Nature Photography


Guests should arrive early Friday afternoon and get settled into their cabin(s) before embarking on the afternoon agenda described below. We will start with an introductory discussion and a brief course on composition before splitting into two groups to explore wildlife and landscape photography opportunities afforded by the 5,800 acre property. Landscape and wildlife sessions will continue in the mornings and evenings each day with an optional course discussing night photography (weather and skies permitting) available Saturday night after dinner. In addition to the structured agenda items presented below, there will be “free” time in which you can enjoy some of Twistflower’s features, including the swimming pool (as weather permits), full size pool table, big screen TV, hiking trails, peaceful surroundings and views, relaxation areas, or the privacy of your cabin.

Our Leader
Our Nature Photography Weekend will be led by Rita Frey. Rita is a professional freelance nature photographer with a degree in Wildlife Management from Texas Tech University. Her work has been published in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, Texas Wildlife Association Magazine, photo guides and educational periodicals. Rita has spent the past six years photographing the wildlife, landscapes and unique ecology of the region and has developed a deep appreciation for the area.



2018 class dates are currently being planned.

**Required Equipment: DSLR Camera, Lens(es), Tripod, Spare Class 4 SD Card

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Nature Photography Weekend Itinerary


Friday Afternoon
Friday afternoon will consist of a meet-and-greet wherein Rita shares her work and background and opens a discussion with guests to better understand their photography background and interests. We will discuss the compositional elements present in ‘good’ photos and various techniques used to obtain such photos.

Friday Evening
Friday evening we will split into two groups with one group heading to the non-baited wildlife photography blind and the other group remaining on the clifftops near the Main Lodge to photograph landscapes. This pattern will repeat throughout the weekend and will allow each group an equal number of opportunities to photograph landscapes and wildlife at the Twistflower Ranch. After sunset we will return to the Main Lodge where dinner will be provided.

During dinner, Mike will further discuss the recent history of the ranch, including how it was identified, what it is named for, how it was developed and who participated in which phases of the development. He will discuss the current uses of Twistflower and provide details concerning the riparian buffer zone -protection program, oil exploration, hunting and cattle grazing that occur.

Saturday Morning
We will enjoy breakfast from 6:00am – 6:30am at the Main Lodge, with one of the two groups departing for the field between 6:30 and 6:45am. The vast majority of species at the Twistflower are most conspicuous during the early daylight hours and late evening hours. These timeframes also provide some of the most beautiful light conditions for your potential subjects. The wildlife photography group (which alternates over the course of the weekend) will occupy the photography blind until approximately 9:30am at which point we will return to the Main Lodge. The non-wildlife group for the given morning will enjoy a fascinating tour of the Twistflower Ranch with co-owner Mike McCloskey. You will learn about the landscape, the history of the region and even experience archeological sites. All groups will return to the Main Lodge by approximately 9:30am, we will discuss camera settings and how to use them from approximately 10:00am to 11:00am.

Saturday Afternoon
After the morning sessions, lunch will be served in the Main Lodge at 11:00am. After lunch, guests are free to enjoy the amenities at the Twistflower Ranch including the pool (weather permitting), pool table, numerous panoramic porches, hiking, photography blinds, or even just to relax in the comfort of their private cabin. We will reconvene at 5:30pm at which time guests are encouraged to share at least one of their photos so far with the group before splitting again into two groups for landscape and wildlife photography.

Saturday Evening
Saturday evening we will again split into two groups with one group heading to the non-baited wildlife photography blind and the other group remaining on the clifftops near the Main Lodge to photograph landscapes. (Each group will depart for whichever activity they did not attend the prior evening). After sunset we will return to the Main Lodge where dinner will be provided.

Following dinner, guests will have half an hour to an hour to themselves prior to the optional night photography class. This course will begin at the Main Lodge (weather and skies permitting) at approximately 11:00pm. We will learn to dial in settings to photograph the Milky Way at the deck of the pool. From there, those who wish to implement those settings to photograph the Milky Way in a landscape setting may choose to continue on to alternate location(s) where light painting will also be briefly discussed.

Sunday Morning
Each group will depart for whichever activity they did not attend the prior morning between 6:30 and 6:45am. The wildlife photography group will occupy the photography blind until approximately 9:30am at which point we will return to the Main Lodge. The non-wildlife group for the given morning will enjoy a fascinating tour of the Twistflower Ranch with co-owner Mike McCloskey. You will learn about the landscape, the history of the region and even experience archeological sites. All groups will return to the Main Lodge by approximately 9:30am. Brunch will be served from 10:00am to 11:00am. During and after brunch you will be able to discuss with Rita and Mike whatever elements of the weekend presentations that you have further question or comments about.