Photography Workshops & Photo Tours: Adirondack Park Weekend Photography Workshops: Elk Lake Preserve Summer Photography Retreat, August 2024

Adirondack Mountains Photography Retreat and Workshop at Elk Lake Preserve
with professional native Adirondack photographer Johnathan A Esper

August 25-27, 2024

$950 (all inclusive retreat package including photographic guiding, and meals, accommodations, Preserve fees (a $900 booking value))

Status: 1 of 7 spaces booked

Elk Lake Lodge is at the heart of a 12,000-acre private forest preserve ringed by the Adirondack High Peaks. It offers a true Adirondack wilderness experience that is rare in modern life. Guests are the sole visitors to this vast landscape; most return year after year. Join us in a place of timeless beauty, enjoy a traditional Adirondack meal, and explore one of the best wilderness lodges in North America. Elk Lake covers a 12,000-acre privately-owned forest preserve in the heart of the High Peaks, ringed by mountains: Dix, Macomb, Nippletop, and the Colvin Range. This is a world that is unchanged in hundreds of years - a timeless place that offers a unique wilderness experience, a place to enjoy the silence, the clean air, the unspoiled natural beauty that are increasingly rare in modern life. Run by a single family since the middle of the last century, Elk Lake Lodge has been in operation in the same spot since the mid-nineteenth century. It is a place that change rarely touches, and entirely protected by a conservation easements. The Elk Lake - Clear Pond Preserve includes 40 miles of well-maintained private trails for the exclusive use of it's guests, including trails to private and exclusive mountaintop panoramic vistas over the entire Adirondack Mountain chain from Mt Marcy to the Dix Range. Canoes and rowboats are provided for guests to paddle, fish, and photograph from the waters, shorelines and islands of 600-acre Elk Lake and the deep glacial waters of Clear Pond. Elk Lake provides an endlessly satisfying seasonal variety of Adirondack landscapes prized by photographers, naturalists, fishermen, foragers, and ornithologists. It is the perfect place to stay in the Adirondacks and explore the true Adirondack wilderness, waking up by the lakeshore to the haunting cry of loons on the morning waters of Elk Lake.

This photography workshop resembles a retreat style, where the pace is slower and we're based in an idyllic wilderness lakeside setting as a small group, where meals, lodging, and multiple daily guided photographic outings are all included in the package. Now participants can follow their photographic vision deep in the Adirondacks within a constructive yet flexible itinerary that includes guided group photography outings from sunrise to sunset to various lakeside, river, and mountaintop views around the Elk Lake Preserve.

This 3 day Adirondack photo retreat and workshop will convene at 3:30pm Sunday August 25th 2024 and conclude after sunset on Tuesday 27 August 2024, although participants with a longer drive home on Sunday evening may depart earlier if they wish. Overnight base location for both nights is at Elk Lake Lodge, in rooms in rustic and historic Adirondack style log Main Lodge.

The Adirondacks: The Adirondack Park is a large protected region in New York State known for its lakes and wilderness canoeing routes, its rolling forested mountains and hiking trails, and its wild forests and fauna. It is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined. Nearly half of the Park’s 6 million acres are protected to remain as “forever wild” state forest preserve, with a harmonious blend of private and public lands giving the Adirondacks diversity found nowhere else. The Adirondack region boasts over 3,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and a wide variety of habitats, including globally unique wetland types, old and new growth forests, and alpine vegetated mountains. The Adirondack Park was created in 1892 by the State of New York amid concerns for the water and timber resources of the region. The Adirondacks are an ancient chain of mountains, with great hiking. Numerous trails lead up small mountains with open tops giving great views over the forested valleys below, and bountiful lakes and rivers provide recreational opportunities.

Photography & Learning: This weekend photo workshop and retreat focuses on in-the-field photography and situational instruction working alongside your leader, and as weather, light, and time allow. We'll balance this with indoor presentations or editing sessions to supplement what we're practicing in the field critiquing and editing sessions. Hiking is an integral part of capturing the Adirondack landscape, and some photographic locations will necessitate moderate hiking of a couple miles each way up small mountains and return after dark for spectacular mountain sunset panoramic views. However, all hikes and all photography outings are optional on this retreat. Alternate options for those less inclined to hiking include staying around the Elk Lake Lodge or choosing to paddle on the waters of Elk Lake instead. A maximum group size of 7 photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field and to ensure a small group retreat experience in the Adirondack nature.

Pro photographer Johnathan Esper will be leading the tour, who has an intimate knowledge of the Adirondacks from growing up in them. He is a recognized and established local Adirondack landscape photographer, frequently published by the region's premiere magazine Adirondack Life. Johnathan specializes in panoramic landscapes, especially of the Adirondack region, and adventure photography, and photographic topics that will be covered while shooting include HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, panoramic photography, people in the landscape, and of course classic landscape photography techniques. Photographic highlights on this retreat include Elk Lake on shore and by canoe, Clear Pond, Clear Pond Mt, Blue Ridge Falls, and more private trails through the reserve that are open only to guests of the Lodge.

Workshop Details: This Adirondack photo retreat is an authentic and affordable way to get to know the Adirondack wilderness while also honing your photo skills. The workshop price is all inclusive of everything the entire weekend, and includes all professional photographic instruction and guiding, 2 nights accommodation (Sun, Mon.) at the Elk Lake Lodge, and home-cooked Adirondack-style breakfasts, lunches, and dinners served at the Lodge. This also includes all gratuities, taxes, and fees to Elk Lake Lodge! (Staying here on your own would cost $900 per person for 2 days). Plan to pack plenty of snack supplies with you ahead of time, as we'll likely stay deep within the Adirondack woods and waters the entire weekend immersed in nature and without reliable access to the outside world. Each day, we'll photograph sunrise, break for breakfast, and intersperse our day with photography outings, indoor sessions, and a few breaks. Typically dinner at the lodge followed by a sunset photography shoreline outing concluding each day. Please note that we may opt to skip or rush through a meal to allow more time for sunrise or sunset photography outings, and in this case, no food or reimbursement will be offered for missed group meals whose timing we have no control over. Photography is priority #1. Participants must have their own transport to Elk Lake.

A $600 deposit is due upon registration, and the remaining balance is due 2 weeks prior to start of tour. This workshop is open to all digital photographers of any experience level. A list of gear suggestions will be sent to registrants, and while not mandatory, the camera gear on the list will better help you achieve your photographic vision and become intentional, creative photographers. The retreat is confirmed go with a minimum of 3 photographers, and in the event fewer sign up, the participants will be given the option to transition to a solo weekend at the Lodge at-cost-of-accommodation (which is $355-$450/night/person shared or solo room), or the date is cancelled and full refund will be given. Accommodation will be in twin rooms with private bath in the historic main lodge on the shores of Elk Lake. Rooms have two twin beds, and workshop rate includes assumption that you may need to share the room with same-gender. Solo room upgrade is not guaranteed but may be possible, for an extra fee of $50-150 if workshop fills with 4-7 participants, or complimentary if workshop has just 3 signups.

Sign up: If you would like to sign up, please make a deposit payment of $600, including your details, on this website's generic payment page. Or if you have any additional questions, Johnathan would be happy to speak with you; please use the contact page.