We just finished two wonderful workshops in New Mexico at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge and White Sands National Park. Click here to see the report
Interested in joining us for this workshop in 2023? We just added another session for November 29-December 3 in 2023, click here to learn more.
News flash: we will be scouting several new trips in January including Louisiana Swamps, Route 66 in Oklahoma and Big Bend National Park. Let us know if you would like to be on the Interest List for any of these trips.
Tom and Cree Bol like to celebrate the great images created by their photo community by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For November we chose an image of a Sandhill Crane at the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge created by Riley Brissey . We hope you enjoy Riley’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to November 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Riley Brissey
The Story …
This was day one in Bosque. That evening we had crazy clouds. The whole time we were there cranes were flying in from the left and the right. They never stopped.
Most of the people were photographing birds in flight. I felt like I should be doing the same. I kept looking at the reflections in the water and was thinking how beautiful it was. I wanted to get something in there too.
I started focusing on the water. I was sitting in the grass beside the road, looking for a cool pose or something really neat that would be worthy of putting on the wall.
This crane was a bit further away, probably 12 yards from me. I saw it walking towards the golden light of the reflected clouds and knew I needed to get ready. I was also watching several other cranes and their position. This was the one that was right where I wanted it.
I lowered my exposure to keep the red channel from blowing out. Tom had mentioned this earlier. Because it was a moving subject I kept my shutter speed relatively high for the light conditions. I always like to shoot birds at wide open apertures and I just let the auto ISO do its thing…..
Nikon D850 with a Nikon 500mm PF lens
F5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 2000, exposure comp of -1
Manual mode with auto ISO
About photographing on at Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico
It is a very interesting place. The way the refuge managers have handled the drought is great. They adapted to the conditions this year and still kept it a beautiful place to photograph. They gave the cranes new places to feed and roost.
If you go there any other time of the year, it would not look nearly as beautiful. I came back to Washington after the sunshine in Bosque and it was cloudy and forecast to rain for the next week and a half.
Riley’stips for photographing Sandhill Cranes:
All these things I managed to catch came down to being observant. Blink and you miss it.
On the first morning, I missed the mating dance of two cranes in good light. I was looking to the right and completely missed it.
Keep an eye out all of the time. Put the camera down and look around. There’s only so much you can see from the viewfinder.
Be really attentive and observant of the moment.
On Riley’s Horizon
Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan
Backpacking in Germany
Ready for a bucket list photo adventure in the United States? We have a few spaces open for our Northern Light in Fairbanks Workshop. Click here for more info.
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images created by their community of photographers by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For October we selected an image of a classic car at the WigWam Motel created by Gary Taylor on our Route 66 ABQ to WinslowWorkshop . We hope you enjoy Gary’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to October 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Gary Taylor
The Story …
I kept trying to shoot from the other direction but the steering wheel was obscuring the dashboard. I tried moving to the front and back windows but that did not help. I realized I needed to move to the other side of the car.
On the other side of the car I had to line it up so I would see the teepees in the background and also get a good view of the dashboard.
Doreen and I were trying to use reflectors, Lume Cubes, even a small LED light to illuminate the car from inside. Nothing was working.
I finally decided to try HDR and hoped it would work. When I got home I did the post processing and it just fell into place.
Nikon D810 with a 24-70mm lens, shot at 31mm
F8, 1/320 sec, ISO 800, exposure comp of -2
About photographing on Route 66 from Albuquerque to Winslow
I took a lot of pictures. Most of them were record shots – to record what I saw.
Some of them were really fun shots…..the type of image I would hang on my wall. The car interior and the waiter at the diner where these type of shots.
I really enjoyed the camaraderie of traveling with a group of people. I enjoyed being able to share what I got and seeing what they captured.
Gary’s tips for photographing Route 66:
For most of the shots I bracketed. With the neon lights this is important so the highlights are not blown out. I learned this by shooting holiday lights in my neighborhood in the Chicago area.
Bracketing also helps if you forget to use exposure compensation. It gives you several images to choose from to get closer to the right exposure.
I also did a lot of panoramas while on Route 66. The Petrified Forest and the Yellow Horse Trading Post were very wide. Shooting a panorama gives you more details in the image, instead of just using a wide angle lens.
More about the image with Miles, the waiter
Many of the shots I got weren’t so great. It was crowded in front of him so I moved in the other direction to work the room. That was the shot that worked for me.
I liked how the blinds ended up creating backlighting on Miles. The broken lights of the Venetian blinds added a lot of interest to the image.
On Gary’s Horizon
Oregon and Washington Coasts
Albuquerque for the Balloon Festival
Ireland, England and Scotland
Interested in joining us on Route 66? We just added another workshop from Albuquerque to Winslow in 2024. Click here for more info.
Want to head out sooner with us? Two spaces have opened up on our Bosque & White Sands Workshops in December, 2021 . Click here to read more .
Thanks for reading our posts and congratulations to Gary!
We just finished two workshops on Route 66, one in New Mexico and Texas, the other in New Mexico and Arizona. These are some of our most popular workshops. People often ask about the difference between the two workshops. Which is the better route? Which do you think I would like better?
We decided to post two different trip reports to help you see the difference. Each trip follows a different stretch of Route 66. We photograph different attractions, stay in different hotels and photograph different locals.
The route from Albuquerque to Amarillo has some of the best neon on the route while the stretch from Albuquerque to Winslow has some of the best landscapes.
To see the trip report for our newest stretch from Albuquerque to Winslow, click here
Check out our trip report for our original Route 66: Albuquerque to Amarillo by clicking on this link: Trip Report Link
Interested in joining us for a workshop on Route 66? We just added an additional Route 66: Albuquerque to Winslow, AZ for October 2024, click here to learn more.
News flash: we will be adding a brand new segment, Route 66: Amarillo to Tulsa. Let us know if you would like to be on the Interest List
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images created by their community of photographers by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For August we selected an image of Crystal Lake outside of Ouray created by Thomas Black on our Ouray Fall Colors . We hope you enjoy Thomas’ images as much as we do!
Congratulations to September 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Thomas Black
The Story …
I would not have positioned myself where I did if it had not been for Tom’s suggestion the night before. He said to put something in the foreground. I did and it was a big help.
I was able to line up in front of the red grass without pushing anyone into the water. I set up the camera. I used a two second timer. I took a hundred photos and hoped one would work out.
I hate using a cable release. In fact I often forget to bring one, so the timer works well. Sometimes I use the Canon dedicated phone app for remote control of the shutter. There was no cell connection at the lake so I used the 2 second timer instead.
Of the 100 photos I took of Crystal Lake, I had several that I liked. The one I selected had the most rose color in the water reflection. That was the differentiator.
Canon EOS R6 with a 24-205mm lens
F8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100
About photographing fall foliage in Ouray
In retrospect, it was fantastic! I have never been anywhere with that much fall color.
I have spent weeks at a time in the Northeast. Last year I was on a self-guied photo safari in the Northeast while visiting my daughter. I got some good photos. the timing was good. But there was nothing that compares with Ouray. Yooray for Ouray!
It’s cold there. I brought shorts, sandals and my Speedo. I went out the second day and bought more outerwear. The Ouray merchants were glad I visited.
Thomas’ Start as a Photographer
I got into photography based on a four letter word……golf.
When I retired I went out and bought golf clubs. In five years I never broke one hundred without the use of a pencil erasure on my scorecard. I was horrible. My son said, “Dad, maybe this isn’t the game for you.”
I thought, “Gee, is there some other hobby I can pursue at least as expensive as golf?” I went down to the local camera store and bought a Nikon D60. I needed wall art for a new mountain home, so went around taking photos of local barns. It took off from there….
Thomas’tips for photographing fall foliage:
Have an idea of where you want to go….but pray that you are lucky. The reason I go on workshops with Tom and Cree is that they know where to go.
You could spend days on your own, even on horseback at the True Grit Ranch and not find a wall-worthy photograph
Also, bring a tripod. My hands were so cold they were shaky. Without a tripod I would have had Shake and Bake landscapes.
On Thomas’ Horizon
The Oregon Coast and Redwood Forest
White Sands National Park
There are two spaces on our Ouray Workshop for 2023 . Click here to read more .
We hit the Colorado elk rut at prime time to photograph elk behavior. We saw males fighting, bugling and tossing vegetation on their antlers, all in hopes of attracting females. Check out our trip report by clicking on this link: Trip Report Link
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images created by their community of photographers by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For August we selected a brown bear image created by Teri Manchen on our Brown Bear Safari . We hope you enjoy Teri’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to August 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Teri Manchen
The Story …
At first the mother bear was really far away. She started coming closer to us and I was excited to get the shot. I wished her cubs were in the image too. The were down at the end of a cove and then they walked right past us.
I was happy with the bear and the fish. The fish was on the ground and it was hard to tell if it was still alive. I liked how it lined up with the bear perfectly.
I was not afraid of the bear. I had done the same trip two years ago and had the same experience of getting close to grizzly bears. I was pretty calm. I just wanted to get the shot.
The last time I went to Katmai, I used aperture priority as my preferred shooting mode. This time I shot in manual mode to make sure my shutter speeds were high enough. This was also the first time I used auto ISO on Tom’s recommendation. It was exciting and it really works. Now I will use it a lot.
Nikon D5 with 200-500 Nikon zoom lens at 480mm
Manual mode with auto ISO F11, 1/2000 sec
Teri’stips for photographing brown bears:
Don’t be scared. You will get closer to the bears than you imagine. The first time I photographed brown bears was at Silver Salmon Creek. I was a tad afraid. We were in a buggy and a blond bear started chasing the cart. I was in the very back of the buggy closest to the bear. That experience was a bit nerve wracking. Now I realize that I can be close to bears and not worry when I’m photographing.
About Katmai National Park
I loved every part of Katmai National Park. You can’t imagine that you can walk so closely alongside the bears. It’s unreal. I liked looking for bears and finding them around almost bend of a creek.
The day when we saw 22 bears in one 360 view was amazing. We also had wonderful weather. We never had to put on our raincoats.
On Teri’s Horizon
Ouray, Colorado for fall color
Bucket list: Antarctica
There is one space left on a bear workshop for 2022 . Click here to read more . Our 2022 schedule is getting full, but we have openings for 2023. For our full schedule Click Here
We plan to post a new Ecuador Hummingbirds Workshop soon. Join the interest list
Tom and Cree celebrate the great images being created by their community of photographers each month by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For July we selected an image of a Broad-billed Hummingbird created by Suzanne McCann on our Arizona Hummingbirds Workshop. We hope you enjoy Suzanne’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to July 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Suzanne McCann
The Story …
The story behind this image is twofold. I went down to Madera Canyon not with the intent to simply take pretty pictures. I wanted to create folded notecards or photographs for the wall.
This drove the choice of background, white, because I can fit it into a lot of different wall spaces. During the pandemic I did my best to learn PhotoShop. The white background makes it easier to change out birds and flowers
The hummingbirds themselves were also a driving force for my images. Hummingbirds are spirit symbols in the cultures where hummingbirds are indigenous. Cultures have different interpretations of hummingbirds but they all point to what is good in the world: joy, freedom, prosperity, good luck, a sign from the heavens….a lot of different things, but all uplifting.
When I created the cards it was with the intent to show joy.
The Photo of the Month was originally a bird in one picture and a flower in another. I wanted to combine them into one photograph for a little girl’s room – my grand niece. I chose a gentle background with light pink to set the tone.
I also wanted to create an image that would tell a story for her future. Hummingbirds can fly forward and backward. They can stop on a dime and fly in one place until a situation gets better. They have endurance and determination. Their focus is on the good stuff – the nectar. They skip the thorns and the leaves and go to what is nourishing. Finally, they can be fiercely protective and be a warrior if needed. I wanted to show a girl that while there is pink and pretty and froth, there are also attributes of hummingbirds which are good life lessons
EXIF Data: Nikon D850 with 500mm PF len
Manual mode with flash F16, 1/200 sec, ISO 100
Suzanne’stips for creating hummingbird images:
They move so fast. Don’t be frustrated if you cannot get tack sharp birds in every photo.
I found it easier to focus using a remote trigger. My reflexes are not as quick as they used to be.
Also, go in with a plan. Figure out what you want to do with the photos ahead of time. Then you can decided what will yield the best results while shooting. For me that was choosing to use white backgrounds. Unlike photographing bears, with hummingbird images you can literally change the background color either before taking the image or afterwards with PhotoShop.
About Madera Canyon
The New York Times describes Madera Canyon as a Sky Island. It is incredibly special and just a short distance from Tucson. It is home to a wide variety of birds including hummingbirds. Just go a mile up the road and you will find different species.
You can be photographing hummingbirds and a wild turkey will come up to you to see what you are doing. Or a coatimundi.
Santa Rita Lodge is geared towards attracting birds and animals. They provide spaces for you to enjoy them. And for photographers to set things up.
On Suzanne’s Horizon
Bosque del Apache
Yellowstone in Winter
Arizona Hummingbirds in Madera Canyon
Hummingbirds in Ecuador
There are a few spaces left on our Arizona Hummingbirds Workshop in 2023. Click here to read more
Our 2021 schedule is full, but we have openings for 2022 and 2023, For our full schedule Click Here