Lesley Whyte
+64 27 4747 347


Jul 18 - 30 2023



High Sierra on Horseback Photography Adventure

HIGH SIERRA & YOSEMITE MOUNTAIN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP AND PACK TRIP – With a maximum of 10 allowed in this group, we are heading to California for one of our ultimate 13-day adventures.  Honestly, just pack your camera equipment, clothes and sleeping bag as once you arrive in San Francisco at our hotel, all your meals (apart from morning & afternoon teas), accommodation, transport and photography mentoring is all included.

Past participants have said “what an amazing opportunity! Daily sessions around the camp were full of incredible information, and to be able to practice what we just learned allowed the information to really sink in. Each topic and photography opportunity were well thought out and executed. I feel each photographer received ample time one on one to really address individual questions and needs.”

Education. Inspiration. Adventure.
Ever since John Muir aptly nicknamed the Sierra Nevada, ‘the Range of Light’, over 150 years ago, these magnificent mountains have been inspiring photographers, from Ansel Adams to Galen Rowell as well as countless others.

Experience some of the Californian Sierra’s most spectacular scenery, sharpen your photography skills and expand your creative vision on this intensive 9-day horse trek photography adventure!  Our destination is Pioneer Basin, deep in the John Muir Wilderness.  It’s truly a photographer’s paradise, but not exactly easy to access.  Fortunately, our equine companions will do all the heavy lifting as we ride through this stunning alpine environment. Alpenglow, Golden Hour, Blue Hour…these are the conditions that produce portfolio images. Therefore, our days will start early and end late but there will also be time to just soak in your surroundings and appreciate the unspoiled beauty of true wilderness. Your level of photography experience is not as important as your desire to practice and grow your image making abilities – beginners are encouraged.

Although led by Lesley, Women in Photography has partnered with US based Art of Seeing to deliver this adventure.  Ken Lee serves as our group leader & our second photography mentor for this unique adventure.   Rock Creek Pack Station expert guides are equipped with detailed knowledge of the Sierra as well the ability to wrangle up some amazing mountain meals.

Do I Need to be an Expert Rider?
Prior horseback riding experience is very helpful to participate on this trip but we do recommend that you are a confident rider but be advised this is no “Sunday trail ride at the county fair.” Please read the FAQ’s for more details.

In addition, this trip requires a basic level of fitness including the ability to walk at high altitudes for several hours at a stretch. If you have any questions about your ability to tackle this adventure, please contact lesley@womeninphotography.co

What’s Else Should I Know?
Want to know more about what you can expect? Check out the photos, feedback & testimonials from Art of Seeing’s previous workshops.



Our itinerary over the 13 days includes:

Day 1:  Arrive San Francisco. If you’re flying on the same flight or arriving at a similar time as Lesley, your transfer to the hotel is included. Get to know each other over dinner tonight and chat about the awesome adventure ahead.  Dinner and accommodation included.

Day 2:  An early start this morning as we board our coach around 9am for a 7 hour drive to Mammoth Lakes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner with overnight accommodation at Mammoth Lake included.

Day 3:  Our mountain adventure begins bright and early with a 7:00 am breakfast at Rock Creek Pack Station. After breakfast we’ll get a lesson on the basics of horsemanship and safety while the wranglers load the pack horses and mules with our gear, food and supplies for the trip. Then we’ll meet your horse as you’ll be riding the same animal for the entire trip so it’s a good idea to make friends. The RCPS crew will help us into our saddles and make sure everything is properly adjusted. Once everyone is comfortable, we’ll head out for the scenic but long ride to Pioneer Basin. The views get more stunning the deeper we ride into the mountains. Upon arrival at our camp, our crew will unload our gear and help everyone set up their tents. You have the rest of the afternoon to recover and relax. Just before dinner, we will have an introductory session where Lesley and Ken will cover our schedule for the rest of trip and answer any questions. There will still be plenty of light after our first mountain meal so we’ll have our first shooting session and a tour of the area after dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Days 4 – 10: The schedule for the next 7 days is similar, but each day offers unique photo opportunities. We begin each day with a sunrise shooting session at one of several nearby lakes. You can practically fall out of your tent and be lakeside, but for those who are willing to get up a little earlier and work a little harder, the views at the ‘upper lakes’ are simply stunning. It’s a short, steep hike to get there but definitely worth the effort. Breakfast follows our morning shoot and then we have a little free time to relax and prepare for the day until the wranglers arrive with our horses. Some days we stay put, others it’s a different location which could be an alpine lake, waterfall or rushing creek with wildflowers. Lunch is in the field. We return to camp in the afternoon and give everyone some free time to relax or go off shooting in the area until dinner. After dinner, we’ll have a sunset photo session followed by the opportunity to do some night photography.

Throughout the trip, Lesley and Ken will also conduct group sessions in camp on specific topics such as exposure, composition, macro/flower photography, night photography, using filters and ways to sharpen your creative vision. But most our time in the field is for photography and one-on-one coaching. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 11:  We’ll break camp and saddle and pack the horses and mules. We’ll get on the trail as early as possible in order to arrive back at the pack station by around 3:30 pm, but the trip isn’t over yet. Some of the most spectacular scenery are the views on the way out. We won’t have a lot of time for photo breaks, but the breathtaking views are solace for the soul. Enjoy the moment. Our time together ends upon arrival back at Rock Creek Pack Station.  We are then transferred to Mammoth Lakes for our overnight accommodation.  If there is time, let’s do a photo review and see how awesome our photos are. Accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 12: After breakfast we are transferred back to San Fransisco – about a 6 hour drive.  Let’s continue out photo review at our hotel.  Accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 13: After breakfast, have our bags held and check out of our hotel – it’s free time until you board your flight home.  Breakfast only included today.  If you’re flying on the same flight or departing at a similar time as Lesley, your transfer to the airport is included.

Over these 13 days, we’ve included:

  • Cooked breakfast each day
  • Lunch  – typically sandwiches and a drink.  No lunch on last day in San Francisco
  • Dinner – two course dinner.  No dinner on last day in San Francisco
  • Accommodation – twin share in San Fransisco (two nights), Mammoth Lakes (one night before and one night after).  Tent style accommodation on horse trek
  • Return coach travel from hotel in San Fransisco to Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Lakes to San Fransisco hotel.

Not included:

  • Return airfares to San Francisco
  • Transfer to / from airport at San Fransisco unless you’re on the same flights as Lesley
  • Alcohol – note no alcohol is taken on the horse trek
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat for horse trek
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa and other legal requirements to enter United States.

Payment Plan:

  • Payment # 1 – deposit to secure your place – $500
  • Payment # 2 – 1st January 2023 – $8,632
  • Payment # 3 – 18th April 2023 – $6,778

NOTE: although we’ve taken every precaution and care with pricing, the price may fluctuate due to changes passed on to us which are beyond our control.

With a minimum of 8 and maximum of 10 places this is going to be sought after, so register your interest quickly to secure your place.  To arrange your flights, visas and other requirements from New Zealand, including entry to United States, please contact Kerry Graham kerry@theprivatetravel.co.nz or your travel agent.

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