The Big Sur Experience, May 2019

The Big Sur Experience, May 2019


Price: $1350
Dates: May 20th - 24th, 2019
Rocky coastlines, wildflowers, majestic trees, and beautiful beaches – Big Sur is a rite of passage for any landscape photographer. Join Scott Davenport on an exciting journey to this breathtaking and gorgeous coastline.

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Refer to my workshop cancellation policy for details on cancellations and refunds.

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5 Days

8+ Locations

Memories For Life

May 20th - 24th, 2019

Limited to 6 students

Rocky Coast, Big Sur, California


The workshop begins mid-afternoon on May 20th, 2019. We'll meet at the beautiful Mission Ranch in Carmel, California to get to know one another. We plan the workshop together to help you achieve your photography goals.

Most days we will shoot from sunrise through sunset. We'll monitor the weather closely and select locations to get the best conditions. If the skies are interesting mid-day, we will stay out shooting. The weather is fickle and may turn on us the next day. We'll take advantage of good conditions and make photos when the odds are in our favor.

In between our shoots, we will stay together as a group and enjoy meals together, too. When conditions aren't good or we need a rest, we'll return to Carmel to recharge. I will host post-processing lessons in between shoots, too. I have some prepared material, although I prefer to tailor lessons to your needs. This is your workshop.

On the morning of May 24th, we will wrap up our workshop with photo presentations and critiques. Days will be long and the alarm will ring early. Some days involve a couple of hours of driving (we'll carpool). This isn't a vacation and we will "work" during the workshop. You will be tired afterwards - but you'll also be grinning from ear to ear!


  • 8+ location shoots in the Big Sur area

  • Daily hands-on coaching and instruction in the field

  • Group and personalized post processing instruction

  • Photo critiques

  • Water and snacks while on location



  • Transportation (airfare/car rental) to and from Carmel, California

  • Lodging in Carmel (see Frequently Asked Questions for details)

  • Meals

  • Travel Insurance

  • Anything else not expressly included

Bixby Bridge
McWay Falls


In my experience, the more questions and thirst for knowledge you bring to the workshop, the more you will get out of it. I love teaching photography and thrive on questions.

  • How to create dynamic, compelling landscape compositions

  • How exposure settings affect the appearance and feeling of water in your photos

  • How to best focus your camera for landscapes

  • Workflow and post processing techniques to bring out color and detail in seascapes

  • How to use masking and brushing to make your photos pop!

  • And much, much more…


Participants receive a complete workshop handbook with details on what gear and clothing to pack. Here's a summary:

  • A camera that is capable of manual mode. Interchangeable lenses are a plus.

  • A variety of lenses. If you can pack only one, pack a wide angle.

  • A sturdy tripod. The coast can get windy.

  • A laptop. Post processing is part of the workshop.

  • A polarizing filter and neutral density filters.

  • A warm, waterproof jacket and layers of clothing.

  • Sturdy hiking boots that can get wet.

  • An open mind and a can-do attitude!


This workshop will involve some hiking. There are some coastal trails and stairways that wind down several hundred feet on steeper inclines, so the hike back up is the tough part. If you are comfortable walking on uneven ground for 1 to 2 miles, you'll be fine on this workshop. If a location is out of your comfort zone, I'm never going to force participation. We'll figure out an alternative.


All skill levels are welcome. You do not need to be an advanced photographer. You'll get more from the workshop if you already have an understanding of the fundamentals. If you can work comfortably in aperture priority mode and know when it's time to switch to manual/bulb, you are plenty prepared.

The Path To Pfeiffer Beach
View Of Soberantes Point

Frequently Asked Questions

What locations will we visit?
We will choose from a pool of locations on a daily basis. Soberanes Point, Pfeiffer Beach, and Point Lobos Reserve are just a few of the places we’ll visit. There are many more great places to choose from, too. Daily weather conditions will play a significant factor in selecting a location. The ocean tides, too. We may visit a location more than once if a particular spot gives us the best conditions for good photos.

Farmhouse, Mission Ranch

Where should I stay in Carmel?
I have reserved The Farmhouse for our group at the beautiful Mission Ranch in Carmel, California. Each room in The Farmhouse has a queen bed and private bathroom. The common room is perfect for our post-processing sessions or just to relax and recharge. The grounds and buildings on the ranch are great to photograph, too! When you sign up for the workshop, I’ll coordinate your room selection with you.

What will this adventure cost me in total?
I can’t give you a firm number, but I estimate the total cost around $3200. How am I arriving at that number? The workshop, both photography and post-processing instruction, is $1350. The remainder is derived from reasonable estimates: $800 for four nights stay at the Mission Ranch, $450 for a domestic flight, $300 for a rental car for a week, and $300 for food. If you're traveling internationally, of course your flight cost will be higher. And if you rent a luxury car and dine on high end seafood every meal, those costs will be higher, too. :-)

Do I need a rental car?
Unless you are local to the area, yes. You are responsible for getting yourself to the Mission Ranch in Carmel, California. I suppose you could Uber from an airport to Carmel, but it'll be one heck of a fare! And after the workshop, you might want to spend a couple of extra days exploring the area yourself. There's just so much to see and photograph!

I'm flying in. What airport should I travel to?
I recommend flying into San Jose International Airport (SJC). Carmel, California is roughly a 2 hour drive from San Jose.

What level of fitness do I need?
There aren’t any epic hikes. However, you do need to be sufficiently fit to walk a mile or two on uneven terrain. Several of the potential locations involve steep grades or longer staircases to reach - meaning the hike out is the tougher part! If you can hike on a steep grade for a 10 to 15 minute clip, you’re in good shape for this workshop. Of course, I’ll never force you to go somewhere out of your comfort zone. We’ll figure out alternatives if and when called for.

Will we shoot in the rain?
The short answer - yes. The Big Sur area gets rain. Fog, too. It’s to be expected. We won’t shoot in a downpour or if there’s a lightning storm. Conversely, we won’t let a light rain discourage us from reaching a location and being prepared for a shoot. The weather can be fickle. Rain showers can come and go over the course of an hour or two. And that makes for interesting photos! 

Can I bring a spouse or +1?
No, unless she/he is participating, too. Our purpose during our workshop is to live and breathe photography. This isn't a vacation. There is "work" in this workshop. But is being out in nature with our cameras really "work"? :-) 

What post processing software do I need?
Anything you are comfortable with using. I use Lightroom, ON1 Photo, and Luminar. I am also familiar with Aurora HDR, Capture One, and Apple Photos. If you don't have any post processing tools, read this blog post and download a free trial. 

My focus in the workshop is to teach you why a photo needs adjusting and what should be adjusted to make your photo stronger. The mechanics of how to do that will vary from tool to tool... and it's usually straightforward to figure out once we know what to change any why.

Bixby Bridge Overlook, Big Sur


The workshop size is extremely small. I am taking just 6 photographers on this adventure. I want everyone to have plenty of 1-on-1 time with me. When you finish this workshop, I want you to leave not only with great photos, but as a better photographer, too!

The workshop cost is $1350. That includes personalized instruction, on location guidance, and post processing lessons.

A non-refundable deposit of $450 reserves your space. You will be invoiced for the remaining $900 about 90 days prior to the workshop. If you need a payment plan, contact me and we'll make arrangements.

Participants agree to join the workshop at their own risk and must sign a waiver of liability. By its nature, outdoor landscape photography has inherent risks. I’ll never lead you into an area that is unduly dangerous. If at any time during the workshop you don’t feel comfortable, certainly let me know.

Please review my cancellation policy. This policy covers cancellations from both students and the instructor(s) and refund information.

Deposits are non-refundable.