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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Spring Photo Workshop 2022 – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Assateague Island

May 20 @ 7:00 pm - May 22 @ 2:00 pm

Wild horses on Chincoteague NWR with foals.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)

Assateague Island, & the Town of Chincoteague

May 20-22, 2022 (full, waiting list only)

Chincoteague NWR is located on the southern Virginia end of the barrier island of Assateague.  The refuge attracts large numbers of waterfowl, herons, ibis, ospreys, shorebirds, warblers, and other migrants. It is also the home to wild horses, deer, raccoon, fox squirrels, and other animals.  Used to being protected, the wildlife is unusually tolerant of humans and presents visitors with great photo opportunities.  The ocean, dunes, shells, workboats, harbor, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets offer workshop participants a variety of subjects with which to work. The program includes tips on locating and approaching wildlife, capturing in-flight shots of birds, equipment selection, composition, lighting, and exposure.   We will explore both the refuge, seashore, and the community. Because of the small class size (8), this Chincoteague Photo Workshop is the perfect blend of one-on-one assistance in the field, instructional PowerPoint presentations, and image critiques. 

Sunrise with willet walking in wet sand in the Atlantic Ocean


7:00 PM-8:30 PM (orientation)


Sunrise to 10:00 AM (photography @ Chincoteague, Assateague Island, and surroundings)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (slide editing and lunch break)
12:00 – 2:00 PM (discussion/critique of workshop images)

2:00 PM til Sunset (photography in the field)


Sunrise to 10:00 AM (photography @ Chincoteague, Assateague Island, and surroundings)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (slide editing and lunch break)
12:00 – 2:00 PM (discussion/critique of workshop images)

Orientation & critiques will be held at the Best Western Plus Motel, Chincoteague Island, VA.) 

Fighting Fosters Terns on Little Toms Cove.


This Chincoteague Photo Workshop is designed for those with a basic knowledge of the operation of a 35 mm SLR digital or mirrorless camera with an interest in nature.  Workshop emphasis is on improving photographic skills and optimize the use of your camera. Class includes an orientation PowerPoint program followed by photography sessions on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Assateague Island, and in the town of Chincoteague.  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.

Landing Snowy Egret with rim light.

Although I typically offer a program at Chincoteague in the fall, this past spring I spent more than 2 weeks there photographing.  I concluded that the spring was also an excellent time to visit the refuge.  Last May there were large groups of shorebirds feeding on the oceanside, bayside and in the lagoons plus a large number of waders perched in trees or feeding in the waterways. Also present was a variety of waterfowl, muskrats, deer, and wild horses with newly borne foals. As usual, I will arrive on site prior to the workshop to determine the best locations for photography.

Whimbrel shaking off loose feathers after preening. At Little Toms Cove.

The following will be discussed at the orientation meeting on Friday evening: departure time, current field conditions, potential subjects, equipment needed, safety, field ethics, and other logistical details. Prior to dawn on Saturday, we will depart for the wildlife refuge to photograph sunrise and take advantage of the soft, warm early morning light. Because wildlife is protected on the refuge, animals are abundant and unusually tolerant of humans to the pleasure of most photographers. Situated on the Atlantic Flyway, Chincoteague is a resting and refueling spot for migrating birds. Potential photo subjects include sand dunes, shells, ocean wave, the harbor, the lighthouse, and wildlife including sika elk and whitetail deer, fox, otters, raccoons, ponies, herons, rails, swans, geese, ducks, shorebirds, and other resident and migratory species.

Sanderling in front of advancing wave.
Sanderling feeding in wet sand revealed by receding waves.

The orientation and discussion sessions for the Chincoteague Photo Workshop, May 2022, will be held at the Best Western Motel in Chincoteague on Maddox Blvd just outside of the wildlife refuge.  For the weekend, a small block of rooms is reserved at the Best Western for workshop participants at a reduced price. Contact the hotel for availability at (800) 553-6117 or (757) 336-6557.  Mention you are part of the photo workshop led by Irene Hinke-Sacilotto.  Also, rooms should be available at other nearby hotels in the town of Chincoteague. For a listing of accommodations other than the Best Western, go to www.chincoteaguechamber.com

Foggy morning over marsh along Beach Road.

Cost/Person: $605

Deposit: 50% of cost.  Final payment due 1 month before start of photo workshop.

To register, go to my website:  www.ospreyphoto.com. Click on the home page “Register Now.” Complete the form and send it with your check, Mail to Irene Sacilotto, 542 C Riviera Dr, Joppa, MD 21085

NOTE: Students are responsible for their own accommodations, food, transportation, and park/refuge fees. Where possible and COVID risk is minimized, we will carpool to locations. The number of participants is limited to 8.


Cancellation Policy

Notifications of cancellation must be in writing.

The following charges apply per person at the time I 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 and others provide 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.

American Oystercatcher on small sand dune.


May 20 @ 7:00 pm
May 22 @ 2:00 pm


Osprey Photo Workshops & Tours