2016 Winter Big Sur - FAQ's - Don Smith Photography
  • FAQs
  • 2016 Winter Big Sur - FAQ's

What’s the closest airport? Monterey Peninsula Airport is less than 15 minutes from our hotel. San Jose International Airport is the closest major airport and is less than 90 minutes by car. San Francisco and Oakland International Airports are about a two-hour drive.

What does the workshop fee cover? Your fee covers lodging for the nights of Jan 23-25 and breakfasts for the mornings of Jan 24-26. All locations shoots, related parking fees, and class work is also covered.

How much time will be spent in the field? We will have you on location prior to sunrise and after sunset. We will try for secondary shoots after sunrise and before sunset if weather conditions permit.

How different is Big Sur from what I would see during your Spring/Summer Workshop? Winter is unique because of the fog the cooler temperatures prevent the formation of the typical marine layer. What is left is extremely intense color, which can last up to an hour during sunset.

Will you be discussing composition? Yes, and more. With each location, I will offer suggestions and go over technical (craft) questions. We will be there to assist you in finding and fine-tuning your compositions.

What are the times for the class sessions? We will start with an orientation and some classroom training on January 23th at 1 pm., followed by a sunset shoot. Class times for the remaining three days are: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. The workshop will end at the conclusion of the sunset shoot on January 26thth.

What topics will you cover? We will utilize class time to discuss the following topics: Lightroom 5, Adobe Camera RAW (and Lightroom), global corrections, localized corrections, Levels, Curves, color enhancement, proper sharpening techniques, layers and masking techniques, HDR techniques (utilizing Nik HDR Efex Pro).

Will there be an Image Review Session? Yes, in fact, we have two scheduled!

Will the latest software be discussed? Yes, Photoshop CC or Lightroom 5 is available, it will be discussed and demonstrarted!

When do we eat? The Carmel Mission Inn serves breakfast until 10:00 am each day. Breakfast is included as part of the workshop! We will have you back from the morning shoots no later than 9:30 am each day. There are many fine restuarant choices within short walks of the hotel. There are four fun eateries just off the back parking lot of the hotel.

Will there be night training sessions? One session of star photography is scheduled - weather permitting.

What’s the weather like? Typical weather in January is cool, with highs in the low 60's and lows in the 40's. I must state that January is typically the rainiest month on the Peninsula averaging around 4 inches for the entire month. But rarely do Pacific storms lock in for days on end. A typical storm can blow through within a couple of hours leaving spectacular clouds/light for landscape photography on either end. Approaching storms also bring large waves! I typically capture my best wave scenes during the stormy periods.

What camera should I bring? Most participants will have a digital SLR, but bring the camera or cameras with which you’re most comfortable shooting.

Do I have to shoot digitally? Much of the training will assume you’re shooting digitally, but digital isn’t required.

What lenses do you recommend? Lens choice is a very personal thing. You could probably find a use for every lens in your bag. So bring as much as your luggage will hold, even if you won’t take it in the field for every shoot. We suggest at the minimum you have the range from 24mm to 200mm (full frame) covered.

What filters should I bring? Polarizers are the number one recommendation. Beyond that, GND filters are useful but not necessary. We will show you alternate ways of solving expanded dynamic range without filters. A variable neutral density filter can be useful for motion blur with water, but is nor required.

Is a tripod required? While not required, a tripod will greatly enhance your opportunities and your images.

Will I need a laptop? Without a laptop you won’t be able to participate in most of the interactive classroom training sessions. A notebook is recommended.

I’m a beginner—is there a minimum skill level required? All skill levels are welcome. Some of the material may be beyond your current level, but much will benefit photographers of all abilities.

Can my wife/husband/friend join me? You’re welcome to share your room and all meals and non-workshop activities with a friend or loved one at no charge. Only paying participants will be able to join the workshop activities. With all there is to see and do in the area, there will be plenty to occupy any non-participating guest during workshop hours.

How much hiking will there be? Our photography activities will require virtually no hiking. There will be some walking to and from our shooting locations, but nothing more than an easy ¼ mile. There are also locations where some hiking is possible for those who are interested.

Will there be time for sightseeing? Each day will be pretty full, but there will be a little down time too. And no workshop activity is required.

Will I need to rent a car? While not required, a car will give you the most mobility and flexibility. Public transportation is available in the Carmel/Monterey areas, but very limited in Big Sur.

Can I carpool with another workshop participant? Any carpooling needs to be arranged by the carpoolers themselves.

Can I share a room with another participant? You’re welcome to share a room with another workshop participant, but we’re not able to arrange that for you.

Will accommodations be made for people with mobility limitations? The host hotel offers full handicapped access in accordance with California law. Many of the locations we’ll photograph are close enough to parking that very little mobility will be necessary. A few places involve short trails and beaches that may limit your access. We’ll do our best to offer alternatives.

Liability Disclaimer: Due to the inherent nature of outdoor photography, participants agree to join the workshop at their own risk. We will never lead you to an area that is dangerous, and certainly, we need to know if you don't feel comfortable at any time.


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