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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Bosque del Apache New Mexico Photo Workshop 2023

Dec 3, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - Dec 7, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

Snow geese in flight.

Bosque del Apache Wildlife Photo Workshop

Led by Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

3-7 Dec 2023   

Sandhill Cranes and Moon.

Bosque del Apache Wildlife Photo Workshop

Featuring Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge

plus other wildlife locations in New Mexico

3-7 Dec 2023


Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl.  Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In December, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.

The following is a link to a comprehensive list of wildlife on the refuge, https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/BDA2008_WildlifeList.pdf.

Sandhill crane wings up.


The Bosque Wildlife New Mexico Photo Workshop begins Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 6:30 PM and ends Thursday, December 7, 2023 at noon. Photographers of all levels are encouraged to participate.  The workshop size is limited to 8 participants for individual attention and flexibility.

The workshop orientation session is scheduled for 6:30-8:00 PM, Sunday, December 3, 2023 and will be held at the Best Western Socorro Hotel & Suites, 1100 N California Street, Socorro, New Mexico 87801. It will include participant introductions plus a discussion of safety and ethics, logistics, your goals for attending the workshop, and an informative slide show.

If you are flying in, Albuquerque (ABQ) is the nearest airport to Socorro. From Albuquerque take Interstate 25 approximately 80 miles south to Socorro. Plan your trip to include at least four/five overnight stays in Socorro beginning December 3, 2023 and checking out Thursday, December 7 or Friday, December 8 unless you are extending your stay beyond the scope of this workshop. You can reserve and pick up a rental car at the airport in Albuquerque. You are responsible for transportation to Socorro, all travel to Bosque del Apache and travel throughout the refuge each day of the workshop. Bosque del Apache is approximately 18 miles south of Socorro.

Dawn with geese.
Dawn at Bosque del Apache near the Flight Deck.

Socorro has a grocery store, gasoline, lodging, eateries and a Walmart. I will be staying at the Best Western Socorro Hotel & Suites (mentioned above) and recommend you stay here also. (Alternative lodging options are listed under RESOURCES below.)

Wigeon swimming.
Wigeon swimming in pond.

The itinerary for the workshop will be adjusted in response to weather, lighting, availability of animals, client safety, and desires of the group. Midday hours are set aside for lunch, personal errands, a nap, editing and review of your images, or you can continue shooting.

A typical day will go something like this:

Meet before civil twilight (this time of year that will be approximately 6:00 AM depending on where we will start the day), to photograph sunrise, scenery and wildlife in the area. Depending on what we find, we may stay in a location several hours before moving on to the next scheduled spot. We will break for lunch and then resume photographing in the afternoon until twilight.

(Sunrise @ 7:02 AM & Sunset @ 5:00 PM)

Plan your breakfasts ‘to go’ and have snacks, and water with you. I will have water and snacks available while in the field. Please let me know if you have food allergies or a medical condition that might conflict with the snack choice. I will do my best to accommodate your needs.

Cranes landing in field.
Cranes landing.

Places high on our list to photograph are:

  • North & South Crane Ponds
  • Near or at the “Flight Deck”
  • John P. Taylor Jr. Memorial Trail
  • Marsh Overlook Trail
  • North and South Loop roads
  • Visitor Center for quail, white-crowned sparrows, and other small birds.
  • Bernardo Wildlife Area
Turkey reach up for corn.
Turkey feeding in corn field.

This workshop is designed for the nature photographer. We will spend time in the areas with the best photographic possibilities and lighting. Conditions in the field will vary. There will be a small amount of hiking on boardwalks and trails which are mostly on level, well-worn paths. We will search for wildlife such as mule deer, elk, javelina, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, shore birds, cranes, geese and many other species. We will concentrate on getting the best possible images while adhering to responsible wildlife guidelines set forth by the National Wildlife Refuge System. December is a perfect month to see large concentrations of birds and spectacular wildlife behavior. We will be careful not to disturb our subjects.

Bring a laptop or tablet with photo editing software and a thumb drive to transfer images between computers.

Sandhill cranes dispute.
Snow geese in flight.

PRICE: TBA – Limited to 8 participants (Minimum of 3 participants necessary at the quoted price.  In the event the minimum participant number is not met, a small group supplement of $295 will be added to the price above for each person.). Price does not include accommodations, meals or transportation.  Typically we car pool to locations.  Meetings and discussion sessions will be held at the Best Western in Socorro where I will be staying.

Start date: December 3, 2023  630 PM         End date: December 7, 2023, noon.

Morning "Blast Off"
Snow geese at dawn.


$300 to hold a spot in this workshop. Balance is due by November 3, 2023. Make your payment out to Photography by Hinke-Sacilotto, 542 C Riviera Dr, Joppa, MD 21085. Visa, MasterCard, and checks  are accepted.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 410 679-2873.

Cancellation policy:

Notifications of cancellation must be in writing.  

The following charges apply per person at the time we receive your written notification of cancellation:

  • Cancel up to 121 days prior to departure date – full refund.
  • 120 to 61 days prior to departure, $125 administrative fee charged. ($35 admin fee for weekend workshops.)
  • 60 to 46 days prior to departure, 50% of workshop or tour cost.
  • 45 days or less prior to departure – NO REFUND

Medical circumstances or emergencies do not constitute grounds for exception to the cancellation policy. Therefore, trip cancellation & interruption insurance is HIGHLY recommended. Travelers Insurance Company provides such policies at a reasonable rate. In the unlikely event that the trip is canceled due to insufficient enrollment, your money will be refunded in full, with the exception of expenses you personally incurred while preparing for the trip.

Sandhill cranes flying,
Sandhill cranes flying at sunset.


To help plan your trip, visit the Bosque del Apache NWR website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Bosque_del_Apache/. Workshop dates were selected so that participants may have an opportunity to explore additional attractions in and around the refuge. Below are a few helpful links for planning your trip.

Backlighting at sunset.
Backlighting and sun beams at Bernardo Widlife Area at end of day.

Lodging (partial list):

Great Blue Heron eating fish.
Great Blue Heron eating a huge fish.

Additional attractions in the Socorro, New Mexico area:

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at 410-679-2873 or isacilotto@aol.com.

Sandhill cranes greeting.
Sandhill Crane confrontation.



Osprey Photo Workshops & Tours


Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
1001 Highway 1
San Antonio, NM 87832 United States
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