The Incomparable Valley

Photography Education

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

Join Kirk Keeler 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 Kirk Keeler 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. Kirk Keeler is very familiar with the valley and the nuances of light in the different seasons. With expertise and patience, Kirk 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
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
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 Kirk 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

Kirk Keeler Portrait

Kirk Keeler has had a life steeped in the arts. At a young age, his parents encouraged an artistic upbringing through drawing and painting, as well as a musical background, providing him with a melodica and piano lessons between 7 and 9 years of age. His musical endeavors continued in high school when his best friend gifted him a guitar, on which he taught himself using a Mel Bay guitar chord book. All of this took place in his hometown of Calistoga, California – a town in the Napa Valley where the world-renowned scenery hugely influenced his love of the outdoors.

It wasn’t until college at Sonoma State University that photography grabbed ahold of Kirk – in particular, landscapes. He immensely enjoyed two gifts his sophomore year – a poster of Ansel Adams’ “Clearing Winter Storm” and a book his Aunt gave him, “The Yosemite” – text by John Muir and photographs by renowned National Geographic photographer, Galen Rowell. These gifts produced two passions for Kirk; a burgeoning interest of fine art photography and a love of a National Park in his native California – Yosemite. Read More

You can see more of Kirk's work on his website (

He can be contacted at:

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. 


What to Expect

Getting Here / Getting Around


Clothing / Dressing for the Elements

Registering for a workshop



Related Logistics

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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