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March 2025

Live oaks dripping in Spanish moss, historic ruins, wild horses, white sand beaches

Cumberland Island transports visitors to another time. A barrier island off the coast of Southern Georgia, Cumberland Island offers unique visual delights not offered anywhere else in the United States. Wild horses, alligators, boars, exotic birds, stately ruins and historic mansions, white sand beaches, palmettos, pines, and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss; these are just a few of the many attractions that entice tourists from all over the world to visit this special place. This workshop gives photographers exclusive access to areas of the island that are not open to any other tour groups. Most visitors take the park service boat and traverse the island on foot or bicycle. We have the luxury of vehicle travel that will allow students to explore all that this 17.5 mile island has to offer. Jacob and Alissa have beach driving permits and a close relationship with the island. Jacob's family has been living on Cumberland Island for several generations and his grandfather has a cabin on the island that he has be visiting since he was a boy. Deemed "creative summer camp for adults," by past students, this workshop is a once in a lifetime experience to unplug from the chaos of daily life and give yourself the gift of exploring (and photographing) the pristine and wild beauty this island has to offer. 


Cumberland Island, Georgia


$6,300 - Single Room

$5,700 - Shared Room

Stay through the weekend and leave on the last Sunday ferry. 



TBD March 2025


Easy to moderate

Short walks on beaches and forest trails to access most locations


6 rooms currently available

Maximum class size 8

Minimum class size 4


Stafford Mansion is an incredible “Glamping” experience. Glamping means we will basically be upscale camping in this amazing, stately, historic family home. A sleeping bag is not needed as each bed will have crisp linens, nice fluffy towels and beach towels, however the bathroom fixtures (sinks, toilets, tubs) are original to the house and very sensitive. While sinks and toilets are in working order, showers are located on the premises in a more modern bath house. If you would like a tour of the home please click here for a gallery of images. Several rooms are single occupancy with a king or queen-sized bed, ideal for a couple or a person wanting more privacy. The other rooms are double occupancy with double or queen-sized beds. 


Chef Mimi (a nutritionist and trained personal chef) will provide three meals a day for students. The Stafford Kitchen serves delicious, natural, organic, and local foods, including vegetables, proteins, and grains. You’ll also find freshly baked breads and fresh fruits. Meals are served buffet-style and are primarily gluten and dairy-free vegetarian; fish or poultry options are available at lunch and/or dinner on the buffet. If you have further questions or dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance. 

Alissa will run a group critique each day after the sunrise shoot and breakfast. Mini-lectures will be given throughout the week as refreshers, but this course is really focused on spending ample time shooting and critiquing. 


This time of year is perfect for shooting at daybreak and twilight because the sun sets and rises at about 7:30 am and pm. We will plan our shoots around ideal lighting, weather and tides. Each morning before breakfast Jacob will take students on a daybreak shoot, followed by breakfast and class critiques. A post lunch afternoon shoot and/or sundowner shoot will be offered every day, depending on weather. One nighttime star trails shoot will be offered during the week. 


Students will be given free time every day after morning critique to explore the island on their own. Several bicycles are available at the house for excursions to the beach or you can set out on foot. 


A maximum of 8 hours each day (daily shoots and class time). Shoot and class time are based on weather and light conditions. If the weather is sunny, we will shoot at sunrise and sunset. If the weather is overcast we will add an optional additional post-critique shoot in the early afternoon. 



On Monday morning students will take the 9am Cumberland Island Ferry from St. Marys, Georgia to Cumberland's Sea Camp dock. Alissa and Jacob will be waiting with vehicles to transport students to Stafford Mansion. The workshop will conclude after a Friday morning shoot, breakfast, final critique and lunch. Students will be driven back to Sea Camp for the 2:45pm ferry.




Any students wishing to stay through the weekend can add that on. Please let us know if you would like to add a weekend stay at the time of registration so that we can plan meals and ferry tickets. The weekend will consist entirely of free time (the photo instruction will conclude on Friday), delicious meals and exploring the island by foot or bicycle. The Hessler's will bring all weekenders to the 4:45pm ferry on Sunday afternoon. 




There are six rooms available at Stafford. This course has a minimum enrollment of four students and a maximum of eight students. (If minimum enrollment is not met within 90 days of the workshop, a full refund will be provided for all registered students)


Single Room: $6,300*

Shared Room: $5,700* (couples taking the workshop together will each be charged the shared room rate)

*Includes accommodations, all meals and park boat transportation from St. Marys, Georgia to Cumberland Island (9am Monday boat out and 2:45pm Friday boat back)

*Weekend Add-on: $1,500 per person 

(return on the 4:45pm Sunday boat)




We have had several people contact us to ask about their spouses joining but not taking the course. We only have room in our vehicles for eight students so spouses who wish to attend will need to navigate the island on foot or on bicycle if maximum enrollment is met. The room/board rate for spouses to attend but not participate in photography instruction, critiques and outings is $4,000 (leaving on Friday) $5,500 (leaving on Sunday). 


Please fill out the form below if you would like to join us and we will be in touch promptly with registration paperwork. Please note that your spot will be temporarily held until your paperwork is returned. 

Thank you! We will contact you shortly to complete your registration!

Cumberland Gallery


Below is the final class video and slideshow from our workshop on Cumberland Island last year. 

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