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Birds of South Texas
(Hebbronville and Edinburg, TX)

Dates: April 27 - May 2, 2019
Fee: $2,495 (includes lodging and some meals)
Deposit: $1000
Limit: 8 participants (with 2 instructors)
View photographs from South Texas>>


Professional nature photographers Nikhil Bahl and Ruth Hoyt have formed a team to provide the best opportunities of the Rio Grande Valley in nature photography, with special attention to birds.

You can't see and photograph everything in one trip to south Texas, but we will photograph on two ranches that, combined, provide an incredible variety of experiences and subjects to add to your portfolio!

The Jones Alta Vista and Laguna Seca ranches offer professional below-ground photo blinds designed to put you at eye-level with their wild visitors. The blinds are situated with morning and evening light in mind, as well as distant vegetation that yields soft backgrounds.

Jones Alta Vista Ranch

This family-owned, historic 34,000-acre working cattle ranch boasts great variety in terrain, from gently rolling hills and open prairies to dense native brush and thorn scrub. Its remote location provides skies as vast as the land, with complete darkness that offers superb opportunities for night photography.

Laguna Seca Ranch

This family-owned, 700-acre private ranch consists of red sandy soil with trees, brush, cactus and other vegetation that thrive in sand. The ranch is part of the Texas sand sheet, an area formed by winds from the southeast that have blown sand across the land for hundreds of years.



  • Good photographic techinque
  • Lighting and exposure
  • The histogram and how to use it
  • Composition
  • Story telling through photography
  • How to maximize the performance or your autofocus settings
  • Best settings for perched birds and those in action
  • Tips for photographing birds in flight
  • How to track birds in flight
  • Setting up a perch
  • Etiqutte, when photographing in blinds
  • In-depth look at how to process your bird photos
  • Group image reviews
  • And a lot more



This is one of the easiest workshops you can attend! Those who have mobility limitations shouldn't have problems. You do not need to walk more than 50 feet on a dirt road and a few steps down into the photo blinds (and back up the steps to get out, of course). You should be able to sit in the blind for 2-3 hours. If you have any concerns, please contact us and we can discuss options to suit your needs.


Any photographer from beginner to professional is welcome. Must have a telephoto lens in the 400-600mm range along with a sturdy tripod with a gimbal head.


Daytime temperatures can range anywhere from 60 to 100º F so be prepared for weather from cool to hot temperatures. It doesn't rain often, but it can happen!



Following is a detailed itinerary, but please understand that lighting and weather conditions can change quickly, which may cause your leaders to make changes as they see fit.

Day 1

Arrive in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas by flying into McAllen, Texas. We will meet at the Jones Alta Vista Ranch, located 18 miles south of Hebbronville, Texas, no later than 5pm. The evening will begin with a presentation that will go over photographic techniques for the wildlife and other subjects we will photograph during the next four days. After dinner we will spend some time checking participants' equipment and camera settings, getting ready for the next days photography.

Days 2-3

We will photograph at the Jones Alta Vista Ranch for two full days. Each morning we start with a continental breakfast in the dark and head to the morning blind before sunrise for birds and other wildlife visitors. Once the quality of the light degrades (mid-morning), we will take a break for a cooked brunch and a short rest (free time) at the lodge.

After an early afternoon classroom session (photo processing and image critique) more photo techniques, we will eat snacks and head to the afternoon/evening blind for more birds and other wildlife.

When we finish at the blinds we will head for dinner at the lodge. After dinner we can spend time viewing our day’s photographic work.

Day 4

Wake up very early, eat a continental breakfast and drive to the Laguna Seca Ranch, where we will photograph for two days. We arrive before sunrise each morning and choose which blind to use, and rotate to the opposite morning blind the following morning.

As the light degrades in late morning, we drive to our hotel in Edinburg, check in and relax until our afternoon/evening shoot. This is a good time to cool off, rest, eat lunch, charge batteries and review/process your photos.

In the late afternoon, when the sun moves lower in the sky, we head back to the Laguna Seca ranch for more photography until the light fades. After the evening shoot, we will head back to town for dinner and then to our hotel.

Day 5

Our second day at the Laguna Seca Ranch, we rotate to a different morning blind and enjoy watching and photographing the wildlife until late morning.

During the midday break, we drive back to the hotel and relax until the afternoon/evening shoot. Again, this is a good time to cool off, rest, eat lunch, charge batteries and review/process photos.

In late afternoon, we return to the ranch for our trip's final evening shoot and work on more birds and other wildlife that provide us with images. At sunset, we pack up, head to town for a farewell dinner, then go to the hotel.

Day 6

Our final morning, we have breakfast and head to the McAllen airport to catch our departing flights.



Please note: all birds/animals you photograph will be wild (no captive birds/animals).

More details will be provided in a preparatory document after registration. Please contact Nikhil if you have any questions.


Itinerary Includes:

  • Ranch fees
  • 3 nights lodging at the Jones Alta Vista Ranch and 2 night of lodging in Edinburg (double occupancy, single supplement $400)
  • Welcome dinner April 27 (Jones Alta Vista Ranch)
  • All meals April 28, 29 (Jones Alta Vista Ranch portion of the trip)
  • All classroom and in the field instruction
  • Image feedback and processing sessions
  • Planning and information packet including logistics details, packing and equipment lists, and more

Itinerary Does Not Include:

  • Tips for guide, maid or ranch staff
  • Alchoholic drinks
  • Flight/Transportation to McAllen, TX
  • Transportation during the trip (we can help setup a car pool with registered participants closer to the date of the workshop)
  • Meals on Days 4, 5 and 6
  • Travel/cancellation/emergency evacuation insurance
  • Incidentals

Prior to the workshop, we are happy to provide a free phone call with either or both trip leaders to discuss equipment, answer questions and provide general photography advice so you are prepared for the workshop.

Please select one:
Registration requires a $1000 deposit. Balance due January 15, 2019


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