Ohio Grassland Birds

Available Dates: July 5, 6, 7, 8, 2020

Fee: $2200 Four full days shooting in the field. (Balance of $1600 will be due 90 days prior to the trip)

Deposit: $600

Target Group Size: 4 participants

From: Cleveland, Ohio

Some of Ohio's most unique and beautiful songbirds wait until the grasslands reach a certain maturity before they begin nesting. In July the grasslands are alive with colorful wildflowers, berries, and filled with birdsong. During this photo tour we will visit several of my favorite summer parks in the greater Cleveland area targeting Dickcissel, Indigo Bunting, Henslow's Sparrow, and more.

Our hotel sits just outside Ohio’s only National Park in the Cuyahoga Valley. From here, we will have easy access to the Valley and a variety of metro parks in the area. Each morning we will meet around dawn in order to maximize our productivity during the trip. My goal is to help each of the four participants walk away with as many high quality images as possible. We will create set-ups and simply photograph the birds on their own terms as well, depending on the situation. During harsh mid day light we will go over some slideshows and processing tips, as well as have some free time. We’ll have another long shooting session each evening until the light fails, and then have dinner as a group for whoever wishes to join.


Where to Stay
We will meet each morning in the hotel lobby of Holiday Inn, Richfield, Ohio.
5171a Brecksville Rd.
Richfield, OH 44286
This is where I recommend staying, but feel free to camp or stay at any of the other hotels in the area.

Best airport: CLE in Cleveland is certainly the closest airport. The Akron/Canton airport is only 40 minutes away and may offer cheaper flights at times. Either location will be good.

Cell service:
Service will be good during the entire trip.

Physical Activity Requirements: Moderate activity. This trip will require several hikes into fields in order to get close to the grassland birds. Up to a mile hike over level terrain each afternoon or morning session will be necessary. We’ll be shooting near the car most of the time.  Participants will need to follow Matthew in their own vehicle to the shooting locations. Carpooling is optional.

Each participant must have their own transportation. Carpooling will be optional. Usually each participant follows me in their own vehicle through the forest. Once I find a cooperative bird, we pull off the road and start working on a setup.

Please have breakfast on your own before we meet in the morning. We usually eat at Panera Bread or Chipotle for lunch, and I have found some locally owned and run restaurants in the park that are fun for dinner.

What to pack:

  • Tripod

  • DSLR camera

  • Your longest lens (600mm minimum when you count crop factor and tele-extenders)

  • Flash plus better beamer if desired

  • Extra memory cards or laptop to download images

  • Rain gear

  • Waterproof shoes recommended in case the grass is wet

  • Bug spray

  • sunscreen

  • Notepad and pencil if you want to take notes during my photoshop demo

  • Bring a sample of your own work if you like. It can be fun to share during lunch break to get to know each other’s work.

  • A positive attitude. One negative person can put a cloud over the whole trip but good attitudes are contagious as well!


Likely Species on the Ohio Grasslands Photo Tour - species in bold have historically been the most cooperative, and a sampling of the other species usually oblige as well:

  • Bobwhite

  • Dickcissel

  • Indigo Bunting

  • Brown Thrasher

  • Eastern Bluebird

  • Bobolink

  • Eastern Phoebe

  • Eastern Wood Pewee

  • Acadian Flycatcher

  • Eastern Kingbird

  • Ceder Waxwing

  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow

  • Tree Swallow

  • Red-eyed Vireo

  • White-eyed Vireo

  • Warbling Vireo

  • Common Yellowthroat

  • Yellow Warbler

  • Prairie Warbler

  • Hooded Warbler

  • American Redstart

  • Eastern Towhee

  • Song Sparrow

  • Henslow's Sparrow

  • Grasshopper Sparrow

  • Field Sparrow

  • Chipping Sparrow

  • Eastern Meadowlark

  • American Goldfinch


To sign up for the Photo Tour, please add the deposit at the top of the page to your cart and check out