Archive for the ‘Photo Workshops’ Category

Early Bird Rate on Backyard Bird Photography Workshop!

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Register before May 1, 2011 to receive our Early Bird Rate for the Backyard Bird Photography Workshop scheduled for June 17-19, 2011 at the Daybreak Sanctuary!

Male Indigo Bunting at Daybreak Imagery

Male Indigo Bunting at Daybreak Imagery


This is your chance to learn bird photography from a pro! Richard Day, one of the world’s premier bird photographers will lead this workshop at his home in south central Illinois. He and his wife Susan have created a wildlife sanctuary on 63 acres that includes a 3-acre yard landscaped to attract backyard wildlife, a 5-acre native grass and wildflower prairie, and 2 shallow water wetlands. We are backyard wildlife specialists and most of the images we sell are taken on their property – which has attracted nearly 200 species of birds.


Male Eastern Bluebird in flower garden at Daybreak Imagery

Male Eastern Bluebird in flower garden at Daybreak Imagery

This workshop will include personal instruction on the basics of bird photography as well as critiques of work done (of digital images) on site.

Participants will have access to specially designed photo blinds that will be set in several different locations. You’ll rotate to each location so everyone has the maximum time with different bird species in various habitats.  All birds are wild and free flying but are accustomed to the blinds.  Birds common in our yard in June include Baltimore Orioles, Northern Cardinals, Eastern Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, American Goldfinches, several woodpeckers, and more.  Early summer butterflies, dragonflies, and flowers in our numerous gardens provide a bonus for this well-rounded backyard habitat.

Richard and Susan’s yard is certified with the National Wildlife Federation and Illinois Audubon Society Backyard Habitat Programs.  This one-of-a-kind workshop is limited to 4 participants.

Male Baltimore Oriole in Pale Purple Coneflowers at Daybreak Imagery

Male Baltimore Oriole in Pale Purple Coneflowers at Daybreak Imagery

Cost:  $650 (Early Bird Rate is $599 if you register before May 1)
for 2 full days Friday and Saturday plus 1/2 day Sunday

General Schedule:
7-10am photograph
11-1 break
1-4pm  programs,instruction, and critiques
4-7pm photograph in blinds

This schedule is subject to change depending on weather and bird activity–and what the group wants to do.  Some groups like to photograph all day, and others want more classroom-type instruction which is done in our house or in the yard, depending on topic.
Programs and instruction will include how to photograph birds, Photoshop tips for bird photography, workflow, editing images, and any type of camera or equipment questions people want/need.

This will be customized according to what the group wants to learn.
Call or Email for more info and to register.  Check out bird photos taken during our bird workshops


No Tripod, No Problem: How to photograph from windows

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

When I photograph birds, most of the time I used a tripod to steady my camera and lens, but sometimes –such as photographing from a vehicle—that is not possible.  People have asked what I use for other photography situations, so in this blog post, I’ll share what works best for me. 

Tripods are not practical for photographing out of windows so I use a bean bag, panning plate, and window mount.  Keeping your camera stable is very important for in-focus photos—an image stabilization lens will improve your results dramatically.

This is the setup I use when photographing polar bears on my tours to Churchill, Manitoba each October and November. 

Richard Day on tundra buggy using bean bag, panning plate, & window mount

Richard Day on tundra buggy using bean bag, panning plate, & window mount

Here are a few suppliers of some of these hard-to-find items:


Bean Bags:        Vertex Photographic—  This is the one I use.  

                             Kinesis Photo Gear—www.—Naturescapes SkimmerSack

                            In England—

 Panning Plate for Bean Bag:  This sturdy but light-weight metal plate is fitted with a swivel mount for panning and an Arca-Swissäclamp. Simply take your lens off the tripod and insert it into the clamp, tighten and shoot!  The smooth flow of the pivot makes panning a breezeFound at Visual Echoes—847-438-3587 

Window Mounts:  Kirk Enterprises 

                                 Len Rue Enterprises  

I use the same system on my SUV window when I photograph birds in refuges or along the country roads near my home.  This Short-eared Owl was taken from my car window at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Marion County, just a few miles from my home.

Short-eared Owl in flight at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, Marion Co., IL

Short-eared Owl in flight at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, Marion Co., IL


Polar Bear Photo Tour Update from Richard Day

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

(c) Penny Filiatrault

Richard Day on tundra buggy, 2010 (c) Penny Filiatrault

Polar bear season in Churchill, Manitoba is over for this year and it was another fun year on the tundra.  This was my 10th year of leading tours, and I had the pleasure of guiding 4 tours for Frontiers North Adventures this ‘round.  Everyone had a great time and went home with lots of good polar bear, arctic foxes, red foxes, and other arctic wildlife photos.  Besides the bears, highlights this year included some very cooperative arctic foxes.  If you’ve ever tried to photograph arctic foxes, you know that they spend most of their time darting around with their noses on the ground sniffing for something tasty to eat.  But on my first 2 tours, our buggy driver, Brian located some that were hunkered down in the snow waiting for storms to pass.

(c) Richard Day/Daybreak Imagery All Rights Reserved

Arctic Fox in Churchill Wildlife Management Area (c) Richard Day/Daybreak Imagery All Rights Reserved

Something else that was interesting this year was being able to witness and photograph seal kills by polar bears.  Our tours are in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, bordering the Hudson Bay, which has high and low tides.  The seals come in on the high tides and usually wash out when tides go back out.  Sometimes an unlucky seal may be napping during the low tide and gets stranded on rocks until the next high tide.  The polar bears have learned to watch for these unlucky seals who become the bears’ next meal.  This is amazing to watch, and people took home plenty of photos of bloody-faced bears and bears fighting over the food.  They also had many opportunities to photograph mom and cubs together.

Everyone asks me how global warming is affecting the polar bear population.  Frontiers North partners with Polar Bears International who conducts research in Churchill.  Click here to learn more about polar bears.

(c) Richard Day/Daybreak Imagery All Rights Reserved

Polar Bear mom and cubs sleeping (c) Richard Day/Daybreak Imagery All Rights Reserved

Welcome to the Daybreak Imagery Blog!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Daybreaking News has graduated to blog status where we’ll be posting updates on what we’re photographing and what’s happening in our neck of the woods. 

Summer has come and gone, and it was another great season at the Daybreak Sanctuary.  We hosted more than 100 photographers, naturalists, and nature-lovers who explored and photographed our birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and gardens.  Others found frogs, sedges, grasses, wildflowers, and insects like praying mantids and grasshoppers at the wetlands and prairies.  We enjoyed every visitor and are already planning improvements for next year’s workshops.

We thank all the camera clubs who braved the heat and humidity in July and August to photograph butterflies and dragonflies here.  If trees could talk, I’m sure our big old pecan tree would have many tales to tell of all it heard from the dozens of you who sought respite  from the heat (and enjoyed ice cream)  beneath its shade. 

For those of you who plan on returning next spring, please drop us an email or call to reserve your dates–most of our 2011 bird photography dates are already booked.