ADVANCED WINTER WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY

DATES: JANUARY 22 – 26, 2025

PRICE: $1,500 | TUITION & LODGING

LOCATION: LAMAR BUFFALO RANCH

GROUP SIZE: 6

ACTIVITY LEVEL: 1

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PROGRAM INFORMATION

Love taking photos, but the camera is a bit of a mystery? Want to learn more about wildlife, how to find them, and how to photograph them? Want to take photography to the next level, develop visual storytelling skills, and help with conservation efforts? Then join us for 4 days in the field exploring and photographing this amazing place while being immersed in the heart of Yellowstone winter with fellow enthusiasts. In this advanced class, you should have a good grasp of your photography fundamentals before you come. We will be focused on looking for the story, how to tell it, and why it is important. With full days in the field, you will have plenty of opportunities to find them!

DAY 1

WELCOME & ORIENTATION

The program starts with an evening orientation. Participants will get to know one another and be introduced to the program. Throughout the evening, the itinerary and seminar key concepts will be discussed, as well as what to expect to pack for the field each day.

 

DAY 2

PHOTOGRAPHY FUNDAMENTALS & BEYOND

The first morning, the instructor will spend time reviewing the fundamentals of photography, composition, exposure compensation, equipment selection, and how to use depth of field to your advantage. To find wildlife to photograph, students will also need an understanding of their habits and habitats. While some lectures are necessary, class time will be as interactive as possible. Questions are welcome and will direct the discussion to the things that the class most wants to learn. With class time well spent, students will venture out into the field in the afternoon to look for opportunities to put new skills to work.

 

DAYS 3- 4

FIELD EXCURSIONS 

Wildlife, particularly large carnivores, are most active in the early morning and late evening hours. By happy coincidence, that is when the light for photography is also best. This course will begin early (before light) and will stay out late with mid-days being spent either discussing animal behavior, photographic techniques, or just taking some well-deserved downtime. In the afternoon, students will return to the field looking for more opportunities to photograph wildlife.

 

DAY 5

IMAGE REVIEW

Early morning starts with more field time looking for wildlife. Depending upon the weather and opportunities, the course will return to the classroom around noon to spend several hours collaboratively post-processing images taken during the workshop.

DAY 6

CHECKOUT & DEPARTURE

Dates & Times: The program begins at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, 2025, and goes through Sunday, January 26, 2025 at 5:00 p.m.

Lodging Check-in & Check-out: Lodging check-in begins at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, 2025, and lodging check-out is at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 27, 2025.

Meals: This course is not catered. Participants will need to bring their own food; lunch should be able to travel in the field.

Optional Airport Shuttle: We provide an optional airport shuttle for those interested. The shuttle service is provided on the first day of the program with a 1:00 p.m. pickup and the last day of the program with a departure from the Lamar Buffalo Ranch at 8:00 a.m.

1st Day of Program | Shuttle Pickup Location:  Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport

1st Day of Program | Shuttle Drop off Location: Lamar Buffalo Ranch

Check-out Day | Shuttle Pickup Location: Lamar Buffalo Ranch

Check-out Day | Shuttle Departure Location: Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport

If you opt-in to the shuttle service, please ensure that your flight booking will allow for you to be picked up and dropped off during the above timeframes.

Whom to Contact: For any questions, concerns, or additional information please contact the following:

Program itinerary, health forms, payment, and general program questions please contact Yellowstone Forever at [email protected] or 406-848-2400 extension 3

Road updates, park conditions, and general park information please contact Yellowstone National Park Service at https://www.nps.gov/yell/contacts.htm

If running late for a program, please contact 406-641-2185.

General Information: For general information about the facilities, preparation for classes, what to expect, cancellation policies, and more, please see the Lamar Buffalo Ranch – Winter General Information document.

ACTIVITY LEVEL 1

  • Leisurely hikes up to 1 mile per day through relatively flat terrain on maintained or snow-packed trails.
  • Most activities will take place at elevations between 7,200 to 8,000 feet. Participants residing at lower elevations may want to arrive a day early to adjust to the altitude.
  • To learn more about how specific medical conditions can be affected by Yellowstone’s environment and our activities, please visit our site page on health information.
  • All field activities will be conducted as a group. If members of the group cannot participate in the day’s activities, they need to let the educator know in advance.
  • To participate in this program, each participant must fill out and sign a health questionnaire and assumption of risk waiver. These forms must be completed and returned at least 30 days prior to the program start date.

RECOMMENDED READINGS

  • Your camera manual
  • Camera body, sturdy tripod with camera mount, and interchangeable lenses: You can bring the longest lens you have, but don’t neglect the smaller ones such as a wide angle. I use everything from around 16 mm to 800 mm. If you bring a large lens that can’t be kept at your side in the seat, be sure to bring a very protective case.
  • Camera manual: Even if your camera is your best friend, please bring your manual in some form (digital or otherwise). If you don’t have your camera manual, please look up your camera manufacture online and download the manual so you will have it to refer to.
  • Teleconverter if you have one. Either 1.4x and/or 2x or whatever.
  • Batteries for your camera and any other gadget you might bring. The number of camera batteries you will need will depend generally upon two factors, how quickly your individual camera consumes them and how cold it is outside. (Cold really draws down even the best batteries.) At a minimum, you should have at least one extra. Battery Charger if yours are rechargeable
  • Card Storage: Please anticipate that you will be out in the field all day and not able to purchase more card storage or download until later in the evening. You will need to bring enough storage with you to get you through the day.
  • Laptop if you have one and want to use it. Be sure you have loaded the software you need to be able to view your raw images as well as the program you want to use to develop them.
  • Card Reader and attachment cord to download your images to your computer.
  • Jump or Thumb Drive: This makes transferring your images to share with the group much easier! We will, on the last afternoon, as a group, be working on post processing with images you have taken during the class.
  • Rain/Snow covering for your camera and lens as it sits waiting on a tripod. This does not need to be fancy, but it does need to be effective even when the wind is blowing (lightly).
  • Large Plastic Sealable Bag (This one is important, please don’t omit!) which is large enough for you to put your camera with your largest lens into (intact) and seal it up. Ziplock makes these blanket sized, sold at places like Wal-Mart with the other Ziplock products. This is especially important in the winter months, but it doesn’t hurt to have one along as a part of your gear.
  • Microfiber cloth which is just the ticket for wiping moisture off your equipment.
  • Manual (optional but a great thing to have at home) or books for your post processing software. If you don’t have a manual or book, and you use an Adobe product, I would highly recommend you investigate the library of books produced by Scott Kelby. He has written them for every version of Photoshop, Lightroom and Elements. His books are easy to follow and entertaining to read. Purchase the one for the version you are using, regardless of how old or outdated. If you are using product other than Adobe, try to find a manual of some sort. Many can be downloaded online.

Whom to Contact: For any questions, concerns, or additional information please contact the following:

Program itinerary, health forms, payment, and general program questions please contact Yellowstone Forever at [email protected] or 406-848-2400 extension 3

Road updates, park conditions, and general park information please contact Yellowstone National Park Service at https://www.nps.gov/yell/contacts.htm

If running late for a program, please contact 406-641-2185.

General Information: For general information about the facilities, preparation for classes, what to expect, cancellation policies, and more, please see the Lamar Buffalo Ranch – Winter General Information document.

TESTIMONIALS

“Meg Sommers is one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met, from her knowledge, passion, and never-ending curiosity about Yellowstone and the natural world, to her generosity in sharing it all. She’s also, of course, a brilliant photographer, educator and communicator. Plus she’s funny, kind, patient, and apparently tireless. I learned (and grasped) more about photography than I ever have, but I think I learned as much about life. I am a fan :)” – Cynthia, CA

“Meg Sommers was fantastic. Her wildlife photography class was definitely top notch. And her assistant/driver Hannah was delightful and so very helpful!!!” – David, MD

BOOK THIS FIELD SEMINAR NOW

Meg Sommers, J.D.

Meg Sommers has been an outdoor enthusiast since early childhood. A resident of Cody, she has been photographing seriously in Yellowstone National Park since 1990. Meg’s photography covers the full spectrum from landscapes and wildlife to flowers. Her passion, however, is to photograph and tell the stories of wildlife, and she has traveled worldwide to seek new and interesting opportunities to do so. After 20 years in practice, in 2006, she decided to retire as an attorney and judge to photograph full-time.

Meg has served as a judge in photo competitions and is a grand prize winner in the Wyoming Wildlife photography competition. She recently added to her list of awards the grand prize in the 2022 Outdoor Photographer Magazine’s Wildlife Photo Contest. Meg was also featured as a naturalist and professional photographer in a 15-minute video aired on French television about Yellowstone National Park.

Since 2010 she has had the privilege to teach nature and wildlife photography in Yellowstone for Yellowstone Forever and Road Scholars. Meg loves teaching both the fundamentals and advanced photography skills. She hopes that in doing so, she is helping her students gain a greater insight into the natural world that surrounds us.

***Review our Cancellation & Refund Policies here.