The world is beginning to emerge from chaos. 5 -months ago we went into shutdown mode, which meant for us at the Aperture Academy, we were without workshops. The day after our last workshop, the state of California went into lockdown mode, and this past weekend was our first foray back into the workshop mix, operating within our "new normal".
I met a small group of 4 photographers in Mt Shasta California. Due to new health requirements, everyone showed up (I assume smiling) wearing their masks. We socially distanced ourselves for a fun orientation where we all got acquainted, and for the returning students, it was nice to find out what they'd been doing during lockdown. The general consensus was that everyone was excited to be back out in the photography field snapping photos again!
We started our first morning at 4:45am and caravaned to Trout Lake, our first stop. This lake is one of my favorite spots in Northern California, and has one of the best views of the mountain anywhere. Our group set up and began to photograph the mountain and the awesome reflection. One very cool bonus to this spot is a group of white pelicans that has begun to call this lake home.They make a nice, albeit interesting part of shooting a northern california mountain. Once the sun has crested the hills, we spent some time working on shooting some backlit foliage that provided some interesting shapes and texture.
The rest of our morning was spent exploring the Little Shasta Valley, old churches, and barns make for some interesting subject matter for sure, and when the backdrop is one of the biggest mountains in California, it's even better.
The morning session was great, so we set off back for the hotel with plans of naps, lunch, and resting up before our evening adventure to Heart Lake.
Heart Lake is one of the best views of Mt Shasta. It's easily one of my favorite lakes in all of Northern California. The only issue is the payoff of seeing this view comes at the end of a 1.25 mile uphill slog. COVID-19 didn't do anyone any favors, and for a lot of us it was a slower hike uphill after a few months of watching tv on the couch. The view however was spectacular, and everyone made it up to the top!
We set up with a great vista of the lake, and waited for sunset, resting our weary bodies from the hike. Sunset was really pretty, and while we had plans to try and capture the comet while up there, some checking of the star apps let us know that it might be awhile before it made an appearance, and even then it wasn't in a part of the sky that we wanted...so we opted to make the slow hike out.
It was a long day for sure, everyone really earned a rest. Time to take those masks off and get some sleep!
Day 2 we started a little later and made the drive to McCloud to see the middle branch of the McCloud Falls. It's such a pretty location that even a group of Instagram photographers doing an early morning model shoot couldn't distract us. The rest of the morning we spent at a little waterfall called Hedge Creek Falls...this small falls is in a basalt canyon, and even when it's not flowing amazingly well...it's still beautiful. There's a fountain of fresh spring water to enjoy at the top that's great when the temperatures are nearing 100.
That afternoon we had time for a little processing, and the images I saw were AWESOME, the shots from the top of heart lake were definitely worth the hike.
The afternoon shooting portion took us to Burney Falls first. WOW! I've NEVER seen it so crowded in my life. So many people using the travel restrictions to plan trips closer to home, I think everyone there was from southern California, or the Bay area. That being said, we did some telephoto close up shots that turned out really nice, and eventually everyone did get a few shots of the falls from the base.
Our final stop was the Sundial Bridge in Redding. Everyone had moved their hotel to Redding, so when we were done shooting the bridge, it was a short trip to their beds. The bridge was a lot of fun! We shot from the sides, and even looking right down the middle.This time of year they have it lit blue, and the blue really gives a cool look to the glass panels.
All in all it was a great weekend. It felt great to have a group and be back out shooting the beautiful areas we have in California. Hopefully things trend in this direction and we'll be getting back out there in force soon! Thanks to a great group for wearing masks, and being troopers through the hiking and early mornings.
Until next time,
Brian 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.