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Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra

  • Mono Lake Lee Vining, California, 93541 USA (map)
Dusk, Mono Lake 1979. from At Mono Lake.

Dusk, Mono Lake 1979. from At Mono Lake.

The Landscape of California
Autumn at Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra (No Spaces)

A Digital Photography Field Workshop

A strange lunar-like lake, eerie tufa towers, and fall colors...

October 12-15, 2019

4 days. $995 for first 4 students, $1200 thereafter.

Credit Card Registration or by phone 650 355-7507. Workshop is operated under a permit with the Inyo National Forest. 


These four days will be a dynamic combination of a traditional landscape photography workshop while diving deep into the digital age. Technical and aesthetic considerations will be discussed in detail, while we explore this high desert lake and its strange environs.

The workshop will be taught by the pioneer in digital landscape photography, Stephen Johnson. Also the organizer of the "At Mono Lake" exhibition from which selections are currently on display at the National Forest Visitor's Center, Steve has been teaching at Mono Lake for almost 30 years.

Mono Lake Photo Gallery

Mono Lake Photo Gallery

The At Mono Lake exhibition catalog 1984..

The At Mono Lake exhibition catalog 1984..

This video is both an invitation to the workshop, and a short history of how the "At Mono Lake" Exhibition came to be.

The Place
The stark and beautiful scenery of this legendary lake is unlike any other landscape in the world. Its alkaline water, desert vistas, volcanoes and unusual tufa towers make it a remarkable place. 

The presence of this huge lake in the eastern Sierra desert is improbable at best, its out of place character is pervasive, at times seeming more lunar than terrestrial. 

Mono Lake can change from a tranquil expanse of silver water to a blue-green stormy sea in minutes. It is a most intriguing place. It is both a challenge and a pleasure to photograph at Mono Lake. But Mono Lake's beauty does not necessarily make it easy to photograph here. The desert sun can be harsh, and the horizon can appear endless. It takes time and patience to catch the subtlety of Mono's moods. The autumn weather should provide some interesting cloud formations. The lake's strange landforms can easily become ordinary when photographed casually. Consequently this place demands a certain intensity to do it visual justice. A primary goal of our time spent together will be to slow down and understand the lake on a more intimate level than might normally be possible.

Field instruction will concentrate on technical and aesthetic issues, working to develop a personal vision of this endangered lake. We will be doing some walking and hiking. Digital exposure and dynamic range, color management, printers, papers and pigments, b&w and color, composition, emotion and amazement-all will be part of our ambitious 4-day excursion into the evolving world of digital photography.

Mono Lake Storm. 1979.

Mono Lake Storm. 1979.

The workshop will include a survey of the area's photographic history, natural history of the basin, and the development of the photo exhibit "At Mono Lake."  Graduate Thesis on the exhibit posted!

Students are responsible for their own transportation and lodging.

Stephen Johnson Photography is an equal opportunity provider and this workshop is operated under special use permit with the Inyo National Forest.

Aspens and Sage. Lee Vining Canyon. 1988.

Aspens and Sage. Lee Vining Canyon. 1988.


A full-time photo student tuition scholarship is available for this workshop. To apply, please download the application form and send it to us by mail or email.