California Condor Photography Workshop

Dates: May 15th-16th, 2016
Location: Pinnacles National Park, California
Price: $1200
Deposit: $500
Maximum Number of Participants: 4

Want to know what it’s really like to be a wildlife photographer? This trip is anything but luxurious and is not for the faint of heart. We will be camping within the park (as it is the best way to be in the right location at the right time), hiking up long trails in the darkness before sunrise and after sunset, and will try to find one of the rarest birds in the wild in the process. Ready for the challenge? Then this workshop is for you.


Required Photo Equipment:
– Camera (Digital SLR Camera preferred)
– Telephoto Lens (200 and above is recommended, 400 through 800mm range is best) *

Optional Photo Equipment:
– Wide angle lens
– Monopod/Tripod (or bean bag)
– Teleconverters
– Flash
– Better Beamer
– Graduated Neutral Density Filters
– Remote Trigger
– Flashlight

What to Bring
Clothing: California has a Mediterranean climate which means that the mornings are rather cold while the afternoons get hot. This means its best to wear lots of layers that can be taken on and off during the day. Also bring a rain jacket and rain pants if you have them. If you are prone to getting cold, you may want to bring a beanie and gloves.
Shoes: Hiking boots or running shoes, depending on what you feel comfortable walking up and down hills in. You may also want to bring comfortable shoes like flip flops to wear around camp.
Camera Gear Protection: Nothing special required, except to bring items to clean your camera and lenses of dust.
Learning Materials: A notebook will be good to take notes with, do not bring a computer as we will be away from the tent for most of the day, unless you feel comfortable leaving it in the car.
Camping Gear: Tent, Sleeping Pad, Sleeping Bag (Rated to at least 15 degrees), Sunscreen, Bug Spray, Water Bottle

Travel: Fly into San Jose airport, where you can rent a car. We will be entering the park from its east entrance and camp at Pinnacles Campground.

Accommodations: As mentioned above, we will camp at Pinnacles Campground, this will be pre-booked and pre-paid for you.

Food: To make our life a little more enjoyable and to let us focus on the photography, I will be hiring a cook that will cook us a light breakfast, make our lunches, and serve us a hearty dinner. I will be providing the food for these meals. If you have preferences for snack foods or other foods in general, please bring those for yourself. In the weeks leading up to this trip we will have a final discussion about the particular meals we will be eating.

Transportation: You will need to drive into Pinnacles National Park from an airport or from your city if you live close by. Once there we will not be driving.

Schedule: We will hike to our shooting locations to arrive there 20 minutes before sunrise and then shoot until the light is too harsh or if all of us are exhausted. Depending on the spot, we will have lunch on location and rest there until commencing shooting for sunset, after which we will hike back to the tents in the dark. During the afternoon rest, I will give small talks to help you mentally prepare for the upcoming session. (Sunrise is at 6:00am and Sunset is at 8:09pm). During the entire time, I will be available for one-on-one instructions.
More detailed view:
Friday – Arrive at Pinnacles Campground in Pinnacles National Park.
Saturday – Hike to California Condor Shooting Location
Sunday – Have a morning shooting session, after which we will pack up and leave the park.

Physical Requirements: All of our shooting locations will require a lot of (up to ten miles round-trip) hiking, through uneven and sometimes steep terrain. If you are afraid of heights, or don’t feel physically fit, this workshop is most likely not for you.

If you arrive prior to workshop start time: If you arrive in the area before Thursday evening, feel free to have a look around. I will not be able to meet up beforehand though as I will be doing final location scouting and will be setting up camp.

What’s included in the price: Park entrance fees, camping fees, food costs, cook costs, and services of Sebastian Kennerknecht as photographic guide which includes knowing the area, having extensive natural history knowledge of the local fauna (especially the condors), helping you with any special needs, and helping you create more interesting and unique pictures of these birds.

What’s not included in the price: Flights and other travel to and from the location, personal food, and anything not listed in the “What’s included in the price” list above.

Possible Species List (underlined species are the most commonly seen):
California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
California Quail (Callipepla californica)
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)
Coast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum)
Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)
California Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi)
Brush Rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani)
Meriam’s Chipmunk (Eutamias merriami)
Coyote (Canis latrans)
Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargeneteus)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Feral Pig (Sus scrofa)
Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemonionus)

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