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Outdoor Photography At Its Best

Program Number: 2479RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/18/2015 - 10/23/2015; 10/25/2015 - 10/30/2015; 4/10/2016 - 4/15/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Pickens, South Carolina
Price starting at: $659.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography; Walking/Hiking
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; None    

Elevate your photography skills to a new level on the historic sites, nature trails and wildlife areas of Pickens County. Refine existing techniques and learn new ones with photography experts and put your knowledge to work in a variety of settings. At each site, learn about the history and ecology of the area and share what you capture with other photography buffs.


• Shoot pictures of the unfinished Stumphouse Tunnel and hear tales of those who toiled on the project until a lack of funds and the outbreak of the Civil War postponed it indefinitely.
• From a boat on Lake Jocasee, photograph one of the most scenic lakes in the country, the mountains that frame it and the waterfalls that pour into it.
• Photograph Table Rock State Park from Caesars Head State Natural Area, where a 3,266-foot elevation also provides views of other distant peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Activity Particulars

Hiking up to two miles on uneven surfaces.

Program skill level varies by date. Please see date specific information for details. Participants on advanced date(s) must bring a DSLR camera.

Date Specific Information

10-18-2015, 4-10-2016

This date is intended for beginner and intermediate photographers.


Participants on this date must have a DSLR camera. This date is for experienced photographers and expects familiarity with photography and your equipment. Includes classes on HDR, panoramic shots and photo stitching as well as MACRO/Close focus photography.

Coordinated by Clemson University.


Founded in 1868 by Scottish-Irish settlers and traders who lived among the native Cherokee, Pickens today is a friendly, small town at the foothills of the Appalachians where residents and visitors enjoy abundant hiking trails, gorgeous vistas and mountain lakes.

Beautiful learning institute overlooking Table Rock Mountain. Each room has two single beds and private bath. No television sets or phones in rooms.
Meals and Lodgings
   Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC
  Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens,SC 5 nights
 Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Top-notch facilities combined with a knowledgeable, friendly staff make the Youth Learning Institute Education Center the perfect place for a Road Scholar program. The Center is situated on 33 acres with a view of Table Rock Mountain, this multi-use facility offers much more than meets the eye. Site features classrooms, meeting spaces, technology lab, pottery center and music studio.
  Contact info: 698 Concord Church Rd
Pickens, SC 29671 USA
phone: 864-878-1103
  Room amenities: No televisions or telephones in the sleeping rooms. You are free to enjoy television in the common area of the lodging or in the "the den" of the main building. The den features a flat screen television and leather couches and chairs.
  Facility amenities: exercise room and technology lab
  Smoking allowed: No
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Check out time: 1:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:30 You will be staying at Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC that night.
  End of Program:
1:00 You will be staying at Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free
To Start of Program
  Location:  Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens,SC
  Nearest city or town:  Pickens, SC
  Nearest highway: I-85
  Nearest airport:  Greenville, SC
  From End of Program
  Location: Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens,SC
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Greenville/Spartanburg airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Clemson University Youth Learning Institute
phone: 908-472-4740
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour 




50 miles


The Youth Learning Institute provides a shuttle. This service is ONLY available from 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. on Sunday and between 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Friday. If these hours do not meet your schedule, you will need to make other arrangements. We meet you in baggage claim bearing a Road Scholar sign. Contact the coordinator 2 weeks in advance of your arrival with your arrival time and airlines. Payment is made on Monday morning. Checks and credit cards accepted. NO Cash.

Driving Directions
  Greenville, SC Take Highway 123 towards Clemson University; take the 178 exit (Highway 178) and proceed until the Pickens County Courthouse; At the traffic light, turn left onto Highway 183. The road will reduce to 2 lanes near the Mobil Gas station. Turn right at the traffic light immediately after the Mobil Gas Station onto Shady Grove Road. Turn left onto Concord Church Road. The Youth Learning Institute will be on your left.
Elevation Note: One photographic location is 3,266 above sea level

Equipment Requirements: Digital Camera, tripod and lenses if you have them; laptop computer and software if you have them
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: Arrival, Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
(Sunday, October 18)

Note: Note: Lodging check-in is available from 3:30 p.m.

 Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have.

Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. All transportation will be via private motor coach unless specified otherwise. Thank you for your understanding.

Orientation will include a walk through the Youth Learning Center to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings while we get to know each other.
 Dinner: At the Youth Learning Institute's Headquarters dining facility we’ll enjoy a buffet with water, coffee, and tea.
 Evening: We’ll begin our program with an introductory lecture form our photography instructor. We’ll learning about digital photography, and macro or close-up content.
Accommodations: Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Local Park, Tunnel & Waterfall, Photo Class, Evening Shoot
(Monday, October 19)

Note: Note: Hiking up to 2 miles on uneven surfaces and slippery and carrying camera equipment.

 Breakfast: At the Youth Learning Institute Education Center, we’ll enjoy a buffet with coffee, milk, juice, and tea. While at breakfast, prepare your own bagged lunch.
 Morning: We’ll take a shuttle to Stumphouse Tunnel, Issaquena Falls, and Chu Ram Park for the perfect photographic experience with our photo instructor. Built to fulfil the dream of developing a railroad line to Charleston, South Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio, the railroad had more than just mountains standing in its way. The project began in the early 1850’s with more than fifteen hundred Irish immigrants were looking to achieve their American Dream as tunnel workers and founding the town of Tunnel Hill. Following numerous problems along the way, state money ran dry in 1859, and South Carolina was in no position to finish the tunnel following the Civil War, leaving Tunnel Hill to fade into history and the tunnel unfinished as a valued historical site.

The nearby Issaqueena Falls received its name from a young Cherokee maiden who is shrouded in mystery. All tales hold true that she appeared to jump from the top of the falls but instead hid behind the rocks under the falls. The stories differ with her running from Westerners to warn her tribe, or instead hiding from her tribe to protect the her lover, whose tribe her people were at war with.

Chau Ram Park is considered one of South Carolina’s hidden gems. Known for its picturesque scenery and diverse landscapes, the park offers photographic gems. Bisected by the Chauga River, the park features numerous waterfalls of varying sizes, rapids, and a suspension bridge over the river.
 Lunch: We’ll have a bagged lunch at Chau Ram County Park with sandwiches, chips, snacks, fruit, and water.
 Afternoon: After this mornings initial photography experiences, we’ll stay inside the Education Center and continue learning about digital photography. The focus of this lecture will be on flowers, sunsets, and waterfalls.
 Dinner: At the Education Center.
 Evening: After dinner, we will step outside the Education Center with our photo instructor to shoot the sunset. Find your best spot and take your best shot.
Accommodations: Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Lake Jocassee, Whitewater Falls, Photography Workshop
(Tuesday, October 20)

Note: Note: Riding on a boat and walking approximately 1/2 mile to waterfalls on a paved path. Option to go down approximately 128 steps to another platform to obtain an even better view of the waterfall.

 Breakfast: In the dining hall. Prepare your own bagged lunch.
 Morning: With our instructor we’ll head to Lake Jocassee. Tucked into the shadows of the blue ridge mountains created by the Jocassee Hydro Station dam. It is one of the most scenic lakes in the country with a back drop of mountains and several waterfalls that pour into the lake. The valley where the lake is located was once home to four mighty rivers. The Thompson, Whitewater, Horsepature and Toxaway rivers now all feed Lake Jacassee producing a cool and clear reservoir. The area where the lake was created is home to several species of flora that are found no where else in the world.
 Lunch: We'll enjoy our bagged lunch lakeside at Devil Fork State Park. The park provides outdoor recreation in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the shores of Lake Jocassee.
 Afternoon: The Whitewater Falls, containing the Upper and Lower Whitewater Falls, has a total drop of more than 1,000 feet over 2.6 miles. The highest waterfall east of the Rockies, Upper Whitewater Falls plunges 411 feet with Lower Whitewater Falls towering at another 389 feet. The luscious greenery surrounding the falls covers steep slopes and rock cliffs and is home to a plethora of plants and animals including wildflowers, salamanders, ferns, and mosses.
 Dinner: At the Education Center.
 Evening: Photography workshop where we will take the time to review and discuss the photos from the day that the instructor will compile into a final CD at the end of the program.
Accommodations: Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: SC Botanical Gardens, Hagood Mill, Folklife Center
(Wednesday, October 21)

Note: Note: Hiking up to 2 miles on uneven surfaces and carrying camera equipment.

 Breakfast: At the Education Center. Prepare your “custom made” bag lunch.
 Morning: Depart to the South Carolina Botanical Gardens at Clemson University. Containing the internationally recognized Nature-based Sculpture Collection, buildings’ dating to the early 18th century, miles of nature trails, and more than 20 gardens, the Botanical Gardens have grown to a massive 295 acres.
 Lunch: Enjoy your bag lunch in the beautiful gardens at your leisure.
 Afternoon: We'll travel to Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folklife Center for an amazing photography opportunity. During most of its life, Hagood Mill was a busy center of commerce. The gristmill operated commercially until 1966. In 1973, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places as one of the oldest known surviving gristmills still producing grain products in South Carolina. Today visitors enjoy the 20 foot overshot water wheel, a 3/4 mile nature trail, two relocated cabins, a cotton gin, a moonshine display and the county's last WPA ear steel bridge. One exciting project includes the recent discovery of the pre-historic rock carvings. These petroglyphs will be protected, preserved and presented in what will soon be the South Carolina Rock Art Interpretive Center.
 Dinner: At the Education Center.
 Evening: We’ll gather to view everyone’s photographs so far. Following the conclusion of the program, these photographs will comprise the CD that the Group Leader will mail to the participants.
Accommodations: Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sunrise Shoot, Caesar's Head, Table Rock, Photograph Viewing
(Thursday, October 22)

Note: Note: Hiking up to 2 miles on uneven surfaces and carrying camera equipment.

 Breakfast: In the Education Center before we depart for the sunrise shoot. Remember to prepare your bag lunch.
 Morning: Use your photographic experience for a sunrise shoot to capture the brilliant colors of the morning at Caesar’s Head State Park. Shoot the spectacular surroundings from an overhang that provides a great lookout spot of Table Rock.

We’ll take a field trip to Caesar's Head State Park and Table Rock State Park. Caesar’s Head State Park is known for exquisite panoramic views due it its being more than 2,000 feet above the surrounding area. Table Rock State Park provides a towering backdrop for an Upcountry retreat at the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Both parks offer miles of hiking trails and a wide array of photographic opportunities.
 Lunch: During our visit to Table Rock State Park, we'll enjoy the bag lunches we made at breakfast.
 Afternoon: Continue to enjoy photographing the beautiful campus of Clemson University.
 Dinner: At the Education Center.
 Evening: The Group Leader will gather everyone’s photographs and put together a show. Following the conclusion of the program, the Group Leader will mail CD’s containing everyone’s photos to each participant.
Accommodations: Youth Learning Institute Education Center, Pickens, SC
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Photo Storage Demonstration, Program Concludes
(Friday, October 23)

Note: Note: Hotel check-out by 12:30 p.m.

 Breakfast: At the Education Center.
 Morning: With our photo instructor, learn how photography continues from the camera to the computer. Learn how to store, manage, and edit your photos once they are off of the camera.
 Lunch: At the Education Center, our lunch will also include a closing ceremony led by our photography instructor and Group Leader. This concludes our program.

We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at Best wishes for all your journeys!
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
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.

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