3 Days
Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge

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Please choose a date below:

February 2-4, 2018

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3-Day Refuge Wildlife Photo Workshop

February 2 – 4, 2018

This travel photography workshop will take place at The Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR which is geographically located within the southwestern edge of the Colorado zone of the Sonoran Desert biome. This location, coupled with an elevation of 227 feet below sea level, results in extremely low annual precipitation and extremely high day time temperatures. Despite the harsh environmental conditions, the Salton Sea supports one of the most diverse avian compositions in the United States as well as a host of endangered and other wildlife species.

In this 3-day course, come learn, see and explore these beautiful creatures as we take you to the highest populated areas of wildlife for you to photograph.

Over 400 bird species have been recorded at the Refuge and at least 93 species have nested on the Refuge. In addition, 41 species of mammals, 18 species of reptiles, 4 species of amphibians and 15 species of fish have been identified in the area.

You will learn:

  • How to choose the correct shutter speed and aperture to get in focus images of Birds
  • Understand Bird Behaviors that will assist in making more interesting and dramatic Images, and knowing when to push the shutter button!
  • How to improve exposures so that your images have detail and clarity and not blown out whites!
  • Choosing the correct equipment for Bird Photography to be successful and making the right investment to create beautiful bird and wildlife images
  • You will have hands on suggestions out in the field on how to improve composition, exposure and techniques!
  • Learn the technique to Pan the Birds and creating Motion Blur shots.


Day One (2 p.m.)
Friday Afternoon:

  • We will meet at 2 p.m. at the hotel and we begin our day for a review of Bird Photography techniques that will enable us to capture some terrific images on the Refuge.
  • We  will shoot the sunset (5:16pm) at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife  Refuge, and then meet up for dinner.

 Day Two (6:30 a.m.)

Early Morning! Saturday morning we will begin with:

  • Shoot watching for variety of migratory birds out at the Salton Sea.  Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and Pelicans are likely to be viewed, and possibly Great Horned Owls and a variety of raptors.
  • Break for breakfast with Assistant Manager of the Refuge, who will be sharing insights about the birds and wildlife on the Refuge.
  • Back out to photography wildlife searching for Burrowing Owls and then exploring The Rock Hill Trail
  • Return to hotel to download images and group
  • Sunset shoot at the refuge                                                            
  • Meet up for dinner share images

Day Three

Sunday Morning!

  • Sunrise shoot and a short 1/2 mile walk on Michael Hardenberger Trail
  • Meet up for breakfast


Camera (extra batteries & memory cards)

Long lens  300, 200-400, 150-600, 500, 600, and Landscape lens (24-120 range)
Monopod if use
Camera Manual
Extra Memory Cards
Extra Battery Fully Charged
Card Reader
Binoculars Optional

Physical Expectation: Easy to Moderate. Outdoor clothing and hiking boots recommended, sunscreen & hat.  Be able to carry gear on trail for about 1 mile, chapstick, rain gear (depending on weather forecast), layers that can be peeled off as needed, Warm Gloves may be needed for early morning/late afternoon shoots, flashlight.


If you would like to stay with the group, we have made arrangements
with the Brawley Inn.
575 W Main St, Brawley, CA 92227
Phone #: 1-800-541-4567

Please mention: California Center for Photography & Digital Arts to get the reduced rate of $79.
It is a popular time of the year and rooms will sell out. Please make your reservation as soon as possible!

Karen Schuenemann