Texas Birds in Spring

Space Available                  See 2020 Trip Report

2022 Dates:

Session 1: April 26-May 1, 2022   Tuesday evening 6:30 pm – Sunday morning at 10:00 am 1 Space Available

Session 2: May 2-6, 2022   Monday evening 6:30 pm – Saturday morning  at 10:00 am  – 1 Space Available

Each session is limited to to 8 people:                                                              

Cost: $2699

Location: McAllen, Texas

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 photography 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 adventure with three days of photography at the Laguna Seca Ranch. We have planned our trip for this time of year because of the abundance of spring migrant birds. In addition to regulars like Green Jay, Black Crested Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Long Billed Thrasher and Lesser Goldfinch, we hope to see painted buntings, 4 types of orioles and migrating warblers.

For the final day of the workshop we will travel to Santa Clara Ranch to spend a day in different blinds. If we are lucky we may have the chance to photograph animals like Collared Peccary (otherwise known as javelinas), white tailed deer, armadillos and an occasional bobcat (photographed at the blinds once a month). 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
  • 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 will reserve a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Pharr, Texas for the entire workshop. Be sure to book your room at the hotel in Pfarr on Nolana Road as there are several Hampton Inns nearby. Tom and I often upgrade to a two queen suite at this hotel for a very reasonable rate.

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. Rio Grande City is 45 minutes from the McAllen airport.


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
  • Breakfast daily at the hotel
  • 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:

Day 1: Meet in the lobby of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Pharr, Texas at 7 pm.

Day 2: 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 Crested Caracara. In the afternoon we will move to the songbird blinds with colorful perches.

Day 3: On this day we will return to the Laguna Seca Ranch for more work with birds on perches. We will also practice photographing birds in flight using group area auto-focus.

Day 4: We will spend our final session at Laguna Seca in the morning. In the afternoon we will meet in the conference room at the Hampton Inn to work on editing in PhotoShop and Lightroom.

Day 5: We will spend a full day at the Santa Clara Ranch photographing song bird species and possibly land animals. All meals will be provided on this day.

Day 6: Final image review – show us your best images from the trip. The workshop ends at 10:00 am

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