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California: Central Coast Photography Tour in Spring

Includes the Mendocino Coast, San Francisco, the Monterey Peninsula, and the Big Sur


  April or May: This photography tour is not currently in the schedule, but can be added by request

  8 nights/9 inclusive days  |  Maximum of 8 participants, and a minimum of 4 participants

  $3,968 USD per person  |  Single Supplement: 14% of the base cost of the trip

  The deposit for this photography tour is $400. Make a deposit, or pay your tour balance here

  Explore our discounts for client loyalty, early enrollment, 2 trips in 12 months, referrals and more

  Do you have a question? Ask us via email: Click here
  Arrival and departure airport: San Francisco, California [SFO]
  Arrival window: For a variety of travel related reasons, arriving one day early is recommended
  Search fares at Kayak, Skyscanner, Orbitz, Google Flights or your favorite airline
California Central Coast photo gallery
  Map of overnight locations
  Client responses to our photo tours
  For the single supplement, cancellation policy and enrollment guidance see below

This photo tour will run with one or more participants. Please note that our group limit is not a requirement!  8 places are available at this time
  Updated: Wednesday the 24th of April, 2024

This photo tour has sufficient enrollments, and is a 'go'. However, do please consult with us prior to arranging your travel for the trip!  Indicates that we have sufficient enrollments and the trip is a 'go'
This photo tour will run with one or more participants. Please note that our group limit is not a requirement!  Indicates that this trip requires the minimum number of participants as indicated on line two above



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Photography Tour Overview:
We start the California Central Coast photography tour in San Francisco, and hit the best spots on the coastline that stretches north from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Bragg just north of Mendocino. Dominated by sea stack dotted Pacific ocean scenes, you will appreciate the amount of quality photographic material being offered. These include Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay, a trio of lighthouses, Mendocino botanical garden, State parks, a Whale watching option, a Redwood grove, wildflowers and much more. San Francisco classics are included as we head south to the Big Sur, plus more of the city on the last day of the trip with the conclusion coming at Alamo Square. To the south we’ll take in the highlights of the Cabrillo highway, Pigeon Point lighthouse, colorful ice plants, Santa Cruz, Monterey, the Big Sur, the Carmel mission, Point Lobos State Reserve, plus marine life and birds such as Pelican and Cormorant. As with all of our photography tours, early and late shooting is scheduled for each day.


Our itinerary . . .
But first things first! We suggest that you set your camera's clock to the local time, as your images will then synchronize with the times in our included photo tour field notes.

Due to the early start on day 1, arrival the previous day is important!

Day 1  |  San Francisco to Bodega Bay
We'll depart our hotel early to capture the first light at the Golden Gate bridge this morning. We'll then return for breakfast and hotel check-out. On our way to Bodega Bay we'll return to the Golden Gate bridge for additional perspectives shot from other 'corners'. We'll make detours for the Point Bonita lighthouse, and the Point Reyes National Seashore et cetera. On to Bodega Bay for hotel check-in, dinner and late light in the harbor. The harbor boasts the highest concentration of waterfowl for many miles, and we'll point long lenses at them in the early morning light too.
Bodega Bay, 1 night

Days 2, 3 + 4  |  The Mendocino Coast
Sunrise photography on Bodega Head this morning - including the wildfowl on the harbor - prior to taking well-earned breakfasts. We’ll then journey north throughout day 2 with stops for images of the rugged Pacific coastline dotted with sea stacks, plus highlights such as Fort Ross State Historic Park, and Salt Point State Park with its myriad of unusual geological formations. Then follows the spectacularly situated Point Arena lighthouse built in 1908. On to Fort Bragg for a via more coastal vistas along which the Ice Plant is colorfully dominant when not being 'persecuted' by local naturalists!
Days 3, and 4 will be spent leisurely photographing a short stretch of coast that includes: historic Victorian Mendocino; the quaint Point Cabrillo lighthouse; Mendocino Botanical Garden; the historic Logger’s trestle at Fort Bragg; Mendocino Headlands State Park; Noyo Harbor; coastal sea-stacks at sunset; and Laguna Point in McKerricher State Park. An optional extra is a short boat trip to photograph the migrating Gray and Humpback Whales. Throw in wildflowers, marine life, and various Hawks, and you'll be capturing a memorable collection of images. Do expect early and late excursions for the best light, balanced with some midday relaxation.
Fort Bragg, 3 nights

Day 5  |  To San Francisco
The dawn light will offer one last opportunity to capture some coastal light, and then we'll fast track back to San Francisco stopping for Navarro River Redwoods State Park images of giant Redwood trees . . . tripods are a must here. We'll shoot the Golden gate bridge from another angle or two, then a detour to Mussel Rock for vistas to the north and south plus the adventurous folk who hang glide and parasail at this spot. If our timing is right, this is a great vantage point to catch the evening light as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. On down the Cabrillo highway to Half Moon Bay for our overnight stay.
Half Moon Bay, 1 night

Days 6 + 7  |  Monterey Peninsula
We’ll continue south on the Cabrillo Highway coast road today shooting sea stacks, Pescadero State Beach, the Pigeon Point lighthouse and the colorful Ice Plant that adorns the cliff-tops at this time of year. Then on to Natural Bridges State Beach and Santa Cruz for the Breakwater lighthouse. We'll also shoot Pelicans, surfers, and colorful Capitola nearby. Then on to our Pacific Grove accommodations for check-in, and out to rugged Point Pinos for our first Pacific Ocean sunset.
On day 7 we’ll work both Fisherman and Municipal wharves on the Monterey bay waterfront where sea mammals are frequent. Additional highlights throughout the day will be the Carmel Mission, Sea Lions, Cormorants, hopefully Otters too, Point Lobos State Reserve, and the late light on the Bixby Creek Bridge on the Big Sur.
Pacific Grove, 2 nights

Day 8  |  To San Francisco
We'll be out at dawn this morning, then following breakfast we'll finish off our photography and return to San Francisco by the same route. Our afternoon and late photography will include the city skyline shot across San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge, and the classic twilight shot of the city skyline atop the 'Painted ladies' adjacent to Alamo Square. The included dinner on the last night of our photography tour will feature an 'It's You!' presentation of clients in action on this tour by John.
Near San Francisco airport, 1 night

Day 9  |  Departure day
As there isn't any photography scheduled for the day of departure on this trip, your flight home can be arranged for any time today. Transport to the airport is included unless you’re staying on for a day or more.

Photo Tour Photographer/Leader: John Baker, Travel Images Photography Tours
The preceding itinerary is a copyrighted work by John Baker Photographer LLC, and Travel Images Photography Tours


Enhancing Your Photography Skills

Describing the assistance you'll receive on one of our photography tours takes more than a few words, so for greater detail please go here.


Exertion level: This photography tour is classified as 'non strenuous' to 'mildly strenuous'

A majority of images are found in close proximity to our vehicle

In every other respect this photography tour is considered non-strenuous to mildly strenuous


Do you need a Visa for travel to the United States?
Travelers from all countries can do a quick check of visa requirements here or here
Our international clients may need to contact the embassy of their intended destination in their own country for a visa. Go here or here


Photography Tour Cost, Deposit, Cancellation Policy and Enrollment Guidance

Trip Cost: $3,968 USD per person not including airfare. A 5% discount is applied to all double occupancies. A single room supplement is required for single occupancy


Single Supplement: 14% of the base cost of the trip


The deposit for this photography tour is $400. Make a deposit, or pay your tour balance here


Cancellation policy: Go here

Enrollment guidance: Go here


Included in the Trip Cost: The following items are included in the trip cost . . .

  • Photography instruction throughout the trip by John

  • All accommodations with private facilities [en-suite]

  • All breakfasts

  • Lunch on day one of the trip

  • Dinner on the last night of the trip

  • On-vehicle snacks and bottled water

  • All ground transportation

  • Airport pick-up on day 1, and drop-off on departure day. Arrival prior to day 1 is not included

  • Entrance fees for sites and activities listed below under ‘Admissions Included’

  • Following the trip you'll receive detailed field notes describing the time, place and subject of each photo stop, plus image uploads to a private web page of clients 'in action' on the trip

Not Included in the Trip Cost: The costs for these items are the responsibility of each participant . . .

  • Airfare

  • Travel costs between your home and the gateway airport and return

  • Any transportation or travel costs incurred prior to or after the tour’s inclusive dates

  • Pre-tour and/or post-tour accommodation

  • Lunches and dinners except for lunch on day one of the trip, and dinner on the last night of the trip

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Entrance fees or costs related to optional sites or activities not included in the itinerary

  • Baggage fees

  • Medical expenses

  • Personal items such as the hotel mini-bar, laundry et cetera

  • Incidental charges incurred at our accommodations such as movie rentals, internet and phone

  • Travel insurance

  • Passport or visa expenses

  • Airport departure taxes, if applicable

Admissions Included in the Trip Cost:

  • Mendocino Botanical Garden and State Parks mentioned in the itinerary above are included

  • Other possible rides, admissions or excursions such as whale watching, are optional and not included.


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Travel Images Photography Tours: Guided Landscape, Natural History, Macro and Wildlife Photography Tours
Email  |  Phone: [+1] 208-559-8248 | Postal: Travel Images, P.O. Box 939, Middleton, Idaho 83644-0939