Photography Workshops & Photo Tours: Adirondack Park Weekend Photography Workshops 2021-2022

Adirondack Park Photography Workshops 2021-2022
with professional native Adirondack photographer Johnathan A Esper

Immersive landscape photography weekends during the best seasonal highlights of spring, summer, fall and winter, with an emphasis on doing lots of photography, capturing the essence of the Adirondack region, and photographic learning through in-the-field personalized coaching and indoor lecture sessions as time allows. These photography tours are an excellent way to get acquainted with certain regions of the Adirondacks, be guided to amazing locations for photography, and improve on your landscape photography skills. You will come away a better photographer and with tons of images and experiences.


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 throughout the seasons: The timing of these photo tours coincides with seasonal highlights of the Adirondack Park. For spring workshops, the fresh, saturated lime green color of new foliage growth lasts for about 2 weeks, and along with rushing springtime rivers and streams, fiddlehead ferns, and forest wildflowers, all contribute to excellent stream and forest photography. In summertime, highlights of nature include fog lifting off the lakes on early August mornings, enjoying the warmth of the Adirondack summer season, and tranquil summer sunsets. Autumn workshops coincide with peak fall foliage season, where bright reds and yellows fill the valleys, and the air is usually crisper and clearer allowing for distant views of the rolling mountains. The autumn season in the Adirondacks is simply sublime, and quite possibly the best time of year to photograph this diverse and wild area. In winter, we search for the subtle and icy details of river shorelines, ice channels, snowy woods, and white-clad mountains. The High Peaks are the most photogenic in their winter coat, out of all the seasons. Sunrise and sunset light up the snow in a surreal pink color called Alpenglow.

Depending on the selected workshop and to some extent weather, we have many photographic areas around the Adirondack Mountains from which to choose. Some of our favourite general areas include the central Adirondack Mountains around Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake, the High Peaks region around Keene Valley and Lake Placid, the Schroon Lake Pharoah Wilderness region, and the Sacandaga River region. Of course, we focus on one area of the Adirondacks on each weekend workshop (being based out of a centrally located small town), and we will tailor our specific shooting locations to match and compliment the day’s weather, whether that's more intimate forest and stream scenes on a wet rainy day or grand vistas for a spectacular sunrise or sunset on a clearer day. During our time photographing together, we may hike up a small mountain for sunset views over the rolling Adirondack hills or for views of colorful lime green springtime or autumn season red and yellow forests below, photograph intimate forest streams and cascades, photograph the morning mist coming off a wilderness lake, or take a sunrise paddle on yet another lake to glimpse the loon and hear its call.

Photography & Learning: These weekend photo workshops focus 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. Some photographic locations will necessitate moderate hiking on trails to get to, as hiking is an integral part of capturing the Adirondack landscape. A small enough group size of photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field and maximize the group’s flexibility and ability to shoot more places, more spontaneously based on light and weather.

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 landscape and night photography, especially of the Adirondack region, and adventure photography, and photographic topics that may be covered while shooting include HDR imagery, panoramic photography, Milky Way photography, and of course classic landscape photography techniques.

Workshop Details: These workshops are an affordable and superior way to get to know the Adirondack wilderness while also honing your photo skills. The workshop price includes all professional photographic instruction and guiding. Participants must have their own transport to our shooting locations, and book their own accommodations in a pre- determined local town for any nights. Meals are also at the participants' own cost, and we typically will eat dinner as a whole group at local restaurants. Typically the group will convene before sunrise and do a sunrise and morning shoot, and afternoon photo outing and/or an indoor session, and then again photograph in the late afternoon and straight through sunset. Meals are always worked around our photography schedule, not the other way around, but of course we always set aside some break time for meals or rest.

Depending on the selected workshop, picturesque small towns all around the heart of the Adirondacks will be our weekend base. The specific daily schedule and meeting points in the morning and those types of additional details will be sent closer to the trip date. Accommodation is not included in the workshop fee, but it is generally expected that all participants stay at the suggested accommodation, unless otherwise arranged. A deposit is due upon registration, and the remaining balance is due via check or cash at the start of the tour. This workshop is open to all digital SLR or mirrorless 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 trip is a confirmed go with a minimum of 3 photographers.

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  • Central Adirondacks in Spring, co-lead with Chris Murray
  • May 21-24 ,2021 , Lake Pleasant. $750 (tuition only). Status: successfully concluded with 6 clients.
  • Difficulty: several 20-30 minute each way woods hikes, optional mountain hike also. Confirmed to go, with additional safety precautions taken.

Details

Workshop begins Friday, May 21st at 3:00 pm and ends Monday, May 24th at noon in Speculator, NY.

Overnight base location will be Lake Pleasant Lodge on the shores of Lake Pleasant, in the town of Speculator. We have already booked a bloc of rooms for all participants; however, you will need to pay for your accomodations at the motel upon arrival. First day meetup details will be communicated to all participants before.

To register, please make a deposit payment of $300, 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.

Springtime in the Adirondacks is a wonderful season, with the vibrant, fresh lime green colors of new spring foliage. Abundant wildflowers including trout lilies and trilliums dot the forest floors and spring snowmelt from the mountains overflow streams, creating compelling creek compositions of rushing spring waters, mossy rocks, and swirling foam. These are the scenes we plan to photograph, unique to the freshness of springtime, including the Sacandaga River East and West Branches, Georgia Brook, Auger Falls, Indian Lake, Lewey Lake, Lake Pleasant, Fawn Lake, and many more streams and cascades of southern Hamilton county. The fresh, saturated lime green color of new foliage growth lasts for about 2 weeks, and along with rushing springtime rivers and streams, fiddlehead ferns, and forest wildflowers, all contribute to excellent stream and forest photography. We will tailor our specific shooting locations to match and compliment the day’s weather, whether that's more intimate forest and stream scenes on a wet, rainy day or grand vistas for a spectacular sunrise or sunset on a clearer day.

Photography and Learning

This photo workshop focuses on in-the-field photography and situational instruction working alongside your leaders, 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. Some photographic locations will necessitate moderate hiking on trails as hiking is an integral part of capturing the Adirondack landscape. A small enough group size of photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field and maximize the group’s flexibility and ability to shoot more places and more spontaneously based on light and weather.

This workshop is led by two of the Adirondack’s most well known landscape photographers. Chris Murray is a professional photographic artist, instructor, and speaker who works extensively in the Adirondacks. Johnathan Esper is a lifelong Adirondack native and professional landscape photographer. He has an intimate knowledge of the Adirondacks from growing up in them and exploring the region through hiking and photography. He is frequently published by the region's publications including Adirondack Life magazine. Besides Adirondack photography, Johnathan leads international photography trips around the Arctic countries, and owns two vacation rental homes in the Adirondacks.

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  • Central Adirondack late-summer foggy waters and starry nights

  • August 27-30, 2021, Indian Lake

    $500 (tuition only). Status: closed to new bookings, 7 of 7 spaces fully booked up!
    Difficulty: up to 1.0 mile each-way easier hikes

    Adirondack Mountains in late summer is a special season, where the cooling nights and air temperature over the warmer lake waters create the best conditions for foggy mornings over the waters. Late August is the best time of year to capture tranquil scenes of still waters with morning fog lifting among the white pines along the shorelines, while loons make their echoing calls across the quiet wilderness waters. In additional to ideal morning photography conditions, this workshop is specially timed to coincide with dark moonless nights during the best season of the year for capturing the Milky Way rising straight up from the south, during the early night hours before midnight. Night photography, and Milky Way photography, opens up a whole new way of engaging with the nature around us, and offers it's own unique photographic techniques, challenges, and rewards. If you've never photographed at night before, the Adirondacks is an ideal place, being one of the darkest night sky areas in the Northeast USA. Our location in the central Adirondacks based out of Indian Lake is perfectly located between tons of photogenic lakes that are away from major sources of light pollution, for the best nighttime photography. Weather permitting, you will be able to visibly see the Milky Way and stars, and come away with stunning images. August is also the best time of year for photographing summertime panoramic vistas with crisper clearer air with low humidity and long sight distances in the cooling air. Indian Lake, a brand new location for our workshops, provides some excellent nearby lakes, forests, waterfalls, and forest streams to photograph among. This longer 3.5 day workshop allows three chances for clear nights for star and Milky Way photography, as well as three calm and foggy mornings. In addition to nights and mornings, we'll also photograph throughout the day as much as our energy allows, especially forest and waterfall scenes if cloudy or rainy. We will also do at least one indoor intensive photography editing and critiquing session during a midday.

    This 3.5 day Adirondack photo workshop will start at 4:00pm Friday August 27th and conclude after a sunrise shoot on Monday August 30th 2021. Overnight base location will be at Adirondack Trail Motel in Indian Lake. Please note we have already booked a block of rooms here, and you will simply pay for your room in person on arrival. No need to make any arrangements yourself. Single rooms are $70/night. First day meetup details will be communicated to all participants beforehand. The price of the workshop is $500 per person, inclusive of tuition only. Photographic locations on this workshop will be between Indian Lake, North River, Cedar River Flow, Blue Mountain Lake, and possibly other locations.

    Sign up: When you are ready to sign up, please make a deposit payment of $200, 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.

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  • Adirondacks Autumn Color in the High Peaks:

  • September 25-27, 2021, Lake Placid.

    $300 (tuition only). Status: 8 of 8 spaces fully booked up.
    Difficulty: up to 1.0 mile each-way moderate/steep hikes, including pre-sunrise or post-sunset

    Adirondack Mountains offer some of the best foliage viewing anywhere in America especially for the vibrant red colors of the sugar maples. From lower mountain top peaks we can overlook red-filled valleys nestled below the High Peaks, and down below the forests are filled with bright yellow and reds which make for amazing forest compositions. Lakeshores offer reflections of color on calm mornings, with abstract patterns of white birch trunks and red maple trees offering telephoto and panoramic options. Autumn season in the Adirondacks is truly a special time of year, just after most tourists have left the Adirondacks and gone home leaving the woods and waters quiet, and yet still there is an explosion of autumn color both on the trees and covering the forest floor. This is also the best time of year for photographing panoramic vistas with crisp late autumn days with low humidity and long sight distances in the clear air. Long Lake, the location of many of our workshops over the years, provides some excellent nearby forests and forest streams to photograph among. Finally we'll touch upon the eastern High Peaks area to photograph these classic areas as well. The price of the workshop is $290 per person, inclusive of tuition only. Photographic locations on this workshop will be between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, and/or other locations. We will do at least one indoor intensive photography editing and critiquing session.

    This 2.5 day Adirondack photo workshop will start at 3:00pm Saturday September 25th and conclude after a sunrise and midmorning shoot on Monday September 27th 2021. Overnight base location will be Lake Placid, NY. Please arrange your own accommodations at your own hotel, although please first check with us first for our recommendations and advice on hotels, because some hotels are more convenient location wise, avoiding downtown congestion, and for views. First day meetup details will be communicated to all participants beforehand.

    Sign up: When you are ready to sign up, please make a deposit payment of $100, 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.

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  • Adirondacks Hiking for mountaintop views

  • September 27-28, 2021. Newcomb.

    $150 (tuition only). Status: OPEN for bookings, confirmed to 'go', 3 of 6 spaces booked
    Difficulty: for fit hikers only, including mountain hiking in the dark pre-sunrise and post-sunset

    Hiking is the only way to capture the most dramatic views over the Adirondack Mountains and over color-filled valleys. As photographers, we are always in pursuit of the special light, the special moment, all to ourselves, that makes all the effort put in up to that point all worthwhile. We live for those iconic moments. Hiking allows us that opportunity. Some of the Adirondacks best scenes are only possible by putting in the work - of hiking to the tops of smaller mountains for the views they provide. And of course hiking the dark before sunrise or after sunset to capture that special light from on high, that only the most dedicated of photographers and hikers experience. This short photography and hiking tour is only meant for experienced and fit hikers, who are willing to hike in the dark, stay out late and get up at early predawn hours. This trip is timed just after our other nearby Lake Placid workshop, so that hardcore photographers can do both! The price of the workshop is just $200 per person, inclusive of tuition only. No indoor photography editing and critiquing sessions are planned, as we'll either be out photographing more locations, or be resting up for our sunrise and sunset hikes each day. Weather permitting, we will do two sunset hikes and one sunrise hike, as well as additional photography around the Newcomb area throughout the day. Photographic possible locations include Boreas Ponds, Wolf Pond (hike), Rich Lake VIC nature trails, Goodnow Mt (hike), Vanderwhacker Mt (hike), Newcomb viewpoint of High Peaks, and/or County Line Flow.

    This 1.5 day Adirondack hiking photography tour will start at 3:00pm September 27th and conclude after a sunset hike on September 28th 2021. Possible rain date for the sunrise hike the following morning the 29th if sunrise the 28th didn't work out. Overnight base location will be Newcomb, at any motel or bed and breakfast of your choosing. Please arrange your own accommodations as this will be a small group and group reservations are not applicable. Plan to sleep locally the night of the 28th also. First day meetup details will be communicated to all participants beforehand. (if you can't find enough B&B accommodation in Newcomb, Long Lake is just 20 minutes away)

    Sign up: When you are ready to sign up, please make a deposit payment of $50, 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.

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  • Adirondacks Winter White High Peaks:

    January 28 - 30, 2022, Lake Placid. $350-$550 (tuition and private log home lodging included). Status: open for bookings
    Difficulty: from roadside spots and up to 1.5 mile each-way short hikes

    Adirondack Mountains are beautiful in their white coats of winter. The crispness and low humidity of the air allow for excellent long-distance vistas of the rolling mountainous terrain. Stream boulders are covered with pillowing mounds of snow and intricate icy details. The forest trees after a new snowfall and the sun coming out display wonderful mix of blue and white colors. And perhaps the best of all, the High Peaks in the winter season proudly stand out with their white topped summits and are most photogenic and impressive in winter. With low angle sun, the snowy tops can turn a shade of purple called alpenglow, as the yellow sun mixes with the blues of snow and creates wonderful purples. So winter is a beautiful time of year to photograph.

    Lake Placid is centrally located in the High Peaks Range and the location of many of our workshops over the years, provides these excellent winter mountain vistas to photograph among. During this workshop you may stay in Johnathan's own luxury log lodge home in Lake Placid, and as a small group we will immerse ourselves into our photography with a mix of indoor instructional and critiquing sessions and lots of outdoor sessions the entire weekend. The price of the workshop starts at $350 and up to $550 per person, which includes tuition, and accommodation in Johnathan's log home for 2 nights. The price varies depending on bedroom selection, first come first serve. The home has 4 bedrooms - two king master suites, two queen bedrooms which share a bathroom, and a larger lower level bedroom with 3 twin beds. $350 pricing is for shared lower level bedroom and up to $550 for private king master suite. We will co-live together this weekend as a small group, eating meals together at the home or in restaurants (meals not included in pricing). Our Adirondack log home is set up as a full time vacation rental, with many gorgeous photos of the home on our rental site Wildernesscapes Properties .

    This 3 day Adirondack photo workshop will start at 1:00pm Friday January 28th 2022 at our Adirondack River Rd Lodge in Lake Placid (directions will be provided) and conclude midday on Sunday January 30th, 2022. Overnight accommodations included in the leaders own luxury log lodge, and please state your room preference upon signup. Pricing depends on room chosen, inquire if available. For this workshop, alternate accommodation is not compatible with this trip.

    Sign up: When you are ready to sign up, please make a deposit payment of $200, 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.


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