Shawnee Ohio Songbirds 2020

Southern Ohio Songbirds Photo Tour - Shawnee Forest

Available Dates: April 21-24, 2020

Fee: $2200 Four full days shooting in the field with mid-afternoon slideshows and photoshop demonstrations.

Deposit : $680 (this will cover lodging for 5 nights only, leaving the tour fee of 2200 due 90 days before the trip)

Target Group Size: 4 participants

From: Portsmouth, Ohio

Southern Ohio is known for its expansive forests and bountiful wild areas. It is situated in the Appalachian foothills and in the spring, comes alive with small rushing streams, blossoming red-bud trees, and the forest echoes with songbirds arriving in fresh plumage from Central and South America. It's one of my favorite places to be. 2020 will be my 14th year doing the Shawnee trip and it's an absolute favorite. On this photo tour we strive for quality over quantity, and often only walk away with two or three truly stunning shots per day. But the rewards are sweet. The quality of these images surpasses weeks and weeks of work at migrant traps and has the advantage of showing the birds in their preferred environment and breeding ground.

During our trip, I will show you how to get that perfect shot, whether we are photographing a Prairie Warbler picking bugs out if a Redbud Tree, or a Louisiana Waterthrush singing from the top of a mossy rock in the middle of a stream, the trip focuses on giving the images that extra touch that separates the good images for the work of a master bird photographer. I  know exactly which parts of the forest to shoot from and when, how to take advantage of the birds’ daily patterns and work with the light. I will provide natural props to enhance compositions if desired. I have all the Eastern US bird's songs memorized in order to quickly locate birds for the group.

Equipment: I recommend bringing a digital SLR with matching lens. When you calculate your digital crop factor (usually 1.5x the normal focal length or so for digital cameras today) and slap on your tele-extenders (1.4x or 2x) you should have the equivalent of at least 600mm. Please be familiar with using the equipment you bring. While I have experience with basic Nikon, Canon, and Olympus systems and can help guide you along, you could miss a rare photo opp when adjusting settings or even looking through the viewfinder with new equipment.

If we have cloudy weather, the photos often turn out as good or better than in sunny weather, but having a fill flash really helps bring the colors to life in overcast conditions.

Once a participant commits to doing the tour, a down payment is required right away to reserve the date. Participants can pay with personal checks or money orders. Unfortunately, refunds are impossible.


Physical Activity Requirements: Low activity. We’ll be shooting near the car most of the time. We may walk across a couple small fields. You certainly don’t need to be athletic to do this photo tour. If you can walk a normal city block or go grocery shopping you should be just fine. One of the biggest hassles of the workshop is simply taking out the equipment from the vehicle and putting it back in every couple hours. We shoot within a short drive of the lodge most of the time, but participants will need to follow Matthew in their own vehicle to the shooting locations. Carpooling is optional.


Where to Stay: We usually stay in the park itself. More information will be provided once a deposit and contract are received.

Best Airport: Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) in Columbus, Ohio is the closest large airport, located about 1 hour and 30 mins
North of Shawnee State Park.

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

  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak

  • Scarlet Tanager

  • Brown Thrasher

  • Eastern Pheobe

  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

  • Red-eyed Vireo

  • Yellow-throated Vireo

  • Blue-headed Vireo

  • White-eyed Vireo

  • Louisiana Waterthrush

  • Ovenbird

  • Pine Warbler

  • Hooded Warbler

  • Kentucky Warbler

  • Blue-winged Warbler

  • Common Yellowthroat

  • Yellow Warbler

  • Yellow-throated Warbler

  • Cerulean Warbler

  • Worm-eating Warbler

  • American Redstart

  • Black-and-white Warbler

  • Prairie Warbler

  • Northern Parula

  • Black-throated Green Warbler

  • Blackburnian Warbler

  • Eastern Towhee

  • Carolina Chickadee

  • Tufted Titmouse

  • Field Sparrow

Sunrise will be at 6:38am, sunset at 8:11pm

View the gallery below to see images taken on the Shawnee Photo Tour by participants during previous tours.

To sign up for the Photo Tour, please pay the deposit by adding it to your cart at the top of the page: