The Baja Adventure Photography Tour is truly like no other. You can't help but be inspired and create wonderful images in a world without distractions. Because we partner with Baja Airventures, you can bring that special person who is not a photographer and normally wouldn't go with you. Non-photographers can enjoy outings with you or opt for sleep and the "normal" amazing Las Animas experience while you are on those early morning sunrise or after dark Milky Way photography excursions. Excursions like snorkeling with sea lions or chasing dolphins will always be enjoyed as a complete group. Anyone who loves nature will be instantly at home here. The Midriff Islands and surrounding sea area are protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites and remain undeveloped. An occasional fisherman or kayaker is typically the extent of humans you'll see away from the Las Animas ecolodge.
The dark skies at Las Animas are simply breathtaking. There is not a significant source of light pollution for over 100 miles. All our tours are carefully scheduled around or near new moon events with moon rise times taken into account. Baja Adventure Photography tours are designed to be able to shoot the sunset and then stars in the same location as soon as they start appearing in the sky. You won't have to get up at 3am for the Milky Way on this tour! Because no one can predict mother nature and safety is our #1 priority, we have several great sites within hiking distance of the retreat with plenty of space to spread out and create your own unique compositions. Also, the locations near the ecolodge are ideal for doing overnight time lapse photography.
Baja is a land and sea full of diversity that Jacques Cousteau called "the Galapagos of North America." John Steinbeck wrote that the Sea of Cortez is "The Hidden Heart of Baja.” Wide open spaces, majestic mountains, deserts similar to Sonora, abundant sea life and mysteries such as the unexplainable Dwarf Mangrove in Bahia Las Animas are all waiting for you to interpret with your photography.
While the Milky Way and landscapes are the big photography attractions, there are definitely opportunities to capture wildlife. Whale sharks are rare this time of year, but we were fortunate to see them on the 2016 tour. From sea lions to dolphins, coyotes to blue footed boobies, pelicans and countless other birds, life is abundant.
Las Animas Ecolodge is operated by Baja Airventures and is Traveladvisors #1 specialty lodging in Baja California! The Baja Airventure tour is an all inclusive consisting of transportation to/from San Diego on their planes with highly skilled pilots who are also adventure guides at the ecolodge, accommodations, more great food than you can eat, cervesa, margaritas, soft drinks and of course, fresh drinking water.
The Private beach-side yurts are equipped with bathroom, solar shower, composting toilets, comfortable Queen and King sized beds, covered decks and skylight roofs. The yurts are built around the spacious main lodge yurt which offers an expansive deck that serves as a central dining area, game area and communal lounge space. The lodge has Wi-Fi if you really must connect and a satellite phone is available for urgent matters. The staff at ecolodge are wonderful and do a great job of taking care of the guests.
What about the Food? Well, let me tell you from personal experience it's spectacular, especially if you like freshly caught seafood! But don't worry if you don't or have allergies, you'll be taken care of. The chef at Las Animas eco-lodge is 5 star quaility and came to Las Animas for the life style and to be with family throughout the day. By the time you leave, you will feel like part of the family too. All the images below were taken from the last 2016 photography tour. I was under a lot of pressure to get on with it as the guests were eager to dig in. I thought they were going to take my camera at one point.
About Us and the Tour I am Curtis Olinger, proprietor & photographer at CKOPIX.COM.
Make no mistake, I take having fun with photography seriously and enthusiastically. I never take a day for granted and work hard to make sure you have a great experience. If we don't have fun there's not much point, right? This is my second career, I have degrees in engineering and computer science and worked in the telecom and wireless fields for over thirty years. I have always had an art side and loved photography, but never had the time or inclination to build a dark room and all that entails. When digital photography started to become viable, it fit me like a glove. With self study, college and continuing ed classes, practice and the help of many great people who are now among my closest friends, I went from novice to well, let's just call it obsessed. My wife Lisa and I have been to Las Animas a few times and it gets better every time. We love this place so much that we partnered with Baja Airventures to offer this photography tour. If you love nature but like the comforts of a real bed, shower and great food this tour will knock your socks off. I don't like to claim a specific genre of photography. I love to learn and combine facets of different genres of photography and share this with like minds. I am currently building my commercial brand and thrilled to be affiliated with Baja Airventures to go where not many have photographed with a trip that is different from the pack. For example on our last trip, we were all fascinated by the luminous plankton that would light up the water in the wake of the ponga and when schools of fish swam through. It was very cool but hard to capture. The pilot Gray and I bounced around some ideas and decided a long exposure would be the best bet. Lisa and I hiked up to the cliff on a point near the eco-lodge and signaled to the boat with flashlight codes. Gray and the captain ran the boat in expanding circles and we caught the effect under the Milky Way. I can't say this kind of stuff will happen every trip, but if something cool is happening, we will have fun trying to capture it!
Our clients have fun: "“What a rush! If you ever build a Bucket List, Las Animas has got to be on it. We saw and experienced things we never would have imagined. If you’re apprehensive of an adventure like this, leave those thoughts at home. The staff of Las Animas were there to take care of our every need. We have never been exposed to such a variety of culinary, cultural, physical and mental experiences and probably never will again. A must see place on the planet. And the plus was the photos we took. Curtis is a great teacher and was very patient in guiding us through shots we never knew could come out of our camera. Now the real hard work is picking out our favorite pictures from the hundreds we took so we can share our adventures with others.” Bob & Theresa S.
What to Expect
- The Exact schedule is flexible due to weather and wind conditions for safety. Blessed by the flexible, for they may bend but they shall never break.” - Nancy Rotenberg
- Target 2 local sunset and night shoots on the beach, plateau, cactus, high on the point, rocky beach, etc. Individuals may elect to shoot independently
- Target 2 to 3 sunset and night excursions: Isla El Pescdor and Cardon's in the Bay of Las Animas
- 2 to 3 sunrise shoot excursions: Cardon's, Stingray Beach and Isla El Pescado.
- 2 local sunrise shoots as group or or individuals may elect to shoot independently.
- The Oyster Bay half day+ outing. After shooting the sunrise at Stingray Beach on Oyster Bay we will explore the winding channels and sand dunes in the golden hour and beyond. After that the tide should be out and we can walk the dwarf mangrove. We will pack breakfast burritos and a light lunch.
- Based on smooth water timing we will journey out to look for and photograph dolphins, sea lions (some may snorkel, underwater opps here), Blue Footed Boobies and birds of the area. The timing depends on the conditions. This could be in conjunction with morning shoots.
- The rest of the day is yours with flexible sessions on long exposure, time lapse and other topics based on group interest. Of course catching up on rest from late night and early mornings, hiking and water activities are totally acceptable!
- Prep for the next outings, photo sharing, tips and Q&A will be held daily around the happy hour
- We keep the size small to maximize the experience, each trip is limited to 12 participants. Slots fill up quickly.
- Trip costs include air transportation to Las Animas by Baja Airventures to/from Brown Field Airport, San Diego. All lodging, activities, food and drinks (cervesa and margaritas) are included.
- Trip Fee - $2887.00 based on double occupancy per yurt. If you are going alone we will try to pair you up. Additional Mexican taxes will also be applied.
- 10% discount for alumni of any Las Animas trip with Baja Airventures.
- Down payment of 50% required to hold the spot, full payment required 90 days prior to trip. 15% cancellation fee for 91 days or greater.
- Payment accepted via Paypal invoice sent by CKOPIX or by check written to CKO Enterprises LLC and mailed to CKOPIX, 8343 Mullen RD, Lenexa, KS 66215
- The Las Animas staff are some of the hardest working people I have known. Tips are customary and encouraged.
- Contact Curtis to sign up and with any inquiries: +1-913-237-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the "normal" activities...