Tucson Wildlife and Landscapes | Spring 2022

Southeast Arizona’s distinct desert landscapes, saguaro cactus, hummingbirds, elegant trogon and more—during a full moon and active bird nesting season

Moonrise, Saguaro National Park (West) © Stephen Vaughn

Please review the NANPA Regional Events COVID-19 Event Policy before registering for this event.


Just the Facts

  • Date:  March 30 – April 2, 2022
  • Leaders: Steve Vaughan and Dan Weisz
  • Cost:  $495 NANPA member; $695 non-members.
  • Location:  Tucson, AZ, and nearby locations
  • Last date to register: February 28, 2022
  • Maximum number attendees:  16

Event Overview

Steve Vaughan and Dan Weisz will be your guides into picturesque Tucson, Arizona, and its surrounding areas. You’ll photograph endemic plants and animals in the 98-acre setting of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and venture into Saguaro National Park West, known for distinctive landscapes featuring the iconic native saguaro cactus, southeast Arizona’s specialty birds, and breathtaking skyscapes. Mt. Lemmon, Madera Canyon, and San Xavier Mission are also on the schedule with opportunities to photograph birds, desert habitat, and iconic cultural locations.

This spring visit coincides with the full moon and active bird nesting season. The Tucson area is known for hummingbirds as well as many specialty birds such as the elegant trogon. Other wildlife species are abundant in the area as well, including butterflies, bats, bobcats, javelinas, and more. This tour showcases some of the best photo opportunities the Desert Southwest has to offer.

Broad-billed hummingbird © Stephen Vaughan

What to Expect

This event is designed for nature photographers at all levels of experience. Assistance will be available in the field for those who wish to improve their photographic skills. If you already have plenty of photography experience, Steve and Dan will ensure you get to the best locations at the best times to capture those perfect shots.

We’ll start our days in the field at dawn to take advantage of early morning light and active wildlife, and likewise end each day’s activities at sunset to capture vibrant sunsets while immersed in the area’s geographic features.

Conditions in the field will vary. A small amount of hiking on trails, over rocky areas, is required, but most are well-worn paths. We will concentrate on getting the best possible images while adhering to responsible field guidelines set forth by NANPA. We will be extra careful not to disturb our subjects and will practice ethical wildlife viewing/photographing.

All transportation and meals—except lunch on the final day—are the participant’s responsibility.

Whiptail lizard creekside in Madera Canyon © Dan Weisz

2022 Tucson Wildlife and Landscapes 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.

Please read the NANPA Regional Events COVID-19 Event Policy below.

Leaders

Stephen Vaughan

Photographer/Guide/Ornithologist

Stephen Vaughan is a professional photographer and ornithologist. He has been photographing and studying natural history for more than 40 years. He worked as a professional nature photographer and writer for 20 years. His photographs have been published in numerous books, magazines, and calendars from publications including National Geographic, Audubon, National Wildlife, Sierra Club and Arizona Highways. He taught nature photography at Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs D11 schools, and El Paso County Parks.

Steve has led photography workshops to places like Rocky Mountain National Park, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Cape May (New Jersey), Tucson, and Costa Rica, as well as a week-long hummingbird photography workshop in southeast Arizona. He has led one day workshops for Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado Field Ornithologist, Aiken Audubon Society, and Tucson Audubon Society.

Dan Weisz

Photographer/Educator

Dan grew up and currently resides in Tucson, so he knows the local photographic opportunities well. He has been a presenter for the Raptor Free Flight program at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum for the past seven years. He began photography when he retired nearly a decade ago and has since had his nature photography appear in the Sierra Club’s Daily Ray of Hope, Tucson Audubon media, and a variety of Tucson area locations and media. He has given many presentations on birds and birding in the Tucson area.

Photo by Rochelle Abell

Last light at Saguaro National Park (East) © Stephen Vaughan

Potential Field Locations for Tucson Wildlife and Landscapes Regional Event    

Leaders are very familiar with all sites and will have scouted the areas prior to the event. We will photograph in the areas that offer the best photography opportunities at the time of the event.

Mt Lemmon—with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2792 meters)—is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Fortunately for us the Catalina Highway winds 27 miles to the summit.

Madera Canyon is nestled on the north slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains 30 miles south of Tucson and east Of Green Valley. It is a world-renowned location for bird watching and is a major resting place for migrating species. Madera Canyon Picnic Area is where we may break for lunch. We will visit the feeders at Santa Rita Lodge where hummingbirds are plentiful.

Saguaro National Park is home to the nation’s largest cacti. The giant saguaro (pronounced Sa-WAH-ro) is the classic symbol of the American southwest. These majestic plants have a limited range in southern Arizona and California. Saguaro East, established in 1933, is 67,476 acres with an 8-mile paved loop road. It has an older saguaro forest mixed with scrub/desert grasslands and is at slightly higher elevation than Saguaro West.

San Xavier Mission is a National Historic Landmark founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. It is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona and sits on the Tohono O’Odham Nation.

Preliminary Itinerary

Itinerary presented in local time

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
6:30 p.m. Meet and greet at the hotel

Thursday, March 31, 2022
6:30 a.m. Depart hotel for an early morning photo session at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.
Noon Return to hotel around noon for a mid-day break. Lunch is on your own at any of the restaurants near the hotel or on the drive to the hotel.
3:00 pm Depart hotel for an afternoon/sunset shoot in Saguaro National Park East. Sunset is at 6:43 pm so we won’t be back to the hotel until close to 7:00 pm. Bring snacks and water.

Friday, April 1, 2022
6:30 a.m. Depart hotel for a shoot in Madera Canyon. The canyon is noted as a birder’s paradise but also offers outstanding landscape and macro possibilities.
12:30 p.m. Return to hotel for a mid-day break. Lunch is on your own.
4:00 p.m. Depart hotel for late afternoon shoot at San Xavier Mission, returning back to the hotel around 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 2, 2022
6:30 a.m. Depart hotel for morning shoot at Mt Lemmon.
11:00 a.m. Return to the hotel for lunch (included in registration fee), final summary and Q&A, etc.
1:00 p.m. Workshop ends

Lodging

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham – Tucson Airport
7001 S. Tucson Blvd.
Tucson, AZ  85706
Phone:  520-573-3333

Rates are $99/night (plus 12.05% tax). There’s an additional $4.00 fee per night for a king or double bed non-smoking room. Room rate includes breakfast, complimentary wireless internet service, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness center, and business center. 

To make reservations, call the hotel directly at (520) 573-3333 option 5 and mention the North American Nature Photography Group

Cut-Off Date for hotel rate is March 9, 2022. 


NANPA Regional Events COVID-19 Event Policy

NANPA is committed to the health and safety of all participants and leaders at any of our events. We have taken numerous steps to reduce the inherent risks surrounding any public location where people are present. We ask that you familiarize yourself with our COVID-19 health and safety precautions and requirements prior to your trip. You should evaluate your own risks when determining whether to participate. By attending this event and signing the NANPA Regional Events Liability Release, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with your attendance as we have explained them to you.

Most importantly: 
If you have been feeling sick or have been exposed to someone in your household who is feeling sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, PLEASE STAY HOME.

Most states adhere to the CDC guidelines, which include fairly strict limitations on those who are not fully vaccinated (fully vaccinated in this context means 14 days after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or 14 days after one dose of the J&J vaccine).

Therefore, NANPA’s health and safety precautions for Regional Events include the following:

  • Participants must remain at least 6 feet apart from each other and the leader unless they are members of the same household.
  • Adequate face coverings (meaning a mask that covers both the nose and the mouth and which fits closely to the skin) are required for all participants and leaders throughout the event. Regardless of what your personal beliefs are on the use of masks, there will be no exceptions to this rule. Our masks keep you safe. Your masks keep us safe. This rule applies to all facets of the event.

We thank you in advance for your adherence and support as we work together to keep everyone safe.

Please be aware that requirements may change depending upon local, federal, and state policies in place at the time of the event.