Bosque del Apache Workshop Logistics

Meet and Greet (optional)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

For those that can make it, we will meet for a “meet-and-greet” dinner at the Bodega Restaurant in Socorro on the night before the workshop between 7 pm ~ 9:00 pm.  Dress is casual.

If your travel schedule does not allow you to make the “meet-and-greet”, no problem!  All the pre-workshop information will be sent out beforehand, so you will not miss out on anything


Male Northern Harrier bathed in sunset light at the Bosque del Apache.

Thursday, November 14, 2019, 5:30 AM

  • We will meet on the dirt refuge road about 300 yards to the south of the “Flight Deck” on the refuge.
  • Carpooling from Socorro makes good sense.  Please contact me if you will not be at the meet & greet on Wednesday.
  • Please be on time, 5:30AM, ready to photograph (gloves, tripod, headlamp)
  • Allow 30 minutes drive time from Socorro
  • Please drive carefully and watch for wildlife
  • Please dim your lights and minimize noise on the refuge
  • Directions from Socorro to morning meeting spot
  • We will meet at other locations, to be announced in person, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday mornings

Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes huddled in the deep cold of a Bosque del Apache dawn.


  • Clothing.  Mornings and evenings at the Bosque del Apache are very cold (frigid).  Mid-day can be very warm.
    • Dress in layers.
    • Bring gloves you can wear while photographing, and warm boots.
    • Bring a sun-hat and sunscreen for the afternoons.
  • Prepare your setup in your warm hotel room before arriving at the refuge
    • Have tripod ready to go when you arrive
    • Good lenses for the morning include: { 24-70mm, 70-300mm, 100-400mm, or 150-600mm}.
    • Pre-dawn photography will use live view mode, on a tripod, exposure bracketing, 2-second shutter delay.  It helps to familiarize yourself with these settings on your camera before arriving at the Bosque del Apache in the dark.
  • The best light occurs very early, well before sunrise
    • Great color in the sky starts at nautical twilight
    • Nautical twilight Nov 14, 2019 is at 5:42AM
    • Ideal conditions = no wind –> water mirrors the colors of the sky

Sandhill Cranes flying out to forage in the dawn light at the Bosque del Apache.

Lodging Suggestions

Normally I host my workshops from the Holiday Inn Express in Socorro.  Since they are renevating and I do not want to chance that construction will still be underway during our workshop, I recommend we stay at the Econo Lodge instead.

Lodging is available in the small town of San Antonio, NM, very close to the refuge.

  • Casa Blanca Bed and Breakfast, San Antonio, New Mexico.   Nice!  Book early!
  • Bird Watchers RV Park, San Antonio, New Mexico.  RV required.
  • If you stay in San Antonio you can most likely carpool with another workshop participant back to Socorro for the mid-day classes.

Places to Camp

Camping can be found in the nearby Cibola National Forest to the west of Socorro.  Plan on 45 minutes to drive from the closest camping areas to the refuge.  The Water Canyon Campground is a good choice when visiting the Bosque del Apache NWR.

Camping is also available at Elephant Butte Lake State Park.

If camping during the late fall and winter please remember that snow and very cold temperatures are possible — so plan accordingly.  It gets cold in New Mexico in the winter!

During normal winter conditions I have been able to drive on the improved gravel National Forest and BLM roads without any problems.  If there is a big snowstorm, then it may take a day or two for those lower elevation roads to be drivable.  Ask the USFS before venturing out in the hinterlands in the winter as some Forest Service roads are closed for the winter.

Suggested Equipment

In order to have a fruitful photography workshop at the Bosque del Apache NWR the following equipment is needed.

Photography Equipment

  • Camera body(s) that you are familiar with.
  • Sturdy tripod (let us know if you need to borrow one).
  • Long lens(s).  An image stabilized lens that is at least 300 mm focal length is perfect.  I use a 100-400mm f/4-5.6, 300mm f/4, and 600 mm f/4 lenses for wildlife.
  • Landscape lens(s).  Many of the best images will be taken with wide angle, or zooms.  Somewhere in the range of 14mm to 70mm is good.  (16-35mm, 24-70mm).
  • Zoom lenses are useful here.  I use a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 and 100-400mm/ f/4.-5.6 lenses a lot at the Bosque.
  • Headlamp.  One with a night-vision red mode is best.
  • Extra batteries and car charger for them.  Keep them warm, in an inner pocket.
  • Extra memory cards.
  • A backpack and/or pad you can store camera gear close by when photographing.


  • Warm winter clothing for the mornings.
  • Dress in layers as it warms up later in the day.
  • Sun hat, sunscreen, lip protection, sunglasses.
  • Gloves you can wear while operating your camera.

Computer stuff

  • Laptop that you regularly use for photography.
  • Card reader and extra cards.
  • External drive for backup.
  • You will be working on your laptop in the post-processing class.

Software and apps

  • I teach Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.
  • Plugins I use frequently include (not required)
  • Suggested smart phone apps to have.   I will be teaching these in the field and classroom.
    • The Photographers Ephemeris (get the smart phone and web app)
    • Simple DoF (useful depth of field app)
    • Photo Transit app (works well with The Photographers Ephemeris)
    • Theodolite app (useful for planning photographs)
    • GAIA GPS app (not required, but very useful.  Subscription required).  I use this now for all my wilderness adventures and planned photo shoots.