ARIZONA: 4- or 5-Day Sierra Vista Workshop, Sept 2017 - Allen wildlife

Comments from previous students

The class "greatly expanded [my] understanding of processing as a whole. Improved understanding of wildlife photography timing, methods, base settings, introduction to lighting/flash photography."

Q: How would you rate the value for money of the class?
A: Above average because of quality time.

"I liked the variety of locations and types of birds, photography, the banding was an amazing bonus, the direction of what would make a good shot. 'That bird with that background.' Good examples of processing okay pictures into great pictures."

"Dave and Kristin are a lovely couple. Very approachable, complimentary, and encouraging of what works. They make a great team as far as making sure everything was comfortable from accommodations, to feedback, processing, and basic needs such as rest and food. It made it easy to focus on being a good learner and relaxing in the beautiful experience of the process. They were open and flexible and made the whole experience very enjoyable."


Southeast Arizona Field Workshop
Hummingbird and Other Bird Photography
September 20-24, 2017

** NOTE: Early-bird discount extended to July 19 **

Enjoy one of the country's hottest birding areas while the birds are still migrating, but after the crowds have left, in order to get good, quiet views of the amazing hummingbirds and other birds.

Stay at the beautiful Casa de San Pedro in Hereford, AZ. This B&B was built as a destination lodge for birders. Here you will enjoy a hearty breakfast and several other meals, afternoon pie, and classroom instruction. Some of the evening photography will take place on the B&B's 10 acres with its many bird and hummingbird feeders, or on the adjacent San Pedro River and Riparian National Conservation Area. You will have ample opportunity for individual instruction.

A morning session highlight will be Ash Canyon Bed & Breakfast, a birding spot known as the best place in the area to photograph the Lucifer Hummingbird (third photo from the bottom, at right), as well as many other bird and hummingbird species.

Last year's students requested an extra day of instruction, so we lengthened the class by a day and also added an optional excursion.

Optional Excursion

For those who want some extra instruction, we will be taking an excursion to Cave Creek Canyon in Portal, Arizona on the afternoon of Sunday September 24. There, we expect to find and photograph the beautiful Blue-throated hummingbird. The price of this workshop is $250 and does not include meals or lodging.

Workshop focus

Photographing birds in various settings, including instruction on in-flight birds. You will be photographing birds in natural setting or on feeders. Learn to respond and record what you encounter. Learn to set up your yard for photography.

You will also learn about lighting, backgrounds, and camera setups for different settings.

This special workshop will take you on a journey from the creation of your image in the field to the finalizing of your image using some of the best software. You will receive morning and evening field instruction, as well as afternoon classroom sessions packed with a variety of information and friendly, helpful critiques.

Topics include
• Gear tips and tricks
• Camera setup, shutter speed, and exposure compensation
• Lighting, backgrounds and depth of field
• How to use your histogram, both in the field and in your image processing program
• What makes a good photo
• Composition rules and when and how to break them
• How to achieve pleasing blur
• Specific photography techniques for in-flight birds
• Techniques for capturing crisp images in the field with or without a tripod or monopod
• Large lens hand-holding: when, why and how
• Advanced camera settings for birds in flight
• How and why to pay attention to bird behavior and patterns, sky conditions, and light and wind direction
• How to make the best of a difficult shooting situation
• Attracting birds to your yard for photography
• Using blinds and other techniques to get closer to birds
• Easy image processing techniques


Price $2350, double occupancy. ($500 deposit. Price increases to $2550 if deposit is made after July 19, 2017. Single occupancy, add $330. Non-photographing partner, $1150.) Limit 6 participants.

Includes Four nights of lodging; classroom and field instruction; entrance fees; all breakfasts and lunches, and two dinners. Transportation not included.

Likely birds
• Lucifer, Black-chinned, Anna's, Calliope, Rufous, Broad-billed, Broad-tailed, and Magnificent hummingbirds
• Bullock's and Hooded oriole
• Bridled titmouse
• Acorn and Gila woodpecker
• Yellow-rumped warbler
• Mexican jay
• Gambel's quail
• Nuthatch
• House finch
• Black phoebe
• Pyrrhuloxia (Desert cardinal) and Northern cardinal
• Thick-billed kingbird
• Crested caracara
Zone-tailed, Grey, Red-tailed, Cooper's, Common black, and Sharp-shinned hawks
• Northern harrier
• Great horned owl
• Peregrine and Prairie falcons, Kestrel, Merlin
• Lazuli bunting

Possible birds

• Violet-crowned hummingbird
• Belted and Green kingfishers

The Casa de San Pedro's co-owner, Karl Schmitt states, "The San Pedro River is the 2nd most diverse mammal habitat in the world. We have eighty-two species of mammals — which is rivaled only by the Amazon Basin. There are 355 species of birds that either reside here or migrate through, this number is half the species of birds in North America. We have deer, fox, coyotes, javelina, bobcats, Mexican jaguars – plus all the usual suspects of rodents and reptile in the yard regularly. But most people come to see the birds and butterflies."

Equipment recommendations
The hummingbirds will primarily be feeding at a distance of 6 to 20 feet. In another location, birds may be 50 to 200 feet away. Dave uses either a 300mm lens or a 600mm lens with a 25mm extension tube for the hummingbirds. Rarely, he will use a 100mm macro lens when the birds are exceptionally close. The ideal lens for this type of hummingbird photography has a 300mm focal length and can focus close enough to fill the viewfinder with a 3x4 inch object. You may need an extension tube to do this.

Link to additional equipment requirements and recommendations.


Contact Dave and Kristin for more information using the contact link above or call.

Download the reservation form to sign up.



Casa de San Pedro, Hummingbirds