The Ultimate SE Arizona Hummingbird Photography Tour

Southeast Arizona

Michele Vaughan.
  • Email address verified
1 review
Aug 31 - Sep 7, 2019
Group size: 3 - 4
The Ultimate SE Arizona Hummingbird Photography Tour
Southeast Arizona

Michele Vaughan.
  • Email address verified
1 review

Aug 31 - Sep 7, 2019
Group size: 3 - 4

About this trip

The mountains of southern and southeastern Arizona are home to the greatest variety of hummingbirds in North America. Nowhere but Southeast Arizona can you expect to find more than 10 species of hummingbirds within a day's drive. We will drive to three prime hummingbird locations, where we can expect to photograph eleven species of hummingbirds. The timing of the tour coincides with the peak hummingbird migration here in Southeast Arizona so expect to create a wide range of spectacular hummingbird images using several proven techniques. 

This group size is limited to a maximum of four photographers to ensure every photographer has a flash setup, individual attention and ample opportunity to capture breathtaking images. 

Workshop Details

 This tour and workshop is 8 days and 7 nights dedicated to hummingbird photography.  Each day will include photography instruction and techniques, in locations known for their hummingbird numbers and accessibility. Hummingbird photography instruction will include high speed strobe techniques where you will learn how to align the flashes for maximizing the iridescent colors of these feathered jewels. Individual high-speed strobe setups will be available for each participant. These strobes are allowed at most but not all of the locations. Steve will demonstrate numerous hummingbird photographic techniques other than just high-speed strobes. The goal is to help you develop an arsenal of different photographic techniques for incredible results. By the end of the tour you will be equipped with the information needed to duplicate these techniques on your own.

There is absolutely no other hummingbird tour that comes close to what this tour offers.  

You will be part of an extremely small group which is limited to 4 participants to ensure maximum one on one time. The price includes transportation and lodging with private rooms but not meals as the different lodges do not have meal services but do have kitchens available for you to prepare meals in house. We will utilize some restaurants where available. 

Locations and Lodging

We will begin our tour in Tucson AZ and drive to Portal AZ, where we will stay for 3 nights, drive to  Sierra Vista for 2 nights and finally, Madera Canyon for 2 nights. We will include a side trip to Patagonia to photograph the Violet-crowned Hummingbird unless we manage to catch it somewhere else. Each of the locations offers swarms of hummingbirds to ensure numerous subjects to choose from. The photographic opportunities at each of our locations are absolutely superb.   

All rooms are private rooms. 


We will make a grocery store stop on the way out of Tucson to buy groceries. Some, but not all, of the lodging offer meals, so we will eat out some and cook in the lodges some nights.

What you need to bring:

The equipment you need to bring is a DSLR camera, a minimum of a 300mm lens, tripod and flash that is compatible with your camera. The built-in flashes will work with the strobe set-up but a dedicated external camera flash is recommended. With the external flash a flash extender such as the “Better Beamer” is also recommended. A remote camera cord or wireless remote is recommended but not required. Bring an extra camera battery and charger as this type of photography burns through batteries. Bring extra memory cards as you will likely be shooting thousands of images a day. It’s recommended that you download and backup your images daily so a laptop and external drive is also recommended. 

We will stop at grocery stores to stock-up on the food you need to bring along.

Your Tour and Workshop Leader

Stephen Vaughan is a professional photographer and ornithologist. He has been photographing and studying natural history for more than 40 years. His photographs have been published in numerous books, magazines and calendars from publications including National Geographic, Audubon, National Wildlife, Sierra Club and Arizona Highways. He has photographed 15 species of hummingbirds in Southeast Arizona and has fine tuned a variety of hummingbird photography techniques to capture these amazing jewels. He teaches classes and workshops on his hummingbird photography techniques, as well as nature photography, birding and bird identification classes. With Steve's background and knowledge in both birds and photography, you'll learn not only photography techniques, but birding and SE Arizona natural history. Steve's students enjoy the depth of his knowledge, as well as his easy -going manner and clear instruction and demonstrations. 

What species of hummingbirds should we expect:

Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Costa’s Hummingbird, Lucifer Hummingbird, Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, and Violet-crowned Hummingbird.   At this time of year there is even a chance of catching one of the rare species such as Beryline, Plain-capped Starthroat or White-eared Hummingbird.  

Deposits and Refunds


Deposit of $500 is required to secure your workshop space. If you must cancel, we will refund $300. The balance is due July 10, 2019.

If you cancel after July 10, and after paying in full, you will be refunded everything but the $300 non-refundable portion of your deposit but only if  we can fill your spot from our wait list.

What’s included

  • Lodging
    Single room lodging at each location
  • Transportation
    From Tucson to each location and back to Tucson
  • Flash Setup
    Strobe setup for each workshop participant

What’s not included

  • Airfare
    Airfare not included
  • Meals
    Workshop price does not include meals

Available Packages

Trip Price
Deposit: $500

Your Organizer

Michele Vaughan.
1 review
Your Retreat and Workshop Leaders: Michele Vaughan, 200 HR YTT, 30 hour Restorative Yoga TT, 100 hour Yin and MyoFascial TT. Michele's gentle and supportive style will help you feel welcome and supported. Steve Vaughan is a professional nature photographer and ornithologist who has been photographing and studying natural history through his many years in the field, carrying his camera. He has photographed 15 species of hummingbirds in Northern Arizona. You'll learn not only photography techniques, but all about birds & natural history


This was a well organized, well planned, and very educational trip! I was able to photograph 10 species of hummingbirds and I learned a lot in the process. Not only did I learn multiple photography methods for capturing stunning images of these majestic little creatures but I also learned how to identify the various species and the differences between the male, female and juvenile of the different species. I was also able to use equipment that I don't currently have and see if I think it would be beneficial to purchase in the future. Overall this trip was a major success for me. I took home thousands of beautiful images that I can be proud of. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in hummingbird photography!
By Sarah B for The Ultimate SE Arizona Hummingbird Photography Tour on Sep 19, 2019

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