Bosque del Apache & White Sands National Park

New Mexico

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For wildlife photographers, one of the most spectacular and photogenic assemblages of birds in the United States can be found at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in south-central New Mexico. Bosque del Apache—"woods of the Apaches"—is a 57,331-acre wildlife oasis of upland desert and floodplain established in 1939. The Rio Grande flows through the heart of this fertile bottomland bringing year-round water to the refuge. Management of water levels in man-made marshes, and corn and wheat fields planted specifically for the birds, create an important overwintering habitat for the 14,000 greater sandhill cranes, 32,000 snow geese and Ross’s geese, and 20,000 ducks of 14 species that migrate here. Cottonwood and willow bosques line the riparian areas of the refuge providing an even broader range of habitats and the animals that dwell in them.

In 1941, only 17 sandhill cranes overwintered on the refuge due to former habitat loss of wintering and breeding areas. These days, habitat enhancement supports the thousands of cranes that fan out by day to feed in the adjacent farm fields. Huge flocks of snow geese frequent the refuge, and often erupt in explosions of wings when frightened by a stalking coyote or an eagle coursing the marsh. Great flight shots are easy here! At dusk, flight after flight of geese and cranes return to roost in the refuge marshes, making for great evening (and early morning) “birdscapes.” At dawn, the “Blast Off” is an unforgettable experience—an all-enveloping synthesis of sight and sound. Coyotes, black-tailed deer, porcupines, pheasants, wild turkeys, roadrunners, great horned owls, ferruginous hawks and bald and golden eagles are all part of the diverse photo menu served up by the refuge. And, during our visit, the lingering colors of late autumn may be complemented by a light dusting of snow.
 
Although we spend most of our time at Bosque, we also head to Alamogordo and nearby White Sands National Park. Here, enormous gypsum sand dunes deposited in this intermountain valley by prevailing winds tower over the surrounding landscape. The undulating white dunes stretch for miles—like a frozen sea swell. We take best advantage of the early morning and late afternoon light to add color, shadow and texture to these wind-sculpted dunes.
 
Join for the spectacular bird photography of Bosque del Apache and the surreal otherworldly landscapes of White Sands National Park.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Dec 12, 2021)
 Participants fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico and meet the leaders at Albuquerque airport in the late afternoon followed by a one hour drive to Socorro. The group meets for dinner and reviews trip plans at 6:30 PM. (D)  
 
Days 2–4
At sunrise we begin photographing the morning flights of sandhill cranes as they leave their overnight roost. In the afternoon we photograph geese and cranes feeding in the fields and look for massive “Blast Offs” as predators stalk the flocks. We search for porcupine, coyote, wild turkey, deer, birds of prey and other animals. There are also many opportunities to photograph a variety of wetland habitats. Afternoons are reserved for flight shots at last light. (BLD)  
 
Day 5
After our last “Blast Off” photo session at the national wildlife refuge we drive to White Sands National Park. White Sands was established as a national monument in 1933 and re-desginated as a national park in 2019. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand blanket 275 square miles of the northern Chihuahuan desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. Late afternoon photography at the dunes. (BLD)  
 
Day 6 (Dec 18)
We arrange for a special early entry at White Sands to be at the dunes before sunrise. Later in the day, we drive to El Paso, Texas to catch afternoon flights homeward that depart after 1:30PM. (B)

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris is an Authorized Permittee of the US National Park Service
 
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Bosque del Apache & White Sands National Park

Dec 12, 2021 - Dec 18, 2021


ENROLLMENT CONDITIONS

1. REGISTRATION
A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.

2. PAYMENTS, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of entire trip fee
100% of entire trip fee


No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

3. TRIP INSURANCE
Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

4. HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

5. CONTACT SCHEDULE
Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

6. PHOTO SAFARI COSTS
Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

7. LOGISTICS
Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

8. RESPONSIBILITY
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Bosque del Apache & White Sands National Park: Easy Activity Level

Van transportation.  Photography near the van, from the road and very short hikes.

Trip Details
Dec 12 - Dec 18, 2021
Fee: $3,595 from Albuquerque, New Mexico - depart El Paso, Texas
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 14 participants
Activity Level: EasyEasy

 
 
Highlights
  • Photograph the dramatic morning and evening flights of thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese
  • Prime-time dates for peak bird numbers
  • A premier location to refine your photographic skills for “birds in flight” shots
  • Includes landscape photography of the incomparable dunes at White Sands National Park with special use permit for early park entrance for sunrise
  • Like all our tours, trip fee includes all meals, lodging, entrance fees, and ground transportation
 
Tour Leaders
Eric Rock

Eric Rock

Melissa Scott

Melissa Scott