Archive for the ‘workshop’ Category

Springtime in Paradise

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

During the last few weeks, I’ve visited Yosemite Valley several times and I’d like to share my new images with you. Having lived in or nearby the Valley for forty years, it would be all too easy to become jaded or bored photographing the small area for so long. Over the course of a year, I really don’t visit that often. However, whenever I go I find something amazing and wonderous to see, and sometimes photograph. When sharing this beauty with my students, I reengage with and refresh my long love affair with this sanctuary, this paradise.

I hope you enjoy this collection, and that you’ve had a chance to engage with springtime in your areas. Please let me know your favs and add your comments below!

Kind regards, Bill

PS To learn more about my Yosemite Private Workshops, click HERE.

Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/18, ISO 400


Dogwood and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/18, ISO 100


Waterfall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/20, ISO 100


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1000 second at f/18, ISO 100


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/18, ISO 100


Moon over Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/25 second at f/5.6, ISO 400


Dogwood along the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/16, ISO 100


Spring sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/11, ISO 100


Spring Elm, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/20 second at f/14, ISO 100


Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 200


Waterfall and Mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/7.1, ISO 200


Dogwood over the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/22, ISO 100


Rock and Waterfall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/32, ISO 100


Spring dogwood, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/18, ISO 100


Spring dogwood and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100


Come join me for a private workshop session in Yosemite!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2014


Rock and Water, Cascade Falls, Yosemite National Park, California 2011 / Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III__EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM__1/2 sec at f / 27__ISO 320

Rock and Water, Cascade Falls, Yosemite National Park, California 2011

I have been running my Yosemite Private Workshops for ten years now. Although I taught group workshops around the world starting in the early 1980s, I have greatly enjoyed the one-on-one sessions and personal connections I’ve had while showing my approach to landscape photography in my beloved Yosemite Valley.

The best times to come photograph YV are the last two weeks of April and the first two weeks of May, or the end of October or the first two weeks of November.

Here are a few endorsements from past students:

Bill Henderson:      My William Neill workshop experience was exceptional! The most significant outcome was the change in perspective. Bill finds images everywhere, his ability to see photographically is something you can’t learn from reading, it’s a gift from many years of hard work and study. This is what I found so interesting and helpful.

Now I didn’t walk away with his skill, but I learned something significant that has stayed with me. I still find that workshop useful today.”

Rick Hardt:      “I have always been drawn to Bill’s work, because I think he leads the pack in the arena of “Less is More”.  His images define the idea of “Clean and Simple”.  Through that perspective, he communicates powerful feeling that I don’t often see in other areas.

He is extremely present and open during the process.  What I felt from him was kindness and patience.  I never felt judged for my lack of experience or ability.   Seeing through his eyes for subject matter and lighting really opened my eyes to things that I’d completely missed before.

In the end, I walked away with a pocket full of images that I cherish to this day, AND a much better understanding of how to get more on my own.

Lastly and most importantly, the conversations that we had during those times, often come to mind when I’m in the field looking for new images. 

I continue to get benefit from a class that I took some time ago.  Amazing.


Bob Cole:    “I greatly appreciated the personal attention Bill provided in our two-student, two-day Private Workshop. The limit to one or two students is a significant advantage. There were many other photography workshops happening in Yosemite Valley at the same time, with van loads of students for one or two instructors. Bill’s Private Workshops are simply superior in the personal attention he provides.

                The Private Workshop provided a great opportunity to explore Yosemite beyond the obvious icons. Bill provides a wealth of information about the Yosemite environment and history. Understanding the place is important to helping one see the what is really there beyond the often photographed icons. This leads to more photographic possibilities. Bill helps the student “see” nature in new ways that translate into stronger, more creative photographs.

                I created better images during the two-day Private Workshop, and that improvement continued after it was over. When I consider the many ways photographers spend their resources on cameras, lenses, other gear, software, and travel, I can think of no more effective way to improve one’s photography than the William Neill Private Workshop.


Antoinette Addison:      “I have done a couple of private workshops with Bill in Yosemite. It was incredible. First, his knowledge of the Yosemite area allowed him to put us in the right place at the right time throughout the day.  We moved through the valley with the light, not just to the well-known photo spots, but all over the place. I thought I knew the area quite well, but I discovered many new, hidden spots. We would find ourselves at the perfect spot over and over throughout the day. It was incredible. 
         We took different kinds of photos in different areas, from classic landscape shots to black ice photos, close-ups, impressions. It was magical. Bill helped me make subtle technical and positioning adjustments that made a big difference and brought my photography to a new level.
        The portfolio review was also useful, educational, and inspirational. I could not recommend these workshops more strongly.
Brad Rank:     “My personal workshop with William was a surprise birthday gift from my Wife.  At the time I was just starting with a DSLR, only a short time from upgrading from simply using an iPhone for my photography.   I learned from the internet, and there is so much advice as to equipment, settings, composition, etc.  It was overwhelming and I was concerned about having the “right” thing and being such a novice working with such a professional as William.    We started our day shooting at Tunnel View and he says to me to change my camera settings for “bracketing”, and I pulled out my manual.  I think he knew then what he was in store for in the day as there was no hiding my lack of experience, and I was bracing for his response.   In that moment, he had the ability to negatively or positively impact my relationship to photography.  He could have said I had the wrong equipment or that I’m unprepared, or many many things, but he choose patience,  he choose kindness, he taught.  As I got to know him better through the day, I realized that this wasn’t a choice, it’s just who he is; a great photographer, but also a great teacher.  I learned so much about photography that day and my confidence rose dramatically to not worry about the rules and the prescribed “noise” of what should be done.  However, the most impressive thing I learned was about the man, his vision, relationship to the natural world around him, and his joy to pay it forward from his experiences as well.  Whether a beginner or a professional you will learn something.


See this link to see details, instructional content options discounts for small groups or multiple day sessions:

Private Yosemite Sessions

Instructional Content Options

William teaches simple ways to capture quality images in order to focus more on your expressive vision. These methods are what he uses for his own photography. Potential topics to be covered include:

Improve your Creative Vision

Learn to see deeply, to convey your emotional connection with the subject

Exposure Techniques
Using Histograms, HDR, Long Exposures

How to create clean, well-balanced designs without distractions

Planning Your Photographic Sessions
When to photograph and where, weather and seasonal considerations

Photo Critiques of New and Previous Images
Learn about your strengths and areas for improvement in your prints and downloaded digital files from field sessions.

Digital Camera Workflow
Basic and Advanced Techniques in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Photograph with William in Yosemite
Guidance while you photograph with in-field suggestions
Explore alternate perceptions and locations

Watch and ask questions as he selects and photographs Yosemite subjects.

Techniques in Impressionistic Photography
Learn how to create “light paintings” with intentional camera movement. William will demonstrate how he creates his Impressions of Light” photographs, and guide you with your efforts in the field.


Return to the Field of Possibilities

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Corn Lilies, Summit Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2014

Last week, I spent four days filming an interview with the crew from The Luminous Landscape website.  For years, they have offered excellent videos such as the Luminous Landscape Video Journal which features interviews with photographers such as Jay Maisel, Art Wolfe, Charlie Cramer, Bill Atkinson, and Jack Dykinga: Luminous Landscape Store.  They are launching a new series called Seeing with the Masters, for which my interview is the first. Luminous Landscape also ran the Antarctica photographic adventure for which I was an instructor early this year.  To learn about this ultimate journey, see Antarctica 2014 – A Most Amazing Trip. I plan on returning to Antarctic in 2016 with Luminous Landscape! I am also a contributor to the site with a series of essays: Essays by William Neill.

One location I had to share was my favorite meadow along the Glacier Point Road.  Here I found this above group of corn lilies.  In order to find a high, downward view, I had to jump up on two fallen logs, balance my tripod to aim down to capture this pattern.  This high-angled view also allowed me to find another image, shown below.


Last year, I photographed in the same meadow, and wrote the following article for my Outdoor Photographer “On Landscape” column.  Enjoy and share!


Field Of Possibilities

Using technology like focus stacking, William Neill creates an otherworldly photo of a roadside subject

Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California  2013

Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF 50mm ƒ/2.5 Compact Macro, five frames at ƒ/11, ISO 200, focus stacking by Zerene Stacker.

“To see a World in a
Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…” —William Blake

One of the main dilemmas for nature photographers is how to frame an image. The choice of camera position and lens angle greatly affects the image design. Nature often provides us with chaotic lines, shapes and colors from which we must distill and extract the essence of our subject. What we include in the frame, as well as what we exclude, is a key factor in the success of our compositions.

I was in Yosemite National Park recently photographing one of my favorite subjects, corn lilies. Returning to a favorite patch, I was happy to see they were still fresh green in spite of recent hot weather. The leaves were covered with pollen and a light rainfall added some water drops. The wind was blowing, which meant the leaves rarely held still for my camera. On top of that, the best camera position was on the shoulder of the road, with tons of traffic moving the plants as it zoomed past a few feet away.

I tried dozens of framings, using a 24mm tilt-shift, 90mm tilt-shift and 50mm macro. The black-and-white photograph was made using my macro lens [left]. The depth of these leaves was too great to capture, so I tried a simple, but effective application called Zerene Stacker. I exposed five frames, focusing the nearest edge of the leaf, and incrementally turned my macro focus slightly until I had focused on the deepest area of corn lily. Then, I added those five files to the software, which created an image with good sharpness throughout the field of view. While processing the final image, I adjusted the contrast and density to make the spots of pollen and leaf lines stand out.

From my past experiences, I was a little late for most of the corn lilies since they had grown tall, making it difficult to aim downward where the leaf patterns are most strongly visible. Also, other plants in amongst them made for a difficult composition to simplify. I usually prefer to zoom in tightly for a very graphic portrayal. In the wider composition shown here [below], I chose to embrace the chaos by using my 24mm tilt-shift lens. The tilt-shift function helped me retain focus from front to back of the subject area, just like I often did with my 4×5 camera while still using a fast enough shutter speed. I shuffled my location around, trying to find a pleasing and well-balanced pattern in the lush vegetation.


Field of Corn Lily Leaves, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

While creating the black-and-white corn lily image, I clearly remembered one of Paul Caponigro’s finest and most famous photographs. It’s a photograph of an apple that reminds most who see it of a galaxy of stars. I happily acknowledge that inspiration. You can read John Paul Caponigro’s blog post (Paul Caponigro’s son) at I highly recommend that you visit the link or Google to see the image! As I photographed the corn lily, time vanished. Wind, rain showers and sunbeams came and went. I waited for still moments in the wind and for breaks in the traffic. I hid from the mosquitoes inside my parka hood and slapped away the ones that broke through my defenses. In spite of the challenges, I was “in the zone,” blissfully focused on the beauty I saw and felt, and on finding ways to convey it all photographically. Before I knew it, I had spent two-and-a-half hours photographing within a 10-foot section along the road and made over 200 images. That’s my job, and I felt blessed. As I drove home, I was greeted by the most amazing sunset, with golden light shining through pouring rain accented by red clouds. As the rain drenched me, I howled loudly simply for the joy of it all!

William Neill, an American photographer and resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a renowned nature and landscape photographer. Neill’s award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill has received the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography.

He is the photographic author of many books including The Sense of Wonder, The Tree, By Nature’s Design, The Color of Nature  and Traces of Time. A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness and a retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit

To learn about William Neill‘s one-on-one Yosemite workshops, ebooks and iPad app, see his latest images and learn about his online courses with, visit

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A thank you gift for following my photography!

Monday, May 12th, 2014

As a thank you gift for following my photography and signing up for my eNewsletter, I want to give you a $5 discount on my ebook Collection, normally a $15 value.  Sign up in the box to the right, and your discount code will be sent to you.

I will be posting more articles and images to my blog, so stay tuned in!  I am working on a new ebook of my Antarctic Dreams photographs, processing new Impressions of Light image and more…

Thanks again,  Bill

High quality PDF eBooks by William Neill

Best of the Year

Monday, December 30th, 2013
Late Summer Meadow, Ahwahnee, California 2011

Late Summer Meadow, Ahwahnee, California 2011

Will you be posting your Best Of 2013 online? I am still working on mine, hoping to finish this week…

Here is my Best of 2011:

For some thoughts on the subject, here is my essay from Outdoor Photographer Magazine in 2010:

Many years ago, when I was involved with Ansel Adams’ workshops, I was fortunate to hear lectures by many master photographers. One of them was Jerry Uelsmann (, who became a friend and mentor. During his lectures, he’d show his work from the past year. Since his work involves compositing many images together, these images included variations he had tried, often with the same objects in different locations or scenes. The overview gave insight into some of the progression of Jerry’s creative process. I always felt inspired when I saw many of his slideshows. I’d often thought I should do this myself each year in order to assess my year’s efforts, but I never got around to it until recently.

With the advent of Facebook, Twitter and blogs, it’s now very easy to create a “Best Of” portfolio to share with friends and fans. Using Collections in Lightroom is an ideal way to do this. I simply take the top-ranked images in my Library folder to create the new Collection. From there, I edited down to the top 30. SlideShowPro is good software I have used to post portfolios on my website via their Lightroom plug-in, which is simple to use, but also highly customizable in terms of design. Most recently, I use a Lightroom plug-in by Photographer’s Toolbox that export my image choices from LR to my WordPress blog page.

The process of self-assessment is a vital part of artistic growth. In the day-to-day rush of life, we don’t often stop to see trends in our image-making. By turning back the clock, we can see if we’re stuck in a rut or are making great progress. One technique I’ve used to analyze my own work is to use the filters built into Photoshop’s Lightroom or Bridge. The software will show you the metadata analytics for any folder of images you have. The data shows how many were made with which camera body or lens, the shutter speed, aperture or ISO used, or by ranking labels.

I especially like seeing which lens I used the most (in most cases, it’s my Canon 70-200mm ƒ/2.8). Even with this simple bit of knowledge, I can recognize that I tend to photograph details of the landscape rather than wide views. This information can lead to ideas for a portfolio or theme. The data can also be a hint that I’m in a rut and I may want to break away from this trend to expand my repertoire of wide-angle landscapes. Another option would be to filter by keywords to see what images I’ve made of water or trees, or with clouds and sky. Studying my photos in such a way may lead to the creation of a new e-book or an idea for an exhibit. Developing themes in your work is an important way to focus your photographic efforts.

The photograph shown here is currently my favorite from the year. I was photographing Monterey pine trees in a dense fog. Toward the end of my dawn shooting session, I decided to make some panoramic images so I composed overlapping frames that could later be stitched in Photoshop. The image for this column was made from two side-by-side exposures. I rotated my tripod laterally, overlapping by about 25%. I knew that I would have to crop since I was aiming up into the trees at 160mm on my 70-200mm zoom, so I widened my composition to allow room to crop later.

I used Adobe Lightroom to select the two digital files, then sent them to Photoshop using the menu option Photo > Edit In > Merge to Panorama in Photoshop. After assembly, I cropped as shown here. When the layers are flattened, I have a 308 MB master file created with two exposures from my 21-megapixel Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. This gives me plenty of resolution for large mural-sized enlargements. We converted to black-and-white using menu option Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White. I liked it so much I added it to my recently printed version of my Meditations in Monochrome e-book.

The main point is to assess your photographic efforts on a regular basis. The beginning of the year is the ideal time for me. Ansel used to say that if a photographer can make 10 portfolio-grade images in one year, he or she had a great year! When you read this, go back one year in time with your own work and see how you do.


To learn about William Neill’s one-on-one workshops in the Yosemite area, his e-books Meditations in Monochrome, Impressions of Light, Landscapes of the Spirit and William Neill’s Yosemite, and his online courses with,, or to visit his PhotoBlog, go to