Sandhill Cranes

2021 Workshop Is Sold Out

Come Fly Away!

Join elite nature and wildlife photographers Michael Forsberg along the Platte River in Nebraska to photograph one of nature’s oldest and largest migrations; the Sandhill Crane migration.

For millions of years, Sandhill Cranes have migrated through North America on their way to breeding grounds up North, and the Platte River in Nebraska has long been one of their landing destinations. The hundreds of thousand of cranes that travel through Nebraska every late March create an absolutely stunning sight for photographers and nature-lovers alike.

2021 Workshop Is Sold Out

(but feel free to contact us for waiting list)

What To Know

In this workshop, you’ll be immersed in blinds along the Platte River to get an up-close look as the cranes dance, sing their famous “Crane Song”, and do other fun things that make for extraordinary pictures!

The workshop hotel and classroom is the Fairfield Inn in Kearney, Nebraska.

This workshop will provide opportunities to photograph sandhill cranes from group blinds on the Platte River as the cranes come back to the river roost for the evenings, and when they leave the river at first light in the mornings. In the mornings we will be up early and get to the blind and be settled in an hour before sunrise and will not leave until the birds have left the river. In the evenings, we will arrive to the blind about two hours before sunset and will not leave until dark. Between blind trips, we will download and edit images, have a group critique session of selected images, and provide opportunity to learn more about the Platte River Valley, its conservation and the wildlife it supports. There may also be opportunities to photograph these birds and other migrating waterfowl midday from county roads while they are feeding on waste grain leftover from in farmers fields from the previous fall harvest. Waste grain provides and nutrients from prairie grasslands and wet meadows provides fat reserves they need for migration and their early stages at the nest.

Photographing cranes in Nebraska’s Platte Valley is a very different experience than photographing cranes on wintering grounds or other migratory staging areas in the continent like Bosque Del Apache NWR in New Mexico or the San Luis Valley of Colorado where they are acclimated to human presence. This crane population in the Central Flyway is hunted in every state and province along their migratory pathway, except in Nebraska. Therefore the cranes are very skittish when they arrive here and usually do not tolerate human presence at less than several hundred yards unless you are in a blind or a vehicle. And while there are many protected areas for cranes and other wildlife along the river, central Nebraska is not wilderness. It is countryside, mostly in private ownership, and ranks as some of the most productive farmland in the world. Finally, the cranes and their daily rhythms and patterns change constantly, dictated by weather, water levels and disturbance, which are ever changing along the Platte. In late March, it can be 80 degrees and shirt sleeves one day, and 15 degrees and a blizzard the next. Together, this makes photographing these birds very challenging. Photographing here is a practice in patience, persistence, and acceptance of what it gives you, but it can also be very rewarding and the experience itself and its sight and sound is unforgettable.

What you’ll learn

Topics We Will Cover

cranecon
Conservation Photography
cranestry
Storytelling
cratenat
Nature Photography

2021 WORKSHOP INSTRUCTORS

Guide and Faculty

Ian Segebarth

Program Manager

Matt Stirn

Guide and Faculty

Ian Segebarth

The founder and owner of Rainshadow Expeditions, Ian has spent the past decade traveling and guiding in over 40 countries, covering every continent. He has a background in conservation biology and environmental science, which has fueled his passion for nature and exploration. Ian is a highly experienced scuba instructor and technical cave diver, and has completed thousands of dives all over the world, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Antarctica, and the Caribbean. He is also a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine, and his film work has appeared on Discovery Channel and BBC. In addition to guiding, Ian still has ongoing research and exploration in numerous locations around the world, and he will be happy to share his expertise on these topics.

Program Manager

Matt Stirn

Matt is a photographer, writer, and archaeologist from Jackson, Wyoming. The majority of his work focuses on travel, nature, and cultural and environmental conservation. He is a National Fellow for the Explorer’s Club and has worked as a senior photographer and on assignment for archaeological and conservation projects on four continents. Matt’s work has been published with Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, GEO, BBC, Archaeology Magazine, Outdoor Photographer Magazine, and more. Matt’s work at Summit is diverse and ranges from assisting at our core workshops to planning and running many of our international and destination workshops.

Workshop Information & Itinerary

Trip Highlights

Costs Included In Tuition

Not Included

Workshop Itinerary

  • 4:00pm – Welcome and Overview
  • 5:00pm – Depart Fairfield Inn
  • 6:00pm – Position in blinds
  • 9:30pm – Return to Fairfield Inn
  • 5:20am – Depart Fairfield Inn
  • 6:30am – Positioned in Blinds
  • 7:31 am – Sunrise
  • 10:00am – Depart for Fairfield Inn
  • 11:00am-3:00pm – Lunch/Download/Downtime
  • 5:00pm – Depart Fairfield Inn
  • 6:00pm – Positioned in Blinds
  • 7:54pm – Sunset
  • 5:20am – Depart Fairfield Inn
  • 6:30am – Positioned in Blinds
  • 7:29am – Sunrise
  • 10:00am – Depart for Fairfield Inn
  • 12:00pm – Lunch
  • 12:30pm-3:30pm – Field Work
  • 4:00pm – Return to Fairfield Inn
  • 5:30pm – Depart Fairfield Inn
  • 6:20pm – Positioned in Blinds
  • 7:55pm – Sunset

This is your day to sleep in, it is needed. You are free to shoot on your own in the morning but you will be best served to get your rest before our final night in the blinds with the cranes!

  • 10:00am – Fairfield Inn Outdoor Coffee Q&A
  • 11:00am-3:00pm – Lunch/Download/Downtime
  • 6:30pm – Depart Fairfield Inn
  • 7:55pm – Sunset

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