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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Shenandoah National Park/New Market Battlefield

May 16, 2014 - May 18, 2014

© Irene Hinke-Sacilotto


This workshop is unique. Our time will be split between two locations– Shenandoah National Park and New Market Battlefield, VA. Along Skyline drive, spring is at full swing with beautiful scenic views of the surrounding mountains, wildflowers, gushing waterfalls, and newborn deer. Mid-May also coincides with the 150th year anniversary of the Battle at New Market, which will attract a record number of reenactors. Prior to the battle, we will be able to wander through field visiting encampments, talking to those participating about their activities and the history of the times. This presents great opportunities for portraits, images of period clothing and armament, and action photography.

Our activities Saturday will begin along Skyline Drive just before sunrise to take advantage of the warm early morning light as it illuminates layers of the Appalachian Mountains. On this day, we will concentrate our photography in Shenandoah National Park. On Sunday we will spend a portion of the morning critiquing the images from the previous day. Mid-day we will shift our photography to New Market Battlefield to capture the highlights of the Civil War reenactment.

For convenience, we will be staying in the town of Luray (at the Best Western) half way between the two photography locations. Participants are expected to have a basic knowledge of the operation of a D-SLR and be familiar with rudimentary photography terms such f-stop, depth of field, shutter speed, etc. Accommodations Friday and Saturday night are included in the price.

© Irene Hinke-Sacilotto


Friday, 16 May:

Orientation & review of participant images (7:30 PM to 9:00 PM)

Saturday, 17 May:

AM: Leave motel at approximately 5:00 AM for Skyline Drive in Shenandoah NP.
Photograph sunrise at overlooks with views of the surrounding mountains.
Hike to Dark Hollow Falls to photograph falls & cascades.
Lunch in park & discussion of morning’s activities.
PM: Hike portions of Mill Prong Trail & other locations in search of Lady Slippers and other wildflowers.
Explore Big Meadows for flowers, deer, and other wildlife.
Photograph sunset from overlooks.
Prep images for critique on Sunday

Sunday, 18 May:

AM: Breakfast & image prep
9:00-10:30 AM (critique of images at motel).
Check out of motel if not staying through Sunday night.
PM: Drive to New Market arriving at 11:00 AM.
Photograph camp life.
Photograph battle starting at 2:00 PM.
5:00 PM – depart for home.

At home:prep images from New Market for e-mail critique & posting on Facebook.
Itinerary is subject to change due to weather, safety issues, and desires of class.

© Irene Hinke-Sacilotto


Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this park is a sanctuary for a variety of plants and animals including black bear, deer, chipmunks, skunk, raccoon, turtles, that and over 205 species of birds. Situated on a mountain ridge, Skyline Drive provides visitors with easy access to a variety of natural wonders. Numerous trails originate at the road and lead to waterfalls, cascades and interesting rock formations. Overlooks provide panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. In mid to late May, wild azalea, columbine, geranium, anemone, lady’s slippers, iris, and dogwood are in bloom. Big Meadow, the only meadow of note, can be almost magical when the grasses, flowers, and spider webs are backlit by the late afternoon sun. If fortunate we may encounter a newborn fawn frolicking the grasses under the watchful eye of its mother.


DThis spring is the 150 th anniversary of the Civil War battle at New Market, VA. On what was once an orchard and wheat field, Grant launched an attack to secure the Shenandoah Valley, an area rich in agricultural goods and livestock for his Union troops. The North lost the battle. But for the South, the victory and celebration was short-lived since the valley was taken by Union troops a year later. The original number of troops engaged was approximately 6300 Union and 4100 Confederate plus 250 VMI cadets.

Each May the Battle of New Market is reenacted on the site of the original battle. As part of this workshop, on Sunday we will visit New Market to photograph portions of the reenactment. We will wander through the encampments to photograph people dressed in period clothing performing in day-to-day activities and preparing for battle. From the sidelines at Bushong Farm, we will have the opportunity to photograph various aspects of the engagement – the marching bands, cavalry advances, infantry moving in formation, canons firing, and hand-to-hand saber fights. Great opportunities for portraits & action shots. Each participant will be able to submit several images for critique and posting on Facebook.


The workshop is limited to 8 participants so I can give in individual attention to each person. Most hiking will not be very strenuous but some trails may be rocky or wet in spots. (The trail to Dark Hollow Falls is steep and a bit more difficult.) Any hiking will be slow paced with plenty of time for rest and photos. Anyone may abstain from an activity and select an alternative that is less strenuous. Boots with firm ankle support are highly recommended. Dress warmly in layers. Protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sunscreen. Bring lenses from wide angle to telephoto and a polarizing filter. Also bring a flashlight for sunrise photography. Participants should bring 3 to 5 samples of their favorite images on a flash/thumb drive. A portion of these will be reviewed during the Friday evening orientation.


While on site, we will car pool to each location. Each participant is responsible for his own transportation to and from home. Once registered, contracts, health forms, & additional details will follow.

Price: $ 505 Double, $ 595 single.

Workshop includes instruction, 2 night’s accommodation at the Best Western in Luray, VA (Friday & Saturday), park permit, and $10 entrance fee for the New Market Battlefield.

Please notify me ASAP if you would like to stay over Sunday night. I will request an extension on your reservation. The fee for Sunday night is not included in the workshop price.


May 16, 2014
May 18, 2014
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