Eastern Sierra Fall Photography Workshop Recap / by chris miele

I stand by my belief that California's best fall experience is found in the Eastern Sierras.  It's why I've made annual pilgrimages to the eastern slopes in conjunction with leading photography workshops there.  The region's varied terrain, elevation, and seasonal surprises makes it a top destination to hone one's outdoor photography skills.  This year marked the second workshop I've led in the area and the five day adventure couldn't have been more rewarding.

First sight, first snow.  During my initial scouting, Sabrina Lake's high elevation showed some of the strongest changing colors.

When a workshop is approaching it's my duty to be extremely prepared.  The locations are already familiar and roughly selected when I do my initial workshop planning, but it's imperative that I head out several days in advance to fine tune my scouting.  Conditions on the ground are always changing and it's this type of extra preparation that paves the way for the best photographic possibilities.  When I hit 395 and reached the Eastern Sierras in early October, I was met with the first snow of the season and slightly delayed changing fall colors.  Despite the slow start to autumn, there were still plenty of amazing locations to bookmark.  The following images were from the three days spent scouting before the workshop began. 

For this workshop I had the pleasure of being joined by four ambitious and talented photographers.  Two were California residents and frequenters of the Eastern Sierras, while the other two hailed from Ohio and had yet to experience the magic of the Eastern Sierras.  The skilled group had collectively been all over the world and put me on the spot in terms of offering fresh instruction that would further their skills and talents.  Throughout the five day workshop we were beyond fortunate to have experienced some of the (honestly) best light I've ever witnessed in the Sierras.  Neon sunrises, barn-burner sunsets, and crystal clear nights, the Sierras really lent me a helping hand and gave the group one hell of an experience.  I couldn't have paid for better photographic conditions.  The following images are candid looks at the group in action throughout the five days workshop. 

Grant Lake on our first morning really set the tone for the workshop.

Dirt trails and summit roads.  Conway Summit, CA.

I spy two photographers taking it allll in.  Lundy Canyon, CA.

Lundy Canyon gave the group the high Sierra experience I was looking for.  The evening provided some amazing twilight in addition to crystal clear star gazing.

WOW. Just. Wow.  It was beyond magical having the group experience AND photograph this firestorm sunset at Mono Lake.

The group at Mono Lake after our final session of the workshop.

Sharing my passion and experience with this group was beyond an honor.  Each participant brought a unique vision to the experience and really created a great learning environment.  It's these type of experiences that make me so grateful for picking up a camera in the first place and now sharing that creative drive.  Until the next workshop, cheers!

Check out the participant's best images from the workshop -