Bosque del Apache & White Sands Workshop Summary - Branson Reynolds Photography

Workshop Details

Bosque del Apache NWR & White Sands NM

5 Days
January 12-18, 2014


Branson Reynolds

683 Trew Creek Rd,

Durango, CO 81301



Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, located along the cottonwood-lined Rio Grande River in south central New Mexico, is one of the prime locations for winter wildlife photography in North America. In January, tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese as well as nearly 400 other bird species and numerous mammals can be viewed from loop roads and viewing areas throughout the refuge.

We'll be out each morning before sunrise to photograph Sandhill Cranes silhouetted against mist rising from the waters, and we'll fill the frame with motion as thousands of Snow Geese rise together as they head out to their feeding grounds. We'll then drive the refuge roads looking for flocks of feeding cranes and geese as well as mule deer, coyotes, eagles, herons, ducks, and other wildlife species that make this their winter home.

During our mid-day break we can enjoy a meal together and there will be time for a nap,  to work on your images, or to just enjoy some free time. We'll also plan time for a critique session (I will constantly be working with you while in the field on composition and photographic techniques) and, if time allows, we'll work with some of the basics of Lightroom and Photoshop.

Later in the day we'll again e at prime locations as the Sandhills and Snow Geese arrive in formation illuminated by the setting sun. The full moon will add to our photographic opportunities and creativity during this trip.

White Sands National Monument

The winds come from the southwest, up from Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert, whose northern reaches encompass a great mountain ringed valley, New Mexico's Tularosa Basin. Deep within the basin rises a wonder of nature – rolling mountains of glistening white gypsum sand. Created by the combined effects of the relentless winds and deposits from an ancient sea that once filled the basin, the sands are constantly moving, changing form, changing mood.

We will have special access to the dunes in the early mornings before sunrise when the mauve blue horizon sky casts soft colors onto the dunes, creating visual fantasies with endless contours and movement of soft light and shadow.

The days are usually clear and sunny in January, and we will continue shooting in the dunes  as the low angle of a January sun enables us to continually finding new patterns and angles.

Mid-morning we will head back to town for our mid-day break. As mentioned above, there will be time for lunch, a nap, working with your images or enjoying some free time. While I will work with you in the field on composition and other photographic techniques, we will have time for to discuss these topics as well as a critique of the morning's images. If time allows we will also work with the basics of Lightroom and Photoshop. 

We'll be back in the dunes as the good light returns and shoot until after sunset.  And the early sunset and late sunrise means we can get a full night's sleep and enjoy the beauty off the morning and evening fully rested.