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Texas Spring Wildflowers Regional Event Regional Event (March 30 – April 2, 2023)

March 30 - April 2

Leaders | Travel and lodging | What to expect

Registration is now open

Event Overview

Explore the springtime splendor of Texas wildflowers! Join photographer Alyce Bender for a spring wildflower photography tour through Texas’ Hill Country focusing primarily on the Texas state flower: the bluebonnet! The bluebonnet is a classic icon of the state and just one of a multitude of wildflower species that bloom across the area in spring.

The event is centered around Brenham, Texas – a place best known for being the hometown of Blue Bell Creameries. Located between Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, Brenham is a small town with Texan hospitality and miles of picturesque country roads that radiate out to surrounding communities filled with charm and history. It is also one of the areas that consistently has quality wildflower viewing in the spring and is home to the official Texas Bluebonnet Festival that takes place the second weekend of April each year. We will explore the rolling countryside and backroads for the prized bluebonnets interspersed with Indian paintbrush, wild poppies, Texas yellowstar, winecups, and many, many others.

Cost: $869 NANPA Members/$1069 Non-members

Last Date to Register: February 27, 2023

Maximum number of attendees: 8

Photo of a field of bluebonnet flowers with a line of trees in the background. Photo credit: Alyce BenderPhoto credit: Alyce Bender

Leaders

Alyce Bender

Alyce Bender is a nature photographer, writer, educator, and adventurer. Camera in hand since childhood, her fascination for photography developed into a career after serving in the U.S. Air Force. Her passion for wildlife and the natural environment compels her to connect others with nature through sharing both visual art and in-field experiences that promote conservation, creativity, and ethical photography.

Alyce is a Tamron USA Ambassador, contributing writer and photographer for the Journal of Wildlife Photography, and a Nature First Texas Region Ambassador. Her work has been featured in group and solo gallery shows across the U.S. as well as in international publications from the U.K. to Japan. Bender leads photography tours and workshops in partnership with Wildside Nature Tours on location around the world to help beginner through advanced photographers explore and expand their personal vision and naturalist skills ethically. When not in the field, she offers a variety of educational programs both in person and virtually for photography organizations large and small.

You can see more of Bender’s work and upcoming tours at  www.abenderphotography.com

Travel and lodging

Best Western Inn of Brenham
1503 Hwy 290 East
Brenham, TX 77833

Check in time: 3 pm

NANPA is holding a block of rooms for the event participants.

Room rates are $179.99 + taxes/fees per night, (note rates are higher than other times of year due to timing coinciding with the annual Round Top Antique show).

  • (5) room with two queen beds, non-smoking
  • (5) room with a king bed with sleeper sofa, non-smoking.

The rate does include a full hot breakfast from 5:30am – 9:30am.

This rate is valid for the 3 nights of the regional event: check in March 30, check out April 2, but can be optionally extended to check in a day earlier on March 29th.

Participants will need to make their own reservation secured by their own credit card. For hotel reservations, call the hotel directly at 979-251-7791 and ask for a room in the NANPA room block. To secure a room at the NANPA rate, reservations must be made before the February 28th cutoff.

Airports and Ground Transportation

  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is about 1.5 hours to Brenham, TX.
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is about 2.5 hours to Brenham, TX.

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. However, many of the roads will be hard packed limestone/gravel.

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 Best Western Inn Brenham. 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 Sunday brunch are on your own.  The group brunch on Sunday will be at the Brenham Grill, 107 W Commerce St, Brenham, TX 77833.

Photo of a bluebonnet with Indian paintbrush in the distance. Photo credit: Alyce BenderPhoto credit: Alyce Bender

What to expect

Photography Locations:

Due to the extensive private property in the area, most photography will take place from roadside locations that will be dictated by the current wildflower conditions.

Your leader 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 evening during the Meet and Greet.

What to Expect:

We will focus on capturing these beautiful wildflower subjects from both wide and macro perspectives. Starting out in the mornings, when dew drops may be present, we will work through the morning hours visiting different fields and different species. Upon breaking for lunch, we will avail ourselves of some quintessential, small town, mom-and-pop eateries for a hearty lunch and assorted photography-related conversations. Come late afternoon, we will return to find pastoral scenes where sunset can be utilized to highlight our floral subjects.

Health and Fitness

There will be no mountain hiking (it’s central Texas). Most shooting locations will be very close to where we park. A couple could require a walk, but will be flat. The length of the walk will be up to the participant and how much they wish or are able to explore, there will be photographic possibilities along the way.

Weather & Clothing

Historical average temperatures for site/area in time of year vary from a low of 68F to a high of 88F degrees.  It’s preferable to dress in lightweight layers as temperatures can change throughout the day.Suggested clothing for this time of year:

  • Light weight jacket for mornings
  • Quick dry layers
  • Light weight long pants – to protect against bugs/other plants
  • Rain Jacket & Rain Pants – for rain if we get any
  • Hiking Boots (preferred) or closed toe shoes (minimum)
  • Dress for the indoor sessions will be casual.

Hat – for sun protection and macro shade producer

Camera Gear:

  • Camera – DSLR or mirrorless, full frame or cropped sensor.  Also, bring the camera manual should you need to consult it.
  • Lenses – There will likely be photo opportunities for your full range of lenses, from extreme wide angle to telephoto and macro.  We will use lenses from 10-400mm.
  • Non-abrasive Lens Cleaning Cloth and Wipes.
  • Tripod – Sunrise, sunset, and twilight levels are too low to photograph properly without a sturdy tripod.  A lightweight carbon fiber tripod with a ball head is recommended.
  • Lots of Memory Card Storage – We use fast 64GB cards, good for stills & video.
  • Camera Battery Charger and Extra Batteries.
  • Sensor Cleaning Tools
  • Polarizing filter(s) to fit each of your lenses.
  • Neutral Density Filters, Graduated Neutral Density Filters
  • Shutter Release – You can use a locking cable release, a wireless remote, or the camera’s self-timer (except in BULB).
  • Rain Cover – For camera and lens protection.
  • Laptop Computer – for downloading, processing and viewing your images.
  • Image Processing Software – Good choices include Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, or Elements.
  • Back-up device – Such as an external hard drive.
  • Flash Drive – For sharing images.

General

We will be based in Brenham, Texas 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 leader Alyce has experience teaching photography and is available to answer questions and give you guidance. If you need help, please advocate for yourself and speak up and ask for help – Alyce is 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 8 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 Texas hill country wildflowers.  If you are new to photography, be sure to ask Alyce for help. She 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.

Photo fo bluebonnets with sunrise in background. Photo credit: Alyce BenderPhoto credit: Alyce Bender

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 the 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 2023 Regional Events Sponsor

Other

USA States/Territories
Texas
Type of event
On Location
Cost range
$869-$1069

Venue

Brenham, Texas
Brenham, TX United States + Google Map
View Venue Website