Unique Sandhill Crane Photo Workshop

Dates:  March 13 to 21, 2019

Omaha and Platte River, Nebraska

A Sandhill Crane Migration photo workshop is a bucket list trip for any bird photographer. Every year nearly half-a-million sandhill cranes make their winter stop at the Platte River in Nebraska during the winter on their way to summer breeding grounds.  Truly a sight (and sound) to behold, as hundreds of thousands of these majestic birds take flight and settle down in the river.  Jane Goodall called it one of the “greatest animal migrations in North America.”  This is a chance to not only experience this magnificent phenomenon from private property along the river and in blinds and other viewing locations, but also to hone your photography skills.

A Private Viewing Opportunity of Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River


This workshop is a unique opportunity to get close to the birds with the freedom of not being enclosed in a blind. Most areas where the birds settle on the river are only viewable by blinds or are quite a distance from the birds. The first two days of the workshop we will be staying on private property along the Platte. Birds fly over and land very close to where we stand/shoot. There will be an opportunity for participants to overnight in a blind where the birds have landed 15 feet from the photographer. Last year there was an estimated 100,000 birds that landed along this beautiful part of the river that will only be accessible to our workshop participants during our stay. 

There will be two more full days of photographing the birds in the fields around Grand Island and Kearney where we will be led by locals who help us spot the best places for birds each day. During the day we will witness them dancing and hopping, bathing, preening and socializing in the winter corn fields around the area.

Through tips and instruction, participants will not only learn how to get the best photos of the birds, they will be guided to use techniques to create artistic photos of the birds.  Following the workshop, an instructor will be available to critique and offer editing suggestions on select photos from each participant.

Leaders of Sandhill Crane Migration Photo Workshop

Professional nature and travel photographer, Barb Gonzalez is one of the leaders and no novice to the crane migration. She has become a part of a network that helps find the best locations to photograph birds during the day, and can speak to crane behaviors and best practices in making an excellent photograph of the birds. We are lucky to also have 20-year veteran award-winning nature and travel photographer, and author Greg Vaughn. Greg is one of the leaders for the prestigious Muench outdoor photography workshops as well as a teacher for the Yellowstone Forever Institute. He also conducts private photography tours around the world.

Brief Itinerary description of Sandhill Crane Migration Photo Workshop:
Interior Henry Doorly Zoo

Henry Doorly Zoo

Sandhill Crane Migration Photo Workshop at Rowe Sanctuary Audobon

Crane hopping in corn field during mid-day

Sandhill Crane Migration photo workshop at Rowe Sanctuary

Inside a blind at Audobon Rowe Sanctuary

Pintail Grouse and Prarie Chicken Photo workshop

Pintail Grouse fight it out on the lek

       sandhill crane migration photo workshop participants.            

The full workshop includes a day in Omaha where we will start at the Henry Doorly Zoo—mostly indoors—considered one of the top zoos in America.  The next day we will drive to Grand Island where we will have 4 days to get the best shots of the cranes.  Our final night we will travel to a Prairie Chicken Lek where we will be able to photograph the male’s Lek behavior of fighting for position on the Lek and doing their “Chicken Dance.”  

Note that weather is completely unpredictable in Nebraska during March.  There can be anything from sunny days in the 60s to snow storms.  This is why we stay a little longer than other Sandhill Crane tours. Usually there is a little of everything making for interesting photos of the birds in a variety of locations and weather conditions.  

For those who want to take a break from photographing birds or on bad weather days there are two unique and excellent museums in the area. “The Archway” is housed in an overpass spanning i-80 that is beautifully curated to follow the history of the Oregon Trail to modern cross-country travel. The other is the Stuhr Museum of the Prarie Pioneer, an architectural beauty that houses art and artifacts indoors and a photogenic railroad town and grounds outside.

The Archway Museum

The Sandhill Crane Migration Photo Workshop tuition covers:
  •  7 nights hotel and sleep accommodations, (Note that the private property accommodations is a shared cabin–2 participants will have the opportunity to join an instructor in the overnight blind for a premium)
  • Tickets to blinds for viewing birds
  • 3 days meals
  • Transportation from Omaha to Platte river and return
  • Transportation around Platte river and fields and viewing/photographing from vehicles during the day
  • Viewing and photographing prairie chickens
  • Admission to Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Discount on renting equipment from LensRentals.com

SPECIAL! If paid in full by October 1 the price is $2700. Pay in full and save 15%.

You can use your PayPal account or pay using a debit or credit card.


Price:  $2899 (double occupancy). $1000 deposit, $2000 due by December 27, 2018.  All fees are refundable until February 28, 2019, but there will be a $500 cancellation fee.

Pay $1000 Deposit Now 

Inquire about additional cost for private room.

Inquire about price for shorter stay—(without Omaha zoo tour).

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We are happy to answer any questions you may have.


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