Yosemite Firefall Photo Tour - John Gravett

USA, Photo Special, 10 days - from $4,610 (land only)

Photo Special
A photo workshop in the Yosemite Valley in FebruaryA photo workshop in the Yosemite Valley in February

  • Visit the gold mining towns of Mariposa and Groveland
  • Spend six days exploring the Yosemite National Park
  • Take amazing photographs of El Capitan and the Half Dome
  • Wine tasting and a cheese picnic in Napa Valley
  • Sightseeing in San Francisco - enter through the Golden Gate

Arriving into Fresno, south-east of San Francisco, we start our photographic tour in Mariposa. This historic gold mining town sits on the western edge of the Yosemite National Park, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Originally named ‘Las Mariposas' (butterflies), due to the large number of butterflies in the area, Mariposa was the southernmost gold mine town during the Gold Rush (1848-1855). The town is also well known for it's world famous giant sequoia trees. Often referred to as California redwood, these evergreen trees are the largest in the world by volume. After our visit to Mariposa, we spend 6 days exploring the Yosemite National Park, made famous in part through the black and white photographs of Ansel Adams. Yosemite is one of the most revered rock-climbing areas in the world, with its spectacular rock formations of Half Dome, El Capitan and others. The valley also has a number of very impressive waterfalls and amazing forest and meadow scenery that comes into its own when covered in snow during the winter months. The Firefalls are a key part of the trip, when the winter sunset catches the Yosemite Falls and provides the fantastic images. This will be the highlight of the trip and the falls can only be seen in this light at the end of February. As well as Yosemite Falls, we also visit Bridal Falls and both are amongst the most photographed features of the park. Hiking alongside the Merced River to Mirror Lake, we will be close to the base of the sheer 700 metre-high face of Half Dome. Another photographic highlight, will be provided by our visit to the old Gold mining town of Groveland, originally named Savage's Diggings, after James Savage discovered gold there in 1848. We then leave the Yosemite National Park and drive west towards San Francisco, stopping in Napa Valley along the way. This is the main wine-growing region of the USA and one of the major wine regions of the world. Napa is home to more than two hundred wineries and we will sample the delights of their produce on our wine tasting visit. We arrive into San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, offering us the best view of San Francisco Bay. The following day will be spent amongst the photographic highlights of this great city, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf.

Is this holiday for you?

This is a touring and sightseeing holiday with a professional photographer, John Gravett, and a North American driver/guide. There will be plenty of opportunity to undertake short walks in search of the best viewpoints at each of the places we visit. With the exception of Day 6, there are no really long walks or unduly difficult underfoot conditions. On Day 6, snow conditions permitting, we take the very worthwhile 4-hour hike to Vernal Falls, with lots of stops along the way to take photographs. There will be some travelling in a private minibus as we travel to Yosemite and back south to San Francisco. Accommodation throughout is in comfortable hotels and lodges.

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