I am a pioneer in the field of photo workshops and tours, offering programs since 1979. Each is carefully crafted and well planned. By limiting the number of participants per program (primarily 3-8), I am able to offer personalized instruction.
Workshops are short and last from 1 to 3 days, often offered over a weekend. Photo sessions in the field are followed by image editing and critiques. My preparation for each workshop includes scouting out the photo opportunities at each location.
Photo Tours on the other hand, last from one to three weeks. They are custom designed and cover multiple locations. Sites are chosen for their natural beauty and relatively accessible wildlife. These can include wildlife refuges, eco-friendly ranches, private wildlife sanctuaries, and state and national parks. As per weekend programs, each location is carefully scouted. For international programs, an English speaking local guide accompanies the group. Past tours have included South Florida, South Dakota, NWT, Bryce/Zion/Arces Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, Iceland, Argentina, Chile, Newfoundland, and the Falkland Islands.
Nature photography is the focus of the majority of programs with attention paid to composition, lighting, exposure, perspective, creativity, and attracting, locating, and photographing wildlife.
Autumn in Southern West Virginia
Oct 15, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - Oct 17, 2021 @ 2:00 pm
Autumn in Southern West Virginia
by Irene Hinke-Sacilotto
15-17 Oct 2021
This photo workshop celebrates Autumn in Southern West Virginia near the New River Gorge. The program is designed for those with a basic knowledge of the operation of a 35 mm SLR digital camera with an interest in nature photography. Workshop emphasis is on improving photographic skills, creativity, and optimizing the use of your camera. The workshop includes an orientation PowerPoint program followed by photography in the field. Included is a critique/review of images from the weekend. Topics covered: 1) equipment selection and operation, 2) composition, creativity and perspective, 3) metering and exposure, 4) lighting, 5) basic image manipulation and 6) locating, approaching and photographing wildlife. Beginning and advanced photographers are welcome.
Details & Schedule:
This is my fourth photo workshop in Southern West Virginia. As always, I will arrive in area, several days prior to the program to scout locations and familiarize myself with current conditions. The exact itinerary for the workshop will be based on my findings during this time and on past experience. The following will be discussed at the orientation meeting on Friday evening: departure times, the planned itinerary, potential subjects, equipment needed, safety concerns, field ethics, car pooling arrangements, and other logistical details.
Prior to dawn on Saturday, we will depart the hotel to photograph sunrise and take advantage of the warm early morning light. The exact itinerary will be adjusted in accordance with the subject availability, weather, safety, traffic, park restrictions, and the desires of the group. Car-pooling is encouraged.
- 7:00-8:30 PM Orientation
- Babcock State Park, New River Gorge Rim, Hawks Nest, Cathedral Falls
- Evening – time to edit photos taken during the day.
- Grandview & Sandstone Falls.
- Mid-Day check-out, finish editing of images, and critique session reviewing weekend photos. (Ending at 2 PM)
See my blog for more info about the area and containing other images. https://www.ospreyphoto.com/southern-west-virginia-photography/
New River Gorge National River
Nestled in the mountains of Southern West Virginia, near the town of Beckley, is the New River Gorge National Park. The New River dates back more than 70 million years and is one of the oldest in North America. The land along the river is prized for its scenic, recreational, and cultural value and is protected by the 70,000 acre National Park. Trails throughout the area lead to the rim of the canyon for a variety of views of the gorge.
New River Gorge Bridge
Arching gracefully across the New River on Highway 19, the New River Gorge Bridge is the longest single arch steel suspension bridge in the world and the second highest in the country. From the visitor center, trails provide access to several overlooks from which you can photograph the bridge.
Not far from Beckley is Grandview, a state park where there are high overlooks with views of the New River as it flows through a number of horseshoe curves. Early on fall mornings when there are abrupt changes in temperature overnight, fog often blankets the valleys. As the morning moves on, it slowly lifts revealing ghostly silhouettes of the mountain ridges and the river below. Following the trail along the canyon rim to Turkey Spur Overlook, you will find a number of scenic viewpoints where you can photograph. This park is one of the few places that I have seen a bobcat cross the road in front of me. Down stream from Grandview, the placid New River drops in elevation and becomes turbulent, cascading over boulders and ledges at Sandstone Falls. The river’s appearance varies from year to year dependent on rainfall but always offer photographers great photo opportunities. Here we will experiment using slow shutter speeds to emphasize the motion of the water.
Babcock State Park & Glade Creek Grist Mill
Nearby, located in Babcock State Park is the famous Glade Creek Grist Mill, one of my favorite photo destinations. The mill sits on a cascading creek surrounded by maples and other trees that turn crimson and gold in the fall and reflect in the water below. From down stream, you can photograph this rustic scene with huge boulders in the foreground.
Other parks and vantage points are nearby including Hawks Nest with its unique view of the New River Gorge. Farther down the road is Cathedral Falls, just outside the town of Gualey Bridge. This small but delightful falls appears as a thin veil of water cascading down the hillside and splashing onto large boulders below. If the afternoon sun is at the right angle, the water appear as if it was liquid gold with a rainbow appearing in the mist. If time permits, we may also visit the historic town of Thurmond with a restored train station and active railroad track running through the center of town.
During the workshop, we will explore the areas described, hiking the trails looking for autumn color, fall wildflowers, cascading creeks, colorful reflections, picturesque overlooks, historic settings and wildlife. Deer, bear, bobcat, turkey, grouse, hawks, & waterfowl can be found throughout the area.
Although the terrain in this part of West Virginia is rugged, the trails we will explore are only of moderate difficulty. Anyone can refrain from a particular activity if concerned. There will be other photo subjects nearby with easy access.
The itinerary will be adjusted in accordance with the weather, safety, traffic, park regulations, availability of subjects, and the desires of the group. The workshop is held on “Bridge Day” weekend when the bridge is opened on Saturday to pedestrians and extreme sport enthusiasts. However, most activities are restricted to the vicinity of the New River Gorge Bridge and should not interfere with our movements. For our excursions, I will select routes and locations to hopefully avoid traffic congestion. I have successfully done this in the past. This weekend was selected because it coincides with peak fall color at both Babcock State Park and the New River Gorge.
PRICE – $ TBA based on double occupancy; plus $ TBA (single occupancy).
Deposit – 50 % of total (Balance due 30 days prior to start of workshop).
Cost includes instruction, park permits, and 2 nights accommodations at the Quality Inn in Beckley based on double occupancy. Continental breakfast included. Approximately a month before the workshop, I will send a handout with info on what to bring, photo tips, optional field exercises, etc. Also included will be a questionnaire so I can be better prepared to address your needs.
Plan to carpool to locations. The town of Beckley and the hotel are centrally located relative to our destinations in order to reduce drive time to photo sites. So I can provide one-on-one assistance in the field, the class is limited to 8 participants.