Advanced Winter Wildlife Photography

Advanced Winter Wildlife Photography

January 8-13
Lamar Buffalo Ranch
Meals Included?:
Meg Sommers
Audience Type:
Program Type:
Field Seminars
Program Subject:

Is your camera one of your best friends? Do you want to learn more about wildlife and how to tell their stories? Then come immerse yourself with fellow enthusiasts in the heart of Yellowstone’s northern range. At the Buffalo Ranch, you will wake up right in the middle of this magical place! Witness the struggle for winter survival as its inhabitants go about their lives. We’ll spend most of the time in the field, so you will have ample opportunities to photograph wildlife and learn about their behaviors, all the while practicing techniques and the ethics of wildlife photography. We will be out early to take maximum advantage of the light and animal movements and work on critiques in the evening.

Program Itinerary

The itinerary is designed to take advantage of the best opportunities in the park, but may be adjusted to adapt to weather conditions, wildlife activity, holidays, and road construction. The details and timing of the agenda are subject to change. For more information see the Course Letter below.

  • Day 1
    Participants are welcome to check into the Lamar Buffalo Ranch starting at 4:00 p.m.
    7:00 p.m. Meet & Greet, Introduction to Lamar Buffalo Ranch and course specifics.
  • Day 2 Advanced Photography Techniques
    Early morning will be spent in the field looking for wildlife. Mid-day the class will return to the ranch to discuss a variety of topics including finding wildlife, wildlife photography ethics, approach techniques, masterful composition, telling the story and questions specific to the group. Late afternoon the class will again head out into the field to look for wildlife to photograph. The evening will be spent at the ranch to discuss t new post processing techniques.
  • Days 3-5 Photography in the Field
    Both days will primarily be spent out in the field. The group will depart for the field early mornings to take advantage of animal activities and good light. Along the way the class will discuss animal behavior, naturalist skills, nature photography code of conduct, and any technical questions that may arise. The instructor will be side-by-side with students throughout the day, answering any individual questions and providing pointers and helpful tips. In the evenings, the group will reassemble in the classroom for critiques and helpful tips on students’ work those days. The final evening, we will post process student images taken during the class.
  • Day 6
    Check out by 9:00 a.m.

About the Instructor

Meg Sommers, has been an outdoor enthusiast from early childhood. A resident of Cody, Wyoming, she has been photographing wildlife seriously in Yellowstone since 1990 and teaching wildlife photography here since 2010. Meg’s nature photography covers the full spectrum, but her passion is to photograph wildlife and to help to tell their stories. While her heart will always belong to the Greater Yellowstone area, she has traveled worldwide to seek out new and interesting wildlife.

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. — Summer 2021 student

Through her award-winning digital photography, she has found a way to share the beauty and grace of these areas with others. A knowledgeable naturalist, her dual passions for both nature and photography combine with her enthusiasm for sharing the wonders of it all with her students.

Download Program Information:

Course Letter

More Information:

We are continually updating and refining our COVID-19 mitigation measures to ensure the health and safety our guests, staff and volunteers. Read our COVID-19 guidelines for program participants.


  • Be prepared to hike up to 1 mile per day, comfortably, through relatively flat terrain on maintained trails.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 3 miles per day, comfortably, with elevation gains up to 600 feet. Some off-trail hiking possible.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 5 miles per day, comfortably, with occasional elevation gains up to 1000 feet in undulating terrain.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 8 miles per day, at a brisk pace, comfortably, with climbs up to 1500 feet on dirt trails. Loose rocks, uneven footing, and off-trail hiking are possible. Good coordination is recommended.
  • Be prepared for brisk aerobic, destination-oriented hiking up to 12 miles a day. You should be physically conditioned to do these hikes comfortably. Elevation changes up to 2000 feet on dirt trails or off-trail. Loose rock, uneven footing, steep hillside traverses, and stream crossings are possible. Good coordination is required.


  • Leisurely hikes up to 1 mile per day through relatively flat terrain on maintained or snow-packed trails.
  • Hikes on snow-packed trails, or snowshoe or ski trips, up to 3 miles per day with climbs up to 250 feet.
  • Brisk hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing up to 5 miles per day with climbs up to 500 feet, including some trail-breaking in snow.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 8 miles per day with climbs up to 1000 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 12 miles per day with climbs up to 1500 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.