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Solar Eclipse and Texas Wildflowers Regional Event (April 6-9, 2024)

April 6 - April 9

Leaders | Travel & lodging | What to expect | Preliminary itinerary

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Event Overview

Join Jennifer Leigh Warner, David Cook and Heather Valey for a once-in-a-lifetime regional event in Central Texas photographing the full solar eclipse, Texas spring wildflowers and more.

A full solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024, and one of the best places to watch the eclipse is in the Central Texas Hill Country.  In preparation for the solar eclipse, we will walk you through some basic settings on how to photograph this unique event.

The first week of April also happens to correspond to peak wildflower season in the Texas Hill Country.  Colors burst from the roadside and trailside as Texas Bluebonnets, Paintbrush, Pink Ladies and scores of other species of wildflowers put on their annual Spring show each year.  And with flowers, come pollinators. From butterflies to bees, there will be no shortage of macro photography opportunities as well.

Cost:
Early Bird Rate: $710 NANPA & ASMP Members/$910 Non-members by February 1, 2024

After February 1, 2024: $810 NANPA & ASMP Members/$1010 Non-members

Maximum number of attendees: 21

©Jennifer Leigh Warner

 

Leaders

Jennifer Leigh Warner

Jennifer Leigh Warner is an award-winning wildlife, landscape and conservation photographer living in Central Texas and specializes in creating meaningful images that conveys a message of hope for the natural world.

Jennifer was elected to the NANPA Board of Directors in 2023 and has been serving as the Chair of the Ethics Committee since 2018. Jennifer is also a certified Texas Master Naturalist, an Ambassador for Nature First, a workshop leader for Wildside Nature Tours and a mentor for the non-profit Girls Who Click, which encourages young girls to consider a career in conservation photography.

She is a Nikon Professional and her fine art images have been on display in art festivals, galleries and museums throughout the United States. Her images have also appeared in the Namibia Expo 2020 Dubai and at the Climate Change Summit in Morocco in 2016.

Jennifer’s images and writing have been published in Outdoor California Magazine, Gizmodo, the NANPA Expressions Magazine, Outdoor Photographer Magazine, WIRED, The New Yorker, National Geographic Online and Wild Planet Photo Magazine among others. In addition to Jennifer’s photography, she is a public speaker, who has presented for Professional Photographers of America, NANPA and was the 2022 Keynote speaker for the Winter Wings Festival. Jennifer is deeply passionate about sharing the natural world with others and thoroughly enjoys teaching photographers how to create images that they can be proud to hang on their wall.

You can learn more about Jennifer and the conservation work that she does by visiting her website at www.experiencewildlife.com

David Cook-

David Cook began pursuing his love of the natural world through nature photography following a 30-year career as an IT Professional and educator. He is the NANPA Conservation Committee Chair and iNaturalist Coordinator.

David is an award-winning photographer whose worked has been featured in galleries throughout the US and was included in the Roger Tory Peterson’s Institute Inaugural Art That Matters To The Planet exhibit.  He is a Texas Master Naturalist, a Travis Audubon Master Birder and serves on the board of the Bull Creek Foundation in Austin where he leads photo walks for kids and adults.

His conservation projects include Loggerheard Shrike Monitoring with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, a Purple Martin Steward with Travis Audubon, the Fauna Survey at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and Digital Camera Traps on Austin’s Vireo Preserve.

You can find him on Instagram at @davidjcook10 and on the Web at davidjcookphotography.com

Heather Valey-

Heather Valey is an award-winning conservation photographer living in the Colorado front range. She specializes in creating purposeful images that puts a spotlight on our interactions with wildlife and environment with an emphasis on co-existence. Having grown up in Colorado, she left in 2002 and spent most of that time in Austin, Texas photographing the wildlife there, before returning home in 2021.

Heather is a member of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and a certified Texas Master Naturalist. She received first place in the conservation category in the 2024 NANPA showcase. Her images have been published in Colorado Outdoors Magazine, The Purple Martin Update, the Hill Country Conservancy Calendar and used on numerous conservation agency websites. She also publishes a blog covering Colorado conservation issues at www.naturefix.net

 

Travel and lodging

Hampton Inn & Suites
700 Central Park Drive
Cedar Park, TX 78613
Telephone: (512) 866-9200

NANPA is holding a block of (16) King bed and (3) Double Queen bedrooms for event participants for the rate of $135 per night + tax.

To book a room at this discounted rate, use this reservation link and the room block code NAN.
NANPA Room Booking Link – Hampton Inn & Suites Cedar Park North Austin

The last date to book a room in the NANPA room block is March 1, 2024.

NEAREST AIRPORT:

  • AUS Austin International Airport

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

  • Car Rental: A regular rental car will be fine; we will not be driving on roads that require extra clearance or 4×4

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 the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton at Cedar Park. 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.

Meals:

All meals except Tuesday’s Group Lunch are on your own. The location of the Tuesday Group Lunch, which is included in the event registration fee, will be shared at the Meet and Greet. Attendees are encouraged to eat together with their group as part of the overall experience.

 

©Jennifer Leigh Warner

 

What to expect

Photography Locations:

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

Solar Eclipse (Texas Hill Country) – One of the highlights of this event is the full solar eclipse on Monday, April 8.  The Texas Hill Country will have one the longest totality duration–over 4 minutes–in the continental United States.  We’ll choose a location that offers great opportunities for the eclipse itself and its effect on the landscape.

Wildflowers (Travis, Williamson, Burnet Counties) – Spring through Central Texas brings a myriad of wildflowers along roadsides, and in many parks and preserves including Inks Late State Park, Turkey Bend Recreational Area, Brushy Creek Greenbelt, Old Settlers Parks and many others.  While the Texas Bluebonnet, the State Flower of Texas, is the highlight, numerous vibrant species dot the landscape including Indian Paintbrush, Antelope Horn (native milkweed), Blanketflower, Pink Evening Primrose, and many others.  These wildflowers bring pollinators so there will also be numerous opportunities for macro photography as well as wildflowers in the landscape.

The Solar Eclipse and wildflowers are the key topics of this regional event, but other opportunities are also available. 

  • Caves and Grottos – The limestone and karst topography of Central Texas mean the area is rich in caves and grottos. Longhorn Cavern State Park, Inner Space Caverns, Westcave Preserve are three caves that are within an hour of the Austin area.  While we have not yet confirmed a special photography tour of one of these caves, we are actively pursuing a special cave tour for the morning of the last day.
  • Birding Opportunities – April is the beginning of Spring Migration in Central Texas and numerous species will be coming through. The endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler returns in mid-March and a Travis Audubon preserve is a short distance away.

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 Tuesday evening during the Registration/Orientation.

HEALTH AND FITNESS:

A moderate fitness level is required.  Walks at parks and preserves may be up to 3 miles.

WEATHER & CLOTHING:

Layers are important in Texas this time of year. The average temps are between 60 – 80 degrees. A light rain jacket is also a good idea.

Closed toed walking shoes are recommended. 

CAMERA GEAR:

The focus for this regional event is wildflowers, so having either a macro lens or a standard wide angle is a good idea. Typically, a 24-70mm will work as well. For the eclipse you will need a solar filter on your camera so as to not damage your camera.

A sturdy tripod will be useful for landscapes as well as the eclipse. 

OTHER RECOMMENDED GEAR:

A rain jacket for your camera is a good idea. It can rain this time of year in Texas. 

GENERAL:

We will be based in Cedar Park, TX during this regional event.

Please keep in mind that this NANPA Regional Event is designed to be a photo tour, not workshop. That said, don’t be shy about asking Jennifer and David for help if you need it. This tour is open for 14 participants to give each plenty of time with the leaders 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 magical park.  If you are new to photography, Jennifer and David will be available to answer questions, teach new techniques and help you improve your photographic skills.  If you already have plenty of photography experience, Jennifer and David will ensure that you’re in the best locations at the best times for those perfect shots. Other participants are also great about sharing techniques, tips, and ideas. Please know your camera before you arrive and bring your manual just in case, we need to look up something.

Attendance and participation at NANPA Regional Events is limited to registered attendees only.  Anyone wishing to participate in any portion of, or travel with a registered attendee during the group event must contact the NANPA office and pay the full registration fee.

 

Juniper Hairstreak ©David Cook

Preliminary itinerary

Please note schedules provided in advance are always preliminary, the final schedule may be different due to weather conditions, and other variables.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

  • Arrival and check into hotel.
  • Welcome at 6:30 pm, short presentation, meet and greet. The presentation will briefly introduce participants to Central Texas wildflowers and then focus on “Different ways to Photograph the Solar Eclipse” including camera settings and composition ideas.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

  • Morning shooting session – Wildflowers Burnet County
  • Lunch – break for mid-day.
  • Early Afternoon – Review photos from morning session or visit local park (Brushy Creek)
  • Late afternoon shooting session – Wildflowers in Williamson County featuring Red Poppies

Monday, April 8, 2024 (Eclipse Day)

  • Morning Shoot – Wildflowers at Turkey Bend
  • Early Afternoon – Full Solar Eclipse, mostly likely also at Turkey Bend
  • Late Afternoon – Rest; or visit local park for more wildflower options
  • Evening – Possible night sky photography under the new moon.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

  • Morning – More wildflowers or photography hike at Westcave Preserve or other cave.

For those who are interested, arrangements are being made for a Photography Hike at Westcave Preserve (https://www.westcave.org/specialty-hikes) There will be an additional $50 per participant fee for those interested in participating in this hike.

  • Group lunch/brunch (included in the event fee)
  • The event wraps up after lunch at approximately 2 pm.

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

Details

Start:
April 6
End:
April 9
Event Category:

Other

USA States/Territories
New Mexico
Type of event
On Location
Cost range
$710-$910

Venue

Texas
United States + Google Map