Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM | Dec 2021

Wintering sandhill cranes, Snow/Ross geese, and ducks

This event is sold out, but you can join a wait list and get notified if space becomes available.

Just the Facts

  • Date:  December 5-8, 2021
  • Leaders: Cathy Illg and Maresa Pryor-Luzier
  • Cost:  $495 NANPA member; $695 non-members.
  • Location:  Socorro, NM
  • Last date to register: November 20, 2021
  • Maximum number attendees:  20
Sandhill cranes landing at sunset, Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico © Cathy Illg

Event Overview

Established in 1939 to provide a critical stopover for migrating waterfowl, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is well known for the thousands of sandhill cranes, Snow/Ross’s geese, and ducks that winter there each year. Situated between the Chupadera Mountains to the west and the San Pascual Mountains to the east, the 57,331-acre refuge harbors a wild stretch of the Rio Grande, a ribbon of cottonwood and willow trees visible on the landscape from distant mesas.

Join professional photographers and workshop leaders Cathy Illg and Maresa Pryor-Luzier to capture all this refuge has to offer, from birds to scenic beauty, landscapes to macro subjects. We’ll get out into the field during prime lighting hours in the mornings and afternoons on Monday and Tuesday. Shooting time will wrap up on Wednesday morning, then we’ll all gather for a final farewell brunch.

What to Expect

Nature photographers at all levels of experience are welcome. Cathy and Maresa will assist you in finding the best photographic opportunities. Assistance will be available in the field for those who wish to improve their photography skills. Conditions in the field will vary.

We will concentrate on getting the best possible images while adhering to responsible wildlife guidelines set forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We will be extra careful not to disturb our subjects and practice ethical wildlife viewing.

Meals: Wednesday brunch is the only meal included in the registration fee. All other meals are at your own expense. Attendees are encouraged to eat together with their groups as part of the overall experience of the event.

Transportation is on your own. We will be based at the Best Western in Socorro, New Mexico.

Tree in Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico © Maresa Pryor-Luzier

2021 Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge Regional Event Cancellation and No Refund Policy: NANPA will not offer any refunds for registrations for this event regardless of when the cancellation is made or the reason for the cancellation. NANPA reserves the right to cancel any event or activity due to insufficient registration or any unforeseen circumstances. NANPA will offer refunds if NANPA has to cancel the event. It also has the right to substitute presenters if those originally scheduled cannot attend. Registrants may purchase event insurance as part of the registration process through NANPA’s partner, Allianz. More information on this option will be shown during the checkout process for the event registration.

NOTE: If you do not purchase event insurance at the time that you pay for your registration, you will NOT be able to go back and purchase it with Allianz later.

If you choose to purchase travel insurance separately, you can do so with your own insurance carrier, or NANPA members can receive a special travel insurance rate through USI Affinity/Travel Insurance Services.


Cathy Illg

Cathy has been a full-time nature photographer since 2000. Her work is widely published and includes numerous covers of magazines like Backpacker, National Geographic Kids, Ranger Rick and National Wildlife, as well as the Wildlife As Canon Sees It ad in National Geographic Magazine.

Several of Cathy’s images decorate the tails of Frontier Airlines’ jets, and she has done well in photo contests, including Nature’s Best, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Bio Photo Contest. She collaborated with her husband, Gordon, on their first two books, Dynamic Wildlife Photography and Worshipping With A Camera, both of which have been well received. The two of them are co-owners and co-leaders for Adventure Photography Photo Tours, and for the past 17 years their livelihood has been dependent upon their ability to share the magic of wild things and wild places with other photographers.

Maresa Pryor-Luzier

Maresa’s interests in nature began as a birder as a young child, and she now leads private photo tours specializing in bird photography. She has a strong following from previous NANPA regional tours in Florida. “I really like working one-on-one with people in sharing my knowledge on birds and wildlife,” says Maresa.

Her experience spans three decades and publications worldwide, plus fine art prints and representation by Danita Delimont. Formerly a lifelong resident of Florida, Maresa now resides in New Mexico with her husband of thirty years. She has an Associate in Arts degree from Lake Sumter State College in Leesburg, Florida, and also studied photography at Daytona State College.

Sandhill crane, Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico © Maresa Pryor-Luzier

Preliminary Itinerary

Group leaders will monitor local conditions and confirm the agenda during Sunday evening’s Meet-and-Greet.

Sunday, Dec 5
6:00 pm Orientation and Meet-and-Greet.
Confirm itinerary and locations, Q&A

Monday, Dec 6 and Tuesday, Dec 7
Photograph at various sites, taking advantage of early morning and late afternoon light

Wednesday, Dec 8
Morning Shoot
11:00 am Group Brunch (included in registration fee)


Best Western Socorro Hotel & Suites
1100 N. California St.
Socorro, NM 87801

Rates: NANPA has reserved a block of rooms at a special rate of $100.99/night plus tax. Guests must call the hotel directly to obtain this rate and mention that they are with the North American Nature Photography group.

Cut-Off Date for hotel rate is November 20, 2021