Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA

NANPA Regional Event – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA

November 16-19, 2017

(invite others to join you)

Event Details –

Join Colin Hocking and Don Brown at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for a weekend of sunsets, sunrises, stars and snow geese!

At this time of year we’ll be able to photograph from sunrise to sunset and beyond because of the shorter fall days. And if you want to photograph the beautiful coastline in the refuge we can do that too. Weather permitting, we can also turn our hands to some star photography, and even try out some light painting. The opportunities are endless, as well as stunning. We will also take a boat tour to get a more nautical feel for the region, and it will give us a unique opportunity to photograph the Chincoteague ponies, shore birds, Bald eagles and dolphins.

© Colin Hocking

About Chincoteague NWR-

Located on the lower half of the Assateague Peninsula in Virginia, right near the Maryland state border, Chincoteague is named for the small residential island through which visitors pass to enter the refuge.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge includes more than 14,000 acres of beach (Assateague National Beach), dunes, marsh, and maritime forest. Established to provide habitat for migratory birds (with an emphasis on Snow geese), it is one of the most popular locations on the East Coast for wildlife photographers and the Chincoteague wild ponies are an added attraction. There is nothing as exhilarating as 15,000 snow geese lifting off in the morning headed for the fields to feed. Snow geese, Tundra swan, egrets, h, and dozens of other birds will be on display for your photographing pleasure in addition to the Sika Deer and Chincoteague wild ponies!

© Colin Hocking

What to Expect –

This weekend is designed for photographers of all skill levels. If you are new to this type of photography, or just a little rusty, there will be plenty of opportunities to receive coaching to help you obtain the best photos possible. If you’re more experienced and don’t need the assistance, you’ll certainly appreciate the variety of opportunities this location provides. If you’re somewhere in between, the leaders will provide a little technical expertise for those more challenging subjects and conditions.

For those that are interested, after lunch each day we’ll have a ‘classroom’ session where we can discuss editing techniques in Adobe Lightroom and participate in image reviews to help improve your photographic vision. Of course, our schedule will remain open to adjustment to allow for changes in weather and opportunities to photograph wildlife.

© Colin Hocking


Just the Facts –

Dates: November 16-19, 2017

Leaders: Colin Hocking and Donald Brown

Cost: $395 member, $595 non-members. (Sunday Brunch included)

Last Date to Register: November 1, 2017

Maximum number attendees: 30


Lodging –

The Refuge Inn at Chincoteague Island
7058 Maddox Blvd.
Chincoteague, VA 23336

Phone: 888-257-0038 or 757-336-5511

A block of rooms has been reserved under NANPA. Call the hotel to make reservations and mention NANPA Photography Group rate when registering. This room rate is not available online. Rooms: $75.65 plus tax.

Closest airport: Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY / KSBY) or Norfolk, VA

Leaders –

Colin Hocking– Colin has a Bachelor of Science in Photographic Science with Honours from the University of Westminster in London, England, and his first job out of college was with Polaroid, UK, but since then he’s worked in just about every genre of photography there is. Except aerial. Or Drone. Yes, name anything else and he’s been there and probably done it. He’s used a camera from just about every manufacturer, including medium and large format technical cameras. He’s spent way too many hours in the darkroom and even owned a 1-hour photo lab when they were a thing! When he was in college he made holograms using lasers, too.

One of his other careers was as a sales manager and trainer after which he taught software for the largest software training company in the world. He’s a Train the Trainer Facilitator which means he used to teach trainers to train. Colin was the Department Chair at a career college in southern California for a number of years, and all this means that he can bring you an education based on sound teaching principles in a clear, concise, and understandable but fun way.

Colin is a NANPA member and also belongs to the Professional Photographers of America, and is a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society. Recently he joined the Board of the Charlotte Camera Club, a PSA affiliate, and is an instructor with the Light Factory in Charlotte and with Nikonians, a worldwide Nikon users group.

He used to run the photo department at the US National Whitewater Center and now works as a freelance photographer every day of the week. He founded the Ballantyne Photography Club, the Travel Photography Club and is a Co-Organizer (with Don Brown) of the NANPA Charlotte Area Meetup Group. Between his clubs and groups he has over one thousand members! Now he trains other photographers, consults with companies, speaks at camera clubs, and leads workshops, tours, and teaches all over the country.


Don Brown– A retired USAF Officer and Information Technology corporate executive, Don retired and moved to Charlotte, NC in 2005.  He grew up in Western Kentucky (Paducah) and served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force.  He retired from the USAF in 1982 after serving the previous 5 years as an Associate Professor of Computer Sciences at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Don then joined Computer Sciences Corporation and retired again in July 2005 as Vice President, Government Consulting business unit.

Don lives in Charlotte, NC and recently served as President of the Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Assn (CNPA) for 5 years.  During his tenure, CNPA grew from 500 members to a 1,500- member association of nature photographers in North and South Carolina. Don is an active member of NANPA and serves on the Board of Directors and Membership VP for the Photographic Society of America (PSA).

Locally, he serves as the Co-Organizer (with Colin Hocking) of the NANPA Charlotte Area Meetup Group. In his spare time Don teaches a Masterclass in Fine Art Printing at the Light Factory, one of 4 museums in the U.S. specializing in Photography and Film.  His educational background includes an associate degree from Yale University (Far Eastern Languages), a BS degree in Statistics from Syracuse University, an MS degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University and an MBA degree from Ohio State University.

Most days, you’ll find Don practicing his avocation of nature and wildlife photography in many of the U.S. parks and wildlife reserves while trying desperately to lower his golf handicap.  His primary love is nature photography: landscapes, wildlife and plant life, but he also explores other areas of expression and is especially interested in fine art prints.


Schedule –

Basic 2017 Chincoteague NWR Regional Event Schedule (subject to change depending on weather, etc.)

Thursday, November 16, 2017 – 7:30 pm.

  • Orientation and evening presentation. Please eat dinner prior to meeting.

Friday, November 17:

  • Sunrise shoot Chincoteague NWR
  • Lunch
  • Upload, edit, Lightroom discussion & image review
  • Late afternoon boat tour to photograph ponies in the golden hour.
  • Shooting stars

Saturday, November 18:

  • Sunrise shoot Chincoteague NWR
  • Lunch
  • Upload, edit & image review
  • Sunset shoot
  • Shooting stars

Sunday, November 19

  • Sunrise shoot followed by a group lunch (included in your registration fee)

Meals: all meals are on your own except Sunday lunch, which is included in the event registration fee. Attendees are encouraged to eat together with their groups as part of the overall experience.

Transportation:  is on your own. We will be based at The Refuge Inn at Chincoteague Island.