Everglades, Big Cypress, and Marco Island

Trip Dates: 6 full days, March 2-7, 2016

Photo Tour Fee: $2800
Includes 6 full days of photography guided in the field
Does not include lodging or meals

Deposit: $750

From: Miami, Florida

Leader(s): Matthew Studebaker

Target Group Size: 5 photographers, minimum 3

Our trip will begin in near Miami, FL. Here we will spend two days photographing a wide variety of southern Florida birds from a Wood Stork nesting colony to Painted Buntings. Next we will travel to the Everglades area making both traditional nature portraits of the many tame wading birds as well as wider images that attempt to capture the feel of the expansive wild Everglades.  Finally the trip will conclude with a Burrowing Owl colony and a couple sessions in the heart of Big Cypress Preserve.

Travel considerations: Fly to Fort Lauderdale or Miami, Florida. You can either rent your own vehicle and follow me to our shooting locations, or ask to ride with me.

Camera Gear: Bring a digital SLR and your longest telephoto lens. Some of our target birds, like Painted Buntings and Swallow-tailed Kites, will be fairly shy and we'll want all the reach we can get (at least 500mm including your tele-extender). Other species like the Burrowing Owls, may be so close we'll want a wide angle, so bring a medium telephoto (like a 300mm or a 70-200mm) as well as a landscape lens (I'll have a 17-40mm).   Bring a tripod for your long lens, and binoculars if desired. No flash will be necessary.

Likely Species on the trip. Opportunities in bold will be the easiest/most common -


  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Wood Stork
  • Anhinga
  • American White Pelican
  • Brown Pelican
  • Great Egret
  • Snowy Egret
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Green Heron
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Cattle Egret
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • White Ibis
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Purple Gallinule
  • Black Vulture
  • Swallow-tailed Kite
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Barred Owl
  • White-crowned Pigeon
  • Painted Bunting
  • Common Myna 
  • many other species are possible as well

What to pack

  • Boots: Waterproof Hiking Boots and pants are a good idea in case we run into wet grass or a little mud
  • Light Jacket: mornings on the boat can be chilly. Prepare for temps in the 50's.
  • Hat and Gloves: only if you want to be super prepared. At least bring a baseball cap.
  • Sunscreen: A good idea for working in the sun

Weather and Schedule:
The sun will rise around 6:40 am and set at 6:20pm.  Most days it will be common to wake up with temperatures in the mid 50's. Some afternoons we could see temperatures in the lower 80's. We will meet early enough to get to our first location around sunrise and photograph through 10am or so if we have sun. After lunch, a slideshow, and a little personal time, we'll head to our afternoon location by 3pm and photograph until we lose light. On cloudy days, we will abbreviate our afternoon break and try to maximize mid-day overcast light.

Transportation:  Rent a car and follow me or ask about riding in my vehicle if desired.

Hotel: More information to be provided about where to stay upon signing up for the trip. Hotel costs are not included in the workshop fee. Hotel cost will average around $120/night if you stay at the same hotel as the group. I like to stay at well-managed chain hotels like Marriott or Holiday Inn.

Meals: Free continental breakfast at the hotel. Lunches and dinners with the group if desired. We'll eat at places everyone can enjoy.

Learning / Slideshows: On the first day, and during a couple mid-day breaks I will go over some tips, composition, and post processing ideas. This is a photo tour, not a workshop, therefor I am presuming that everyone is taking this trip more to maximize productivity than to learn how to use their gear, but please ask if you have trouble or questions. Along with a few brief slideshows and discussions. I will try to talk about my photographic vision for each situation and spout off my camera settings in the field as well as peek over everyone's shoulder from time to time to check histograms and exposures. Aside from that, I'll need YOU to tell me if you have additional questions, learning objectives, or concerns.

My job is to know the area, do many hours of research, know and be able to ID the animals instantly and understand their habitat and behaviors, drive you to the most productive areas at the right time of day, be prepared to attract the animals or assist the group in stalking them, advise on how to make the most of each photo opp,  ensure that everyone has their physical needs met, and ensure that everyone gets the most and highest quality images in the time we have.

Your job is to communicate your needs and have fun. I want to emphasize that each of you please communicate and keep me aware of your needs.

Physical Requirements:
Much of the photography on this trip will be done right from the road or within a 5 minute walk of our vehicle. A few locations will require walking a level, handicap accessible path for up to 3/4 mile.