Salton Sea is for the Birds

4 Days - Salton Sea, CA
Jan 8 - Jan 11, 2024
Activity Level
Skill Level
All Levels


Registration deadline: December 5, 2023

Pay a deposit of $500.00 per item

The Salton Sea is in transition. Once, abundant birds visited its shoreline on their migration routes, which, in turn, brought birders and photographers from around the world. Today, species seen, and their numbers, are changing due to environmental and political issues. However, the Salton Sea is not dead! Join Sandy on this eye-opening journey around California’s largest inland lake and experience the culture, birdlife, and restoration projects currently in progress.


This photo workshop will provide participants an opportunity to understand how conservation photography can motivate and inspire others, all while creating images that tell gripping stories. We will be photographing historic locations throughout the Salton Sink such as the San Andreas Fault, East Jesus, Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, and iconic birds the environment is known for.


This workshop welcomes all photography skill levels. Photographic instruction, along with individual attention is included. An understanding of basic photography principles is recommended.


What’s included:

  • Pre-workshop webinar
  • Photographic instruction and classroom critiques
  • Roundtrip transportation from Phoenix
  • 3 Nights of single-occupancy lodging
  • Water, snacks, and group meal
  • 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 light and weather conditions. We want to give you the best photo opportunities possible.


Day 1Monday, January 8, 2024

  • Travel from Phoenix to Coachella (arrive approx. 2 pm)
  • Meet & greet orientation, goals, image critiques
  • Evening shoot at one of the nearby locations
  • Dinner

Day 2Tuesday, January 9, 2024

  • Early departure to North Shore Yacht Club / Dos Palmas Preserve / Bombay Beach (art community) / Salvation Mountain (folk art site) / Slab City (eclectic community) / East Jesus (art instillations)
  • Break for lunch
  • Mud Volcanos / Burrowing owls / Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR Unit 2 / Sunset Lindsey Rd
  • Check into the hotel in Brawley & have dinner

Day 3Wednesday, January 10, 2024

  • Early departure to Alamo Wetlands  / New River Wetlands / Cattle Call Arena and spots in between
  • Break for lunch followed by midday reviews
  • Sandy’s secret place for sunset

Day 4Thursday, January 11, 2024

  • Early departure for Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR Unit 1 / Salton City
  • Brunch at Johnsons Landing
  • Desert Shores
  • The workshop ends at 1 PM
  • Travel back to Phoenix or whence you came.

Physical Rating:  Easy

Easy walking on dirt paths or sidewalks with the exception of the preserve. Recommend light hiking boots. Temperatures will be moderate in this desert district. Facilities are available at most locations and your leader will keep you informed. This workshop is located in Imperial Valley where a wide variety of crops are planted including alfalfa hay so pack an antihistamine if you have allergies.

The Workshop will Depart From and Return to Phoenix, AZ

Hampton Inn & Suites Tempe/Phoenix Airport
1550 S. 52md Street
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 410-6400

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 additional dates. To receive our negotiated rate, please use this link to reserve online or reference our corporate ID #0003382467 when calling the hotel direct.  Complimentary airport shuttle service is available.


Lodging During the Workshop

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
84054 Indio Springs Drive
Indio, CA 92203
Phone: (442) 400-3000

On our first night, we will stay in Indio to avail ourselves of some nearby photography locations.  This night is included in your workshop fee based on single occupancy.  If you are traveling with a companion and wish to share lodging, please note this on your registration and a double-occupancy deduction will be applied to your final invoice.  If you planned to meet us in Indio and need to arrive the night prior to the workshop you will need to select the optional pre-night in Indio at registration.



Best Western Brawley
1562 Main Street
Brawley, CA 92227
Phone: (760) 351-9800

Two nights of lodging are included in your workshop fee based on single occupancy.




Sandy Zelasko


If you are concerned about the possibility of canceling your trip we urge you to protect your workshop investment and purchase travel insurance.  We strongly recommend that you purchase a travel insurance plan with a “Cancel for Any Reason” option. Many guests have last-minute injuries, emergencies, or life changes that can disrupt their plans only to wish they had a way to recoup their lost expenses.


There are a number of reputable companies that provide Travel Insurance.  For a listing of providers, you can visit  AHPS has partnered with TravelEx Insurance Services over the years and has found them to be reputable and offer comprehensive plans at competitive prices.  For more information visit or contact them at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20


CANCELATION POLICY:  All cancelations must be in writing to

  • 91 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
  • 61-90 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less $100 administrative fee. The remainder of the fees paid can be applied toward a future workshop within 18 months of cancelation.
  • 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 processing fee.


This cancellation policy applies in every situation and there will be no exceptions made for any reason. We will not issue refunds for cancelations due to illness or late arrivals due to travel delays.


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.  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.   If final payments are not received by 70 days prior to your workshop, your registration is subject to forfeiture including all fees paid to date.


If you register within 90 days of a workshop, full payment is due at the time of registration.