Ted Gore

Be Still. Listen. Feel.

The Deserts of California

        Session 1: February 11th-17th 2018, 6 participants  

        $1695 per person

Mono Lake

Join Ted Gore on a grand tour of the arid landscapes of Southern California. Immerse yourself in an adventure across an amazing variety of deserts, while learning the most advanced techniques for capturing the highest-quality images possible!

This workshop will start in the very south of California, almost in Mexico, in a place called Anza Borrego State Park, sometimes referred to as the 'mini' Death Valley, and we will work our way north through areas such as Joshua Tree National Park, Kofa Mountains(ok, technically not California, but it's right on the border!), Trona Pinnacles, Death Valley, all the way up to Mono Lake. This will be an active tour, that will find us driving to a new exciting location every day. We will find ourselves photographing subjects such as badlands, cholla cactus, craggy desert mountains, surprisingly colorful winter foliage, a variety of sand dune locations, and much more. 

You will not only be taken to the best photography locations the deserts of California have to offer, but will also be guided through the entire process of making compelling photographs, from in-field techniques to post production. You will be instructed on choosing the best compositions, how to best utilize different types of light ranging from subtle to dramatic, how to capture the proper amount of dynamic range and depth of field, how to approach raw conversion, blending, sharpening, and artistic choices—the whole nine yards! Learn master processing skills and discover how to make your images stand out above the rest. Instruction goes far beyond the basics, although those who need more basic instruction will certainly be accommodated. And with a smaller group, you will enjoy a more intimate experience, having more time to work with the instructor on an individual basis.

What's Included/Not Included


  • Guidance to the best photography locations in the deserts of California.
  • In field instruction on capture technique(composition, compensating for high dynamic range, focus stacking, among other techniques).
  • Processing instruction including everything such as raw processing, blending exposures using luminosity masks, focus stacking, the orton effect, artistic finishing touches in photoshop, and preparation and sharpening for web and print. The processing session will be recorded for you. 
  • A recorded video of the processing session.
  • Guaranteed adventure 

Not Included

  • Transportation
  • Meals and snacks
  • Lodging

Mesquite Sandunes 

Owens River at the base of the Sierra Nevada Range

Safety Preparation

While adventure and great photos are our main goal, your safety is a priority along with treating the land we travel on with respect, practicing "leave no trace" ethics. Ted is a seasoned backcountry traveler, Wilderness First Responder certified by Wilderness Medical Associates, and insured.      

In order for participants to have a comfortable experience where they can concentrate on the photography, it is highly advised that you have proper attire consisting of non-cotton outdoor dedicated clothing, including an assortment of layers to keep you warm down to the occasional 0-15 degrees.

Colorful winter foliage in Owens Valley

What to Bring

  • Your Camera.  You can choose to use any camera you like, but a digital camera with full manual control and interchangeable lenses is highly recommended and give you the best experience. It is advised that you fully understand how to operate your camera. 

  • Lenses.   There are opportunities to use any focal length possible, so bring all that you can, wide to long. I highly recommend ultra-long as well, up to 600mm. If you don't have one, renting one will prove to be worth the cost.

  • Tripod.   We will often be shooting in low light, requiring longer exposure times. 

  • Filters.   Generally all you will need to use is a polarizer and neutral density filters. Although, it is possible to get great shots without either.

  • Other gear. Several batteries, plenty of memory, a remote trigger, lens cleaning supplies(we highly recommend kimwipes).

  • Clothing & shoes.   Weather conditions in the Southern California deserts during this time of year can vary a great deal. Insulating Layers! A good set of base layers, layers for warmth such as fleece and down, and shell jacket and pants. Good hiking boots or shoes are advised along with a warm hat and gloves.

  • Tent and sleeping bag. We may spend one or two nights in a remote area, in order to have early-morning access to potential Milky Way and sunrise shooting. If you're able to sleep in your vehicle, a tent won't be needed, as we'll be driving these remote locations. 

  • Snacks and hydration. Maintaining energy and hydration is very important when out in the wilderness. Energy bars, nuts, seeds, and water are recommended. At times we could find ourselves in very remote areas, hours from the nearest store, so a good stock of snacks is highly advised.

  • Willingness to learn and discover.

Milky Way above the Ibex Dunes

Payment and Terms

Cost of the workshop is $1695 and includes everything listed above. A non-refundable deposit of $595 is required to reserve a space on this workshop. The final balance of $1100 is due and payable 45 days before the workshop begins. Full tuition is due at this time, and there will be no refunds on the full amount owed if you cancel after final payment. However, If we find another client to fill your space, you will receive a full refund, minus your non-refundable deposit. Payment can be arranged through PayPal.

Use the form below to request a spot on the workshop or to ask a question!

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