2019 RAPTOR PHOTO TOUR October - 2019

WHEN: October 10-12, 2019 (Airport Denver)

SKILL LEVEL: Beginner to advanced


FEE: $1100 (Minus $100 for early bird registration discount before May 1, 2019.)

They’re among the most powerful, beautiful and mystical of birds. Raptors, (eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and vultures) are feared and revered by many.

On this weekend tour, we’ll visit Colorado’s raptor country and photograph between 10 and 15 different raptor species in controlled conditions.

You’ll fly into Denver’s international airport and then find ground transport to our tour hotel location about 45 minutes southwest of DIA. There, you’ll meet your tour leader, Scott Bourne. Scott will be joined by master falconers and raptor educators, who will be on hand to answer your questions about these birds of prey, to ensure the birds’ safety and to verify that all photo conditions are realistic. We will only work in conditions that are true to the species. For instance, you would never see a bald eagle on a palm tree. We will make sure that all the perches and vegetation are local to each bird.

The setting for this tour is spectacular. We'll be photographing on 300 areas of private land. There are large Ponderosa Pine trees all over the property and a good mix of Scrub Oak as well. There are open grass parries and the entire property will be available for our photo tour. You couldn't hope for a better, more natural setting.

We've also picked early fall for this trip because the trees should be full of rich, fall color. The scenery in Colorado is off the hook and makes a wonderful backdrop for raptor photography.

You'll be working under controlled conditions, which means we can guarantee that you will be close enough to make portraits of each species. All birds will be perched in good light with great backgrounds. These will have been pre-selected and conditions are such that you will get portfolio-quality shots, guaranteed. There will be plenty of time allowed and different sets used to make sure each participant gets a good variety of shots. We will vary the species and the background often.

We will be working with beautiful birds. Many are feather perfect. If weather cooperates, we will even get a chance to do some flight photography. The birds we are working with are avian ambassadors used to teach people more about raptor species. They are extremely well-cared for. At all times -- the bird's comfort and safety will be our first concern.

We cannot guarantee which bird(s) will be available since the health of the bird always comes first, but expected species include:

  • Bald eagle
  • Golden eagle
  • Turkey vulture
  • Peregrine falcon (male & female)
  • American kestrel (male & female)
  • Aplomado falcon
  • Barn owl (male & female)
  • Great horned owl (male & female)
  • Screech owl
  • Eurasian Eagle owl
  • Spectacled owl
  • Harris hawks
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Rough-legged hawk
  • Swainson's hawk
  • Ferruginous hawk.

It would be very hard to find more species, and in a larger variety of natural habitats than you will on this tour. You don't want to miss it.


While there are some photo tour companies that offer similar opportunities, they usually sell 12 or even 15 seats to the photo tour. This leads to extremely crowded and frustrated shooting conditions. In those situations, you pay your money and have to wait your turn. On our raptor shoot, there will be a strict limit of 10 participants, the group leader and bird handlers. There will be plenty of room for everyone to get the best shots.

Your group leader will help you with as much or as little photographic instruction as you like. We’ll set up each shot to offer the best light, perch and background. We’ll also offer image critiques privately to each participant.

The $1100 tour fee buys you a seat and includes our famous pizza party/slideshow/classroom training and orientation on Thursday evening, Oct 10, 2019. Then we have two full days of shooting. There will be morning and late afternoon sessions with a break midday for lunch (on your own) and time to download cards, refresh batteries, etc.

Your fee covers all required permits, guide service, photo instruction, critiques and the expenses of the bird handlers. You are responsible for your own travel, transportation, food and lodging with the exception of the free pizza party and orientation opening night.

A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your space for this photo tour. The balance is due on or before July 10. (There is an additional $50 discount for those who pay the full tour amount in advance - i.e., send in $950 instead of just paying the deposit and the balance later.) All seats sold first-come, first served. Travel insurance is required unless you sign a waiver. There are no refunds for any reason.


Once your deposit is received, you'll be given the name and address of the hotel we suggest you use to be close to the workshop. It currently rents for about $115 a night. You are free to stay at any hotel you like, but you will find it much easier to communicate with the tour and the tour leader if you are at the same hotel we are.

Once you sign up, we'll also provide you with the general location of the private reserve we are using to base our photographic operations. You'll get the exact address where we shoot the night of the pizza party. Lastly, you'll receive regular updates on suggested gear lists, and other information that you may need to have a successful workshop. You will also receive Scott's private phone number and you can use it any time to call and ask questions in preparation for the tour.

We’ll meet at our hotel for orientation on Thursday night, Oct 10 2019, at 5:30 PM for orientation, opening slide show, basic training session and get acquainted pizza party. Photography begins Friday morning just after sunrise. All photography is planned around the best early morning and late afternoon light. The photo tour will end after sunset on Saturday, in time for you to grab the red-eye home if you want to save money on an additional hotel night.

In the event that we are rained out, we will retreat to our hotel for post-processing instruction. While there are no guarantees when it comes to weather, we have scheduled this tour during weeks that are traditionally very good for photography. We will work in light rain but not heavy downpours. Luckily, I've been to Colorado this time of year for workshops many times and never seen a drop of rain. We've carefully planned this around the best weather and conditions possible.


Email scott@picturemethods.com to reserve your seat. You will receive a registration form via email. Return that with your deposit to finalize your spot. We will open a waiting list early on this tour since we know it will sell out very quickly.

Non-shooting spouses are welcome at the pizza party and orientation but not in the field. We have to carefully control how many bodies are in the proximity of the birds. Non-shooting spouses may come to the field portion of the workshop only if they pay for a tour seat.

P.S. If you know how to operate your camera, we can guarantee you that you will come away from this tour with portfolio-quality images.


All photos and text Copyright Scott Bourne, All Rights Reserved.

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