Bosque del Apache Avian Photography Workshop December 2021 Join Scott Bourne on his final group workshop of his career

Email scott@scottbourne.com for registration info. If Covid causes us to cancel this tour, your deposit will be refunded.*

All participants will require a proof of vaccination to attend the tour. No exceptions.

There’s no sound like it on earth. Thousands of birds leaving at once, flying skyward in search of food. There’s no visual like it on earth. The sky can seem to darken as the mass of birds obscures the sky on their flight northward. Only those who have been there in person really know what it’s like at Bosque del Apache near Socorro, New Mexico. And once the place has its hooks into you, it’s hard to shake it.

The good news is that Bosque is back! In 2018/19 the refuge management made great strides to improve the conditions at Bosque and the photo opportunities were the best they have been in years. Unfortunately 2020 was a wash out due to the pandemic, but by all accounts, 2021 should also be a great year.

Based on popular demand, Scott Bourne is once again leading a tour to Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge in 2021.

Because of that popularity of past tours and the fact that this will be Scott's final workshop before he retires from group teaching, we are opening tour dates early to make sure everyone has plenty of advanced notice.

WHAT: Bosque del Apache Avian Photography Tour With Scott Bourne

WHEN: December 2 - December 6, 2021 Small Group Tour

WHERE: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge 1001 New Mexico 1 - San Antonio, New Mexico (Nearest airport Albuquerque, New Mexico)

COST: Group fee $1399 per person. $500 non-refundable deposit (except for Covid exclusions*) holds your seat. Balance due in full no later than September 1, 2021. $200 early bird discount if you prepay the entire workshop before May 30, 2021 - ($1199 instead of $1399.) All seats are sold first-come, first served. This tour will sell out early so act now if you are interested.

All Photos Copyright Scott Bourne

General Information: The small group tour allows for up to 10 participant-photographers plus the instructor and his assistant to explore the wildlife refuge twice daily in planned activities plus additional one-on-one critique sessions in the afternoons. We will also take a trip to Albuquerque (weather permitting) to photograph at one of Scott's favorite (secret) locations for waterfowl.

About Your Tour Leader

Scott Bourne is an Olympus Visionary and award winning nature and wildlife photographer, who has had his work featured in more than 200 publications. Scott will lead this workshop to one of his most favorite places to shoot on the planet: Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. With three decades of experience at the refuge, Scott knows where to go and what to look for and he will teach participants how to photograph avian subjects for publication. He has been a featured speaker at the "Festival of the Cranes" hosted by the Friends of the Bosque and has even written a book on how to find and photograph birds at Bosque del Apache. Lots of people lead tours here - few with Scott's experience or credentials.

What you will learn on this tour...

  • Recognizing and evaluating a situation/learning to see like a professional
  • Choosing your perspective
  • Getting the right exposure: basic principles, exposing for highlight control, exposing to the right and evaluating/adjusting the histogram
  • Tripod handling and hand-holding techniques
  • Capturing the sharpest images possible
  • How (and why) to get on sun angle
  • Poses and proper head angle and what the orientation of the subject should be relative to the imaging sensor
  • Understanding what wind direction has to do with (and how it impacts) bird photography
  • Flight photography basics

Participants will learn how to properly expose and create artistically designed images. Because of the small group size, you will have plenty of attention and support from Scott. Most tour companies bring twice as many students making it harder for you to get your questions answered. On this tour, you will have plenty of room to work and all students will have the chance to shoot elbow to elbow in the field with Scott. You will learn his award winning techniques and the essential aspects of avian photography. Throughout the tour, participants will learn professional insights and techniques.

All registered participants will receive an information package with details on what to wear, what to bring, where to stay and meet, suggested gear list, sample itinerary, etc. All registered participants will receive an orientation phone call prior to the tour.

Skill Level:

A firm understanding of your camera operations is required. It is preferable that participants are familiar with using manual mode, f-stops and shutter speed is needed. This workshop is for advanced beginners as well as intermediate and advanced photographers.

All Camera Types/Brands Welcome

No matter what type of camera you have or what brand you use, you will be welcome on this tour. It is advised that you bring a lens of at least 400mm (or equal on crop sensor bodies) to have the best experience. Scott shoots with Olympus and if you are an Olympus shooter, he can help set up your camera for success at Bosque. All other camera brands are welcome but you are expected to know how to set up your own camera.

Included With The Tour Fee:

  • Guide service
  • Photography instruction
  • Image critique sessions
  • Daily / Weekly admission into Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge

NOT Included With The Tour Fee:

  • Airfare/Transportation to/from Socorro, NM
  • Transportation to, from and on the Refuge
  • Food/Beverages
  • Hotel accommodations

To register, or to have your questions answered, please send an e-mail scott@scottbourne.com. All seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All participants will be required to sign a Waiver of Liability. All fees must be prepaid and all fees are non-refundable (except for Covid exclusions*) - trip insurance is strongly advised. We use World Nomads and can confidently recommend them if you need a good company from which to buy trip/travel insurance.

This tour is not open to residents of New Hampshire.

P.S. Scott will have all the proper permits to lead this tour. The federal government requires tour leaders to have a National Wildlife Refuge System Commercial Activities Special Use Permit. Liability insurance is also required. If you attend a Bosque tour with a leader who doesn't have a permit or insurance, you face the very real possibility that your trip will be cut short and/or your experience very negatively impacted. Be sure you only travel to National Wildlife Refuges on commercial tours that are properly insured and permitted.

COVID-19 Concerns

The two most important questions you have are probably: Will it be safe and if Covid-19 causes a cancellation can I get my deposit back. As for question one we can say that we will not operate the trip if Scott doesn't feel like he can give you the safest experience possible. Scott is in a high-risk category where C-19 is concerned and you can bet he won't be taking any chances with his own life, so he wouldn't take chances with yours. We will only go forward if we believe that the trip can offer a safe experience. That said, we cannot and will not be responsible for C-19 infection spread. All we can do is take as many reasonable precautions as possible. The Refuge is going to do a great job of sanitizing their spaces and due to the remote nature of the location, there is less risk for infection spread. It is a small place and doesn't experience high traffic which would increase the likelihood of disease.

ALL participants in this tour will require proof of vaccination against C-19. No exceptions. We believe this will make the trip as safe as possible and allow us to work together in a more comfortable fashion. Depending on the circumstances that unfold in this evolving situation, we may still implement mask requirements and social distancing depending on government guidance.

AIR TRAVEL has been normalized thanks to high-capacity air purification and recirculation systems onboard all modern aircraft. Most airplanes are far safer than the environment at your local grocery store. Airplanes have large, medical-grade filtration systems and the airlines know that if there is wide-spread disease outbreak on their planes they will go out of business. We trust them to look out for their own interests in this regard which means we feel safe. At the time we write this they all require masks for the duration of any flight.

This is an ever-changing situation but for now, IF COVID 19 IS STILL ACTIVE...the precautions that we have decided to add to the trip are as follows...

All participants will receive daily temperature checks and daily blood oxygen level tests. In the event of a possible problem medical personnel will be asked to evaluate the trip participant's fitness for travel.

We may require participants to wear masks when in proximity to each other. We will only hold activities outdoors during this tour which also greatly reduces the risk of infection spread. We will wait for government guidance on this subject before making any decision.

At all times we will do our best to practice social distancing during the tour. There are some times when we will have no choice but to be in closer proximity to each other and during those times we will be masked.

*If the refuge closes, or if the national or state government issues travel restrictions or other governmental edicts that prohibit us from conducting the workshop, YOU WILL GET YOUR MONEY BACK! Period. However, if you simply change your mind, or feel uncomfortable then you will not receive a refund. You also will not get a refund if you get COVID 19. You should consider buying CFAR (Cancel for ANY reason travel insurance if this is a concern.)

Thanks to the vaccine, we are confident that by the time we run this tour, we'll be able to proceed so that is why we rescheduled the workshop. If you have other concerns we have not addressed here, then please email scott@scottbourne.com and we will try to answer them.


Copyright Scott Bourne 2019 - All Rights Reserved - scott@scottbourne.com