Nature Photography

Guests should arrive early Friday afternoon and get settled into their cabin(s) before embarking on the afternoon agenda described in detail below. The Friday evening meal will be served prior to the evening’s activities that will include a discussion of Twistflower’s history, development, and the lay of the land. We will convene Saturday morning about 6:00am for breakfast, and then proceed to the morning’s activities. Lunch will be around 12:00 and Saturday dinner between about and hour and a half after sundown. Sunday brunch is scheduled for 9:30 followed by the camaraderie of commemorating on “what could I have done differently.” You will also have a chance to ask further questions or provide comments on the weekend’s agenda before your departure late Sunday morning. 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 Mae 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.

Coming Up: July 28, 29, 30

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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 elements present in ‘good’ photos and various techniques used to obtain such photos. We will begin our class by putting into practice simple elements like point of view and composition using only our smartphone cameras.

Friday Evening
Friday evening we will enjoy a brief ‘tour’ of the Twistflower Ranch and its landscape, stopping at several points along the way to exhibit photo blinds and locations. Photo blinds at the Twistflower Ranch are pop-up blinds placed inconspicuously to observe wildlife in their natural state. Baiting is not used. Mike McCloskey (a co-owner of the Twistflower) and Rita Frey will each discuss important observations via the landscape and/or photography at each stop. After sunset we will make our way back to the main lodge for dinner. Guests will be given the option to return to blinds Saturday morning or evening or Sunday morning for photos.

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.

After dinner Rita will discuss proper use of basic camera settings as well as species frequently seen in the area. We will discuss which guests have chosen which blinds for morning photos and what to expect. We will also use this time to ask and answer questions regarding equipment, methodology and any photos guests have taken during the previous hours.

Saturday Morning
We will enjoy breakfast from 6:00am – 6:30am at the Main Lodge, departing for the field sharply at 6:30am. 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. We will occupy chosen blinds until approximately 9:30am at which point we will return to the Main Lodge. A hike around the landscape will depart from the Main Lodge at 10:00am – we will look for wildlife and discuss why certain species are found in certain surroundings. The Twistflower Ranch offers a wide variety of habitats and a consequent wide array of wildlife. We will also learn to listen for calls and look for signs.

Saturday Afternoon
After lunch, guests will have time to themselves from approximately 11:30am until 3:30pm. At 4:00pm we will re-convene at the Main Lodge to depart for photo blinds. From the blinds we will watch for evening movement and habits of local species, returning to the Lodge just after sunset.

Saturday Evening
We will enjoy dinner at the Main Lodge. After dinner you will have a chance to share any favorite photos you took during the field sessions on the big screen TV, and discuss any techniques you found successful with the other participating photographers.

Sunday Morning
Brunch will be served from 9:30 to 10:00. 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.