Spring Field Courses Bring Yosemite And Hetch Hetchy Valleys Into Focus At Yosemite National Park

Field workshops in Yosemite this May will offer photographers and painters a chance to compare the Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite valleys. Sunrise at Hetch Hetchy by James McGrew.

Yosemite National Park is a big, and possibly daunting, park. And yet, it harbors many enticing settings and experiences. And if you've only got a day or two to spend in the park, you might consider seeking some help in finding those settings and experiences.

With Spring drawing near, YExplore Yosemite Adventures offers a number of guided field courses in the park, from photography and plein air painting workshops to birding walks in the park.

Now open for registration is an opportunity to experience both the Yosemite Valley and its "twin," the Hetch Hetchy Valley, this May. YExplore's Yosemite Twin Valleys Waterfall Workshops on May 3-6 offers photographers and outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to compare and contrast the natural and geological features of both Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy landscapes through their own interpretive expressions.

Activities include photography field sessions and a two-day plein air painting workshop. Other highlights include interpretive natural history hikes and birding walks throughout the “Twin Valleys” of Yosemite. Class prices range from $50 to participate in a five-hour nature hike up to $300 for the plein air workshop.

James McGrew returns as the leader of the annual four-day event, and he will be joined by several local Yosemite professional photography guides and naturalists. James and David Lukas will each lead an interpretive hike to kickoff the celebration on May 3rd that will serve as an introduction to the landscape and its rich history.

A two-day combined plein air painting and naturalist workshop conducted by McGrew will begin on the 4th and will span both valleys. Alternately, several options of morning and evening light photo field sessions will be available on all four days from a faculty of well-known Yosemite photographers.

Central to all programs will be a focus on the spectacular waterfalls during their peak season. National Geographic photographer Phil Schermeister will be directing his popular Waterfalls class from Yosemite Valley. Robb Hirsch will share elements of composition with aspiring photographers in Hetch Hetchy, while Yosemite veterans Al Golub, Gabriel Mange, and Joshua Cripps will guide daily photo sessions from various ‘insider’ shooting locations. David Lukas will lend his expert knowledge of birds and Sierra ecology with all who wish to discover the natural world of Yosemite.

YExplore will offer three full paid scholarships for these workshops to students who are eager to improve their photography skills in this exciting environment. Details for application are provided on the website.

In continuing support of the arts in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties, a portion of the proceeds from these workshops will benefit both the Mariposa County Arts Council and the Central Sierra Arts Council.