2022 Monte Vista Crane Festival One-Day Photography Workshops

Three One-Day Workshops. Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, March 11, 12, or 13, 2022. Limited to 10 participants per day. $150/person/day.

Photograph Wildlife in a Beautiful Landscape

Sandhill Cranes performing their courtship dance

Hawks, Eagles, Owls, and Falcons

Spectacular Sangre de Cristo mountains as a backdrop

Small Workshops Focused on Field Technique

Three, separate, one-day workshops will be offered, Friday, March 11 – Sunday, March 13, 2022,during the Monte Vista Crane Festival

Each workshop is limited to ten photographers per day — please sign up early to reserve your spot!

The cost for each one-day workshop is $150 plus tax per participant. Proceeds help support the Monte Vista Crane Festival.

 No “tag-alongs” please, each person attending the workshop must register, including spouses.


Photography Workshop Agenda

5:30AM* — 11:00AM  Field instruction on the refuge

11:00AM — 2:00PM Student free time, rest period

For those ride sharing we can arrange to drop you off back in Monte Vista for the break.  Masks required.

Normally the workshop participants join for lunch in Monte Vista during the break (no host lunch). Masks required.

2:00PM —   7:00PM Field instruction on the refuge

*Sunday March 13, 2022 the workshop starts at 6:30AM due to Daylight Savings Time change.

Dates and Times

  • March 11, 12, or 13, 2022.  Friday, Saturday, or Sunday
  • 5:30AM to 7:00PM (March 13 class starts at 6:30AM  due to Daylight Savings)

Target Audience

  • Beginner to Intermediate photographers welcome

Required equipment

  • DSLR or mirrorless camera with removable lenses
  • A long lens of 300 mm or longer focal length for wildlife
  • A wide-angle lens for landscapes (24mm or less)
  • Stable Tripod
  • Spare batteries
  • Extra memory cards for camera

Physical Demands

  • Walking less than 200 meters while carrying your camera/tripod
  • Standing in cold weather for 1-2 hours
  • We will be close by our vehicles during the workshop.

What You Will Learn

  • How to properly expose your images
  • How to use manual exposure mode
  • How to focus on birds-in-flight
  • Depth of field settings
  • How to ethically find wildlife and approach without disturbance
  • Landscape photography technique
  • Autofocus settings
  • Photographic strategy
  • Composition
  • Lighting
  • Hand-held and tripod bird-in-flight technique

Wildlife Species

  • Sandhill Crane
  • Canada Goose
  • Northern Harrier
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Prairie Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Rough-legged Hawk
  • Northern Pintail
  • Mallard
  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • American Coot
  • Mule Deer
  • Elk
  • Pronghorn
  • Cinnamon Teal

Male Northern Harrier (aka “The Grey Ghost”) hunting at dusk, Monte Vista NWR, Colorado.

Sandhill Cranes dancing in the San Luis Valley of Colorado

Sandhill Cranes performing their courtship dance, Monte Vista NWR, Colorado.

Male Northern Harrier hears a vole and pounces. Monte Vista NWR, Colorado.

Sandhill Crane in the light of a reflected full moon at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado

Sandhill Crane in moonlight, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge


  • All workshop participants must be fully vaccinated for COVID
  • Proof of vaccination is required to register in the workshop
  • We will practice social distancing and remain outdoors in the open air

Pied-Bill Grebes snuggling in the golden light. Monte Vista NWR, Colorado.

Ed MacKerrow, Instructor

  • Full-time professional photographer
  • Award-winning gallery artist/photographer
  • I have taught photography workshops in Colorado, Alaska, and New Mexico for the past 8 years
  • I have a Ph.D. in Physics/Optics and teach both the science and art of nature photography
  • Wildlife expert, scientific research on raptors
  • Insured and permitted for photography workshops on the San Luis Valley USFWS Refuges Complex
  • I foster a friendly learning environment for all levels of photographers