Georgia Warbler Workshops
End of March 2020 through mid May 2020.
GROUP SIZE: One Participant who can elect to bring up to two others who will pay half price.
COST: $250 per half day session for the participant and $125 per half day session for any other(s) they wish to add to the session.
(HOTEL AND MEALS ARE NOT INCLUDED)
The Georgia breeding grounds come alive with singing warblers earlier than in most of the country. Based on Gene’s experience living and shooting in this area, Georgia Warbler Indivdual workshops can be timed to try to maximize the combination of earlier arrival warbler diversity and an increased probability of greater variety of blooming perches. Atlanta is an easy destination for much of the country and allows ready access to the site(s) we will visit. Please discuss with us options and date availability so we can do what we can to maximize your Georgia warbler experience! Only one site can be visited in any half day workshop. Either half days or full days may be strung together for sequential or even non-sequential dates.
TESTIMONIAL(S) FOR GEORGIA LOCATION(S) FROM 2019:
“If you want to learn about warblers while making photos of them and if you want to see warblers that have evaded you in the past then I would highly recommend doing what I did by participating in a workshop with Gene Koziara.
I discussed using playback to bring birds close with Gene before our trip. I have always been reluctant to use playback because I don’t know enough to use it properly. I read the article from David Sibley on using playback properly and ethically on the Audubon website and Gene followed it to the smallest detail.
My experience was excellent. I left not only with some very good photographs but more importantly with knowledge that will help me make better photographs and deepened my understanding and appreciation of nature.”
Tom Wilson Photography; www.Tom-Wilson-Photography.com
“I feel incredibly blessed that I stumbled upon Gene’s work. I immediately researched his website and was thrilled to learn that he teaches workshops. Without hesitation, I contacted him and a few weeks later we went up to the (Georgia) mountains where I witnessed his knowledge and expertise unfold right before my eyes. My experience with Gene was nothing short of amazing. His knowledge of Warblers is incredible. We were able to capture three different species in just a half day and I couldn’t be happier. Besides taking away some great photographs, there were so many other lessons learned about nature, respect, timing, lighting, composition, safety, and so much more. I am a professional “child photographer” so bird photography is brand new to me and I can’t wait to learn more! I have another workshop with Gene next Spring & I encourage you to do so as well if you are on the fence whatsoever.”
Sandra Bianco, Woodstock Georgia
Sandra Bianco Photography; www.sandrabianco.com
TARGET SPECIES, SITE A (some species below arrive by end of March and all others arrive by the close of the second week of April)
Louisiana Waterthrush C (Common)
Black-throated Green Warbler VC (Very Common)
Yellow-throated Warbler VC
Black-and-white Warbler VC
Northern Parula U (Uncommon, but usually can be found)
Prairie Warbler VC
Worm-eating Warbler C
Hooded Warbler U or C
Pine Warbler VC
Common Yellowthroat C
Kentucky Warbler C
TARGET SPECIES, SITE B
Blackburnian Warbler VC
American Redstart VC
Black-throated Green Warbler U
Blue-headed Vireo C
Scarlet Tanager U
Chestnut-sided Warbler VC
TARGET SPECIES, SITE C
Swainson’s Warbler VC
Prothonotary Warbler U or C
Northern Parula C
Hooded Warber U or C
LEADER: GENE KOZIARA
Gene, known as Geno K on Flickr, has intimate knowledge of the above sites and species, having worked those areas each spring for a number of years. He knows the songs and where at those sites we are likely to find the target species.
We will decide together on our target species prior to the workshop. In a half day workshop we will expect to work with two species at the minimal, and possibly up to three or four species as time and conditions allow. Gene will use calls, but you may be surprised about the call techniques and how sparingly they may be used. The focus will be to provide opportunities for quality images, with an emphasis on composition and warblers in song whenever possible. We will start around sunrise and work until we don’t have usable light. For those selecting a full day option on those bright days we may use that time to go to another site, or we may just take a relaxing lunch to discuss warbler photography and perhaps Lightroom and Photoshop techniques, depending on group consensus. For the full day folks we will shoot again from later afternoon until we don’t have usable light. Our goal will be to have a quality shoot of two to four warbler species per full day depending on the sites visited and how we are doing but more species may be possible. The emphasis will be on quality composition, and in some cases we may shoot several birds of the same species in various settings.
I will discuss camera settings and the composition goal(s) for each individual shoot during the set-up, but please understand that this trip is for folks who already know how to use their camera and lens well but who want to experience and enjoy warbler photography. A long lens is essential for warbler work. I use a 600 mm and a crop sensor camera (Canon 7dMK2) so I am shooting 900 mm equivalent. A 500 mm lens or minimum 400 prime lens along with a crop sensor camera body is essential for best results. A teleconverter to extend reach can be used in good light situations, but it may slow image acquisition too much in more overcast or shaded situations. The faster your lens, the better for warbler photography. You should have the skill with your gear to quickly focus on a small bird, as warblers often tend to move quickly. Some birds and species will be more cooperative and forgiving than others, but the ability to quickly focus on the bird will provide far more satisfying images. It is important to follow my lead as I work to get a bird in. Warblers can be very sensitive to moving photographers and noisier gear. Knowing when to pull the trigger is important, especially when attempting singing shots. I will attempt to coach how to better anticipate warbler movement and thus minimize unproductive shooting. The Atlanta area has the added advantage of the opportunity to rent adequate gear for the duration of your trip if needed or desired. If you intend to do that, let me know so we can discuss that. I would suggest arriving at least a day earlier if you will be renting gear so that you can practice with it.
This Warbler Photo Journey will require little walking, with most shooting occurring within a few hundred feet or less of our vehicles. As with any outdoor adventure in Georgia, watch out for briars, possible biting insects, and possible poison ivy. I have rarely come upon a poisonous snake in Georgia, but Copperheads, and Timber rattlesnakes are possible. I have come upon only one Copperhead in all my shooting in Georgia, and no rattlesnakes. I have gotten poison ivy just twice in more than 10 years in the field in Georgia. Be alert for uneven and possible slippery ground. Trout fishermen, turkey hunters, and mountain bikers may be about this time of year, but we, like the trout fishermen, will spend most of our time close to the dirt roads. Plan to put in a long day.
The goal is to have fun and work as a team to maximize everyone’s Georgia Warbler Workshop. I need you to be open and honest with me as we regularly assess how we are doing. Ideally, you will not only come away from the trip with many quality images, but also with some how-to knowledge that you can apply in the future while out shooting and when doing your own post-processing.