Anza Borrego with Sandy Zelasko and Barbara Swanson

Anza Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP), located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, is the largest state park in California and second largest in the contiguous United States. It is a diverse and fascinating landscape with over 600,000 acresacres to explore, many unique microclimates and environs. Perfect for the nature photographer.

This workshop has carefully been developed to introduce you to different photographic possibilities in and around Anza Borrego Desert State Park. It will be an intense weekend of photo related themes, including but not limited to, macro techniques, night photography, wildlife possibilities, historical references and critique sessions with post processing discussion.

Your workshop leaders, Sandy and Barbara, have intimate knowledge of the park in all seasons. Participation is limited to 8 so we can offer a high level of personal attention and instruction.

Thanks for consideration! To view the itinerary visit

“Bosque Wildlife” at Bosque del Apache NWR with Sandy Zelasko and Irene Hinke-Sacilotto

Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In November, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.

Beyond the Perfect Portrait

Story and Photography by D. Robert Franz

Alaskan brown bear © D. Robert Franz

Alaskan brown bear © D. Robert Franz



Text and Images by D. Robert Franz

For many aspiring wildlife photographers capturing beautiful portraits of their favorite birds or animals in the wild is often their primary goal. This is certainly an understandable and a worthwhile endeavor. When I began photographing wildlife over thirty years ago, I was inspired by the striking wildlife photos of Leonard Lee Rue III and Erwin Bauer. I carefully studied how they used the light, controlled backgrounds, and placed their subjects in the frame to create pleasing wildlife portraits. I pursued the perfect wildlife portrait relentlessly and over time accumulated a large collection of. As time passed I became less and less satisfied with my wildlife photography. I desired more evocative images with impact. I felt as though I really needed to elevate my images to a higher level. I will discuss some of the methods I’ve used to achieve that goal and continue in my evolution as a wildlife photographer. Continue reading