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CALIFORNIA COAST

Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Monterey, Muir Woods, Bodega Bay

Photograph California’s Pacific Coast. It doesn’t get any better than this.

If beautiful sunsets, giant redwoods, and stunning beaches excite you, then California is the place you want to be. This state truly captures a variety of landscapes, from rugged coastlines, all the way to breathtaking national parks. It offers diversity even if you just travel 80 miles up the coast. It is as if California is begging for you to capture its glory. Places like Santa Barbara, Monterey, and Big Sur are just not found anywhere else in the world; and California offers them with easy access and plenty of turnouts to stop along the way.

This adventure has been designed so it will be remembered for a lifetime. You will come across seals frolicking in the ocean and walk amongst trees that are more majestic than you have ever seen. Our ambition is to get you to see this state through the eye of a lens; to focus in on what really stands out and capture it in a way of permanence. We will not only put you in destinations that you have fantasized about, but we will show you how to photograph it with a creative edge. We will use long exposures to create movement, take panoramic images to showcase the entire landscape and learn about the perfect composition – with the depth of field to design the key interest in our photographs.

Throughout this expedition, we will come across quaint towns that offer real California culture and that beach lifestyle that we all dream about from our office desks. During our week together we will engage in group discussions, inspire one another and have a great time doing what we love. By the end of the trip, you will be viewing a scene in a way like never before, as if there is a camera lens inside your mind’s eye.

We will guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light, but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.

In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas, and great fun. If you love photographing landscapes, seascapes and nature, California’s Pacific coast are about as beautiful as it gets!

Please note: Our photography guide will always be on the look-out for interesting images during our photo adventure and for this reason, our itineraries are always subject to change. Weather plays a major role in capturing the best images possible. Changing light and weather conditions will always be assessed and changes in the schedule will be made accordingly. Flexibility, patience, and a sense of adventure are key to having a great time and capturing stellar photographs.

This adventure has been designed so it will be remembered for a lifetime. You will come across seals frolicking in the ocean and walk amongst trees that are more majestic than you have ever seen. Our ambition is to get you to see this state through the eye of a lens; to focus in on what really stands out and capture it in a way of permanence. We will not only put you in destinations that you have fantasized about, but we will show you how to photograph it with a creative edge. We will use long exposures to create movement, take panoramic images to showcase the entire landscape and learn about the perfect composition – with the depth of field to design the key interest in our photographs.

Throughout this expedition, we will come across quaint towns that offer real California culture and that beach lifestyle that we all dream about from our office desks. During our week together we will engage in group discussions, inspire one another and have a great time doing what we love. By the end of the trip, you will be viewing a scene in a way like never before, as if there is a camera lens inside your mind’s eye.

We will guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light, but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. Apart from the technical aspect of learning your camera settings and capabilities, you will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.

In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas, and great fun. If you love photographing landscapes, seascapes and nature, California’s Pacific coast are about as beautiful as it gets!

Please note: Our photography guide will always be on the look-out for interesting images during our photo adventure and for this reason, our itineraries are always subject to change. Weather plays a major role in capturing the best images possible. Changing light and weather conditions will always be assessed and changes in the schedule will be made accordingly. Flexibility, patience, and a sense of adventure are key to having a great time and capturing stellar photographs.

Group Size

4 – 8 Guests

Experience | Difficulty

  • Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
  • DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
  • Moderate schedule
  • Travel by car or minibus
  • Moderate elevation changes and lots of walking and some hiking
  • (non-photographers also welcome)

Weather | Sun

April – Temps 66/43 F 19/7 C Sunrise 6:34 | Sunset 7:41 (19:41)
August – Temps 78/49 F 26/10 C Sunrise 6:28 | Sunset 7:54 (19:54)

Includes

  • Travel, landscape, seascape and nature photography
  • Professional photographer | guide
  • Photo walks & discussions
  • Small group size (4 – 8 guests)
  • 4 or 5-star hotels
  • Breakfasts
  • 2 Dinners
  • National park permits
  • Local transportation

Travel Information

Arrival Airport: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – Transfer time to hotel 60min
Departure Airport: San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – Transfer time to hotel 45min
Note: Both Los Angeles and San Francisco offer several other area airports to choose from.
Our adventure begins at 11 AM on the first day and ends at noon on the last day.
Travel Visa: A visa may be required depending on your nationality. Go to Visa Map to find out.

Accommodations

Santa Barbara – Biltmore Hotel or similar
Avila Beach – Avila La Fonda Hotel or similar
Big Sur – Ventana Inn and Spa or similar
Monterey – Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa or similar
San Francisco – Palace Hotel or similar

Excursions

Land Shark – Santa Barbara (optional)
Whale Watching – Monterey (optional)

Optional Extension

3-Day Napa Valley Extension (See details below)


Photographer Leader

Photographer Leader

Michael Cohen

April 11 – 17/19, 2020
April 10 – 16/18, 2021

Photographer Leader

Photographer Leader

Jerry Adamo

August 15 – 21/23, 2020
August 14 – 20/22, 2021

*All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in boutique hotels in the 4-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels which offer cultural, historic and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. Breakfast is included only if included in our room rates.

ITINERARY

CALIFORNIA COAST 7 DAYS

Day 1 | Los Angeles - Santa Barbara

We meet in the morning at the Malibu Beach Inn. At around 10 AM we will head off towards Santa Barbara, where we will check into the Biltmore Hotel and discuss PWA’s “10 Guiding Principles of Photography” as well as our “THE ART OF SEEING” photographic technique. During a group lunch, we will have a discussion on what our guests would like to achieve through their photography style, technique and subject matters throughout this trip.

After lunch, we will set out on our photographic journey and make our first stop up in the Santa Barbara Mountains where we will shoot the town from above. Once we are back down the mountain we will catch a ride on the Land Shark for a mid to late afternoon tour around the town. While on the Land Shark you will enjoy exquisite views of the Santa Barbara coastline, the American Riviera, and the Santa Ynez mountains.

We will then celebrate the end of our day with our “Welcome Dinner” at the beautiful Harbor Restaurant on the pier sitting above the Pacific Ocean. (D)

Day 2 | Santa Barbara - Pismo Beach - Avila Beach

After breakfast we check out and begin our journey north along the California coast, stopping first at Pismo Beach Dunes to experience and capture the beautiful formations the sand has created. We will then move further north to the Pismo Pier and take a walk underneath, noticing the way the light hits the slats and capture it with a high key essence.

At this point we will stop for lunch at Steamers of Pismo, enjoying fresh and local seafood. After lunch, we will continue our journey to our final destination of the day at Avila Beach. We will set up accommodations at the Avila La Fonda Hotel and conclude our day by shooting the sunset on Avila Beach. (B)

Note: Each night during your adventure we will assess the weather conditions and for those interested, there may be a late night or very early morning wake up call to head out to do some night sky photography. Timing will be determined by the position of the Milky Way.

Day 3 | Morro Bay - San Simeon - Big Sur (McWay Falls)

On day three we get an early start, as we head to Morro Bay to capture the gorgeous morning light on the famous Morro Rock. The rock is a 581-foot volcanic plug that is located just offshore of Morro Bay. At this point, we will have lunch to refuel.

We then set on our way to San Simeon where we will find hundreds of Elephant Seals laid out across a small portion of the beach. This will allow us to focus on how to capture wildlife. We will hopefully get to witness some animal behavior of the seals while we are there.

To end our day we will keep driving north, stopping at various turn-outs along the way and eventually arriving at McWay Falls in Big Sur for a glorious sunset shoot focusing on long exposures. Our accommodations for the night will be at the breathtaking Ventana Inn and Spa. (B)

Day 4 | Big Sur River - Bixby Bridge - Monterey

After breakfast, we will look through our images and discuss the trip to date. We will also have a Q & A about editing techniques. From there, we head over to the Big Sur River to capture the motion of the water against the beautiful green trees surrounding the area. As we move on we will drive past the Historic Bixby Bridge where we will stop for a short period of time to capture this iconic location. The Bridge was completed in 1932 and crosses the gap between the mountains.

We keep heading north until we reach Monterey were we will eat lunch and rest up for our sunset shoot. We will have a stunning end to the day as we will journey through the renowned 17 Mile Drive where we will see a mix of environments from golfing, surfing, wildlife, and beautiful ocean views. For our nightly rest, we will set up in the beautiful Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa. (B)

Day 5 | Monterey - Santa Cruz - Marshall Beach

On day five we will begin our day by jumping on a boat and setting off to go Whale Watching in Monterey. At this time of year, the Killer Whales are all around these shores hunting after Gray Whales. This is truly an experience one will never forget.

Once our exciting morning is complete we will head a little further north and eat lunch out on the Santa Cruz Pier, but bring your camera, as we will see another gathering of seals underneath the pier, lying down across the slats fighting for territory.

After lunch, we will stop at Hole in the Wall Beach as well as the Natural Bridges to capture breathtaking rock formations over the ocean. Here we will experiment with long exposures and creating dynamic compositions.

To finish up an already amazing day, we will head up to Marshall Beach to capture the Golden Gate Bridge from below. At this spot, we will be using our tripods to focus in on long exposures of the tides coming in and even try out a few panoramic photographs. For the night we will set up accommodations in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel enjoying spectacular city views. (B)

Day 6 | San Francisco - Muir Woods - Hawk Hill - Rodeo Beach

On our sixth day, we will have breakfast and go over the images of the week, where we will have a discussion on workflow and editing techniques. Then we will head over to the Marina Headlands to arrive at the Muir Woods where we will embark on a gentle hike through the giant Red Woods and explore its glory. The tallest redwood in this section scales to an incredible 258 feet.

At this point, we will stop for lunch and rest our necks from the redwoods. We then march to Hawk Hill where we will experience grand vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge from above at a unique angle. Here we will once again work on our panoramic shots as there is such a vast landscape to take in.

For our final location, we will photograph the sunset at Rodeo Beach. This beach is exhilarating and covered with unique red and green pebbles. It is sheltered by cliffs and bounded by a lagoon.

We then return to our hotel for our final night together, sharing photographs and stories at our “Farewell Dinner” at Rich Table, a new and upcoming local restaurant. (B) (D)

Day 7 | San Francisco

For our last day together we will have our final discussion about the amazing journey we have just embarked on. We will review our favorite images, trade contact information and prepare for our journeys home.

We urge you to extend your stay in California and make good use of everything you have learned on our photo adventure. For those continuing on with us to Napa Valley, we will depart after checkout. (B)

NAPA VALLEY 3-DAY EXTENSION

Day 1 | Napa Valley

Our Napa Valley extension includes 2 nights hotel accommodations and local transportation.

If you are staying on for our optional Napa Valley Add-On, we will depart after checkout for 3 amazing days in Napa Valley. (B)

Day 2 | Sonoma - Bodega Bay - Russian River

A concentration on long exposure at beaches, tidal basins, and rivers. (B)

Day 3 | Napa Valley

Early morning sunrise shoot amongst the vineyards and rolling hills of Napa Valley. Breakfast, final review of photos and checkout. Transportation will be arranged for San Francisco area airports. (B)

(B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner, (E) Excursion

May all who come as guests... leave as friends®

OPTIONS AND BENEFITS

Pricing

 

All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Please select single occupancy for a private room. For your convenience, we offer optional early arrival and late departure accommodations so you can extend your stay before or after the trip. We typically stay in boutique hotels in the 4-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels which offer cultural, historic and/or authentic features. Depending on the size of the group, smaller boutique hotels may have limited room inventory. In some countries or in remote locations, we may be limited to lodges or branded chain hotels. Breakfast is included only if included in our room rates.

Private Guided Adventures

 

We offer amazing private guided photo adventures, cultural tours and vacations for individuals, couples, families and groups. We can customize any of our published adventures, as well as others, to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. This may include the finest 5-star accommodations, business-class travel, and private guides and fixers who are able to make the impossible possible. If you are not interested in a photo-centric vacation, but you love our approach to private travel, we will be happy to design and deliver an amazing adventure focused on travel, culture and cuisine. Click here to request a quote. Feel free to call us at 1-888-834-0288 or contact us for more information.

 

Travel Insurance

We offer travel insurance through the internationally recognized Travelex Travel Insurance Company, as well as evacuation and medical transportation insurance through MedJet, one of the best in the industry.

The cost for travel insurance can be as low as 4% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other factors. Knowing you have trip cancellation coverage can make a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason. Travelex Insurance Services is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating. Click here to learn more about why you should consider travel insurance.

Rewards Program

Start earning points today and SAVE $200 - $900 off future trips!
Simply register for one of our amazing photo adventures and begin earning points today!

How The Program Works
For every adventure reservation you make with Photo Workshop Adventures, you earn valuable points which you can redeem on your next trip. This is a great way to save up to 8% off future trips. Our Rewards Program is designed with three tiers: Orange, Gold and VIP Members. Points may be applied towards balance payments on your next trip, or you may choose to accumulate points for a free trip in the future.

ORANGE REWARDS
All guests begin with our Orange Rewards Program (Level 1), which earns 4 points for every dollar you spend. You begin earning points immediately after your first trip. A $5,900 spend earns 23,600 points with a value of $236 USD.

GOLD REWARDS
With our Gold Rewards Program (Level 2), you earn 6 points for every dollar you spend. Orange Members who reach 120,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 4-6 trips), automatically move up to Gold Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 35,400 points with a value of $354 USD.

Additional Gold Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers

VIP REWARDS
With our VIP Rewards Program (Level 3), you earn 8 points for every dollar you spend. Gold Members who reach 350,000 accumulated lifetime* points (approx. 8-12 trips) move up to VIP Rewards. A $5,900 spend earns 47,200 points with a value of $472 USD, (8+/-% discount).

Additional VIP Benefits:

  • Earn up to double points during promotional events
  • Advance notifications for upcoming adventures and special offers
  • Ability to Gift or Transfer points to others
  • Receive complimentary airport transfers at the destination location*


Redeeming Your Points

Redeeming your points couldn’t be easier. You can always log in to your account to check your points balance. When you are ready to book your next trip, register and pay your deposit. When you go to pay your balance you will be given the option to apply your points and receive a discount.

THINK ORANGE Magazine

Subscribe to our Think Orange Magazine and eNews. THINK ORANGE is a wonderful mix of stories and tips related to travel, photography, adventure, culture, art, technology, cuisine, lifestyle, people and more. Our objective is to immerse you in a world you may only fantasize about. Raise your awareness and inspire your creativity. Perhaps even help make you a better photographer. We deliver similar experiential experiences that our guests enjoy on our photo adventures. Like all of our adventures, our blog is “photo-centric”, while also allowing you to experience all the nuances and cultural aspects of travel and adventure. Welcome to our world. We hope you enjoy. Our eNews is a great way to receive information about upcoming photo adventures, exciting new destinations, photography tips, special offers and more. Subscribe today!

Gift Cards

Give someone you know a Gift Card, good toward any of our Photo  Adventures, Photo Tours, Private Guided Tours, Online Courses, Prints or Merchandize. Our beautifully personalized eGift Cards and Certificates are delivered to you electronically. They are fully transferable and have a 2 year expiration date. They are available in any amount from $100 to $5000. It makes a great gift for anyone who loves photography, travel or adventure. Order now, or email for more information.

Combine-N-Save

You can SAVE up to $1200 by combining two or more back-to-back 6-Day or longer Photo Adventures. Call us at 1-888-834-0288 or contact us for more information.

Private Online Lightroom & Photoshop Tutorials

We offer private online Lightroom and Photoshop photo editing tutorials for individuals who would like to improve their post-processing skills. Each is customized to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. We provide you with one-on-one discussions using online connectivity. Many of our Photo Adventure guests select our online post-processing as an extension to their trip. Click here for more information.