Photo Safaris

Field Trips

A popular activity of the club is the periodic photography field trips or Photo Safaris. Comprised primarily of day trips to local locations, Photo Safaris provide members and guests with practical photographic experience, a way to expand their vision and creativity, and a source of fun and socialization.

After a Photo Safari club members can upload a few of their images to the club’s Photo Safaris flickr® group pool. Only images captured on location during a scheduled Photo Safari may be posted.  This allows others to see what variety can be achieved under the same circumstances. If you are a club member but not a member of flickr® learn how to join here.

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment. – Elliott Erwitt

The use of drones for photography has become increasing popular. Along with that popularity many locations have instituted guidelines for the use of drones or have prohibited their use entirely. Once a drone is airborne the operator must follow the guidelines established by the FAA. Therefore participants that intend to use drones for any club activity are responsible for making sure that drone photography is permitted before taking pictures at any location and to ensure they have the required permits and licenses necessary for such photography. The club will not be responsible for fines imposed by authorities for flying drones illegally or without required licenses and permits.

Upcoming Photo Safaris:

Merced NWR | Photo by Mark Grzan

Merced National Wildlife Refuge
Saturday, January 27

When the refuge’s ponds and marshes are near capacity, flocks of migrating birds fill the area.  The Merced NWR hosts the largest wintering concentration of Lesser Sandhill Cranes in the Pacific Flyway with as many as 20,000 cranes using the Refuge.  The refuge provides an auto trail that travels across accessible levees.  You can stop along the route and photograph many varieties of migrating birds.  This is a great place for those with long telephoto lenses.  The birds have become accustomed to cars and photographers.   Imaging is spectacular as are the peculiar behaviors., habits, and sounds.  We will be leaving Morgan Hill early (5AM) to catch the sunrise when there is the possibility of Tule fog and other weather phenomena.  Expect to be back by noon.  Click here for full details.

Contact Mark Grzan for more information, RSVP,  arrange carpool, or drive.


Lunar Eclipse | Photo by George Ziegler

Total Lunar Eclipse
Early Wednesday Morning, January 31

The Night Photography Focus Group invites all club members to participate in a “self-directed photo shootout.”  At the end of January, skywatchers will be treated to a supermoon, blue moon, and a total lunar eclipse (known as blood moon) all in one night.   Such a skywatching event hasn’t happened for more than 150 years – the next one is in 2028.  Your best location for photographing this event is from the Eastern hills.  Click here for full details.

Contact Rick Rasmussen if you have any questions.


Hummingbird | Photo by Micheal Bui

Saturday, March 3

Hummingbirds just can’t resist the temptation of the plentiful supply of nectar available in the University of California Santa Cruz’s Arboretum.   You will have plenty of opportunities to watch, hear, and photograph hummingbirds flitting about and the plants that attract the tiny creatures.  National Hummingbird day is March 17th, but we will avoid the crowds by going two weeks earlier.

More information coming soon.  Contact Mark Grzan.


McWay Falls | Photo by George Ziegler

McWay Falls, Calla Lilies, & Bixby Bridge
Saturday, March 10
Limited to fifteen (15) Club Members

The Big Sur Coast is simply beautiful in the early spring.  We’ll start at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park’s McWay Falls  One of the most photographed destinations in all of California.  It’s spectacular 80 ft. waterfall drops directly into the pacific ocean.  We will also photograph locations in Garrapata State Park (e.g. Calli Lillie Valley and Keyhole Arch) and, at sunset, the Bixby Bridge (c. 1932).

More information coming soon.  Contact Mark Grzan.


Sand Dunes | Photo by Susan Stillman

Death Valley
Thursday, March 13 to Monday, March 19

For five days and four nights we will visit numerous famous photographic locations throughout Death Valley National Park including the Race Track.  We will camp out overnight at the Race Track one night in order to photograph the sunset and sunrise.  Other locations can include Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, Giant Sand Dunes, Dante’s View, etc.  You’ll need to make early hotel reservations in the park if you want to participate.  Click here for full details.

Contact Mark Grzan for more information, RSVP,  arrange carpool, or drive.


Carrizo Plain | Photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Carrizo Plain National Monument
Friday March 30 to Sunday, April 1
Limited to twenty (20) Club Members

This photo shootout will be a  three day and two night excursion to the most incredible wildflower fields, canyons and foothills .  Carrizo Plain NM is the largest single native grassland remaining in California.  The Carrizo Plain offers visitors a rare chance to be alone with nature. Some visitors say you can “hear the silence.”  The plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species including several listed as threatened or endangered and is an area culturally important to Native Americans.  You’ll need to make early hotel reservations in or near the park if you want to participate.

More information coming soon.  Contact Mark Grzan.


Yerba Buena Lighthouse |

Yerba Buena Lighthouse and Admiral’s Residence
Thursday, April 3
Limited to approx. 32 Club Members
Other restrictions apply

Here is your chance to photograph the lighthouse and Admiral’s Residence on Yerba Buena Island during sunset.  The lighthouse is located on U.S. Coast Guard property and access is restricted, however, the Coast Guard has given us permission for this event. You will be able to photograph the lighthouse, with the San Francisco skyline in the background, the exterior of the Admiral’s Residence and other views of the city from the area we have been given access. Click here for full details and see full description of restrictions.

Contact Mark Grzan for more information, RSVP,  arrange carpool, or drive.


Recent examples of  images taken by club members on Photo Safaris:

See more Photo Safari images on flickr®.