valley
(Wednesday, February 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Llyes Hall. Likely, we'll start our day a little later so that we can rest up for a later evening. Our goal is to catch a dynamic, colorful sunset in the Park!
 Lunch: Lunch will be at the Yosemite Lodge cafeteria. Enjoy many hot options and eat near the base of Yosemite Falls.
 Afternoon: Take advantage of the instructor's inside knowledge of famed views in Yosemite. Likely, we will be photographing past sunset to capture the unique colors cast in Sierra Nevada range.
 Dinner: At the sunset photo location, enjoy a boxed dinner provided by ECCO. Eat near your camera in case the conditions quickly become perfect to capture the "it" photo. Hot drinks are provided.
 Evening: Since we'll be arriving to ECCO in the dark, likely near 8:00PM, we will not provide an evening program. Instead, feel free to do as you please for the remainder of the evening. Lyles hall will be an inviting atmosphere for you to lounge and browse your pictures.
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Class to Share Your Photos with Instructor and Other Participants
(Thursday, February 20)
 Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. breakfast in Lyles Hall. Please vacate your sleeping rooms by 9:00 a.m. so our housekeeping staff may prepare for our next group's arrival; however your program continues with class following breakfast. Please return keys, lanyard, and recyclable materials to your group leader.
 Morning: At 9:00 a.m. class convenes. This is your opportunity to show your fellow students and your instructor the photos you've taken during your stay at ECCO and your field trips to Yosemite Valley. Your instructor will critique your photos at your request.
 Lunch: Lunch and farewell.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Oakhurst Bass Lake
Bass Lake is one of the most popular vacation spots in Central California. The lake was created back in 1899. It was enlarged 6 years later, and work on the present dam began in 1909. At 3,500 feet in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, the 4-mile long lake is on the north fork of Willow Creek which is a tributary of the San Joaquin River. Its waters turn powerful, electricity-producing turbine engines for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the world's largest non-government utility. Because of its altitude, it's not unsual for Bass Lake to have snow on the ground for several weeks during the winter--not tons of snow...but enough snow to carry chains in your trunk...and, as locals put it, enough snow to be beautiful but not bothersome. Bass Lake is popular for all of the right reasons. It's close to California's Central Valley (1 hour from Fresno) via Highway 41 and only 20 minutes from Yosemite. Nature lovers appreciate the lake, and so do fishermen--it's stocked with trout, bass, salmon, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Water skiers appreciate the warm water--75 to 78 degrees in the summer. The lake has excellent marina facilities.
  Fresno Flats Historical Site
Fresno Flats Historic Park recaptures the flavor of 19th Century life in the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains of Central California. Eastern Madera County is the southern end of the historic Mother Lode gold fields, but the people who settled here came not so much for gold but more to build their lives and raise their families, making their living as farmers, merchants and using the rich natural resources of the mountains. The museum complex is built around two restored and furnished homes dating to the 1870s. Both have been designated by the State of California as Points of Historical Interest for their unique construction styles once common throughout Northern California, but virtually unknown today. They were saved from demolition, moved to Fresno Flats Historical Park and restored by the volunteers of Sierra Historic Sites Association, as were a pair of early-day one-room schools, two 19th Century jails and several other farm buildings. For additional information, visit
  Sierra Mono Museum
Sierra Mono Indian Museum Roads 225 & 228, North Fork 9:00 - 4:00 Tuesday-Saturday 559-877-2115 Admission: $3/Adults $2/Seniors $1/Students The North Fork Mono Tribe is the original inhabitant of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The tribe consists of two clans: the golden eagle and the coyote, both of which are represented at the entrance to the museum. The Mono way of life is featured in the museum through examples of fishing, hunting, acorn gathering, cooking, healing, basketmaking, games and ceremonies. Also featured is the Tettleton Wildlife Collection, one of the finest in California.
  Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a restoration of the old narrow gauge Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company Railroad. A section of the original railbed has been reconstructed using the same techniques used at the turn of the century. Two vintage Shay steam locomotives have been brought in from the Westside Lumber company and restored to provide authentic motive power for the trains. Shay number 15 was built in 1913 and weighs 60 tons. Number 10, built in 1928 weighs 83 tons and is the heavest operating narrow guage Shay locomotive today. Railcars once used to provide transportation for logging and track repair crews have been refurbished and are now operated for passenger excursion. Antique Model "A" Ford gas engines power the trolley-like "Jenny" cars over the route. For additional information, visit
  Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau
Check out the Yosemite-Sierra Visitors' Bureau for the wealth of activities available to visitors to our area, from photo, art and antique galleries to outdoor recreation activities to many sites of historical interest. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

"Photographer's Guide to Yosemite"

Author: Michael Frye

"Ansel Adams and the American Landscape"

Author: Jonathan Spaulding

Yosemite: Volume One

Author: William Neill

Description: Our expert instructor highly recommends William Neill's blog and ebook. Find the blog at and Find his ebook at

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