Anza Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP), located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, is the largest state park in California and the second largest in the contiguous United States. Located about a two-hour drive northeast of San Diego, it is a diverse and fascinating landscape with over 600,000 acres to explore, many unique microclimates, and environs. Perfect for the nature photographer.
The park contains bajadas, or desert washes, whose best kept secret are the numerous wildflowers found amongst rock formations and colorful badlands. Seasonal displays include subtle smoke tree blooms, beavertail cactus crowned with brilliant pink flowers, cholla cactus with its barbed spines and yellow buds, the orange flares which adorn the lanky ocotillo plant, trumpet-like desert lily flowers, and too many more to mention here.
Palm Canyon is home to the park’s namesake, Borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep. This population of Peninsular bighorn are holding their own and can frequently be found dispersed amount the popular hiking trail and sometimes viewed hydrating at the pupfish pond.
Not to be overlooked are the many types of fauna, including a variety of active desert birds, reptiles, jackrabbits, antelope squirrels, rattlesnakes, and elusive mountain lion, kit fox, mule deer, coyote, and more.
ABDSP lies in a unique geologic setting and inspires the landscape photographer. Paleontological remains are widespread and numerous Native American sites are dispersed throughout the park.
Join nature and wildlife photographer, Sandy Zelasko as we travel through the park and into the backcountry with our outfitters capturing spectacular rugged sites. If wildflowers are popping we will certainly take advantage of those photo ops too! And of course, a visit to Borrego Springs isn’t complete without enjoying the amazing Borrego Sky Sculptures in Galleta Meadows.
- Photographic instruction in the field and in the classroom
- Roundtrip transportation from Phoenix
- Four nights single occupancy lodging
- Two outfitter tours & gratuities
- Water, snacks, box lunch on tour, and a group dinner.
- Permits and Entrance Fees
- Pre-workshop webinar
- Post-workshop critique
Please be aware that the shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change. Each day we will determine which locations are best based on lighting and weather conditions. We want to give you the best possible photo opportunities.
Day 1 – Monday, Feb 28, 2022
- Depart Phoenix at 8:00 am
- In route, we will stop for lunch
- Arriving in Borrego Springs, we will check in to our hotel.
- After the group is settled, Sandy will host an orientation and meet and greet.
- The group will then grab our gear and head out for an evening shoot
- Return for welcome dinner.
Day 2 – Tuesday, Mar 1, 2022
- Depart the hotel early to travel to Palm Canyon Trailhead for a 3 mile in/out hike to the 1st palm oasis in a beautiful desert canyon. Desert flora and fauna with possible Desert Bighorn Sheep sightings.
- Return to hotel for brunch and mid-day reviews
- Early afternoon we will meet up with our outfitter and travel in 4-wheel, off-road vehicles to capture rugged canyons, slot canyons, badlands, and other incredible desert landscapes.
- Return after our sunset shoot.
Day 3 – Wednesday, Mar 2, 2022
- Meet our outfitter for another adventure to the iconic Font’s Point to photograph sunrise overlooking the popular Borrego Badlands.
- Return to hotel for bunch and mid-day reviews.
- Mid-afternoon we will head out to other areas of ABSP making possible stops at Box Canyon, Vallecito Stage Station and Carrizo Badlands Overlook on the historic Overland Trail for a photographic overview of the desert landscape and more.
- Return to hotel and dinner.
Day 4 – Thursday, Mar 3, 2022
- Depart early for great sunrise views and the best displays of wildflowers.
- After our fill of flowers, we will move on to the Borrego Sky Sculptures to capture the whimsical metal animals and characters by Ricardo Breceda.
- Following a lunch break, we will take in a tour and history walk at the Borrego Art Institute.
- Our evening field destination will include the “Hawk Watch” with The Hawk Guy, Hal Cohen, for a lesson on Swainson Hawk migration through the desert. We will be able to photograph hawks as they kettle in the skies above.
- Dinner and return to the hotel.
Day 5 – Friday, Mar 4, 2022
- We will depart early one last time as we travel to the ABDSP Visitor Center to photograph birds and plants of the desert in the early morning light.
- After our fill of bird photography, we will then move on to Coyote Canyon for more wildflowers and landscapes.
- Return to check out, have brunch, and then one final critique.
- The workshop ends at 1:00 PM when we will depart for Phoenix.
Physical Rating: Moderate
The hike into Palm Canyon is approximate 3 miles RT with an elevation gain of 450 ft. ABSP is rugged desert and mountainous landscapes. Most hikes or walks will be on designated trails or desert terrain.
The Workshop will Depart From and Return to Phoenix, AZ
Holiday Inn & Suites Phoenix Airport
3220 S. 48th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85040
Phone: (480) 543-1700
Pre-night and post-night rooms are available for workshop participants at our corporate rate. Participants are required to make their own reservations and pay for these dates. The corporate rate is only available on a space-available status and must be booked online. The corporate rate is not available by phone.
Lodging During the Workshop
Our group will spend four nights at the fabulous Borrego Springs Resort. All lodging is based on single occupancy.
- 91 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
- 90 days full payment is due
- 61-90 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less $100 administrative fee. The voucher is good for 18 months.
- * 60 days or less until departure – No refund.
* If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less the $100 administrative fee.
NOTE: Workshop bookings including, but not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging and more are requiring firm financial commitments at 90 days. Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can sometimes be unavoidable which is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.
Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel or change any workshop if our minimum enrollment is not met or if situations beyond our control arise that may create unsafe or undesirable travel conditions. Any cancelation or postponement as a result of situations beyond our control, AHPS does not promise any refunds or credits. If and when feasible, we will attempt to reschedule the workshop at a later date. Alternatively, we may decide to issue you credit for a future workshop, or issue a refund, less any non-refundable deposits we have paid to workshop providers on your behalf.
Please note that AHPS is not liable for any additional participant expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations, or any other components booked outside of the workshop.
PAYMENT TERMS: A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space. Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit. Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure. Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due.