For this event I have reserved several of the rustic housekeeping cabins at the lodge (all the cabins throughout the summer and early fall season are rented a year ahead of time by people in the know). The fee includes a three-night rental of these cabins (shared accommodations, so bring a friend or you pay a single-supplement surcharge; I also have to charge a nearly full fee for non-participants, as most of the cost for this workshop is for the lodging). Each cabin includes electricity, beds and linens, a tiny kitchenette complete with dishes, glasses, silverware and pots and pans, and indoor plumbing (shower/toilet/wash basin). All you bring is your food and clothing. Mornings and nights will likely be frosty, so bring warm clothes. Elwell, for better or worse, does NOT have TV, internet, cell phone reception (there is an emergency phone at the lodge) or ice machines. Instead, your entertainment is the whispering of the pines and the great beauty of this location. Each cabin has a little porch, so you may choose to sit and enjoy the ambiance.
Note: Because these cabins are in high demand, I’ll need to set a spring deadline for whether or not this workshop is a “go.” I’d like to have six to eight people.

The retreat will be a mix of taking great photos followed by digital post-processing “boot camp.” I’ve been using Photoshop since the early 1990s and taught the subject for ten years at a local community college, and I have a lot of tricks to share, as I think post processing is a critical component of high-quality photography. As time and interests permit, I will also share some techniques used for creating my award-winning painterly photos. No knowledge of Photoshop is needed, as I will start with the basics. Most of what I will share with you also applies to Adobe Photoshop Elements and the Develop module of Lightroom.
The lodge itself is photogenic. The dining hall nestles among huge Sierra granite boulders. This will be our headquarters for our training and critique sessions. The two-story wooden recreation building, with its huge stone fireplace, is crammed with vintage furniture, old board games and books. It has been a venue for weddings, art classes and other gatherings. On Saturday, we’ll spend a bit of time photographing these two buildings in the morning and magic light of late afternoon.
Those who are able may wish to take mid-day hikes along rocky trails to nearby Long Lake or Big Bear Lake, each edged by high Sierra peaks. Weather-worn snags edge the sparkling blue alpine lakes.

Digital camera (plus plenty of cards/batteries/battery charger). Bring your camera manual if you feel uncomfortable with your camera settings. If you’d like, bring your laptop loaded with your favorite photo processing software. A tripod is useful for photographing lodge interiors. Although I’ll be giving you some handouts, I’ve found that hands-on learning is more effective in learning new digital imaging techniques. Also, bring a flashlight or headlamp for moving from building to building when it gets dark.
If you decide to hike, you’ll need sunhat, water bottle, snacks and good hiking shoes.

Elwell Lakes Lodge is located near Gold Lake Road in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. Closest towns are Graeagle and Sierra City. The lodge is about an hour’s drive north of Truckee/Interstate 80 via State Highway 89. I will be sending out very specific directions to participants as we get closer to the time of the workshop.