When nature photographers think of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, they tend to think only of wind-swept beaches and jaw dropping sunrises. When it comes to organizing workshops, timing is everything. And that is what this is all about – perfect timing.
First, the horses. This workshop is scheduled to take place right at the peak time of the year for finding wild horses on the beaches of the Outer Banks. Each spring, these wild equines descend en masse to the beaches right at the height of foaling season. The only way to access these horses is by grinding your way through the sand in four-wheel drive on the beach – which is exactly what we do.
Next, the bears. Just across the water from these islands happens to be the densest concentration of black bears in the entire world. And they also happen to be the physically largest as well with some larger than 800lbs. This is the time of the year that sows are beginning to bring their COY (cubs of the year) out into the world. No self-respecting wildlife photography workshop to this area would be complete without filling at least one memory card with black bears.
And let’s not forget the birds. Come spring, the rookeries around the Outer Banks are exploding with activity all while the spring migration of shore birds is at its peak.
Inevitably, landscape opportunities will work their way into this workshop. This is the Outer Banks after all!
Dates: April 30 – May 6, 2023
Cost: $6000 (Deposit: $2000)
Single Supplement: $1500
Leaders: Jared Lloyd & Annalise Kaylor
Location: Based in Kill Devil Hills, NC
Airport: Norfolk Int'l (ORF)
Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
Classroom session on the first day
Five hands-on days in the field across several locations
3:1 Participant to Leader Ratio
The Classroom Session
We spend a full day discussing the important photographic concepts needed to take full advantage of this workshop. This is geared specifically for our OBX Wild workshop, focusing on the technical and creative skills that we will be putting to use in that particular location. Here, we will cover everything from large mammal photography to bird photography due to the diverse nature of this trip. This one day will completely change your success rate for the entire workshop.
What Size Lenses Will I Need?
This workshop is all about diversity. Black bears and wild horses and birds and landscapes. This means that you may consider bringing a range of lenses with you. For photographing the bears and birds, you will benefit from bringing the longest lenses you have access to or feel comfortable renting. This means that 500 - 600mm lenses are ideal in these situations. With the wild horses, a zoom lens is often a better option. I like to carry something in the 200-400mm range for the horses. However, a 200-600 or 150-600 would be a great option here as well.
As for landscapes, you will want to bring something in the neighborhood of a 24-70mm lens and if possible, a 12/14-24mm lens as well. Oh, and if you have a 90, 100, or 105 macro lens, bring that as well. The macro lens is not a requirement for this workshop as long as you have a 24-70 or a 70-200mm lens.
Please do not feel like you need to go out and buy all of these lenses. If you're not sure if your gear will work, let us know and we can give you our honest thoughts and personalized suggestions. We both use Lensrentals for when we need special gear and we recommend them exclusively for our clients, too.
Will I Need a Tripod for this Workshop?
Yes you will! Tripods are crucially important in wildlife photography and on this workshop you will need one. Though there may be times that we hand hold our lenses, in most instances we will want to properly stabilize our equipment.
We highly recommend a tripod without a center column. For wildlife photography, it's often imperative that we get as low as possible to the ground to get the best possible images with our subjects. There are thousands of reasons we want to get lower with our gear and rarely do we have a need to get taller. Tripods with a center column prevent your camera from getting all the way down to the ground.
In wildlife photography, we recommend a tripod with a load capacity that is twice the amount of weight that you will put on it. So, you were to estimate that the tripod head weights 5lbs, your camera body weighs 5lbs, you biggest lens weighs 12 lbs, this is 22 lbs total. And therefore, we recommend you have a tripod that can hold a minimum of 44lbs. Most likely you will need to round up to 50lbs for this.
If you already own a Skimmer Pod, we highly recommend you bring it to this workshop, as well. It's a great tool to have for working on the beach.
What is the Itinerary?
Our success in the field is determined by a combination of variables, especially the weather. As such, we don't publish exact dates and locations because we will adjust the schedule as we review weather, locations, etc. We have three general locations for this workshop all within a short drive from our hotel base. You can expect that we will spend each morning in the field and each afternoon and evening in the field. We usually take a break mid-day so people can grab lunch, download their cards and backup images, and have a few hours off. The mid-day light is harsh and unflattering for photography and the wildlife all rest in the middle of the day, as well, so there isn't anything worthwhile being missed.
What is Not Included in the Price?
For this workshop, you should plan to provide your own transportation to the locations (except for the days on the beach for the horses), as well as pay for your own meals. The hotel breakfast hours start after we leave the hotel for the morning session. Each room has a small kitchenette, however, and there is a Harris Teeter grocery store across the street.
For liability reasons, we do not provide the transportation for this workshop except for the specialty transport for driving on the beach. However, many workshop participants choose to carpool or share a rental car.
We arrange a pre-workshop Zoom call ahead of every workshop. This is a great way to get to know your fellow workshop participants and get more detailed information at the same time. While you're always welcome to email us with questions, we've found this online "meet and greet" is the best way to answer most of the group's questions. If you have a question about gear, clothing, or what to expect, chances are that someone else in the workshop does, too.
How Strenuous is This Workshop?
This workshop is rated "easy," with short walks once we've parked vehicles.
Sign-up or Ask More Questions
If you're interested in joining us for this workshop or have any additional questions, please send me a note! We'd love to have you on this, or any one of our other workshops.