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Mount Shasta is California’s fifth tallest mountain, towering 14,179 feet above sea level. This incredible peak is also an active volcano with eruptions occurring at a frequency of 800 year intervals. The last eruption happened in 1786 so it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing another eruption within our life time, but one can still hope and dream. Shasta makes a beautiful backdrop from any direction so it only makes sense to do a photography workshop there.
On a beautiful weekend in the middle of June, Scott and I met up with a fine group of people at the Tree House Lodge in the wonderful and a bit odd city of Shasta. We introduced ourselves to the group and then got to know everyone else before calling it a night and getting some sleep.
The late spring days are long in Shasta, meaning that we had an early sunrise departure of 4:00am. Ouch! The sights are well worth the suffering though. Our first stop of the workshop was the pristine Trout Lake. This lake perfectly reflects an unobstructed view of Mount Shasta and is often a favorite stop. We patiently awaited sunrise at the lake and began to shoot as the warm morning light painted the sky and landscape. Once the sun had rose and everyone had their fill, it was time to fill our coffee cups at the local Starbucks. After a quick dose of caffeine to the bloodstream we continued our adventure to a perfectly placed chapel from which Mount Shasta peaks out from behind. The group worked the scene from afar and gradually made their way closer and eventually around the building. The last stop was a wonderful collection of old barns, fences, and a very haunted looking house, AKA a photographers playground! Once we thoroughly worked the area Scott and I drove the group back to the hotel for lunch and some well-deserved shuteye.
For the second portion of the day we decided drive over to Castle lake and do the Heart Lake hike. The hike is about a mile long and gains nearly 700 feet so we started our trek with plenty of time to make it to the top and get settled in. Once everyone found their spots we took time to kick back and enjoy one of Shasta’s most beautiful vistas. Once the light started to get good the group got to work. After sunset, we hit the trail so we could make it down before it got too dark.
The following morning the group caught up on their beauty rest and slept in until 5:30am. It’s amazing how good 5:30am can feel when you woke up at 4:00am the previous day. The group was able to sleep in because our first shoot was Middle McCloud Falls and the falls stays in the shade for quite a while. Once the group wrapped up at McCloud we made our way to Siskiyou Lake to shoot the lake with Mt. Shasta in the background. Soon it was time for brunch and a mid-morning nap.
The group reconvened at 3pm for a few hours of post processing goodness. Scott and I walked through a few processing techniques that we had discussed while shooting and answered any questions that came up along the way. We departed the hotel at 5pm and drove over to beautiful Burney Falls State Park. This fall is a sight not to be missed and the fact that they sell ice cream at the gift shop makes it that much better! The group shot the royal blue water and worked the scene for some time before we hiked back up to the parking lot. The final shoot of the workshop was the Sun Dial bridge in Redding. This unique bridge is the largest sundial in the world and happens to make a pretty interesting subject to as well. The group shot through sunset and into the blue hour before we packed up shop and headed back to the hotel.
Until next time,
Scott, Mike, and the rest of the Aperture Academy team
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.