55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
94118
415.379.8000
Regular Hours:

Daily

9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday

11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:

Tuesday

8:30 – 9:30 am

Sunday

10:00 – 11:00 am
Closures
Notices

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

 
Mono Lake, Bristlecone Pines and Bodie

Our goal is to help people join us in our mission to explore, explain, and protect the natural world. Join us in telling visual stories on conservation issues. Direct your passion for photography towards purposeful change in the world.

Eastern Sierras Field Excursion


Dates: Sat Sept 14th 8:30am - Mon 16th 9:00pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes Region


What's Included: Round trip transportation from San Francisco as well as carpooling throughout the field excursion. Lodging is included at a private home rental. We will have two photographic experts on hand to teach fundamental skills and help you work on everything from composition to understanding equipment choices. Guided field walks and interpretation of the local region will be included.

Calumet Expertise: Christy Carr, from Calumet Photo, will lend her technical expertise (along with sensitivity to the environment) as a field advisor for the duration of the workshop. She has advance knowledge of DSLR photo equipment and the many lens options available to us.  Christy will bring along some high end lenses for Nikon and Canon users to try out in the field while they put their training to the test. She will help all participants enhance the quality of their images, while still maintaining their own distinct points of view with a deeper investigation of how lens choice plays a role in the final image.

Hiking Involved: Participants should be able to spend the days on their feet and can expect light hiking all three days with one longer hike of 4.5 miles over light elevation gains.


 

The Big Picture

The Sierra Nevada is a photographer's dreamscape. John Muir famously referred to it as 'the Range of Light,' and Ansel Adams' stunning photos made the beauty of the Sierra known around the world. Immerse yourself in the practice of Conservation Photography in this special field excursion. In 3 days, we will explore the landscape and wildlife diversity of the Eastern Sierra with Mammoth Lakes as our homebase. From there we will set out to explore Mono Lake and the wonders of its geology. We will spend a day hiking and photographing the Ancient Bristlcone pines. And what’s a trip to the Sierras without a visit to a Ghost Town. In Bodie we will see how nature reclaims a town over time and photograph a place out of time.


 

Defining Conservation Photography

Conservation photography is a vision of photography that has a long history with a new purpose. Typically, pressing the shutter defines the photographer with planning and execution culminating in the photograph. A conservation photographer’s work begins once they click the shutter. It’s what you do with these images that matters as it takes you into the active roll of effecting conservation for the natural world.


 

Overview ~ Sept 14th to 16th ~ Big Picture ~ More Information

Reservations: Sign up deadline is September 1st. Members: $400, General $450. Space is limited and advanced ticketing is required. Final day to buy tickets will be September 1st To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831 (Note: Food, park entrance fees not included.)

Saturday September 14th

The adventure begins when we all board the van to carpool from the Academy across the state to the Eastern side of the Sierra Mountain Range. Participants coming from outside the bay area may meet us at Mono Lake (though car pooling with us is strongly encouraged) where we will make our first photographic stop. Mono Lake and its surrounding watershed encompass a unique region in California. Sagebrush, Jeffrey pines, volcanoes, tufa towers, gulls, grebes, brine shrimp, alkali flies, freshwater streams, and alkaline waters comprise an unlikely world at the transition between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert. Trillions of brine shrimp eat and mate beneath the briny waters of Mono Lake as Wilson's Phalaropes feast on alkali flies in preparation for their non-stop flight to South America. Embracing 14 different ecological zones, over 1000 plant species, and roughly 400 recorded vertebrate species within its watershed, Mono Lake and its surrounding basin encompass one of California's richest natural areas. Here, we will explore the life of the region and work with our photographic guides to learn and practice new skills with the Tufa tours as our main attraction.


 

Sunday September 15th

After spending the night in our Mammoth lakes rental house, we will kick off our second day lightly exploring the lakes of the region while learning about the local natural history and diversity of the flora and fauna of the area. We will enjoy some short day hikes in the area before departing for the famous Ancient Bristlecone Pines. “Methuselah,” which is more than 4,800 years old, is one of the oldest living trees on earth, and stands with its brethren in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Methuselah is the oldest known living tree and non-clonal organism in the world—4,844 years old as of 2013. Several walking trails depart from the Schulman Grove Visitor Center that will allow us to explore these ancient, living marvels. The Methuselah Loop trail is 4.5 miles long and climbs just 200 vertical feet and winds up and around a hillside of the ancient trees. This ancient grove of trees sits at 2,900–3,000 m (9,500–9,800 ft) above sea level in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains within the Inyo National Forest.


 

Monday September 16th

Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of nearly 10,000 people. The town is named for Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1875, a mine cave-in revealed pay dirt, which led to the purchase of the mine by the Standard Company in 1877. From 1877 to 1888, the community swelled to more than 10,000 residents and produced over $35 million in gold and silver.Only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of "arrested decay." Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, the remains of Bodie are being preserved as they were when the town was abandoned more than 50 years ago. Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds and an occasional ghost. By the end of our trip, we will have visited an astounding variety of natural landscapes and gain deep insight into the complex conservation history of California and the West, and our photos will dramatically illustrate many sides of this history.


 

Overview ~ Sept 14th to 16th ~ Big Picture ~ More Information

Reservations: Sign up deadline is September 1st. Members: $400, General $450. Space is limited and advanced ticketing is required. Final day to buy tickets will be September 1st To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831 (Note: Food, park entrance fees not included.)

The Big Picture

Fundamentals of Exposure
Dive into the art of conservation photography during this hands-on, 3 day 2 night workshop. We will touch on basic features of the DSLR camera. Topics will include choosing lenses and filters, ISO, white balance, shutter, aperture and program modes, EV, exposure, HDR, focusing, resolution, histograms and more.

Introduction to Photographic Techniques
While in the field, we will explore different methods of photography, composition and consider how spatial and temporal considerations effect the emotion of the images.

Making Images with Intention
We will talk about how to construct a story for a variety of publication outlets. Topics will include creativity, journalistic style, documentary objectives and more. Participants will be taught to approach their photography like they would a creative writing assignment and develop an introduction, plot and conclusion.

Guided Natural History Walk
You will split your time between photography sessions and natural history walks. Throughout the experience, Academy staff and guest experts will offer photographic guidance and insight into the region’s natural history. We will focus on both natural and human history of the the region as it pertains to ‘land conservation” for nature's sake as well as for recreational use by humans. We will also take an in depth look into past and current water issues in California and the West, and related resource management issues while visiting these places first hand.


 

Overview ~ Sept 14th to 16th ~ Big Picture ~ More Information

Reservations: Sign up deadline is September 1st. Members: $400, General $450. Space is limited and advanced ticketing is required. Final day to buy tickets will be September 1st To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831 (Note: Food, park entrance fees not included.)

The Players Involved

Fundamentals of Exposure, Composition, and Story Telling
Photographer Gary Sharlow designs and leads photography workshops crafted to explore the concept of photography as a tool for conservation. He created and launched the conservation photography program at the California Academy of Sciences. He has previously worked for the NPS in the area of population biology and has an educational background in conservation biology. He is a manager in the education division at the California Academy of Sciences and he can frequently be found hiking and photographing on the trails of the San Francisco Bay Area, thoughout California and he even gets out into other parts of the Western United States when he's lucky. On a rare occasion, he even escapes the continent as a whole!

In Partnership with Calumet Photographic
Christy Carr, Techinal Expert at Calumet Photographic, will lend her technical expertise (along with sensitivity to the environment) as a field advisor for the workshop. She has advance knowledge of DSLR photo equipment and the many lens options available to us. Christy will bring along some high end lenses for Nikon and Canon users to try out in the field while they put their training to the test. She will help all participants enhance the quality of their images, while still maintaining their own distinct points of view with a deeper investigation of how equipment choice plays a role in the final image.

 

Suggested Field Gear

The word of choice is "layers". You should be prepared for all kinds of weather and expect conditions to change rapidly while you are in the field. Among the things you should have in your pack: water, layered clothing, comfortable trail shoes, sunscreen, a hat, extra socks sunglasses, a rain jacket (rain not likely but possible), your camera and a tripod. This is not an all inclusive list and it is up to you to be prepared to go into the field where we may hike as many as five miles over the course of the day. Please  check the weather the night before and plan accordingly. We will travel rain or shine!


 

Food

You are responsible for your own food and drinks each day. We will arrange for family style breakfast and dinners but lunch and daily water is your responsibility throughout the trip. Please consider packing some light snacks such as granola bars to keep in your packs during the day. Carrying water during the day trips is absolutely required.


 

Travel

 We recoginzed that our participants may be coming from various parts of California and beyond. We will provide round trip transportation from San Francisco and anyone who wishes to ride in the van will be set for the trip. Those coming from outside the bay area may meet us at the first loacation and then leave their cars at the rental house for the duration of the field excursion. We will be able to all board the van and spend our days getting to know each other while exploring the region.


 

Lodging

We will be renting a house for the 2 nights spent up in the Eastern Sierras. There will be enough beds for everyone on the trip and couples may have their own rooms but it is not guaranteed as the final house rental will be determined by the number of people who sign up for the trip. Either way, you can rest assured that we will be staying in a nice private home in the Mammoth Lakes region and the cost of lodging is included in your workshop price. 


 

Park Use Fees

Keep in mind that some of the areas we are visiting have day use and entry fees. Consider buying a parks pass as you will get good use out of it and the money helps to support that state and national parks will be visiting on this trip. Whatever you decide, the choice is yours and keep in mind that there aren’t too many ATMs in the wild!


 

Hiking

There will be a lot of walking around for all three days druing this field excursion. The hiking will mostly consist of short hikes of less than a mile over flat terrain. We will have one hike in the Ancient Bristlecone Pines that is 4.5 miles long and has some change in elevation (200 feet) but is not considered to be a strenuous hike.


 

Refund Policy

Due to the field component of this program, your ticket is nonrefundable and not transferable. This program is being offered as a two day program and we will not be offering any discounted rates for attending one of the two days. We will have one day programs in the future so check back for more opportunities. This particular program is limited to participants that are 18 and over in age. Space is limited for a better experience.



 

Overview ~ Sept 14th to 16th ~ Big Picture ~ More Information

Reservations: Sign up deadline is September 1st. Members: $400, General $450. Space is limited and advanced ticketing is required. Final day to buy tickets will be September 1st To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831 (Note: Food, park entrance fees not included.)

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Parking at the Academy

   

Parking is available in the Music Concourse Garage seven days a week from 7 am–7 pm.  Limited 4hr parking is available on John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Nancy Pelosi Drive until 10pm (Except on Sundays) Please note that the garage is not operated by the California Academy of Sciences. For information, call 415.750.0741 Get Directions