Locations for Wildlife Photography

HarrybHarryb old and lazyPosts: 22,700 moderator
edited June 1, 2014 in Wildlife
Hi Y'all,

I thought that it might be a good idea to start a thread where we can share info on our favorite spots for wildlife photography. So feel free to add your favorite spots to this thread.

I'll start it off with the most spectacular spot I've visited so far. That would be the Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico.

Its located near Socorro NW and its open an hour before sunset to an hour hour after sunset. Admission per car is $5.00 and an annual pass costs $15.00.

SOP for Bosque is to fly into Albuquerque, rent a car for the hour drive to Socorro where you rent a room in one of the numerous cheap motels. On an average day you usually leave before sunset, shoot through the morning, break in midday for lunch and a nap and then return to Bosque for the late afternoon shooting.

The temps usually range from the low 20's in the early AM to the mid 40s and low 50s in the afternoon. Dressing in layers is vital as well as having gloves and hand warmers for the early AM shooting.

Bosque offers sublime lighting


outstanding backgrounds

the moring blast-offs have to be seen to believed

If you like silhouette images Bosque provides lots of opportunities.
http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"


  • dlplumerdlplumer Major grins Posts: 8,002 Major grins
    edited December 6, 2009
    I forgot to go this year, but next year.....

    Great shots Harry, and good idea for a thread.
  • Mark EdellMark Edell Major grins Posts: 672 Major grins
    edited December 6, 2009
    Good idea! Hey Harry,
    This would be a perfect thread to incorporate a google map. With that people could pinpoint where they take the shots and if you click on someones marker (and they uploaded a shot to it) you can see the shots taken from that area. Given enough participation you could have access to a huge database of places for photographers to go. Just a thought.

    My favorite place is close to home and covers a large area. The Hood Canal in Washington State. It is perfect for waterfowl, eagles and blue herons. In the mornings I can travel up one side and have the sun at my back and the other side for the afternoon. If I want to get out a walk a while there is the Theller wetlands right at the tip of the canal.

    Northern Pintail

    Great Blue Heron fishing

    Eagle on a cold winter day

    On the hunt
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,700 moderator
    edited December 6, 2009
    dlplumer wrote:
    I forgot to go this year, but next year.....

    Great shots Harry, and good idea for a thread.

    I wasn't able to get there this year but I will definitely going there next year. Right now I'm talking to two other photographers about getting a small group together to shoot there.
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • dlplumerdlplumer Major grins Posts: 8,002 Major grins
    edited December 6, 2009
    Harryb wrote:
    I wasn't able to get there this year but I will definitely going there next year. Right now I'm talking to two other photographers about getting a small group together to shoot there.

    Please let me know. I would love to join you.deal.gif
  • DsrtVWDsrtVW Light Stalking Posts: 1,990 Major grins
    edited December 7, 2009
    Well for all of you who make it to Northern California I will offer up the Butte Sink area for your wildlife opportunities. Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
    Raptors too
    Also GrayLodge Wildlife Area run by CA DFG

    Mammals too

    Though most would say it is not Bosque del Apache the California Delta with the Consumnes River Preserve http://www.cosumnes.org/ and the Isenberg Crane Preserve serve up the Sandhill Cranes and Waterfowl in great numbers and the light is not too bad. Flyins and outs in several locations. November there is the Lodi Crane Festival http://www.cranefestival.com/
    California Dept Fish & Game Tours http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regions/3/cranetour/


    Sunset View

    Many others but those are the most interesting and accessible ones.
    Chris K. NANPA Member
  • NetgardenNetgarden Beachbum Linda Posts: 829 Major grins
    edited December 7, 2009
    Wow beautiful work everyone. I'm so glad to be a part of nature preservation, I'm working on awareness in my area, Orange County, Ca. Thnx Harry for the post.

    I'll add a slide show of some of my favs...taken in Orange County, Ca., at both Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Huntington beach and San Joaquin Wildlife sanctuary, Irvine. The most frequented areas around here for birders and wildlife lovers.


    you can choose fast speed or click through right arrow to speed it up.
  • bhowdybhowdy Major grins Posts: 658 Major grins
    edited December 18, 2009
    Great idea for a thread Harry!

    Can Yellowstone really be topped for a nature photographer?
    Grizzly ... Not a super shot ... but it was "full frame"!

    And closer to my home ....
    Cades Cove and Great Smoky Mountain National Park

    Pileated Woodpecker

    Whitetail Deer

    The Alligator Farm - St. Augustine, Florida

    And one last location ....
    Harris Neck NWR in south Georgia

    Green Heron

    Maryville, TN.

  • nickeverettnickeverett Big grins Posts: 74 Big grins
    edited February 5, 2010
    Anyone know of locations in the UK around yorkshire? Cheers
  • Mr_Beach_BumMr_Beach_Bum Big grins Posts: 63 Big grins
    edited February 5, 2010
    Just about anyone on the East Coast is close to Chincoteague NWR - my favorite spot for egrets, herons, and wild ponies.

    Great Egret

    Cattle Egret hitchhiking on a wild pony

    Juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron, thinking he's camouflaged

    I really need to spend more time there to get better light....

  • WilliamFWilliamF Beginner grinner Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited May 18, 2010
    What a great idea for a thread
    We have been lucky enough to visit South Africa a couple of times and although it is hardly "around the corner", it is magnificent! Highly recommended is Senalala Game Lodge (www.senalala.co.za) which is in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve, which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

    By the way, can anybody tell me how you post more than one picture?
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,700 moderator
    edited June 15, 2010
    St Augustine's Alligator Farm
    From early April through June you will usually find me in the rookery at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Fl.

    Its located on A1A off of exit 311 of US 95. The closest airport would be the Jacksonville airport.

    The daily admission into the farm is $21.95. I recommend buying the Photo Pass for $69.95 as it gets you in all year and it allows you to enter at 8 AM and to stay until sunset (after the park as closed). It also gets you a $30 room discount at the Sleep Inn Motel 5 minutes down the road.

    From March until June the rookery is awash with great egrets, wood storks, tricolor herons, snowy egrets, cattle egrets and little blue herons. This year roseate spoonbills have nested at the farm for the first time.

    The birds build nests, lay eggs and raise their young there because the trees are in water that is filled with gators. This keeps racoons and other predators from raiding their nests.

    You can get close enough to some nests that you could reach your hand in pull out an egg.

    My usual routine is to shoot there in the AM from 8-10:30 AM and then break until 3:30 PM. This avoids the harsh afternoon light and keeps you out of the heat on the boardwalk in the midafternoon hours.

    a view of the boardwalk

    flight captures are easy

    its an opportunity to get chick images


    portraits are easy too

    you do get close to the action
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • Stella7dStella7d Major grins Posts: 201 Major grins
    edited June 16, 2010
    Amazing thread and images!! I feel like I just went on a vacation!
  • troylimtroylim Major grins Posts: 141 Major grins
    edited June 27, 2010
    Very nice thread.
    Gatorland is a great place in Orlando. It has early pass for photographers.
  • IcebearIcebear Major grins Posts: 4,015 Major grins
    edited July 6, 2010
    What experiences hav y'all had at Pea Island NWR on Hatterras Is, NC?
    John :
    Natural selection is responsible for every living thing that exists.
    D3s, D500, D5300, and way more glass than the wife knows about.
  • fldspringerfldspringer Big grins Posts: 69 Big grins
    edited August 15, 2010
    Horicon NWR in Wisconsin
    The boardwalk


    From the boardwalk






    And off the boardwalk



    Prairie flowers all over



  • gerrybillgerrybill Beginner grinner Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited September 7, 2010
    My first bald eagle - in downeast Maine:
  • sharagim1sharagim1 Big grins Posts: 69 Big grins
    edited September 28, 2010
    thanks for your great thread and share some ofthe wildlife photoraphy on your area,
    i live in bayarea pleasant hill , if anyone have some info about wildlife location at this area , i would be much apprectied , again thanks a lot
    canon EOS 7D /canon 5d mark ll/ EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM/EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM/ canon lens 85mm 1.8
  • sapphire73sapphire73 Major grins PennsylvaniaPosts: 1,602 Major grins
    edited December 29, 2010
    Fun to explore various aspects of this wildlife forum! I am into nature and landscape photography primarily and haven't focused as much on photographing birds as my husband is keen on this. My favorite places for landscape and wildlife photography so far:

    Kenya - Masai Mara preserve
    South Africa - Haven't been to Kruger but went on brief safaris in Medikwe (near Botswana) and Pilanesberg; also saw penguins in the Cape
    Alaska - Denali National Park
    Colorado - Rocky Mountains
    Florida - Sanibel Island (Ding Darling wildlife refuge)

    We are fortunate to have been on several trips to Europe, Africa and Australia on business. In these situations, opportunities to take photographs are a bonus rather than the purpose of the trip and we have to travel with minimal photography equipment. We were in the Ivory Coast and Kenya for three weeks in July and I used my Canon 7D and the 18-200 lens for most of my candid shots (including Masai friends, Kenyan school children, etc.) and only switched to the Tamron 18-270 when we went to Masai Mara. My husband brought a Canon 50D and a 100-400 lens, but found that we were often too close to the animals to get good shots. We had an excellent guide who helped us see 4 leopards one night (a leap of leopards), cheetah, lions, elephant, buffalo, hippos, etc. We would love to return to Masai Mara some day and be able to spend more time there.

    No photos just now but will try to post some later. (There are 3 from Masai Mara in another thread I started.)
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,700 moderator
    edited January 12, 2011
    The Viera Wetlands
    I have been remiss since I started this thread in not making a post about my favorite location the Viera Wetlands (aka THe Mitch Grissom Memorial Wetlands).

    They are located in Melbourne, FL just off of exit 191 of US 95. The wetlands can be found at the end of Wickham RD. right behind the water treatment plant. They are open basically from sunrise to sundown and there is no admission charge. They are usually open to cars but vehicles will be barred from entry if we have had a recent rain.

    I have found the Viera Wetlands to allow photgraphers the closest access to wildlife of any of the sites I have shot at. There is an amazing diversity of birds to be found there. I have found the period of December through March to be the best time to shoot there.

    A few pics from the Viera Wetlands





    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Major grins
    edited January 20, 2011

    Looks like there is some nagging going on in #1.

    Nice landscape you got there too. At least the Mod won't get after you for a non-wildlife shot.
    EOS: 7D (2, 1 gripped), 50D (gripped), 580EX II
    EF: 500 f/4L IS, 100-400 L IS, 70-200 f/4L IS, 28-135 IS, 1.4x II EF-S: 10-22, 15-85 IS
  • DeVermDeVerm Major grins Posts: 405 Major grins
    edited March 20, 2011
    Gamboa, Panama
    Turtles: where's that croc?!


    my equipment: Canon 5D2, 7D, full list here
    my Smugmug site: here
  • BoatwakeBoatwake Beginner grinner Posts: 8 Beginner grinner
    edited March 24, 2011
    Have to agree with Harry about the Viera Wetlands. Awesome Eagle location. I also like Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and the area around Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.
  • HankHank Beginner grinner Posts: 2 Beginner grinner
    edited April 3, 2011
    I would like to know about a great spot for birds around Schaumburg, IL. I will install a machine there in July, between 11th and 29th, and the place should be easily accessible since I don't have unlimited time but I will have a car. I arrive July 6th with my wife and we also planned to visit a zoo. Which i better for photography, Lincoln park zoo or Brookfield zoo? Available lens is 70-200 and also 2x extender on eos 40D.

    Thank you!
  • Steve LeachSteve Leach Beginner grinner Posts: 3 Beginner grinner
    edited August 2, 2011
    On Florida's Gulf Coast you have to add in a few great locations
    Fort DeSoto's North Beach (near St Petersburg), an Island of a county park that sets at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Great Salt Marsh for wading and getting up very close to shorebirds including "Big Red" the Reddish Egret and his buddy the White Morph. They always put on a show even if nothing else is around. Migratory Drop zone, nesting area, shorebirds, warblers, frigate birds, falcons, eagles and many more.
    Honeymoon Island, Osprey Trail lives up to its name on a small sliver of the island you can find close to 30 Osprey nests within 1/2mile long stretch, at the end of the trail is the Bald Eagles nesting area too. Great Horned Owl Nesting as well, The causeway leading out to the island, the beach areas on the island as well as the wooded areas are great for over 100 species of birds in close proximatey and clear view for photography. Osprey trail has great light mornings or evenings just depend on which way you are facing as you walk out and back on the trail.
    Circle B Bar Reserve, a newer marshland near Lakeland Florida. Winter is home to over 20,000 white pelicans in a very small area (compared to Bosque or other places) fantastic light both mornings and evenings, numerous Bald Eagle nests, Osprey, thousands of Wood Storks, Egrets, Herons, many different ducks. We have counted close to 200 species there so far., Not to mention thousands of American Alligators everywhere. Opens hours before dawn and closes after sunset (which is rare for many places these days of limited funding). 1300 acres, 7 miles of wide open trails.

    Now I could go on and on naming the close to 200 locations near Tampa Florida where you can get wildlife photos up close and personal but wont bore you.

    I also really like Viera, that is a special place on the Space Coast of Florida. but Circle B rivals it for proximity and diversity BUT its nice to drive the levees at Viera.

    FYI, Gatorland no longer is Photographer Friendly,, they stopped the Photographers Passes, stopped Early and Late entry and have built a zip line that seems to get in the background of your in flight shots.

    Fort DeSoto
  • wpbarrwpbarr Busy Taking Photos Posts: 61 Big grins
    edited August 2, 2011
    I look at these photos and see I have so much to learn ...
    Bill Barr
    6x7, 35mm, m4/3
  • BadradBadrad Beginner grinner Posts: 9 Beginner grinner
    edited September 5, 2011
    Back to Bosque
    I agree with those applauding the Bosque del Apache ... I went last fall for the first time with a workshop, and will return on my own this November, followed by a week in Arizona. I produced a little video from the shoot, and look forward to improving on that this year -- something for fun. Here tis ... http://youtu.be/SfrVucxM4Sc -- Jim
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 11,506 moderator
    edited September 5, 2011
    Badrad wrote: »
    ... I produced a little video from the shoot, and look forward to improving on that this year -- something for fun. Here tis ... http://youtu.be/SfrVucxM4Sc -- Jim

    That's one nice "little video"!
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • HarrybHarryb old and lazy Posts: 22,700 moderator
    edited September 7, 2011
    The video really captures the feel of Bosque. Hearing those sounds really brought back memories of my visit.
    http://behret.smugmug.com/ NANPA member
    How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb? 50. One to change the bulb, and forty-nine to say, "I could have done that better!"
  • PGMPGM Pam McI Posts: 2,006 Major grins
    edited October 10, 2011
    Jungle Gardens on Avery Island, Louisiana
    Avery Island, (about 140 miles west of New Orleans and 25 miles south of Lafayette, Louisiana) is a beautiful location for wildlife photography. The best months are from March through July, when the migratory birds, like Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Green Heron, Tricolored Heron, Roseate Spoonbills, etc. are in residence at Bird City, a rookery in Avery Island's Jungle Gardens. Alligators are plentiful too. Two websites with directions, hours of operation, and more information on the history, are www.junglegarens.org, and www.TABASCO.com. Jungle Gardens is a great spot to shoot birds in flight, as there is an observation platform at Bird City, where the birds consistently fly in good lighting in the late afternoons. In season, Jungle Gardens also has has hundreds of varieties of camellias, azaleas, and iris blooms. As an aside, the TABASCO factory on Avery Island offers tours throughout the day, and the Country Store now has Cajun dishes like Crawfish Etouffe and red beans and rice if you enjoy eating outdoors under picnic tables. Here are a few photos:

    1. Jungle Gardens Live Oaks and Azaleas


    2. Bird City in Jungle Gardens


    3. Snowy Egret


    4. Alligator


    5. Great Egret in Flight


    6. Green Heron


    7. Roseate Spoonbill


    Best regards, Pam
  • slopokislopoki Major grins Posts: 102 Major grins
    edited October 1, 2012
    ENP is my hunting ground all year long.
    After shooting here for years I have a good idea of what's where at any time of year.
    My favorite area is Flamingo where there's lots of birds.
    Here's a few from Flamingo and Eco Pond.
    d300 w 300/4, some with tc-14e

    Eco pond in Feb of this year.

    eco 2

    ocean side
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