White Sands & Bosque del Apache Photography Workshop

November 10- November 15, 2021. $985. Limited to 7 photographers

White Sands & Bosque del Apache Photography Workshop

White Sands National Park
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge
Photography Workshop Overview


November 10-15, 2021.


White Sands National Park (Wednesday afternoon Nov 10 –> Friday afternoon, Nov 12)

Bosque del Apache NWR and surrounding local area (Friday afternoon, Nov 12 —> Monday afternoon, Nov 15)

Workshop Level

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
  • Familiar (not an expert) with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Workshop Cost

$985/person. Limited to 7 participants.

“Stormy Sunset at White Sands”


Bathing in the Bosque Light

Workshop Description

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.  After our evening photoshoot, we will have a group dinner (no-host) in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

White Sands National Monument will be our landscape photography palette for Thursday morning (sunrise), Thursday evening (sunset), and Friday morning (sunrise).  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.

Friday morning we will depart for the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. We will photograph wildlife and landscapes at the Bosque del Apache NWR from Friday afternoon until sunset on Monday, November 15th.  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,
    • Fall colors,
    • There is no in-person Festival of Cranes in 2021 at the Bosque del Apache NWR — fewer people
  • Learn how to photograph the Bosque del Apache from a local full-time professional photographer. I know the Bosque very well and photograph it all year round!
  • 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

Bird-in-Flight Photography

  • Tripod and hand-held technique.
  • Learn how to optimally focus on birds in flight .
  • Incorporate the beautiful landscape in your BIF compositions.

Raptor Photography

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

Bosque del Apache Photography Workshop

“Fall Huntress, Northern Harrier over the Bosque del Apache”

Landscape Photography

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 Socorro.

  • 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


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

  • 3:00PM – 6:30PM “Afternoon/Evening” photoshoot at White Sands National Park.
  • 7:30 PM Group (no-host) dinner in Alamogordo

Thursday, November 11, 2021

  • 5:30AM – 10:00 AM Sunrise-morning photography at White Sands National Park
  • 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM Post-processing instruction
  • 3:00PM – 6:30 PM Afternooon-evening photography at White Sands National Park

Friday, November 12, 2021

  • 5:30AM – 9:00 AM Sunrise-morning photography at White Sands National Park
  • 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM Post-processing instruction
  • 1:00 PM depart for Bosque del Apache NWR (2 hour drive)
  • 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM Afternoon-evening photography at Bosque del Apache NWR

Saturday and Sunday November 13 and 14, 2021

  • 5:30 AM – 10:30 AM Dawn, sunrise, morning photography at Bosque del Apache NWR
  • 11:30AM – 2:30PM Post-processing instruction
  • 3:30 PM – 6:30PM Afternoon-evening photography at Bosque del Apache NWR

Monday, November 15, 2021

  • 5:30 AM – 6:30 PM Photography on the Bosque del Apache NWR (no post-processing this day)
  • You choose if you want to stay Monday night or not in Socorro.

Up Before Dawn

American Badger hunts the fields

Required Equipment

  • 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
  • Lenses:
    • 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 ~ 1/4 mile.
  • 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


  • Workshop photographers are responsible for making their lodging reservations
  • Alamogordo, New Mexico:  White Sands Motel(575) 437-2922” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>(575) 437-2922
    • Check-in date =  Wednesday, November 10, 2021
    • Check-out date = Friday, November 12, 2021
    • Rooms are saved under In Light of Nature / Ed MacKerrow.
  • Socorro, New Mexico:  Holiday Inn Express. (575)-838-4600” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>(575)-838-4600
    • Check-in date = Friday, Nov 12, 2019
    • Check-out date = Monday, Nov 15, 2019
  • More detailed logistics will be sent to registered photographers

Dawn’s early light at the Bosque del Apache NWR

Bald Eagle between the lines of sunrise at the Bosque del Apache


Register for the Workshop

About the Instructor

I am a full-time professional nature photographer.  My images have been published internationally, including magazine covers and have won multiple first-place awards in prestigious photo contests.

  • For the past 30 years I have photographed at the Bosque del Apache NWR.
  • I know the Bosque del Apache NWR very well and will show you how to optimally photograph it.
  • For years I wrote the quarterly “Photo Tips” article for the Friends of the Bosque del Apache newsletter.
  • I served as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR.

I have a PhD in Physics / Optics and have published multiple research papers on light. In addition to the science of light I have formal training in landscape painting (pastel and watercolor) and am active in the Santa Fe and Taos art scene.

  • In my workshops I teach both the science and art of nature photography.
  • I teach technique from both landscape and wildlife photography.
  • I work individually with you to refine your specific photography desires.

Respect for wildlife and ethical photography is important to me.

  • I teach how to find wildlife and photograph it without chasing, or disturbing it.
  • I also conduct scientific research (peer-reviewed published) on raptors.

My images are sold in galleries in Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.

Respect for all abilities is important to me and those that take my workshops.  I foster a friendly and non-condescending atmosphere for all photographers in the workshop!

  • Everyone is here to learn and improve,
  • Photography is constantly changing with new tools and techniques,
  • Staying current is vital to success!

Waiting patiently in the blind

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