Sean Fitzgerald Photography (workshops, events, speaking)

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Vermejo – Wildlife, Ghost Towns and Night Sky

August 8 - August 12

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00am on day 8 of August, repeating until September 12, 2018


Vermejo Park Ranch – Wildlife, Ghost Towns and Night Sky!

Vermejo Park Ranch features 585,000 acres of spectacular and relatively un-photographed wild country in New Mexico. It is a magnificent place, way too big to see in just one trip!

In August, we explore the our way from the mountains to the prairie at our August Photo Workshop where we chase wildlife, explore Vermejo’s amazing ghost towns and historic buildings and last, but not least, photograph amazing landscapes during the day and at night under Vermejo’s amazing night sky. This week we will have extremely dark skies, perfect for photographing the Milky Way! An extra two-day extension will give those folks the chance to go deeper into subjects of their choice.

Led by our expert guide and naturalist, James Reidy, we will search for and find unique wildlife and photographic opportunities, including bison in rut. If chasing wildflowers and newborn animals is more your style, check out our early summer “Babes and Blooms” Photo Workshop.


Cost is $2200 for the 4 day August workshop, and $1100 for the two day Ghost Town addition. Dates are August 12-16 for the main workshop and August 16-18 for the optional two day extension.

Program rates include lodging , meals, professional guides and on-site transportation. Company Store purchases, alcoholic beverages, staff gratuity and New Mexico State sales tax are not included. More information about my Vermejo workshops.

Contact me with any questions. My cell phone is 214-213-4193. To register, email Vermejo at [email protected].


We will adjust our itinerary depending on the weather and those serendipitous opportunities that will likely present themselves. But this gives you an idea of what to expect.

Arrive at Vermejo at noon and get checked into your room. After everyone arrives, we will head out toward Vermejo’s iconic Castle Rock, a huge rock outcropping in the middle of a beautiful, flower-filled field.

We will look for Vermejo’s large bison herd, prairie dogs, perhaps check a favorite spot for golden eagles, and other animals, and then head back for dinner and a good night sleep.

We will head back out to Castle Rock at dawn to photograph the sunrise and nearby barns and wildflowers, and then explore the surrounding areas looking for wildlife while the light remains good. You never know what you might find. I ran into the bear above following this routine!

Late in the morning we will return to relax and get lunch.

In the afternoon, we will head to the beautiful Canadian River and look for wildlife as we travel to the massive old charcoal kilns to photograph them against the setting sun, and then return to the lodge to relax before the  big day to follow.


We get up early and head to the Koehler Coal Mining Town, stopping along the way as opportunity presents to shoot landscapes and wildlife.

Koehler is an amazing ghost town, with a row of beautiful and colorful abandoned homes to photograph, as well as the now abandoned mining operations. It is a fascinating place and eerily beautiful. And unlike most ghost towns, it has been rarely photographed.

We will pack a lunch with us and relax in the mid-day before returning back on a game drive.

Morning is left open to allow us some flexibility to decide from a lot of options depending on what the group wants. We can chase more wildlife, photograph wildflowers, drive to the top of a mountain,or do a number of other things depending on what the group wants and what is “happening”. Some may want to sleep in a bit after the long day, and rest up for the light-painting to come.

In the evening we will return to Castle Rock to photograph the sunset, and then stay until total darkness to “paint” the rock with light, with the Milky Way and stars. I will show everyone how to do it, in case you have never tried to light paint before, or have never photographed stars at night. We will work together to get some amazing and unique photos!

Sunday you get to sleep in after the late night.  We will have a late morning gathering before departure of those not doing the optional extension.

For those staying for the extension, we will explore more of the historical aspects of Vermejo. Depending on the desires of the remaining participants and the night skies, we will likely take a game drive and then return to the charcoal kilns for evening sunset and light painting and night photography, and photograph cemeteries and other locations along the way before returning.


After sleeping in and resting up a bit, we will have a chance for some personal tutoring and help before heading back out in the afternoon. This is a wild-card day, giving the remaining folks a chance to decide what they want to do. We can focus on trying to find more bison in rut, bears or other particular wildlife and we for anyone still game, I will take them to light-paint a neat old cemetery.It makes for a really fun day.

Time to go home! We will gather for breakfast and last thoughts before everyone departs.

All Vermejo Workshops


August 8
August 12
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Sean Fitzgerald

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