California Highlights
Monday 28th October - Thursday 14th November 2019
Tour Cost £2,995 (Plus flights)

California is the third largest state in the USA and has a wide range of great photographic locations. Our tour is planned to explore a wide variety of these and will include some of the most iconic locations not just in the state but perhaps the world. With such a diversity of photography available the visit will offer opportunities for all photographic tastes. Photoventures has been visiting California for more than fifteen years and during this time we have accumulated a wide knowledge of the great photographic areas. Many of these are included in this tour giving you the chance to produce an exciting portfolio of images.

We begin our tour in the great city of San Francisco with its iconic waterfront that looks out onto ‘The Bay’ and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. Our first day will be spent exploring some of these great locations with visits to the Golden Gate, Fort Point and the rolling streets. We will also visit the waterfront and the exciting Embarcadero Centre and spend the evening on Treasure Island to watch the sunset over ‘The Bay’ and Downtown.

Leaving San Francisco our journey takes us east over the Altamont Hills, home to thousands of wind turbines, and into the fertile Central Valley. Crossing the valley, we enter the hills of gold where the '49er gold rush brought wealth and prosperity to California and spawned its nick name ‘The Golden State’. We reach the interesting town of Mariposa with its clapboard Church and courthouse before driving along the Merced River into one of the most famous areas in the world, Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is a rugged narrow valley with steep cliffs on each side that rise more than 3,000 feet straight up. It was made famous by the great photographer Ansel Adams. We will explore Yosemite to its fullest with visits to Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point as well as the many locations in the valley floor.

From Yosemite we climb up to Toulumne Meadow and over the Tioga Pass en route to Lee Vining. This is our base and will afford us access to the amazing Mono Lake with its eerie tufa towers. We will also visit the ghost town of Bodie, a location that offers a real taste of the old pioneering ways. From Lee Vining we journey south to the Alabama Hills and the Bristlecone Pine forest. The Alabama Hills offer a unique landscape which have formed the backdrop for many a movie. With its arches and rough textured rounded hills it is a great photographic location. Our stay here will also allow us to visit the ancient Bristlecone Pine forest. These are some the oldest living things on earth and many are more than 4,000 years old.

We leave the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains with view of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 States, and head to Death Valley, one of the lowest places on the planet. At Badwater the land is more than 250 feet below sea level. Our visit to Death Valley allows us to explore such iconic locations as Zabriski Point, the Devil’s Golf Course, Artist’s Palette, Scotty’s Castle and the Race Track. Of course, we will be enjoying some dawn shoots on the amazing sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells.

From Death Valley we will have to cross the Mojave Desert as we head west to the Pacific Ocean. This inhospitable desert offers some interesting photography, whether it is the Joshua trees or the wild desert scenery. This will of course be in stark contrast to the verdant coast when we reach the Pacific Ocean at Morro Bay. From here our journey takes us north along the amazing Big Sur coast to Monterrey. Highway 101 follows the contours of this volatile and spectacular coast, clinging to the cliffs or sweeping through the deep inlets and amazing bays along the way. Completing Big Sur, we reach Monterrey and Carmel where we can travel the famous ‘17 Miles Drive’ along the coast through Pebble Beach. We end our journey with a return to San Francisco passing along an interesting coastline on our journey north.

Detailed Itinerary