Upcoming Photo Workshops

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.

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Badlands of South Dakota Photo Workshop

Sep 19, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - Sep 23, 2021 @ 7:30 pm


Photo Workshop General Description

19-23 September 2021 (full, wait list only)

Bighorn Sheep facing forward.
Bighorn Sheep ram.


During this Badlands of South Dakota Photo Workshop we will explore Badlands National Park and locations in the vicinity. The workshop begins with an orientation session at the Best Western in Wall on Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 7:00 PM and ends on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at Sunset.  On most days, we will be in the field at before dawn to photograph sunrise and take advantage of the early morning light. Likewise, we will end each day’s activities at sunset when the sun is low in the sky, colors are warm, and the light accentuates the relief and texture of the land.  During the beginning and end of the day, the light is soft light and complementary, without the harsh light of mid-day.  At these times, animals are more active and easily located.  Mid-days will be reserved for rest, reflection, image editing/review, or travel between locations. Photo opportunities include both the unique scenery of the Badlands and local wildlife.  I timed the  trip to coincide with the emergence of fall color in the Badlands and ended the workshop just before the beginning of the Buffalo Round-up and art show in Custer State Park that starts on Friday the 24 th.  Custer State Park is approximately an 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Wall.  (See details below).

Maximum number of participants, 6.  The low student to instructor ratio maximizes flexibility and provides each person with individual attention.  Photographers of all levels are welcome.

Scene on Loop
Yellow mounds.

Geology & Wildlife 

Once the site of an ancient sea, the South Dakota Badlands have been transformed over thousands of years into the land you see today. Layers of sediment and ash were eroded away leaving behind multi-colored rocks and boulders balanced on pedestals of stone. Eroded canyons and isolated buttes stand as testament to the power of the wind and rain. At first glance, the land seems sterile, yet close examination reveals a variety of creatures. Agile bighorn scale steep canyon walls and the males fight for dominance of herds. Pronghorn and buffalo graze on prairie grasses while hawks circle overhead.  In prairie dog towns, occupants groom, nibble on grasses, and jump, yipping alarm calls suggesting there is an intruder in the colony — perhaps a badger or coyote in search of a meal.  Providing easy access to unusual geologic formations, trails, and favorite wildlife haunts, a loop road meanders through the northern portion of the park.  South of Sage Creek is Sheep Mountain Table.  At its base are unique formations where rocks are balanced on limestone pedestals.  A dirt road leads to a high, flat plateau which is isolated from the surrounding terrain by deeply cut canyons. Once on top, the views are spectacular and dirt roads lead to a variety of vantage points. (Access is dependent on road conditions at the time).

Badger near prairie dog colony.
Badger near prairie dog colony.

Orientation Program & Planning

During the orientation session, participants will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and express their goals for attending the workshop.  Using a PowerPoint program, I will cover trip logistics,  the basic itinerary, ethics, safety, how to approach and photographing wildlife, and considerations for capturing dramatic  landscapes images.

I will be on-site a week prior to the program to check out current conditions and best locations for photography.  The itinerary will be flexible in response to weather, lighting, availability of animals, client safety, and the desires of the group.  Each day we will begin with pre-dawn photography including sunrise, scenery in early morning light, and wildlife in the area. How long we remain in a particular location will depend on what photo opportunities that exist at that time.  Middays will be aside for lunch,  personal errands,  image editing/review, or transportation to new photo locations. In the afternoon, we will resume photographing until twilight (approximately 7:20 PM).  On Wednesday, I have set aside time for a group review of images taken earlier in the week.

This is my 3rd fall program offered in the South Dakota Badlands.  Plus I co-led 2 workshops in the spring as well.

Coyote stalking prey.
Coyote hunting near prairie dog town.

Potential photo locations:

  • Pinnacles Overlook
  • Robert’s Prairie Dog Town
  • Sage Creek Area
  • Badlands Loop Road
  • Cedar Pass Area
  • Door, Notch, Window and Fossil Exhibit Trails
  • Buffalo Gap National Grasslands
  • Sage Creek Rim Road
  • The historic town of Scenic
  • Sheep Mountain Table (Stronghold Unit, if roads permit)
Badlands formations
Storm over Badlands


There will be a small amount of hiking on boardwalks, over rocky areas but mostly on level, well-worn paths. While photographing, we will adhere to park rules and responsible wildlife guidelines set forth by the National Park Service.

Hawk on post.
Hawk stretching wing before flying.


PRICE: $1325, Limited to 6 participants

Start date: 19 Sepember,2021 (7:00 PM)           End date: 23 Sepember, 2021, Sunset

(Minimum of 4 participants necessary at the quoted price. In the event there are only 3 participants, a small group supplement of $250 will be added to the price above for each person.)

Deposit: $300 to hold a spot in this workshop. Balance is due by 20 Aug, 2021.

To register, go to my website, www.ospreyphoto.com.  Retrieve the registration form (click on the box “REGISTER NOW” in the upper right of the web page.). Fill out the form and send it to me along with your payment.  Checks should be made out to Photography by Hinke-Sacilotto. Mail to: Irene Sacilotto, 542 C Riviera Dr, Joppa, MD 21085. ( Visa, and MasterCard, are accepted but for security, call with your credit card info).

Pronghorn Antelope.
Curious male Pronghorn Antelope.

What is included:

  • Orientation PowerPoint presentation.
  • Field sessions with one-on-one instruction
  • Image review mid-way through workshop.
  • Instructor with nearly 40 years experience leading workshops.
  • Well-planned and researched itineraries.
  • Small group size (limited to 6)

Cancellation policy:

  • Cancellations 75 days prior to workshop, full refund, less $50 processing fee.
  • Cancellations made between 74 and 46 days prior to workshop, forfeit deposit.
  • Cancellations made 45 days from the start of the workshop are non-refundable.
  • Violet-Green Swallow I the Badlands

Not included:

  • Lodging, airfare, transportation, and meals.
  • Badlands NP entry fees. Bring your America the Beautiful pass or senior pass if you have one to cover your entry fee. Otherwise vehicles will be charged an entrance fee.  If you ride-share, one pass will cover four passengers in one vehicle.
  • Trip insurance. You are encouraged to purchase trip insurance in case of an unforeseen emergency which requires you to cancel.

Plan for a minimum of  a 4 overnight stay in Wall, SD beginning Sunday, 19 Sep, 2021 and checking out Thursday 23 Sep, 2021.  Orientation will be held at the Best Western Plains, 712 Glenn St, Wall, SD 57790 where I will be staying. Phone # 605-279-2145.  I would encourage you to stay at the Best Western during the workshop.  Since the fall season is popular, book your room early.  However, the hotel is closed until March 2020.  Before that date you can register at the Best Western in Wall using their website.  I am hoping to arrange a group rate at the hotel once I can contact the hotel manager directly. I will notify those registering if a special rate is available.

Transportation To, From, and Within the Park

You are responsible for transportation to and from Wall, SD and throughout the park every day. Ride sharing is encouraged. You can reserve and pick up a rental car at the airport in Rapid City, SD if you are flying in for the workshop. Rapid City (RAP) is the nearest airport to Wall and is approximately a one hour drive east on Interstate 90.

Fall color along Sage Creek Rd.Fall color in ravine along Sage Creek Rim Road.


  • Bring a laptop or tablet with photo editing software and flash/thumb drive for image transfer for review.
  • Be prepared to dress in layers since the temperatures can vary widely at this time of the year. Include sunscreen.
  • Lenses – wide angle for scenes to telephotos.  A 300 mm should be adequate for larger animals. For small birds, a 500 or 600 mm is suggested.  (Zoom lenses covering these ranges are fine, but some people consider prime lenses sharper.)
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Rain gear for you and your equipment

For toiletries and other items you may have left home, there is a Walmart and Target in Rapid City.  Also for field items, there is a Cabela’s store in Rapid City, on 3231 East Mall Drive, that carries a wide range of clothing and other accessories that might be useful during the workshop and for you other photography in the field.  Also you can order items prior to the trip at http://www.cabelas.com.

Since we will be departing early, I suggest purchasing water, items for breakfast and snacks.  We will either return to Wall for lunch or stop at the restaurant at Cedar Pass.  Wall, SD has a grocery store, gas stations, lodging, restaurants, and the famous Wall Drug and emporium.

Bighorn Sheep grazing along road in the Badlands taken on photo tour.
Bighorn Sheep grazing along road in the Badlands.
  • Shifting light with layers of badlands
    Shifting shadows over Badlands.

Buffalo Round-up in Custer

The buffalo round-up and art show at Custer State Park begins on 24 September, just after the end of the workshop.  The park is approximately an 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Wall and is home to one of the largest American bison herds in the world. The annual roundup is designed to keep the population in balance with the available land and resources.  Open to the public with viewing areas set aside for visitors, this event attracts more than 14,000 people each year.  Similar to the Annual Pony Penning at Chincoteague, VA, “cowboys” on horseback gather the bison and drive them into corals for sorting, branding, vet checks, etc.). Since this is a unique and popular event, rooms nearby may be at a premium.

Buffalo Round-up in Custer State Park – 24 – 26 Sep, 2021.  For more info, click on the following link. https://custerresorts.com/activities/buffalo-roundup/

Bison at sunset
Bison silhouette at sunset.


To help plan your trip, visit the Badlands National Park website at https://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm Workshop dates were selected so that participants may have an opportunity to explore additional attractions in and around the Black Hills of South Dakota. Below are a few helpful links for planning your trip.

Lodging (partial list):

Prairie Rattle Snake coiled
Prairie Rattle Snake

Other attractions in the Black Hills region:

If you have questions, please feel free to call me, 410-679-2873 (office) or 410 960-5871 (mobile).

Rabbit feeding on grasses near Window Notch.
Rabbit feeding on grasses near Window Notch.



Sep 19, 2021 @ 7:00 pm
Sep 23, 2021 @ 7:30 pm
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Osprey Photo Workshops
410 679-2873


Badlands National Park
25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750 United States
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