PhotoTrack

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PHOTOTRACK

Our newly-designed 2018 Photo Track is sure to generate excitement, with topics ranging from Digiscoping to 4/3 Cameras to Point-and-Shoot to 35mm.  We offer something for every interest level and ability.  Indoor classroom topics on photo processing, in-the-field excursions to get hands-on experience, guidance from professionals, action shots, and demystifying those settings are some highlights of the new format.  If you are new to digiscoping, you can learn from the master, Clay Taylor.  If you’re looking to get those crushing Crested Caracara photos, try the Martin Refuge for fantastic photo ops in natural settings.   Both the Photo Rodeos and the Point-and-Shoots will touch on every aspect of nature photography to enhance your knowledge and skills.

NoteAll trips other than Martin Refuge and Photographing Birds in Flight meet on site – directions to PhotoTrack destinations will be provided in your registration packets. 

DIGISCOPING FROM THE DECK  PhotoOp_1 ScopeUseful_1

With Clay Taylor, Swarovski Optik
Fee $20 / Saturday 2pm – 5pm

This workshop, sponsored by Swarovski Optik, is designed to help digiscopers of all levels of experience but will be particularly valuable for struggling beginners. It will be conducted by Clay Taylor, the Naturalist/Market Manager with Swarovski Optik Ltd and a pioneer of digiscoping in the U.S.  Meet onsite at the deck at Estero Llano Grande State Park Visitor Center. Clay will cover setups, camera settings, field-shooting techniques and reviews of images. Please bring all your equipment including spotting scope, tripod, camera and adapter, fully charged batteries and empty memory cards. If you do not have a spotting scope, let Clay know in advance at [email protected]. Clay will also have digiscoping adapters for DLSR cameras and smart phones available.

Goals: Use your scope as a long lens to get the best up-close shots from a basic camera.

*LAGUNA SECA RANCH

with Ruth Hoyt
Fee $125 / Friday 7am – 11:30am

Laguna Seca Ranch is renowned for their photo blinds. This world class location is opening their property for a special photo opportunity for a small number of participants. After meeting at the ranch gates at 7am, you will be escorted to a shared blind with the opportunity to photograph songbirds that are attracted to the water feature or food near the blind. Bathrooms on premises. Photo ops suitable for all hand-held cameras and those requiring tripods. Important: Meet promptly at the ranch gate, directions provided.

MARTIN REFUGE Van_1 PhotoOp_1

Fee $200 / Wednesday, Sunday 6am – 1:45pm

The Martin Refuge, owned by John and Audrey Martin, has hosted wildlife photographers since 2003 on its 300 acres of thorn scrub enhanced by water features and professionally designed photo-blinds. It is particularly renowned for the opportunities it affords to photographers for close views of Crested Caracaras, Harris’s Hawks and other raptors. This trip is an excellent opportunity for behavioral observation and study as well.  Patty Raney of Martin Refuge will guide us to the blinds for this unique chance to get great shots of wildlife at this private ranch.  After a morning of photography with the raptors, the Refuge will be providing us with lunch at one of its open-air palapas.

The trip will be limited to eight participants and is suitable for photographers of all levels. Bring lots of batteries – there is no electricity on site. Restroom available on-site.

*PHOTO RODEO:  INTRODUCTION TO BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY  

With Tropical Birding
Fee $50/Wednesday 7am – 12pm

This workshop is targeted at those who are relatively new to bird photography. We’ll meet onsite at Estero Llano Grande State Park.  We’ll start with a classroom get-acquainted session going over photo equipment, camera settings, and more before heading into the field to get some guidance and hands-on experience.

Goals: Get jump-started on bird photography with proper instruction.

*PHOTO RODEO: UNDERSTANDING AND MASTERING MICRO 4/3 CAMERAS   

With Tropical Birding
Fee $50/Wednesday 8am – 12pm

We’ll meet onsite at Estero Llano Grande State Park.  We’ll start with a get-acquainted session indoors before heading into the field.  Micro 4/3 cameras are a new system of photography that works well for those birding with a camera.

Goals: Learn new techniques to improve your bird photography with your Micro 4/3 camera.

*PHOTO RODEO:  PHOTOGRAPHING BIRDS OF THE SHORE 

With Tropical Birding
Fee $50 / Friday 7:30am – 12pm
We’ll meet onsite at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.  We’ll start in the classroom before heading onto the back deck and boardwalk.  Our focus will be on technique rather than species diversity.  We’ll explore the coastal marsh on boardwalks and practice with many gulls, terns, or herons.

 Goals: Increase your skills photographing birds.

*PHOTO RODEO:PHOTOGRAPHING BIRDS IN FLIGHT – GULLS AND HAWKS  

With Tropical Birding
Fee $75 / Thursday, Saturday 7:30am – 12:30pm
We’ll meet at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium for an orientation inside before riding in RGVBF vehicles (required) to the Brownsville Scenic Landfill.   Our focus will be on technique rather than species diversity.  We’ll explore the dump and practice with many gulls, Crested Caracara, or White-tailed Hawks.  We’ll try to work on action photography in backlit or rapidly changing light conditions.

Goals: Increase your skills photographing perched and flying birds in an open setting. NOTE: Site may be changed in the event of adverse road conditions or rain.

*PHOTO RODEO:  PHOTOGRAPHING VALLEY BIRDS – EDINBURG

With Tropical Birding
Fee $50 / Saturday 8am – 12pm
We’ll meet onsite at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, where we’ll work on photographing fast moving small birds and take advantage of other photo opportunities and challenges.  Our focus will be on technique rather than species diversity.  We’ll watch the hummingbird feeders as well as the other feeding stations and watch for the shy Green Kingfisher to appear.

Goals: Increase your skills photographing perched and flying birds in a woodland environment.

*PHOTO RODEO:  CLASSROOM WORKSHOP – Introduction to Bird Photo Processing

With Tropical Birding
Fee $20 / Wednesday 1:30pm-3:30pm
We’ll meet onsite at Estero Llano Grande State Park, but we’ll be indoors for this workshop. This class breaks photo processing down to the basics to a point where it will not be intimidating to anyone. Rather than a workflow-based talk, this is not about using Camera Raw, Lightroom or Photoshop. It is about some techniques you can use in any of these programs such as composition, cropping, color balance, sharpening and the horrors of shadow-highlights.

*PHOTO RODEO:  CLASSROOM WORKSHOP – Advanced Bird Photography Processing

With Tropical Birding
Fee $20 / Friday 1:30pm-3:30pm 
We’ll meet at a nearby site in Harlingen (map provided). This class is for people who understand the basics of bird photo processing but want to do a lot more. We will touch on a series of techniques such as masking, working with layers. Once we work through these, we will get on to branch removal, smart noise reduction and luminosity masking. People attending should bring some photos on a flash drive and a laptop with photo processing software if possible.

*POINT-AND-SHOOT: BASIC FIELD TECHNIQUES

With Stephen Ingraham, Zeiss Inc.
Fee $50 / Thursday 7:30am –12:30pm
We’ll meet onsite at the National Butterfly Center.  Our focus will be on technique rather than species diversity.  We’ll explore the water features and feeding stations for photo opportunities with Green Jays, Great-tailed Grackles, and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers.

Goals: Increase your skills photographing birds with your Point-and-Shoot camera of any variety.

*POINT-AND-SHOOT:  FIELD WORKSHOP  

With Stephen Ingraham, Zeiss Inc.
Fee $50 / Friday 7:30am – 12:30pm
We’ll meet onsite at Estero Llano Grande State Park, where we’ll start with a brief indoor session.  Our focus will be on technique rather than species diversity.  We’ll explore the deck and boardwalks looking for photo opportunities.

Goals: Increase your skills photographing birds, butterflies, dragonflies, blooms and scenery.

*POINT-AND-SHOOT: CLASSROOM WORKSHOP – An Introduction to Point-and-Shoot Nature Photography  

With Stephen Ingraham, Zeiss Inc.
Fee $20 / Wednesday 1pm-2:30 pm  
We’ll meet at a nearby site in Harlingen (map provided) for an indoor workshop on point-and-shoot cameras, settings, and how to make them work for you.

Goals: Getting started on nature photography with your point-and-shoot camera.

*POINT-AND-SHOOT: CLASSROOM WORKSHOP – Basic Post-processing for Point-and- Shoot Photography

With Stephen Ingraham, Zeiss Inc.
Fee $20 / Saturday 1pm-2:30pm
We’ll meet at a nearby site in Harlingen (map provided) for an indoor workshop that will get you started on post-processing your images.

Goals: Learn the basics of post-processing and what it can do for your photographs.  

*POINT-AND-SHOOT:  ADVANCED FIELD TECHNIQUES

With Stephen Ingraham, Zeiss Inc.
Fee $50 / Sunday 7:30am-12pm
We’ll meet onsite at the South Padre Island Bird and Nature Center.  This is a hands-on field workshop on getting the most out of your point-and-shoot camera.  Point-and-shoot cameras can be wonderful for nature photography – let Steve help you expand your skills.

Goals: Improving your own nature photographs with your point-and-shoot camera.