High Country | July 21 - July 23, 2023

Our State Master Series: Mountain Photography Workshop

Join Our State and renowned landscape photographer Tommy White for a hands-on mountain photography workshop as we explore the High Country.

Explore North Carolina’s High Country with Our State and award-winning photographer Tommy White. Tommy has lived in the mountains of North Carolina for more than 30 years and knows the hidden gems, how to get to them, and when to photograph them.

We have a diverse and very special itinerary planned. Our adventure will take you to moss-covered mountain streams and stunning waterfalls. You’ll learn how to “see” in the landscape — identifying important compositional elements and how to use them to create good visual flow. We’ll visit some sweeping panoramas where you will learn how to find and use the best lighting to create amazing images. We also have a nice treat planned for our guests with special access to Grandfather Mountain for a sunset shoot. This is an amazing opportunity at our area’s highest peak and will give you a chance to work on your sunset composition in a setting with very few people.

The workshop will incorporate a mix of sessions in the field and classroom time, which will allow participants to not only learn about the latest photography techniques, but it will also provide opportunities for image critiques and lessons in advanced compositional and color theory. We will also cover all levels of photo retouching in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and how to use selective retouching to enhance your image to give it mood and depth.

The workshop will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21 with an orientation, followed by an early dinner and then our evening photography session. After our sunset session, we will relax for a bit and then regroup for an evening under the stars. Weather permitting, the night sky in the High Country can be jaw-dropping. We’ll photograph the Milky Way and learn how to incorporate a foreground in your night shots with some skillful light painting and other fun techniques.

This workshop has limited availability to ensure participants are able to have the individualized attention they desire. There is nothing better than working one-on-one with a seasoned professional. Tommy and his assistant will be on location and readily available the entire weekend to answer all of your questions.


Package Highlights:

  • Two nights’ accommodations at The Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock
  • High Country breakfast daily at the hotel
  • One-on-one time with two seasoned landscape photography professionals
  • Sessions in the field shooting with a focus on technique, composition, and visual flow
  • Learn how to hone your visual skills, see what is not there, and lead the viewer in to your image
  • After-hours sunset shoot at Grandfather Mountain with one-on-one instruction
  • Night sky and Milky Way photography and post production with light painting techniques and stacking for noise reduction
  • Southern Delta Aquariids and Perseid meteor shower photography
  • Rosebay rhododendron photography
  • Image critiques and how to build a successful image with balance and harmony
  • A diverse itinerary with something for everyone
  • Photo retouching in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for all levels with instruction on how to use creative layers and luminosity masking
  • Our State host


About Tommy White:

photograph by Tommy White

Tommy White is a fine art landscape photographer and a regular contributor to Our State magazine. As a native of Winston-Salem, some of his fondest memories include exploring the Southern Appalachian backcountry and visiting the amazing locations this area has to offer. White currently resides in the Boone area near the Blue Ridge Parkway, a place that has had an everlasting impact on his life.

For many years, he worked at the Mast General Store as an Outdoor and General Manager. Selling outdoor gear and helping plan trips was a daily occurrence, and he loved sharing the outdoors with people. His knowledge of the outdoors grew over the years and eventually paired with his passion for photography, which allowed him to begin documenting his favorite locations. Years later, White now works as a full-time photography guide, covering seven states on the East Coast and reaching as far as California, Oregon, and Washington. He spends most of his time exploring the beautiful backcountry with friends and aspiring photographers of all levels and capturing the beauty and natural wonders of the High Country. White is well known as photography educator and for his unique eye for nature photography.

To learn more about Tommy White and his Mountains to Sea Workshops, click here.


Workshop Rates:

$1,245 per person, based on double occupancy
$1,500 per person, based on single occupancy

Note: Lodging is included in the per person rate


For workshop reservations and more information:

AAA Vacations
Sandra Horton
(919) 832-0543 (ext. 16050)


Additional Information:


Photographers of all experience levels are welcome, from aspiring to advanced. Some trail experience and navigating slick, wet rocks will be helpful.


Trail hiking is expected at all locations. While some locations are easily accessed, others can be up to a ½-mile hike or more. Please let us know prior to the trip if you have any medical conditions that we need to know about, including heart conditions, surgeries, injuries, allergies, etc.

Do I need professional gear?

No, though camera systems are different, the basic concepts of photography are the same. We’ll teach you how to utilize your camera system to its maximum potential and show you the benefits that can be gained when you choose to upgrade your equipment. You will, however, need a camera, a sturdy tripod, and a wide-angle or a medium-range zoom lens. Other important equipment is listed in the workshop information that will be sent to participants.

Are meals provided?

A High Country breakfast is included at the hotel each day until 10 a.m. Other meals are on your own.

What if the weather is bad?

We will plan on going out unless conditions are dangerous in any way (i.e., lightning, high wind, etc.). If the forecast is calling for rain, please plan to bring suitable rain gear for yourself and your equipment.

How should I dress?

You should plan on wearing comfortable clothing. Keep in mind that almost all our photo adventures include hiking. Nylon clothing that wicks moisture is suggested (cotton does not wick). A packing list will go out to participants prior to the workshop to help you prepare.

Do you provide transportation?

Due to Park permits and insurance regulations, we are currently not allowed to provide group transportation. Participants can drive their own vehicles. Carpooling to locations is encouraged and will be discussed prior to each destination.

Note: Our primary concern is our guests’ safety, health, and enjoyment, so Our State and our partners are constantly monitoring the COVID situation. We will follow all CDC Guidelines and requirements.


About the Our State Master Series:

Over the course of 90 years, Our State has become the go-to resource for all things North Carolina. As an award-winning magazine, Our State has gained access to and partnered with top talent in their fields. The hands-on classes and workshops in Our State’s Master Series provide opportunities to explore, learn, and develop skills across a variety of topics.