Packing • Food • Lodging • Camp Life

When is Camp?

October 9-13, 2019. We meet Wednesday evening at the Westerbeke Ranch. Campers discover their rooms, roommates and appetizers before dinner and our opening session. Thursday and Friday are filled with classes, Saturday we’ll have a special long class, with an evening special event. Sunday we’ll have a beautiful breakfast and closing ceremony. Time flies at Firefly camp. .

Am I experienced enough to attend? 


We found that all levels of photographers enjoyed camp; we had beginning photographers, active photo bloggers and professional photographers. Everyone is welcome, all levels found the challenge to advance their craft. Choose the classes that speak to you. 

If you are unsure if Camp is a good fit for you, please contact us!

What photo supplies should I bring to camp?

Last year one camper said "I'm bringing every piece of photography equipment I own." Camera(s), lens(es), laptop (with Photoshop installed if you are taking classes that require it), chargers, batteries, memory cards, film, tripod (if you have one), props and wardrobe items. It's always good to bring your camera manual. You might also want a rain cape for your camera ( or a plastic bag, just in case! If all you have is a camera - that's enough. If all you have is a cell-phone camera - that too is enough.

What clothes should I bring to camp?

October weather in Sonoma could be warm during the day, will be cool/cold (California cold, as in, not so cold) at night, and could rain. Hope for an extended Summer, but bring rain gear and an umbrella, just in case. And fingerless gloves! Flat footwear is recommended (actually I think it is required) for the paths at the Ranch. You may want to hike the trails, and you may go on photo walks in the hills with your class. Comfy clothes rule! Stretch pants for morning yoga and a swim suit for the cold pool and the hot tub. 

What other things should I bring?

An open heart and enthusiastic spirit. Perhaps a go-cup if you want to take your coffee/tea to class or to your room. Please bring your toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer.

What is the food like?


The food at Westerbeke Ranch is fresh, local, delicious, nutritious, sustainable and hand-made. The Ranch chefs are of the highest caliber; they are artists in their own right. Their buffet-style meals garner rave reviews: "The hardest part of going home is leaving this food!" You will enjoy three meals daily plus snacks in the afternoons. The Ranch kindly offers the honor-system in their Cantina for extra beverages (wine, beer, juice) and snacks, for which you can pay when you check out at the end of camp. 

Can the dining room accommodate my dietary preferences? I'm vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free ...

Yes! The chefs at Westerbeke Ranch will have plenty of yummy food for everyone. Just be sure to tell us your dietary preferences on your registration form. Accommodated diets include vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten free, vegan and omnivore.

Can I bring my own food/drinks?

There are no refrigerators in the cabins, and it's best not to keep food in your cabin. If you have specific dietary needs, please let us know on the registration form. 

What are the accommodations like?

Each of the five cozy cabins is painted white and named after its trim color: Blue, Red, Orange, Green, and Yellow. All of the cabins contain several bedrooms with two, three or four beds with colorful linens and blankets, and each bedroom has its own bathroom with shower, entrance, and front porch offering comfort and privacy. All cabins are heated and have plenty of electrical outlets. Luggage racks rest at the food of each bed, and towels and daily cleaning service are provided. You will need to bring your own toiletries. Tipping is not necessary.  There are no single rooms.

Can I choose my roommates?

Yes! Just let us know on the registration form who you'd like to room with. FYI - Rooms have two, three and four beds. If you are two friends who want to be roommates, we may need to add another lovely lady or two to your room. And then you'll have even more friends! We will do our best to accommodate everyone's needs and wishes for a peaceful stay at camp.

What if I want a room by myself?

We are unable to offer a single-occupancy option, to enable the maximum number of campers to attend. Cabins have two, three or four beds, so you will have one, two or three *lovely* roommates. 

Is the price different for different rooms?

No, the price is the same for everyone, regardless of the room or number of roommates.

How much is camp? 

Details on price are on the registration page. Food, lodging, all activities and 5 classes are included in the price.

Can I stay off-campus but attend classes during the day?

When camp is filled we will consider adding a limited number of "day campers." Please email pam@fireflyinstitute for details.  

How big is our group? Will there be other people staying at the venue?

There are 50 beds at Westerbeke Ranch, so we will be 50 people ... 45 campers, 4 resident teachers, and Camp Director Pam Sogge. There will not be anyone else staying at the Ranch (except for Westerbeke staff), we will have the entire place to ourselves!

What if I'm coming by myself?

If you're coming to camp on your own, as so many are, never fear ... We'll match you with lovely roommates! We are a relatively small group of 48 people, affording us all the luxury to get to know everyone there. The atmosphere will lend itself to our becoming a real sisterhood of kindred spirits, a community of women who all love photography. We immediately have a lot in common. Friendships will flourish and you will have new photo-friends in no time!

Can I play music in my cabin?

Yes, until 10 pm. Westerbeke Ranch has a all-quiet policy at that time because of local noise ordinances.

Who do I talk to if I have a problem during camp?

Your camp counselor can help you with any issues and will help make sure you are comfortable and happy! There will be one camp counselor in each cabin to support campers. 

May I bring a guest who is not taking classes?

No, we are unable to accommodate guests. We need all the beds for photo campers!

May I attend just one or two days, or one evening event, but not the entire camp?

We are looking for women who are all-in. We do not offer partials.

Is there a store at Westerbeke Ranch?

The Westerbeke Ranch store contains an assortment of gifts, tunics, t-shirts, water bottles, and jewelry, in case you want to take home some mementos from the Ranch, and a small assortment of toiletries, etc.

Should I bring extra cash or a credit card?

Yes, if you intend to make purchases in the Ranch store. If you take wine/beer or snacks from the dining room pantry, the Westerbeke Ranch honor system requests that you write down what you take and pay for those items when you check out at the end of camp. 

Are there any scholarships available?

We have awarded one scholarship for 2019, we are working on another.

Is there wi-fi?

Yes, there is limited wi-fi near the pool and the Adobe dining hall. We are hoping, though, that you limit or completely omit your online/email time while you are at camp, in order to maximize your real-time, in-person experiences with your fellow campers. We suggest you set up your auto-reply and relax, restore, and retreat for a few days with your new friends ... It does the soul good to be offline for once. Disconnect "over there" in order to connect right here!

I have other questions, how can I contact you? 

Please email or call us with your questions - we would love to hear from you!

Why are there only three classes on Saturday and Thursday afternoon?

Thursday afternoon’s classes are expected to be popular and each on the larger side. We will have additional support for the teachers during those larger classes. Saturday’s classes are extended, we specifically chose the classes that would benefit from extra time.