White Sands & Bosque del Apache Photography Workshop
White Sands National Park
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
Photography Workshop Overview
October 26 – 31, 2022
- White Sands National Park
- South central New Mexico landscape locations
- Bosque del Apache NWR and surrounding local area
Advanced beginner to advanced
- Experience with DSLR and/or mirrorless camera body
- Use of lenses with 200 mm focal length or longer
- Experience using a tripod
- Current hands-on use of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
Physical Conditioning Level
- Able to easily hike 2 miles on sand dunes carrying your tripod and camera pack(1).If you are unable to hike the distance that the group hikes, we can arrange for you to photograph at a closer agreed-upon location while the rest of the group hikes to longer destinations in the dunes. Please contact me to discuss and plan.
- Comfortable hiking at night on uneven ground using a headlamp
- We will not be by our vehicles at White Sands National Park
$985/person. Limited to 7 participants. (Minimum workshop size = 3 participants)
“Stormy Sunset at White Sands”
“Bathing in the Bosque Light“
We will begin our workshop Wednesday late afternoon at White Sands National Park, photographing the golden hour, sunset, and twilight out on the spectacular white gypsum dunes.
White Sands National Monument will be our landscape photography palette for sunrise, sunset, blue hour, and night between Wednesday and Saturday. Night photography sessions will be chosen with respect to weather, cloud conditions, and NPS permitting.
We will have hands-on post-processing sessions mid-day to learn how to refine your photographs using Lightroom and Photoshop and associated third-party plugins. We will offer a mid-day naptime for rest after our early morning outings.
Saturday morning, we will depart for the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. We will make some stops to photograph landscapes between White Sands and the Bosque del Apache.
We will photograph wildlife and landscapes at the Bosque del Apache NWR from Saturday late afternoon until sunset Monday, October 31. Some photographers in our group will check out of our Socorro hotel on Monday; others will opt to stay Monday night — depending on each photographer’s travel itineraries.
- The workshop is ideally timed:
- Coincides with abundant migratory birds,
- Coincides around a new moon,
- Fall colors.
- Learn how to photograph the Bosque del Apache from a local full-time professional photographer. I know the refuge and White Sands NP very well and photograph them frequently.
- We will have a special raptor photography session with falcons and hawks — this is the best way to learn how to photograph birds in flight.
“Dark sky, white sand“
- Tripod and hand-held technique.
- Learn how to optimally focus on birds in flight .
- Incorporate the beautiful landscape in your BIF compositions.
In addition to Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese the workshop will also focus on raptor photography. The “Bosque” is an excellent habitat for photographing hawks, falcons, harriers, and owls.
- Special Bird-in-Flight (BIF) raptor photography with trained falconry birds.
- Unique opportunity to refine your technique in real time.
- It would take a lifetime in the wild to photograph as many raptors at close range!
- You will be able to improve your focussing, exposure, and composition technique.
- Apply what we learn with falconry birds to photograph wild raptors.
- Practice BIF technique so it becomes second nature to you!
“Locked On: Peregrine Falcon”
“Harris’s Hawk Hunts the Brush“
“Fall Huntress, Northern Harrier over the Bosque del Apache”
White Sands National Park offers a unique and amazing location for landscape photography. The bright white gypsum dunes reflect the colorful New Mexico skies. Ripples in the white sand provide for artistic compositions where you can follow your creative eye to photograph powerful compositions.
The Bosque del Apache NWR is one of the best places for landscape photography in the world — independent of the wildlife that visits there.
- Brilliant emotional lighting,
- Mirror-like bodies of water that reflect the sky colors,
- Colorful foliage provides awesome photographic compositions.
You will learn how to take advantage of this beauty and how to creatively integrate wildlife into stunning landscape images.
Classroom Instruction on Post Processing
Interactive, hands-on instruction on image post-processing, photographic strategy, and presentation will occur at mid-day in Alamogordo on Thursday and Friday and at mid-day in Socorro on Sunday.
- Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
- Useful third-party plugins
- Learn complete nature photography workflows
Permitted and Ethical Nature Photography
In Light of Nature Photography is permitted under the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), insured, and operates its workshops ethically with the utmost respect for wildlife and the refuge.
“Bosque del Apache Bobcat Stare“
“Silver Sentinels” (1st place in 2015 Bosque del Apache Photo Contest)
Bosque del Apache lit up at sundown
- Gloves, warm hat, warm boots, parka
- Thermos with a hot beverage is recommended
- Water bottle, at least 1-quart capacity
- Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle.
- Headlamp, ideally with a red-light option
- DSLR (or mirrorless) camera that you are familiar with
- 300 mm or longer (prime or zoom)
- zoom lens (e.g. 70-200/300 mm or 100-400 mm)
- wide angle lens (e.g. 16mm – 24 mm, 24-70mm
- Sturdy tripod(s)
- Extra camera batteries with charger (a car charger is recommended)
- Extra memory cards, card reader
- Laptop computer with an external hard drive(s)
- Jumbo Ziploc bags for protection at White Sands NP
Moonrise over the fall colors at the Bosque del Apache
Expected Physical Demands
- Ability to stand outside in cold temperatures for 1-3 hours.
- Ability to walk up and down sand dunes for 1-2 miles.
- Ability to carry your photography gear for 200 – 300 meters on occasion.
- The majority of photography locations will be located close to our vehicles.
- Ability to walk short distances and set up photography equipment in the dark (pre-dawn).
- Ability to manipulate photography equipment with cold hands in the morning.
- Restrooms are located around the refuge.
Aplomado Falcon, a favorite of the raptor photography class
Bald Eagle between the lines of sunrise at the Bosque del Apache