Recently The Nickersons Photography went on a the Yeah! Photo photo field trip, a collaborative and creative conference for photographers! She shares her experience and field notes of the fun-filled gathering she embarked on with her fellow photogs.
Sarah's Field Notes
Let’s go on an adventure. Leave the hustle of Los Angeles behind and drive two hours north with us through rolling hills and past ocean cliffs. A little while after Santa Barbara, a nonchalant freeway exit beckons. At the end of it you’ll find your way to a glamper’s paradise: El Capitan Canyon. It’s a gathering of cabins, yurts, and canvas tents—all tucked away into a canyon that retreats from the seaside. It’s filled with leafy green trees perfect for relaxing in the shade or hanging up a hammock, meandering trails and hikes to explore, bushes upon bushes of fragrant jasmine, and some pretty incredible starry skies after the sun retreats behind the hills.
It’s another world where the sounds from the freeway fade away the further in to the canyon you go. You’ll park your car at the front and explore on foot or by bike. A slower pace allows you to find rest in your heart and soul and connect with those who you’ve invited along to adventure with you.
You’ll never want to say goodbye.
I had the pleasure of wandering the gravel paths of El Capitan Canyon during my experience at Photo Field Trip, which could succinctly be described as a summer camp for photographers (and filmmakers and other creatives of which there were plenty).
For four days, over 400 attendees and educators descended upon the canyon—the perfect spot for creative exploration, relaxation, and connection.
El Capitan Canyon has accommodation options for everyone and the best part is that you don’t need to worry about bringing your own sleeping bag and pillow—all necessary bedroom and bathroom linens are provided in all of the accommodations. The most deluxe option is found in the cedar cabins scattered through the property where you’ll have an in-cabin bathroom and shower.
The cabins vary in size and layout: some are perfect for a group of friends with several sets of bunk beds for sleeping, others will be adored by families with a separate room (with the most comfortable King Bed) for the parents, a sleeping loft for the kids, and a small living room with a fireplace and kitchenette.
This luxury outdoor retreat is perfectly equipped for large group gatherings with large yurts and tented lodge areas available for meeting spaces—transform any of them into a classroom, lounge, or dance floor depending on what you need. There are several large open areas where you can set up a big tent.
But, with the weather in the canyon being mild and perfect magical afternoon light streaming through the trees, you can enjoy dining al-fresco. Skip the tent set up, sting some globe lights from the trees above and stock the main fire pit with lots of fire fuel to keep your celebrations going late into the night.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to have your next group getaway, conference, bachelor/bachelorette weekend at El Capitan, you should also know the canyon has a heated pool, hiking trails that wind into the hills and meander past the llamas who live on the property, free bike rentals to cruise up and down the canyon and over to the nearest state park beach, a massage cabin, and a ropes course.
There is also a fully-stocked canyon market for any essentials—wine, snacks, coffee (buy the souvenir El Capitan ceramic mug and get free refills on your coffee forever), firewood, and a variety of great hot meals.
El Capitan also offers more rustic sleeping options via the Safari Tents & Adventure Yurts—these come equipped with beds, electricity and heating, but bathroom facilities are communal. Many accommodations have porches and/or firepits, so check with El Capitan before booking if having your morning coffee on the porch or late-night s’mores is something you’re dreaming of.
There’s plenty for those who want to adventure and those who want to relax. But, why not have both? You totally can. It’s a retreat into nature without all the fuss of setting up a tent in the dark and not having anywhere to warm up when it rains—the perfect spot for us fair weather campers and those who want to enjoy the great outdoors but have the comforts of home available.