Yosemite Fall Colors Photo Workshop

Yosemite National Park is popular for a reason – its vistas are spectacular! Even with 4 million annual visitors the park offers many hidden locations to catch the best compositions and light. This Yosemite fall colors workshop focuses on fall colors landscapes during the day and long exposure photography at night. Sunrise being at 07:24 and sunset at 18:00 enable convenient sunrise, sunset and night photography shoots without excessive fatigue.

Your instructor and guide, local photographer Jeff Sullivan, wrote the book on the best landscape photography locations in California: "Photographing California Vol. 2 – South," including an extensive chapter on Yosemite. Jeff lives a little over an hour from the Park and visits it frequently each year in the peak seasons for photography. Jeff personally leads all of his workshops, so you can be sure that he is planning every Yosemite trip on peak dates: for fall colors, wildflowers, waterfalls and astrophotography opportunities.

Jeff entered the digital imaging field in 1985 at the Digital Printing and Imaging Division of Tektronix, upon earning his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. An avid astrophotographer, he was awarded Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2011 (People and Space special prize) by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Enjoy the best that Yosemite has to offer with a location expert, with real time guiding, feedback and instruction.

Review our 2019 schedule for other workshops including Eastern Sierra Fall Colors, Mono Lake Winter and Moon Rise, Death Valley National Park and more.

Share this tour with your friends


  1. Interested to know about this trip – required equipment, how much walking is required, length of day (I’m an older fellow, and I can’t do the 18 hour days any more).

    • Hi Bill,

      Thank you for your interest in my Yosemite Fall Colors workshop! We don’t have any moderate or long hikes planned. We tend to shoot either near the vehicles such as at a popular viewpoint or after a short walk from a road to the Merced River, typically about 1/4 mile. So if we walk a mile or two for photography in the course of the entire day, it’s in small, manageable and non-strenuous increments.

      We also set times and places for the next few meals, so if anyone wants to skip sunrise, they can meet us at breakfast. Or if they want to take a shower and back up cards to their laptop in the morning, we can meet them for lunch. If the weather is spectacular, the group may want to shift that to afternoon. So we do what makes sense at the time, and everyone can pace themselves and pick the best opportunities to participate in, or adjust their participation to their energy level on that day.

      Fortunately, for the Yosemite fall colors workshop, the sunrise time is 7:24 am and sunset 6 pm, so the days are pretty modest and relaxing, not like the long summer days with early sunrises and late sunsets.

      I’ve sent more information by email; I hope that you can join us!


      Jeff Sullivan

  2. Thanks Jeff – Looks like this one is well within our abilities. If I’m able to go (won’t know for sure, for another month or two) I’d be bringing a Sony RX10 iv, 24-600mm, a medium weight tripod, CP and ND filters. Anything else? Would the Sony be okay for your group (my DSLR days are over now)?

    • Hi Bill,

      I just had someone attend a workshop with the Sony RX10 IV. It’s a pretty impressive camera for it’s size! i think it would work out well. The only other thing you might want would be an interval timer (intervalometer). I’ll check with that other customer to see if she is able to use the one she bought for her Sony A7R3 with her RX10 IV.


  3. Good advice. Thanks. I don’t normally use an interval timer, but I’m sure I can get one which will work with the RX10iv. I will worry a little about my tripod, which is a medium weight Benro. When I sold off my DSLR gear I sold my big Manfrotto. If you feel that a heavyweight tripod is necessary, maybe I can rent one.

    • Jeff Sullivan on

      I’ve had a couple of lightweight tripods show up in workshops this year for mirrorless cameras. For years I was too cheap to upgrade from the cheap $40-75 tripods. They work in many circumstances. After all, all you need to do is keep the camera still, the landscape isn’t impressed by brand names! Lighter tripods are fine for many daylight shots, especially if you can use a timer in the camera or remote wired or wireless trigger (including an intervalometer), particularly for longer night shots.

      Over time my back started to get sore as the lighter tripods weren’t tall enough, and I did eventually break them (one had a plastic plate for the camera, which got brittle and broke in cold temperatures), so I switched to a couple of 3.8 to 4.1 pound models from Velbon, including a pan/tilt head. Without the weight of a ball head and having tilt/pan levers instead, they seem to be much lighter than most others that show up at the workshops. I like levers for more quickly getting the camera level, and they handle panoramas and switching from landscape to portrait orientation very well, without a heavy and awkward L bracket that some people use.

      Wind is the biggest challenge that a lighter tripod might not handle as well, but it’s much more common in Death Valley than way down in the bottom of Yosemite Valley. I had a camera and tripod blow over and break at Zabriskie Point earlier this season. I bring a spare sturdy tripod or two as backup in case someone’s tripod fails (including mine). I don’t charge enough to outfit everyone, but someone’s welcome to try them (say if there’s wind). Necessity (someone’s broken tripod) will have priority over convenience.

  4. Thanks for your observations on lighter weight tripods. I certainly agree that in some circumstances, a heavier, more stable tripod is preferable. One of the limitations is that some of us have to travel long distances by air, to get to photo tours. The weight and bulk of a nice big heavy tripod can be difficult to accommodate in luggage. Then, of course, there’s the ability of some of us (I’m 84, pretty healthy for that age but still 84) to carry the additional weight.

  5. We’ve decided to add a lodging option for our Fall Yosemite trip. We’ve rented a house, and have rooms available. This will enable us to store food in a refrigerator, do post-processing demos, and so on. I can provide more detail if you’re interested.

Leave A Reply