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Shenandoah Fawns, Falls and Flowers Regional Event (June 1-4, 2023)

June 1, 2023 - June 4, 2023

Leader | Travel and lodging | What to expect | General Information




Event Overview

Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. to Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 10 a.m.

Shenandoah National Park is an oasis of nature just a couple of hours drive from Washington, DC. Home to black bears, deer, songbirds, wildflowers, waterfalls and scenic overlooks, the park’s 200,000 acres of protected land offer something for everyone. Skyline Drive, the main road through the park, winds along the crest of the Shenandoah Mountains offering views of distant farmland and many opportunities for hikes into the woods.

Join Mark Hendricks and Frank Gallagher on this NANPA Regional Event to experience and photograph the best that Shenandoah National Park has to offer. We will be exploring the central section of the 70-mile-long park, home to some of the best views, falls, flora and fauna.

$650 NANPA Members/$850 Non-members

Last Date to Register:  April 30, 2023

Maximum Number of Participants: 18

Doe and fawn in grass

Photo credit: Mark Hendricks


Mark Hendricks

Mark Hendricks is a conservation photographer and an adjunct faculty member at Towson University where he teaches courses in Ethology and Research Methods. Additionally, he is a fellow in the International League of Conservation Writers and a member of the ethics committee for the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). He is currently at work on his second book, which is about the Central Appalachians in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Mark has led multiple photography workshops for the Assateague Island Alliance. He has also run his own workshops on Assateague Island (the subject of his first book, Natural Wonders of Assateague Island, 2017) and provided private guide and instruction services on the Delmarva Peninsula as well as in Western Maryland. He is currently planning his first international photo workshop in Kenya, with Kenya Safari Holidays, and is a frequent visitor to the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland and Virginia, including Shenandoah National Park.

Frank Gallagher

Frank Gallagher is a nature photographer, manages NANPA’s blog, and is the interim communications and marketing coordinator. He was also a teacher (middle school) and spent more than 25 years in education and educational technology. His work has been featured by the National Parks Foundation and Rock Creek Conservancy, and he has done photography workshops for the Rock Creek Conservation Corps, the Conservancy’s summer program for teens.

He’s led overnight photo trips to Blackwater NWR and multiple single-day photo trips in the Washington, DC, area. For three years, Frank was a volunteer trail maintenance overseer in Shenandoah National Park with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, which involved monthly visits to the park. He camps, hikes, and photographs in the park several times a year.

Travel and lodging

The base for this event will be at:

Big Meadows Lodge
Mile 51 on Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park, VA 22835

NANPA is holding a block of rooms for event participants:

  • Preferred Room – Two Queen Beds (12 available) $187 per night + tax & fees
    (TV, AC, clock radio, coffee maker, private bath)
  • Traditional Room – Two Double Beds (8 available) $147 per night + tax & fees
    (clock radio, coffee maker, shower bath)


  • There are no in-room phones. House phones in service area.  Cell phones receive fair reception with accessibility depending on carrier.
  • Rooms in one and two-story buildings, exterior access. No elevators.
  • All rooms and public areas plus 25 feet from buildings are smoke free environments.

To book a room at this discounted rate:

  • Call 1-877-247-9261 and give booking/group Code DBS5312023NANPA or ask for room block for North American Nature Photography Association.
  • Book on-line at; insert booking / group Code

Deposit of the first night’s lodging rate plus taxes & fees is required at time of booking.

Deadline for reservations in the NANPA room block is April 30,2023.

Airports and Ground Transportation

  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is 90 miles or about 2 hours from Big Meadows
  • Reagan National Airport (DCA) is 104 miles and about 2.5 hours from Big Meadows.

Car Rental:  Car rental is available in both IAD and DCA airports. A normal passenger car will be appropriate, all roads and parking will be on paved or slightly graveled areas. No 4×4 or other special vehicle needs required.

Event Transportation

Transportation to and from the hotel and during the event is not included and is the attendees’ responsibility.

RIDE SHARING:  We will be starting each day from Big Meadows Lodge. Ridesharing is encouraged to reduce the size of our vehicle presence and improve the traveling/following experience. You are welcome to either drive or ride with someone. This is also a great way to meet people and make new friends during the event!

Note that NANPA does not have insurance for carpooling arrangements and assumes no liability for them. Carpooling, ride sharing or anything similar is strictly a private arrangement among the participants. Participants assume the risks associated with this travel.


All meals except Sunday breakfast are on your own. The group breakfast on Sunday will be at Spottswood Dining Room at Big Meadow Lodge.

Photo credit: Mark Hendricks

What to expect

Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. to Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 10 a.m.

Registration and Meet & Greet

Thursday June 1, 2023 at Skyland Resort, Mountain Room Annex
Milepost 41.7 or 42.5 Skyline Dr., Luray, VA 22835

This event is designed for amateur and professional photographers interested in improving their photography skills or looking for location guidance to capture the best wildlife & landscape shots.

We’ll be photographing waterfalls, scenic vistas, wildflowers and wildlife. We’ll be out for sunrises from overlooks and sunsets from rocky crags. A full moon rising near sunset on June 3rd offers interesting photo possibilities. Moonset coincides with sunrise on the 4th giving us an extra opportunity for memorable photos.

It will be wildflower season, and we’ll be looking for mountain laurel and wild azalea, and maybe some late-blooming trillium. Fauns and bear cubs are also common sights this time of year.

Your leaders will have visited the areas prior to the event and the locations will be based on what’s most photogenic at the time, weather conditions, etc.

Photography Locations

Some of the locations that we will most likely photograph include:

  • Big Meadows, a large, open, grassy area that attracts wildlife, especially fawns, and wildflowers.
  • Rocky crags overlooking lush farmland, like Stoney Man and Hawksbill.
  • Waterfalls cascading down the mountainside, Rose River and Dark Hollow Falls.
  • Spring wildflowers along the Limberlost Trail, South River Falls and Mill Prong Trail
  • Full moonrise from the highest point in the park.

Your leaders will have visited the areas prior to the event and the field trip locations will be based on what’s most photogenic at the time, weather conditions, etc.  These will be announced on Thursday afternoon during the Registration/Orientation.

OTHER AREA LOCATIONS OF INTEREST (if you decide to extend your stay):

  • Luray Caverns, Luray, VA. A tourist attraction, to be sure, but a large cave with multiple rooms and many interesting formations that can be fun to photograph.
  • A number of Civil War battles and skirmishes were fought in the valleys on either side of Skyline Drive.
  • Quaint historic towns, like Sperryville abound.
  • If you’re heading back towards Washington, DC, via Route 211, you’ll pass through some of Virginia’s “wine country” with a number of vineyards and tasting rooms.
  • Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and James Monroe’s Highland are about 90 minutes to the south. James Madison’s Montpelier is about an hour to the east.
  • East of Front Royal is the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area/Sky Meadows State Park. A variety of birds frequent the area and its lake. The area is also known for wildflowers.

Photo credit: Mark Hendricks

General Information

We will be based in Shenandoah National Park during this regional event.

Please keep in mind that this NANPA Regional Event is designed to be a photo tour, not a photo workshop. In other words, there are no formal instruction sessions planned, there are no assignments, you will not be receiving any handouts or the like. That being said, your leaders Frank and Mark have experience teaching photography and are available to answer questions and give you guidance. If you need help, please advocate for yourself and speak up and ask for help – Frank and Mark are happy to help. Be aware that many of your fellow participants may also be accomplished photographers in their own right and may be able to help you too.  Part of the regional event experience is the camaraderie that comes from sharing experiences and lessons learned among participants.

This tour is open for 18 participants to give each plenty of time with the leader and to retain flexibility based on weather and the best opportunities.

This event is designed for all levels of photographers – amateur, intermediate, advanced and professional – interested in improving their photography skills or looking for location guidance to capture images of this part of Shenandoah National Park.  If you are new to photography, be sure to ask Frank or Mark for help. They will be available to answer questions, explain techniques and in general help you improve your photographic skills.  If you already have plenty of photography experience, they will ensure that you’re in the best locations at the best times for those perfect shots.

Please know your camera before you arrive and bring your manual, just in case we need to look up something.

Health and fitness

Any hikes to summits and waterfalls will typically be 2 miles or less and may include elevation gains up to 500 feet or so, but are manageable for anyone in decent shape.


Early June weather along Skyline Drive is typically pleasant, with high temperatures around 70 and lows in the 50s. Weather can vary considerably, so plan on dressing in layers. We recommend long sleeves and long pants as well as sturdy (and waterproof/water resistant) hiking or walking shoes. Bring something light and packable to wear if it rains.


  • We’ll be using everything from wide-angle lenses to telephoto to macro, so bring what you have and like to use. You’ll be OK if you can at least cover a 24mm to 200mm range (full frame equivalent).
  • For landscapes, you’ll want a polarizing filter, and a 3-stop or 6-stop ND for waterfalls is optional.
  • A good tripod and a remote trigger will also be very helpful.
  • Rain cover for camera
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Laptop or tablet to review your images and (optional) a portable hard drive to backup images
  • If you have a National Parks pass, bring it! Otherwise, a $30 per vehicle, seven-day pass for Shenandoah can be purchased in advance at or at a park entrance station.

Regional Event Cancellation and No Refund Policy:  

NANPA will not offer any refunds for registrations for this event regardless of when the cancellation is made or the reason for the cancellation. NANPA reserves the right to cancel any event or activity due to insufficient registration or any unforeseen circumstances. NANPA will offer refunds if NANPA has to cancel the event. It also has the right to substitute presenters if those originally scheduled cannot attend. Registrants may purchase event insurance as part of the registration process through NANPA’s partner, Allianz. More information on this option will be shown during the checkout process for the event registration.

NOTE:  If you do not purchase event insurance at the time that you pay for your registration, you will NOT be able to go back and purchase it with Allianz later.

If you choose to purchase travel insurance separately, you can do so with your own insurance carrier, or NANPA members can receive a special travel insurance rate through USI Affinity/Travel Insurance Services.

COVID-19 Policy

NANPA is committed to the health and safety of all participants and leaders at any of our events.  We have taken steps to reduce the inherent risks surrounding any public location where people are present.  We ask that you familiarize yourself with our COVID-19 health and safety precautions and requirements prior to your trip.  Masks are discretionary unless required by a particular venue or location.

You should evaluate your own risks when determining whether to participate.  By attending this event and signing the NANPA Regional Events Liability Release you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with your attendance as we have explained them to you.

Most importantly:

If you have been feeling sick or have been exposed to someone in your household who is feeling sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, PLEASE STAY HOME.

NANPA follows CDC rules and the rules of the state in which an event is held.  Those rules currently are:

NANPA will let you know if anything changes prior to the event.

We thank you in advance for your adherence and support as we work together to keep everyone safe.


Thank You to NANPA’s 2022 Regional Events Sponsor


USA States/Territories
Type of event
On Location
Cost range
$650 - $850


Big Meadows Lodge
Mile 51, Skyline Dr
Stanley, VA 22851 United States
+ Google Map
(877) 847-1919