South Texas Birds 2021

Limited to 8 people: SOLD OUT       See Trip Report from 2020

Location: McAllen, Texas

Dates: February 23-28, 2021  Tuesday at 7 pm – Sunday at 10:00 am

Cost: $2699

Details: If you are looking to take your wildlife photography to the next level, we have the trip for you.  Come join us for warm weather bird and wildlife photography from the amazing ranch blinds of South Texas.  

Photographing birds from a blind may change the way you plan your future photography trips. By setting up perches and using bird food to lure them in, the birds will come to you. South Texas is a mecca for bird photography blinds. On this trip we will spend several days learning to photograph exotic South Texas species from some of the best bird photography ranches in the country.  On our last trip there we shot thousands of images in only a few days. We will have exclusive use of the ranches and multiple blinds each day.

We will start our bird photography adventures at the Laguna Seca Ranch. We have planned our trip for this time of year because of the abundance of winter raptors. We may see from 20-25 crested caracaras at one time from our blinds. In the afternoon we will photograph songbirds like the Green Jay, Black Crested Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Long Billed Thrasher and Lesser Goldfinch. On day two we will return to Laguna Seca Ranch and include a more advanced session on photographing birds in flight. On day three we drive to a local birding hotspot to photograph numerous species of herons, Vermilion Flycatchers and the elusive ground dwelling Paraque.

For our final day we will drive to the Santa Clara Ranch to spend a full day in their bird blinds. Common bird species at their ranch include Harris Hawks, Road Runners, Black Throated Sparrow, Golden Fronted Woodpeckers and Audubon’s Orioles. If we are lucky we may have the chance to photograph animals like Collared Peccary (otherwise known as javelinas), armadillos and an occasional bobcat. We will end the workshop on Sunday with a session for image sharing and critiques.

Come join us for this fantastic trip.  We love photographing birds, and can’t wait to return!  We promise you will have a lot of fun, improve your photography, and create images worthy of hanging in your home.  

What you will learn:

  • Blind photography techniques
  • How to photograph birds
  • Advanced metering and autofocus strategies for wildlife photography
  • Fill flash using a tele-flash extender
  • Exposure
  • Composition
  • Editing in Lightroom and Photoshop 

A typical day: Our days  will be all about photographing birds. Our goal is to help you learn how to take compelling bird photos with hands on instruction. We will cover camera settings, anticipating behavior, and specialty topics like stylizing perches, site prep and using food to lure birds.

Hotel:  We have a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Pharr, Texas for the duration of the workshop.  Be sure to ask for the Tom Bol Photo Workshop block of rooms when booking.

Closest Airport: McAllen, Texas – Our hotel in Pharr is located just 15 minutes from the airport in McAllen. Pharr and McAllen are only ten minutes from each other. 

Recommended camera gear:

  • 1-2 camera bodies (back up body can be useful)
  • Wider telephoto lens for example 70-200mm or 300mm
  • Longer telephoto lens –200-500mm, 500mm or 600mm
  • Tripod
  • Laptop for editing and critique
  • Plenty of spare cards – plan to shoot several thousand images

Included in the fee:

  • All meals while photographing at the Santa Clara Ranch
  • All fees for private blinds and guides; exclusive use of the ranch blinds
  • All instruction
  • Copy of Tom’s ebook Create Better Photographs

Participants will provide their own:

  • Hotel accommodation
  • Transportation while in Texas (we recommend a SUV or vehicle with high clearance because of the dirt roads on the ranches.
  • Round trip transportation to McAllen, Texas
  • All meals except when at the Santa Clara Ranch 

Itinerary:

Tuesday, February 23: Meet in the lobby of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Pharr, Texas at 7 pm.

Wednesday, February 24: Breakfast at the hotel, then drive to Laguna Seca Ranch for a full day of photographing from blinds. For the morning session we will photograph raptors including an abundance of Crested Caracara. In the afternoon we will move to the songbird blinds with colorful perches.

Thursday, February 25: We return to the Laguna Seca Ranch for a second full day of photographing birds. We will use group area autofocus to practice photographing birds in flight.

Friday, February 26: For our final session at the Laguna Seca Ranch will finish by working on how to create your own perches for bird photography. In the afternoon, we will meet I the conference room to work on selecting and editing photographs in PhotoShop and Lightroom.

Saturday, February 27: We will spend our final day at the Santa Clara Ranch photographing new species and possibly seeing land animals.

Sunday, February 28: Final image review – show us your best images from the trip. The workshop ends at 10:00 am

Sign up

 

 

Itinerary:

Tuesday, February 23: Meet in the lobby of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Pharr, Texas at 7 pm.

Wednesday, February 24: Breakfast at the hotel, then drive to Laguna Seca Ranch for a full day of photographing from blinds. For the morning session we will photograph raptors including an abundance of Crested Caracara. In the afternoon we will move to the songbird blinds with colorful perches.

Thursday, February 25: Breakfast at the hotel, then drive to Laguna Seca Ranch for a second full day of photographing from blinds. For the morning session we will focus on photographing songbirds in flight. 

Friday, February 26: Our final morning session at the Laguna Seca Ranch. We will return to the hotel for an extended session unselecting and editing photographs in PhotoShop and Lightroom.

Saturday, February 27: We will drive to the Santa Clara Ranch for breakfast at their guest house. During a full day at the ranch we will look for javelina, roadrunners and the resident Harris Hawks in their blinds. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served at the ranch at no cost to participants.

Sunday, February 28: Final image review – show us your best images from the trip. The workshop ends at 10:00 am