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CALIFORNIA COAST

Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Monterey, Muir Woods, San Francisco

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

If beautiful sunsets, giant redwoods, and stunning beaches excite you, then our 7-day California coast Photo Tour and Landscape Adventure is the expedition you want to experience. 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 on what 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 newfound 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, and utilize and approach your environment. 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 is about as beautiful as it gets!

Please note: Our photography guide will always be on the lookout 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 on what 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, and utilize and approach your environment. 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 is about as beautiful as it gets!

Please note: Our photography guide will always be on the lookout 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

  • 7 Days
  • Travel, landscape, seascape and nature photography
  • Professional photographer | guide
  • Photo walks & discussions
  • Small group size (4 – 8 guests)
  • 4 or 5-star hotels
  • Breakfasts
  • 4 Lunches
  • 3 Dinners (Including Welcome and Farewell 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 – Palihouse Santa Barbara or similar
Pismo Beach – Inn at the Cove or similar
Monterey – Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Victorian Inn or similar
San Francisco – The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel, Palace Hotel or similar

Excursions

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

Optional Extension

3-Day Napa Valley Extension (See details below)

California Coast Prices & Dates


AdventurePriceREGISTER
From: $7,995

California Coast & Napa Prices & Dates


AdventurePriceREGISTER
From: $11,295
Photographer Leader

Photographer Leader

Jerry Adamo

August 12 – 18/20, 2023

*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 upscale boutique hotels in the 4 and 5-star category. Not all destinations offer these types of properties. We look for unique hotels that 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. In Cuba, we stay in upscale family-owned Casas (bread & breakfasts). On all of our tours, breakfast is almost always included, but not guaranteed. Meal categories listed include (B) for breakfast, (L) for lunch, and (D) for dinner.

ITINERARY

CALIFORNIA COAST 7 DAYS

Day 1 | Los Angeles - Santa Barbara

Welcome to the California Coast! We meet at 10 AM in the lobby of the Malibu Beach Inn. Soon after we’ll begin our drive to Santa Barbara, where we will check into our hotel.

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. We’ll also dive into PWA’s “10 Guiding Principles of Photography” as well as our “THE ART OF SEEING” photographic technique.

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’ll end the day with our Welcome Dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara. (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’ll check-in and conclude our day by shooting the sunset on Avila Beach. (B)

Note: Each night during our 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 - Big Sur - Bixby Bridge - Monterey

On day three, we get a very 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.

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 interesting seal behavior while we are there. At this point, we will have lunch to refuel.

Today is a long day, but well worth it. Our travels will next take us to McWay Falls in Big Sur for a glorious sunset shoot focusing on long exposures. At 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 where we’ll checkin to our hotel, located on Cannery Row. The Victorian Inn offers a warm historic charm that celebrates the spirit of Monterey. (B)

Day 4 | Whale Watching - Carmel - Monterey

On day four, we will begin our day by jumping on a boat and setting off to go Whale Watching in Monterey. At this time of year, we can see Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Dolphins, and Killer Whales This is truly an experience one will never forget. Note: This is optional and not included in the tour.

Afterwards we’ll take a journey through the renowned 17 Mile Drive to Carmel by the Sea, where we will see a mix of environments from golfing, surfing, wildlife, and beautiful ocean views. We’ll have a late lunch in Carmel.

In the late afternoon we’ll return to the hotel for some rest followed by a photo review and critique. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy dinner in Monterey.

Day 5 | Santa Cruz - San Francisco - Golden Gate

After a late breakfast we’ll head north to Santa Cruz Pier where we we’ll see another gathering of seals underneath the pier, lying down across the slats fighting for territory. Time permitting, we’ll eat lunch on the pier or wait until we get to San Francisco.

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. We’ll then head to checkin to our hotel in downtown San Francisco.

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 on long exposures of the tides coming in, and also try out a few panoramic photographs.

We’ll end the day with a late dinner in San Francisco. (B)

Day 6 | 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 one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco. (B) (D)

Day 7 | San Francisco

On 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 | San Francisco - Napa Valley

After breakfast, we check out of our hotel in San Francisco and head north to Napa Valley. We begin with lunch in Sausalito, just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a taco lunch. First settled by the Coast Miwok people, this southernmost tip of the Marin Peninsula was difficult to reach except by boat and largely ignored by both the Spanish invaders (who called it Sauzelito, after a grove of willows) and the Gold Rush’s forty-niners. In time, though, railroads, ferries, and, eventually, the bridge linked Sausalito firmly to the “mainland.” War brought industry in the form of the Bechtel Company’s shipyards, and by the 1960s, its abandoned slips were colonized by hippies living in houseboats—Otis Redding was staying in one when he wrote “(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay.” 

Our next stop is Napa Valley where we’ll check in to our hotel, and head over to Castello di Amorosa for an afternoon shoot. This authentic 107-room castle is just south of Calistoga and has a moat, drawbridge, torture chamber, and defensive towers – you’ll swear you’re in an ancient hill town in Tuscany, Italy. At every turn, you will be amazed by something breathtaking. We’ll shoot a Napa Valley sunset before going to dinner. (B)

Day 2 | Sonoma - Napa Valley

After the sunrise shoot, we’ll have breakfast in Sonoma and begin exploring this beautiful historic town. In the mid-1800s, the town of Sonoma was just a collection of ranchos, governed by Mexico. Even though the U.S. government and the State of California took over the territory not too long after that, you can still sense its heritage. The centerpiece of town, Sonoma Plaza, is still anchored by the northernmost Franciscan mission in California—and it’s even the birthplace of the California State Bear Flag, created by Americans rebelling against Mexican rule. 

The first half of our day will take us throughout the Sonoma region as we explore its historic vineyards. After lunch at a beautiful winery, we’ll begin our return to Napa. The peaceful Napa Valley countryside is home to more than 400 wineries, each beautiful in its own way. Whether it’s cozying up for a candlelit cave, tasting, or sipping from a private pavilion while taking in sweeping views of the rolling hills, you’ll find stunning scenery and beautiful photographic opportunities at nearly every Napa Valley winery. We’ll be taking you to some of the most beautiful wineries in Napa Valley. Our final winery will include a sunset shoot followed by dinner. (B)

Day 3 | Napa Valley - San Francisco

We’re up early for our final sunrise shoot amongst the vineyards and rolling hills of Napa Valley. During breakfast we’ll review our photos and then checkout. We’ll be arriving at San Francisco airport by the mid afternoon. (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.

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