""Yosemite in Spring" Nikonians Academy Workshop FAQ/Q&A" Wed 17-Mar-10 06:11 AM by mmariant
Morro Bay, US
Hello to all Nikonians Yosemite Spring workshop attendees!
We have a couple of months to go until the start of the workshop and here is some important planning information for you in advance of our Yosemite experience.
PERSONAL NEEDS: I have had email correspondence with some of you regarding personal needs. If you have any requests or needs, especially in regards to accommodations, please email me ASAP.
ACCOMMODATIONS: We will be staying in Yosemite Valley at Curry Village in the hard-floor, canvas-sided tent cabins. While this might sound like 'roughing-it', they really are quite hospitable, with each cabin having a dresser with mirror, a desk and bed with full linens and wool blankets. The cabins do not have heat, but temperatures in mid-May are warm during the day and cool - but not cold - in the evening. If you are at all concerned about your evening comfort, we can requests additional wool blankets upon our arrival at check-in. Private showers are located near to our cabins at the Curry Village Pool House; none of the tent cabins have private bath.
Due to a reduction in the number of available lodging units in Yosemite Valley, the ability to acquire a cabin is very difficult. The concessionaire has worked with us in always securing cabins for our workshop needs even during the crowded peak waterfall season.
All of our tent cabins exclusively will have an electrical outlet. Each tent cabins has a large, thick, metal 'food locker' directly outside the tent cabin entrance. This locker is sunk in concrete and 100% bear-proof. Each locker can be secured with a padlock; if you wish to use the food locker to store food or 'other items of value', please bring a padlock to secure the food locker doors. This is a very safe means of storage. It is not recommended to leave valuables in your cabin.
MEALS: The workshop schedule usually allows for a sit-down breakfast and sit-down dinner every day, while some days we will have a sit-down lunch or have get a lunch to-go in order to maximize our shooting time. All of our meals will be at dining establishments in Yosemite Valley. You can budget that breakfast will cost between $8-10, lunch between $10-12 and dinner between $12-16. There is a surprisingly well-stocked grocery store in Yosemite Village is there is a need for additional food items.
ROCK FALLS: During the 2008 ANPAT in Yosemite, two rock falls occurred directly behind Curry Village and in April 2009, a rock fall occurred below Half Dome. While this might sound like a hazardous situation, rock falls are common in Yosemite, as the exfoliation of the valley walls are a regular geological occurrence that have shaped, and continue to shape Yosemite Valley.
Rock falls do have a tendency to occur more often in the late fall (such as last year's ANPAT) and early spring (last week's rock fall) as rain or melting snow enters the rock during the day but during overnight freezing temperatures, the water freezes and expands, triggering the rock fall. While rock falls can be dangerous and expected, their occurrences are part of the natural experience in Yosemite. During the workshop orientation, we will review the rock fall conditions and safety concerns.
WORKSHOP SCHEDULE: The workshop will begin on Thursday, May 13 with the required orientation at 1:00 pm in the Curry Village Lounge, and will conclude Sunday, May 16 just after lunch (allowing for return to Fresno airport by 3pm). While some might have departing flight requirements that necessitate a earlier departure from the park on Sunday, I request that everyone make travel arrangements to arrive to Fresno airport no later than 9am on Thurs. May 14. If you need to arrive the night prior, directly across the street from the airport is the Picadilly Inn and Holiday Inn, both providing easy access from the airport.
Each day will include a full-schedule of shooting of all the springtime environments of Yosemite Valley, from the waterfalls to the spring-time blooms. We will begin at sunrise and go to sunset each day, with some days going past sunset. There will also be an optional exercise in "Astro Photography" one night for those who wish to partake. If you do wish to partake in the Astro Photography session, a remote trigger for your camera is highly recommended.
A detailed itinerary of our daily schedule will be provided to everyone during the workshop orientation.
TRANSPORTATION: I would very much like to start a dialogue of carpooling to Yosemite from the airport, to avoid having a caravan of 11 vehicles with 11 people. I believe that 4 or 5 cars would easily support transportation needs both to the workshop and while in the valley. If there are members of this group who would like to spearhead the carpool discussion, I applaud you for your efforts; please respond here in the forum as soon as you can.
For those flying, the airport of arrival and departure is the Fresno-Yosemite Airport (FAT). Those who are flying in to Fresno, if you arrive on Wednesday, there are several hotels located directly across the street from the airport, including the Picadilly and the Holiday Inn. For those arriving Thursday morning, please check if your flight arrives prior to 9am to ensure our timely workshop start.
For those driving, if your route passes through Fresno and you can contribute to the carpool option, please plan on meeting at the airport Thursday morning. If your route does not allow for transit through Fresno, please plan on meeting at the Curry Village Lounge at 1:00pm.
I will be in the airport's arrival lobby (near the Starbucks Cart) Thursday morning at 9:30 am to facilitate the carpools and our departure to Yosemite. I plan to have everyone together and we will leave promptly at 10:00 am, arriving in Yosemite Valley by 1:00 pm.
TERRAIN: Nearly all of our photo locations are either just off trail or in fairly level locations. Some might require light boulder-scrambling for additional vantage points. There is a full-day, nearly all downhill 'hike' from atop Glacier Point down to Happy Isles, providing the best and most exclusive vantage points for three beautiful waterfalls. It is a 9-mile hike, going from 7,000-feet down to 4,000-feet. While I like to include this day trip as it is the highlight and hallmark of the workshop, I understand that some attendees might have limitations in this type of trip or 'hike'. If you have concerns or reservations about this, please privately email me at: email@example.com
As reference to the difficulty level of this option, I can do it ... and if you know me or have seen me, you understand what I am saying. In other words, it's not that bad. It makes for a long day but with spectacular and wonderful photographs.
Note the elevation profile below to reference the difficulty of the hike.
EQUIPMENT: While a full-range of focal-length lenses, from wide to medium-tele is sufficient for this workshop, I am not one to state that the workshop requires certain lenses or cameras in order to properly capture the scene. Lenses that start in the 17mm range on the wide side and top out at 200mm on the long side will do a fine job. Chances of seeing wildlife and needing a 300mm or longer lens? About 1-5%.
A tripod is a must, however, as well as a laptop if you choose to download and/or edit your photos. A polarizer filter is a plus.
IMPORTANT: One piece of equipment that is required is a neutral density (ND) filter of -6 stops. There are several options out there for ND filters, from varying density to gradated to the Vario-n-Duo. If you are new to ND filters, or only bring one, either a Fader ND or a straight -6 stop (NOT a gradated ND!) is a great starter, especially for the studies in water motion we will be doing during the workshop. The additional ND options that are available will only contribute to your photographic creativity, but certainly are not necessary for this workshop.
In regards to carrying your camera equipment, I strongly recommend a small photo backpack, waistbelt and/or chest harness (such as those from ThinkTank) as, especially in regards to our day-long trip, it will be much easier to carry your gear in this manner than with a bulky camera bag. When packing and choosing your gear to bring, remember one thing: keep it simple and light!
In the non-photographic equipment, a hat and sunscreen is a must. Good light-duty hiking boots or shoes with excellent traction are necessary as we will be off-trail and doing some light boulder scrambling at times and good foot traction and strong ankle support is necessary.
NOTE: Everyone is required to bring at least two (2) water bottles of 24-to-32 oz. capacity. It will be warm during the day and at some locations, especially on the full day hike, access to water is limited. I am very strict on this requirement; as a matter of safety, anyone not carrying two of these bottles of water will not be permitted to join the group on the full day hike.
Optionally, we will be using the handheld GSRM radios to communicate throughout the workshop; if you have a radio of your own, please feel free to bring it.
WRAP-UP: That should do it. If you have any questions or concerns, please post your questions here and I will get back to you right away.
See everyone in a few weeks!
____________________________ Michael A. Mariant Nikonians Academy Faculty Master Your Vision Workshops