“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery                    

And to do that... It’s all about LIGHT.

Vern Clevenger’s acute ability to respond with such an unerring sense of place – to feel and to frame a day’s shifting light, a seasons’ shifts of color and mood, and the constant drama of mountain landscapes – has evolved from an adventure-filled life of sojourning in the Sierra Nevada.  His legendary Yosemite climbs, his record first ascents’ [including the first ascent of all 16 Minarets in one day] ’and more than 40 years of ramblings over the range’s peaks and trails have given Vern the experience of wildness he so powerfully expresses . . . “.  “For Vern, capturing [his] Sierra wilderness photographs has involved taking time to be with these places.  His images share special mountain moments deeply lived.”  Mary and Derrick Vocelka; Andrea Lawrence – Sierra Sojourns
What You Will Learn
  • Despite the many complicated features on modern digital cameras, Vern keeps it simple in all of his work and follows the same rule when working with students.  This idea becomes even more important when capturing what could be a once-in-a-lifetime image.  Vern wants the creative, right side of your brain to be in charge.
  • Vern loves to teach!  And he wants you to learn from him.  Class size is limited to ensure individual attention from Vern in the field and at the critique.  If you're lucky, he might shoot to teach.  Otherwise his camera is away, and it's all about the student.
  • Instruction includes discussions on both basic and advanced use of personal and professional cameras in landscape photography.  You will learn lessons from Vern's syllabus, "Light on the Landscape".  In the field, the first focus is on elements of compositions - from finding the elusive artistic image balance and light that "works", to seeing with "mindfulness".  
  • You will leave Vern's workshop with a deep understanding of how to pre-visualize your work from the "mind's eye" to the finished product using Lightroom CC.  In other words, you will learn how to "see with your heart"  - the difference between taking a picture and creating a fine art photograph.  Vern will teach many techniques used in his own photography - from making the best use of natural light to composing stunning images.
  • In the classroom, Vern offers a simple discursion of Aperture Priority, Manual Shooting and ISO choices, as well as how to meter and how to obtain the correct exposure using your Histogram. Vern talks about Depth-of-Field focusing, and creative use of White Balance.
  • In the field, careful attention goes into arriving on location with ample time to be set up and ready to shoot before the "magic" begins.
  • Workshops include as many as six of Vern's favorite locations, carefully selected to match the lecture of the day.  Weather permitting, some workshops could include the nighttime Milky Way or moonlight shooting. Vern will explain how to focus in the dark, his choices for low-light exposure and lenses to use.
  • Based on Vern's personal experience of changing his workflow from Photoshop to Adobe Lightroom CC, you will learn many workflow techniques in this amazing version of Lightroom.  We allow for plenty of time for critiquing and working on your best captures with Lightroom CC.
  • Margaret, Vern's wife, is always nearby to help Vern locate and assist you in the field and to make you as comfortable as possible while you're with us.  Their 37-year marriage is anchored in their distinguished climbing history and raising their children with a passion for the mountains.
  • Their ultimate goal is to send you home with an elevated understanding and mastery of the photographic process along with renewed appreciation, fresh vision, and stunning captures of the beauty in the natural world around us.

2016-2017 Workshops

Title Datesort descending Workshop Description Workshop Image

Private Workshops

Ongoing. Please Call.

Private workshops are a wonderful experience. Vern has led trips to the Alabama Hills, Yosemite, Big Sur and to his favorite canyons of the Eastern Sierra.  These days...

Private Workshops, Eastern Sierra Workshops, Yosemite Workshops, Big Sur Workshops

Private - Lightroom CC

Ongoing. Please Call.
You want to improve your photography skills, but you also want to know what Lightroom can do for you.  And it sure would be nice to leave with knowlege of how to make...
Vern at Gardiner Basin, Photographic Workshops, Sequoia-Kings Canyon Photography, Yosemite Photography, Eastern Sierra Workshops

Elusive Big Sur Majesty

March 24, 2017 - 2:00pm to March 26, 2017 - 1:00pm

Most folks know Vern as a Sierra Nevada photographer, but for many years he has also been exploring and shooting the Big Sur Coastline. With his vast knowledge of the best...

Big Sur Majesty, Big Sur Photography, Big Sur Workshops

Yosemite, Summer Solstice...

June 21, 2017 - 2:00pm to June 25, 2017 - 1:00pm

Join Vern and Margaret at their home in the High Sierra "Range of Light". The Sierra Nevada literally has been their backyard for 40 years!

During this workshop, we...

Half Dome and the Night Sky, Yosemite Photography, Yosemite Workshops, Mammoth Workshops, Mammoth Photography

Your Smartphone: A Window...

September 30, 2017 - 9:00am to October 1, 2017 - 1:00pm

This is an exciting new development in our workshop program. ​Even better, we are launching this workshop at an introductory price!   Don't...

Sequoia National Park, Sierra Nevada Photography, Sierra Nevada Workshops, Sequoia Photography, Sequoia Nation Park Workshops

Sierra Autumn Splendor

October 5, 2017 - 7:00pm to October 8, 2017 - 1:00pm

Autumn is magic in the Eastern Sierra! Brilliant yellows, oranges and reds you can count on year to year - vibrant color interspersed with deep forest greens, blue-grey...

Sierra Autumn Splendor, Eastern Sierra Photography, Eastern Sierra Workshops

Fall Colors Thoreau Count...

October 19, 2017 - 2:00pm to October 22, 2017 - 1:00pm
Fall colors in New England are legendary, and Walden Pond, Estabrook Woods and Thoreau Country are historic locations.  Make photographs of the fall's splendor in the...
The Walden Woods, New England Fall Color, New England Photographic Workshops


I just wanted to say a big Thank You for the great weekend we had shooting at Big Sur.  I thought the Location was amazing and I came home with lots of images to keep me busy for a while. This is my second workshop (the first one was shooting in the Mammoth Lakes area). Big Sur is an amazing location that I could have kept shooting for several days more.  I do hope to continue to attend these events and would be interested in getting a group together for a backcountry High Sierra trip someday.  I felt the trip was a huge success, both with the locations and the post processing work in Lightroom.  I will also take you up on your offer to print and frame at least one of my my images, possibly both that you loaded on your computer (Falls and Coastline).Thanks again

Tim Kephart 2014 and 2-15


I have known Vern’s work for many years. His composition, photography skills and  expertise in photo printing create wonderful images. During my time as a corporate executive, his large prints lined the walls of my office and reminded me of the beautiful Eastern Sierra. I've recently taken up photography as a hobby and was able to attend his workshop, The Alabama Hills, in January 2015. Vern is a marvelous teacher!  He knows the right locations to get nice photos and he takes time with each student, offering suggestions and helping us learn his methods of composition.  The handouts he provides explain his process in a way that makes sense. This was a terrific experience. I have since taken his Lightroom 5 workshop and again was impressed with his teaching ability.  His wife, Margaret, keeps things running smoothly with coffee, tea  and yummy munchies always nearby. 

Jim Thomsen 2015

I have been taking workshops with Vern for the last 3 years and while I have taken workshops with others the vast majority of what I have learned about photography is from Vern.  Vern's ability to feel and see an image is incredible and his knowledge of the Eastern Sierra, as a photographer, is unrivaled.  I have gone from being a complete beginner to advanced photographer with people now asking me for my images.  What I have learned about composition with Vern is unmatched by anything else I tried.   Most workshops focus primarily on shooting, but Vern does it all from shooting at great locations,  going through the basics of photography and then critiquing images.  He's passionate that you learn something, and that you walk away from the workshop with as Vern would say "with a printable image".   Vern always takes the time to help you out and provide the feedback that you need.   He also pushes you to see the image that you might not have seen yourself some of my favorite aspen images have been a result of this.  I attribute what I have learned to Vern. Take a workshop with him and you will understand.   Vern is honest, caring and all around great person.  I have captured some of my very best images while I have been with Vern.

 Renee Rivera, September 2013

My recent workshop with Vern was phenomenal on so many levels! I learned more in this last weekend than I have learned from many years of photography classes. This is because Vern takes you out and helps you right away to start learning in the field. With other classes there is a lot of  lecturing about the skills and yet they barely touch on these skills out in the field. With Vern’s workshop, it was not’t "slick and commercial", but much more personal and intimate.Throughout the lectures and shooting sessions, he always was checking in to see how we were doing and making sure we were understanding everything. He would ask us questions, and then would seamlessly adjust the workshop content and locations to meet the group’s needs and abilities to make for the best experience. With all of Vern’s expertise, the most amazing part was that he never was withholding information. He was candid and open about so much of the process. If we had a question about lighting, composition, or camera use, he was right there to give us feedback and his own personal tips. You really got a sense of his philosophical approach to photographing in nature just as much as you learned technically as well.

For me, this workshop will always stand out in my mind as one of the most amazing things that I did in my life! It is what life is all about and I thank Vern for making that possible for me! Now I just have one problem... I want to go back!!! I can’t wait to do another workshop!

Diane S 2013

To be frank, I was somewhat intimidated before going to the workshop. I've taken pictures for years,  wanted to do better,  and had never taken a workshop or course. I knew that I'd likely being the neophyte in the group. I clearly knew the least among my eight classmates, all of whom were genuinely nice people who shared ideas,opinions and observations. The location, the Eastern Sierra in autumn, is magnificent. The synergism of the mountains, lakes, foliage and light are breathtaking. The itinerary which Vern has developed, early morning and late afternoon photography, and midday classroom work couldn't be better. The classroom work is both technical and composition.  Most importantly, is the teaching by Vern . . . . always available for questions, occasionally prescriptive, and when needed. there to assist, assess, and question what we were attempting to communicate with our composition. The one-on-one time was invaluable, and the critiques of our work were invaluable. Vern is a person who has a passion for landscape photography, who does it extremely well, and  conveyed enthusiasm to us.

I was amazed at how much I learned . I had hoped to capture several "really good pictures" over the three days. That was accomplished , but more importantly, I learned to see better, slow down, start to learn to compose, and to use light to its  advantage.

Robert Foglio 2011

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Workshops 2016-2017