Naturalist Journeys Announces New Travel Photography Tour in Big Bend National Park

TODO TX Hill Black capped Vireo

Rare Black-capped Vireo, Photo by Tom Dove

Naturalist Journeys is proud to announce a new nature and birding tour – this one with a strong focus on Travel Photography. Accomplished photographer and nature and birding tour guide Greg Smith designed and will instruct the company’s new Big Bend Travel Photography tour.  Smith explains the new program, saying,  “Travel Photography augments Naturalist Journey’s already fine-tuned top nature and birding tours, adding a rich dimension for those that like to see birds and more through the lens. It’s designed to be fun, to take those interested in photography to the next level, perfect for beginning and intermediate photographers wanting help to learn to keep up with their camera’s potential”.

Smith approached Naturalist Journeys owner Peg Abbott, who in the past did logistics for photography workshops taught by professionals when she worked with the National Audubon Society.  Abbott welcomed Smith’s approach, recognizing there was a niche between nature and birding tours, and intensive photo workshops often beyond the reach of those with less sophisticated equipment.  She felt the concept fit Smith’s style of guiding, which is relaxed, fun, and always ready to capture the moment spontaneously. Abbott says, “As a nature and birding tour guide, Greg Smith sees life as images. With his wildlife expertise, he can find birds, mammals, blooming cacti, and all the magic natural history subjects Big Bend National Park has to offer.  It’s on finding them, that he becomes an artist, and it’s this focus on the creative aspect of seeing wildlife that makes him a natural to teach this new Big Bend Travel Photography tour for us.  Just driving a road, Greg will pull over to show you the perfect curve that makes an image pop.  I can only imagine, given free-rein to focus on photography more, what he will find!”

Because of its dramatic scenery, Big Bend National Park is a perfect spot to launch Naturalist Journey’s new guided Big Bend Travel Photography tour.  Smith knows the park well, but over the years has seen too many visitors frustrated trying to cope with strong sunlight, vast landscapes, and challenging subjects such as the park’s myriad swift-moving migratory birds.  He found tour participants on his nature and birding tours lighting up as they learned how to get better lighting, sharper focus, and interesting background effects on photos of what they were seeing.

Abbott has seen Smith in action.  She smiles, saying, “Standing on the porch of Big Bend National Park’s Chisos Mountain Lodge, sunset watching is a nightly ritual.  Everyone is absorbed in beauty, and there is Greg, on a mission.  He is walking around, taking people’s cameras and showing them how to angle them to get better exposures, enhance the lighting, and get that perfect sunset image. Finding success, strangers are hugging him and he is happy.”  She says Smith is a natural teacher in the field setting.  During this inaugural Big Bend Travel Photography tour, Naturalist Journeys hopes to help people appreciate nature all the more by knowing how to use tools they have in hand, cameras.  It’s all a part of the company’s strong ecotourism and responsible travel mission.

Today’s digital cameras, even models without interchangable lenses, can be overwhelming. So can be the software, so readily available to fix and enhance images taken.  Join Greg Smith, May 4-11, 2013,  in one of the Desert Southwest’s finest national parks and take the next step in mastering your camera.  Everyone starts somewhere!

One of the best challenges in photography is capturing rare species. The fine image above is by Texas-based photographer Tom Dove. It captures the essence of a singing male Black-capped Vireo, a species once nesting in good number in Big Bend National Park that is slowly coming back in number after several decades of decline. While it would be difficult to improve on this image, which was shot at Fort Hood in Texas, Dove might just find a chance to do this spring as he returns to Big Bend, on the prowl for Colima Warbler.  Travel Photography is that quest to match landscape, species and skill.  It is the interface of understanding species, where they occur, how they behave, and how then to best capture them on film.

We urge you to take the challenge, join guide Greg and try you skills out today!  May 4-11, 2013 Big Bend Travel Photography tour ITINERARY

A $300 deposit holds your space.  Download a registration form online, or call us at 866 900-1146.  www.naturalistjourneys.com

This species may also be observed in the Texas Hill Country, a stronghold for the species.  Naturalist Journeys Hill Country Nature and Birding Tour runs April 14-19, 2013.

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