The Incomparable Valley

Photography Education

Instructor: Jerry Dodrill
2024 Dates: Feb 13-17, April 23-27, Oct 29-Nov 2
Focus: Field
Medium: Digital

Join Jerry Dodrill in this field-based workshop designed to develop your artistic vision amongst the grandeur of Yosemite Valley. Enjoy learning from an excellent local instructor who delights in teaching, while gaining an inside perspective on the Valley's wonders.

$1,200.00 USD


Join Jerry Dodrill for a 5 day photographic workshop that will complement the inspiration of this incomparable valley. Our field workshops, offered in the Spring, Autumn, and Winter, are designed to get your creative juices flowing and help you develop your artistic vision. Jerry is very familiar with the valley and the nuances of light in the different seasons. With expertise and patience, Jerry will guide you towards mastering composition and exposure while experiencing the grandeur of Yosemite Valley.

Students of all levels will benefit from a deep dive into identifying subject matter, distilling the composition to its essential elements, and moving beyond documentation to personal expression. The class combines indoor sessions and full days in the field. The group will spend a significant amount of time evaluating composition and identifying elements that strengthen or weaken a composition. Photographers of all levels will leave with an expanded photographic vision and a lifetime of stories. While practitioners of both digital and film cameras are welcome, the immediate feedback provided by digital is encouraged during the class.

WINTER 2024 – February 13 - 17
Winter in Yosemite presents a slower, quieter pace. It also is a time that brings the most precipitation to the park and Sierra Nevada. With short days and cold temps, photographing can present both a challenge and rewarding experience. This workshop is scheduled to have you in Yosemite Valley to capture Winter’s graces of lower-angle, warmer light, along with the snow and ice that can be present. If all the weather and water attributes line up, there could be a chance to photograph the famed Horsetail Fall on the final evening of the workshop.
SPRING 2024 – April 23 - 27
Spring is a magical time in Yosemite. Snow meltwater brings back to life all of Yosemite’s famed waterfalls, the Merced River, and all the flora and fauna that depend on it. This workshop is timed perfectly to photograph Spring’s bounty amongst the backdrop of famed granite features, such as Half Dome and El Capitan. We will work with all this beauty to create fresh, new visions of Yosemite’s majestic features.
AUTUMN 2024 - October 29 - November 2 (Instructor - Jerry Dodrill)
Late October has typically seen the last of the crowds in Yosemite Valley, and the peace of Nature preparing for winter is upon us. This is typically peak color foliage in the valley – maples and oaks are turning on the valley floor, and the dogwoods are turning a dusky pink at higher elevations. Low flows in the river provide opportunities to photograph the water worn stones and sand bars with still water reflections, and low angle light softens the granite cliffs. 

Workshop Details

The Incomparable Valley
INSTRUCTOR Jerry Dodrill
FOCUS Field/Digital Darkroom
MEDIUM Digital
LEVEL Beginner  to Intermediate

We are all inspired by Yosemite and the Natural Scene, but not all of us can translate that experience of profound beauty and realization into a photograph that conveys that feeling. It is a challenge for the most experienced and admired artist. But getting there is the goal.

Ansel Adams always believed that technical ability empowered conceptual acuity. If you don’t know how to use your equipment, you will be hard pressed to produce something lasting.

Today’s cameras and image editing software are tremendous tools that help us capture the world around us. Even with these major advances, the technology only helps us to document what we see. While documentation of a magical moment can be exciting, we seek the ability to be poetic all the time.

So, while we learn how to put our technology to work for us through mastery of our equipment, our emphasis will be on personal vision through critiques, indoor and outdoor sessions.

This is a progressive class, with each concept building upon previous ideas, all which are reinforced during the extended field sessions. The field sessions not only locate the class to optimize the potential for dynamic results, but help the participants to learn how to anticipate changing conditions and make educated decisions for themselves.

With a creative vocabulary at our disposal and the time to experiment with cause and effect, our decisions become intuitive and the camera simply becomes an extension of our minds.

Concepts include:

  • Creative ways of seeing and photographing nature’s light
  • Quick Arrangement: Tools for photo composition while pursuing the light
  • Gathering all the Details: A comprehensive exploration of the Histogram and Blinkies
  • Using Live View and hyperfocal distance for obtaining quick, sharp images
  • A thorough look at the Develop Module in Lightroom with creative approaches to some landscape photo challenges
  • Elegant HDR images: From field set-up to processing in Lightroom, Photoshop, or both!

This five-day workshop is beneficial to photographers of a beginning to advanced intermediate level, developing a solid foundation for beginners and a visual voice for the advanced intermediate artists. The days are full!

Students should come prepared for full days as Jerry packs a lot into his classes. His proven method of instruction combines brief indoor sessions that are designed to help students to refine their photographic vision, with extended, interactive field sessions.

Due to the prevalence of COVID 19 as these workshops are scheduled, class sizes have been reduced to maintain health safety during the workshop. If the situation changes, class sizes may be increased  to normal

About the Instructor

About Jerry Dodrill by Justin Black
"Jerry Dodrill is an adventurer, naturalist and award-winning photographer who has traveled to remote corners of the Earth in a lifelong quest for wild experiences. His immense talent and creative eye have been well recognized through international awards and exhibition in fine galleries, such as the Ansel Adams in Yosemite, Mountain Light, Mumm Napa Valley, and the Banff Center for Mountain Culture. As a teacher, workshop facilitator and expedition leader for Visionary Wild, the Mountain Light Gallery (RIP), Pacific Union College and Sierra Nevada College, he has proven himself as a highly engaging and effective photographic educator.

An expert mountain climber with degrees in Fine Art and Photography, Jerry is passionate about preservation and was a protégé of legendary Galen Rowell in the late 1990's. Today he resides in the Sonoma Coast village of Bodega, California, focusing on assignment photography, writing, exhibitions, and sharing his vision and expertise with others. Jerry's work has been featured in many ad campaigns, books, and publications. He is a regular contributor to Sonoma Magazine, a writer and senior contributor to California Climber Magazine, has been published in Sierra, Orion, Vanity Fair, World of Fine Wine, Wine Spectator, Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Smithsonian, Outside, Alpinist, Rock & Ice, Climbing, Mountain and many other magazines. He was fundamental in product development and creation of the exciting backpack company MindShift Gear, serves as Vice President of the Rock Ice & Mountain Club and sits on the board of directors of the B-Rad Foundation. He is dedicated to helping protect our planet and works with conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, Sonoma Land Trust, the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, and the Access Fund. Recent expeditions include sailing in Northeast Greenland, overlanding Kyrgyzstan, and rafting the Grand Canyon."

Photo Workshops and Expeditions
I was first introduced to the concept of photo workshops when I began working as an intern at Galen and Barbara Rowell’s Mountain Light Gallery in 1996. After graduating from art school (Pacific Union College 1997) I worked full time for the Rowells and before long was managing their gallery, workshop program, and assisting on photo assignments. At that time we were running six workshops a year in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I left in 2000 to pursue my own photography career I’d been heavily influenced by Galen’s approach to living a life filled with a passion for adventure, the environment, photography, and teaching. He had become a creative mentor, climbing partner and friend.
In 2002 the Rowell’s were killed in a plane crash yet the company persisted under the guidance of my friend Justin Black who built up the workshop program to include other top level American Landscape photographers. When Justin left in 2009 I stepped in and working with an excellent staff, facilitated Mountain Light Workshops all over the western states until Mountain Light finally closed its doors in 2017. It was a pleasure to work alongside such legends as David Muench, Jack Dykinga, John Shaw, Gordon Wiltse, Elizabeth Carmel, Jim Stimson and Jeff Foott. Meanwhile Justin had started his own successful photo travel business – Visionary Wild – for whom I lead trips today.

My workshop philosophy has evolved out of the many lessons and experiences gained while working as a teacher, guide and professional photographer over the past twenty five years. I emphasize the importance of understanding the subjects and environments in which we work and share my “story-forward” approach to image making. Part journalist, artist, conservationist, and adventurer, I teach by sharing the processes and techniques that I use to tell visual stories with the camera. Each workshop or expedition is location based and includes lecture, demonstration, field work and review sessions in an environment that fosters creativity and community. I hope you’ll join us.


Workshop FAQ

Find answers to your questions about our Photography Workshops in our FAQ. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need additional help. You can reach us by email at or by phone (650) 692-3495. 


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Cancellation Policy

Multi-day Photography Workshop Cancellation Policy: We rely on your confirmed attendance to make important arrangements for the workshop. If you need to cancel, please let us know no fewer than 45 days prior to the first day of your workshop for a refund of your tuition, less a 10% non-refundable charge. Refunds cannot be made for cancellations initiated within 45 days of the first day of the scheduled workshop, or for no-shows, for any reason. If you are concerned with this possibility, please consider purchasing travel insurance.

Workshop registration is NOT transferable.

In the extremely rare event that The Ansel Adams Gallery needs to cancel a workshop, we will let you know at least 14 days prior to the first day of the scheduled workshop, and immediately refund your full tuition. However, we will not be responsible for non-refundable airline tickets or lodging reservations. (Lodging reservations made through Yosemite Hospitality, Aramark are fully refundable 14 days in advance).

It is recommended not to purchase airline tickets or make non-refundable deposits on lodging that cannot be canceled 14 days prior to the initiation of the event. The Ansel Adams Gallery highly recommends travel insurance to help with an unfortunate travel event.

COVID-19 Policy

COVID WORKSHOP PRECAUTIONS:The Ansel Adams Gallery is trying to create a workshop environment that is safe for all attendees. In doing so, the gallery realizes that workshop participants will have differing opinions in regards to the Covid-19 Policy. The gallery will side with caution and safety. The Ansel Adams Gallery will follow current CDC Guidelines in pace with the evolution of the Covid-19 Virus. Additional measures may be instituted and updated for the purpose of improved safety of all attendees.

The Gallery will provide the following:
COVID-19 rapid test upon arrival
Hand sanitizer
Sanitation wipes
Room Air Filtration


The Ansel Adams Gallery will require all attendees to show proof of a current negative result from a supplied Covid-19 Rapid Test. This negative Covid-19 Rapid Test result will be required after travel to Yosemite and prior to entry into the first day of the workshop. A Covid-19 Rapid Test Kit will be included in your welcome package available at check in at the Yosemite Valley Lodge or Ahwahnee Hotel. It is very important to inform us if you have chosen different accommodations. A gallery representative will then make alternative arrangements for your receipt of the Covid-19 Rapid Test.

The Ansel Adams Gallery highly recommends travel insurance to help with an unfortunate travel event.

This pre-workshop information may be emailed to the education coordinator at



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