2017 Tour Dates:
Nov. 5 - 10
Nov. 11 - 16
Your tour guides — CC Lockwood, Doug Hansgate, and Steve Uffman — agree that our success will be measured by your success. This is our backyard where we spend a great deal of time and we want to do everything we can to help you get the most out of the tour and go home with spectacular images.
That being said, however, we won’t hover over you. When we shoot these areas, we like to spread out some, look for a vision of an image, find still water, and explore the best angle of light and composition. We encourage you to do the same, but we are not so far away that we can’t give you any assistance you might want. Plus, since the tour is limited to 12 participants, you can be assured of individual attention.
For a map of the Atchafalaya River Basin click here.
Photography skill levels will range from expert to far less experience levels. If you are a pro or less experienced, no worries … there is plenty of freedom to operate at your creative best. And if you are still eager to learn to improve your skills, consider arranging for private lessons from Doug Hansgate the day before or after tour. Doug is an extraordinary teacher and has a gift for simplifying things that leads to fast improvement. Such lessons should be prearranged with Doug so they do not conflict with our other duties but those that take advantage of such lessons will find it time well spent.
On this trip, you will use a variety of length lenses and we will publish a list before the trip. Plan on at a least a wide angle and a zoom in the 70-300mm or 100-400mm range or so. Many of my images taken gliding through the cypress are shot with a zoom. Plenty of times we will use an extender if our vision for an image warrants. In fact we usually have something similar to a 16-35mm, a 24-70mm, 100-400mm and an extender in my wet bag. We don't always use all of that but when we need to, we are well equipped. Add a tripod and maybe a remote release and you have what you will need. Later we will send you some special information on a few accessories we use. They are not necessary but fun to enhance or create some special effects.
Most of the time you will shoot hand holding, sitting inside the kayak. Other times you might want a longer shutter speed and will need your tripod. Some of the images in the impressive sideshow were taken with the tripod in the water and me in the kayak. You also can see that was how Barbara Dall'Angelo got many of her shots in the area.
Can you say layers? Our weather changes frequently. At the time of our photo tour, our winter is upon us but sometimes we are in shorts and t-shirts in December. Our winters are very mild by most standards. It would be rare that more than a fleece would be needed at that time of year but who knows? Plan for it. Also, bring light rain gear — the fog, mist, or a light sprinkle are all likely during your time here. We enjoy the photographic opportunities that each offers, unless high winds or lightning dictate otherwise.
We use Native Ultimates kayaks, which are fantastic for photography. They are sit-inside kayaks and with your waterproof bag you should be fine. If you have not kayaked before, we will be happy to give some brief instruction. It is not nearly as hard as you might think. A friend that is a 73 year old retired priest finally tried one last summer after overcoming his fear. His reaction after about 30 minutes on the water? Where could he buy one!
Since kayaks give us great mobility, we can move around most of the day to find just the right spots. But we are never in a hurry. Rest assured you can paddle at your own pace. When asked about level of fitness, moderate would be likely the best answer.
Though we warn novices from exiting the kayak there are some places, if conditions are right, to do so and we ask that you only dismount your kayak in the presence of one of your guides. Water level and softness of the bottom are two keys that determine when you can do that, and of course, finding the spot where you can get back in the kayak is important. If this is on your list to do, just bring your waders. And yes, we will gladly take that iconic shot of you photographing standing in the water among the fabulous cypress for your portfolio.
We will transport all the kayaks and have them ready for you at our launch points when you arrive.
The length of our daily outings is flexible. We want to maximize the best light, atmosphere, colors and subject matter. Most days will include a morning session and then a late afternoon session to capture the golden hour, sunset and more. Our morning sessions start before sunrise. Generally we run later into the morning as we have shadow areas that can be spectacular when the sun is quite high. The bottom line is to stay flexible. While the trees aren't going anywhere, the weather, light, atmosphere and more will change — even a bit of rain may fall which can greatly enrich the colors. We adapt to what Mother Nature throws our way with safety first always at the top of our agenda.
Each day starts out before sunrise with a quick coffee or drink, as well as some rolls and pastries to get you off to a good start. Our goal is to have you on the water at our location before sunrise. After our morning on the water, usually around 9:30 - 10:00 am, we will head back to The Fairfax House and have a quality southern home-style hot breakfast.
After breakfast, we give you some time to relax. Our post-production classes run generally from 12 noon to 3 p.m. After class, we’ll have a hot lunch then depart for our afternoon/evening paddle on the water. We will remain out until after dark. Late dinner is served at The Fairfax House at about 9 p.m.
If nature calls. we will assist getting you to shore should that be necessary … all part of helping you have the best experience possible.
We will be providing special complimentary post production classes by internationally renowned teacher and speaker Doug Hansgate from New York State.
Doug’s professional photography career spans over 40 years. His work has been displayed in galleries in New York, Pennsylvania, Toronto, and at The Smithsonian Institute. He has contributed to dozens of magazines and commercial websites and has received numerous national and international awards including the Kodak Award for Image Excellence.
A portion of Doug’s instruction will include advanced photo editing including techniques for Adobe® Photoshop® and Lightroom®. The lighting conditions can be difficult and the added concerns of being on the water can make for a challenging image making experience. With Doug’s help and guidance you will quickly learn to shoot and post process your images into pieces of art.
Fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) if you are arriving by air. Rent a vehicle and then head to The Fairfax House, about 2 hours away. The route is simple and you will receive a packet prior to your departure explaining exactly how to get to your accommodations.
By the way, consideration for start and finish dates of the tour was given to accommodate those that might want to enjoy time in New Orleans before or after the tour as New Orleans is rated as a great destination city.
We offer several options for you depending on your budget and equipment needs.
Deluxe accommodations are $4,200 USD per person (single occupancy) and budget accommodations are $3,800 USD per person (single occupancy).
Participation only reserved on receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $1,750 USD. Deposit methods accepted: Credit card via a phone call to Doug Hansgate, reservation coordinator, at 716-860-7194, or a check made out to AMP Studios and sent to 154 Christiana Street, North Tonawanda, NY 14120.