TEXAS Caprock Canyons State Park: Wildlife of the Llano Estacado

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TOUR FOCUS
PHOTOGRAPHY

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SCHEDULED TOURS

2023 :: July 3 - July 8

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $3,750 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Lubbock, Texas (LBB)

GROUP SIZE

3 - 4 Participants

AVAILABILITY

2022: 4 spaces available

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of TEXAS Caprock Canyons State Park: Wildlife of the Llano Estacado

  • Hands-on photo instruction for wildlife and macro photography with Tamron Ambassador, Alyce Bender
  • One of the largest state parks in Texas at over 15,000 acres with a wide variety of native wildlife
  • Explore restored grasslands and rugged sandstone canyons
  • Photograph the only remaining herd of Southern Plains Bison
  • Observe black-tailed prairie dog life and behaviors
  • Learn about and photograph western burrowing owl behavior
  • Lodging near the park which is perfect for editing sessions

Description of TEXAS Caprock Canyons State Park: Wildlife of the Llano Estacado

Traveling north from Lubbock, the Llano Estacado plateau and its vastness surround visitors. The flatness and wide expanse is only amplified as the urban center disappears in the rearview mirror, giving way to open byways dotted with tiny towns that look as if they are frozen in time. And that is how this adventure begins.

The northern Texas high plains are home to a fascinating variety of wildlife and in certain places, geology. We will be visiting the heart of this region, where the “buffalo” really do still roam. At just over 15,000 acres, Caprock Canyon is one of the largest state parks in Texas. The managers here have been spending decades trying to restore the grassland prairie ecosystem back to its original splendor. Home to the last remaining pure (no domestic cattle genes) herd of North American Plains Bison, we will photograph not only wildlife but history as well. Beside the bison, the restoration of the grasslands has meant the reintroduction of black-tailed prairie dogs. These industrious rodents form towns that over 150 other species have been known to associate with, including the charismatic western burrowing owl.

These three species, along with the topography of the area will be the focus of our adventure, however, there is always the chance of seeing the following species as well: mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, coyotes, bobcats, grey foxes, raccoons, armadillos, jackrabbits, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and roadrunners.

​Being in such a rural area, lodging is hard to come by and can often be scattered to the wind for a group of any size. For this photo adventure we will stay in an updated historic homestead very close to Caprock Canyon. This will allow us to have informal editing sessions, good conversations, and a place to retreat to during the hottest parts of the day. This will be double occupancy lodging as single options are not available.

*Although we will eat our meals as a group, meals costs are not included in this tour.

Length of Tour

6-days/5-nights

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Lubbock

Day 2 – Drive from Lubbock to Quitaque, TX

Day 3/4 – Morning and evening sessions with prairie wildlife, afternoons spent post processing or exploring macro subjects

Day 5 – Morning with prairie wildlife, drive back to Lubbock, evening at the Lubbock Prairie Dog Town

Day 6 – Return home from Lubbock

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Lubbock

We will meet this evening for dinner and a meet and greet. We will discuss what to expect, photography strategies, logistics, desert, and summer shooting protocol. 

Day 2 – Drive from Lubbock to Quitaque, TX

Up early, we start with a morning at the Lubbock Prairie Dog Town, where hundreds of black-tailed prairie dogs and a handful of burrowing owls live in the historic first refuge for the prairie dogs.

Back to the hotel for brunch and check-out, we head several hours northeast, potentially stopping for some roadside photography as the group requests. Arriving in Quitaque, we will check into a historic homestead that will be our base of operations while in the area.

From there, we will head out for a later afternoon and evening session with the prairie wildlife found in Caprock Canyon State Park. 

Day 3/4 – Caprock Canyon State Park

Morning and evening sessions will be spent focusing on prairie wildlife within the Caprock Canyon prairie ecosystem. With the long summer days, we will break in the late morning through mid-afternoon. During this time, we will grab lunch in town and spend time reviewing images, post processing or exploring macro subjects available on the homestead.

Day 5 – Return to Lubbock

Up early, we will spend our last morning with the prairie wildlife in Caprock Canyon State Park. Packing up from the homestead, we will drive back to Lubbock in time to do a final field session that evening at the Lubbock Prairie Dog Town.

Day 6 – Return home from Lubbock

Cost

Cost is $3,750 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Lubbock, Texas (Airport code LBB.
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).

*Single Supplement is only for the two nights in Lubbock

Cost Includes

Cost includes airport transfers, all ground transportation, accommodations, entrance fees and services of your professional leader(s).

Cost does not Include

All meals, flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.

 

Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $350 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.

 

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

 

Deposit Requirements

A $750 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

We will be staying at the Tonkawa right near the park entrance which is the only lodging in close proximity to the park.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Intermediate – several miles of walking over relatively level ground of sand, grass, and gravel. Higher heat/ temperatures make these hikes potentially more difficult. Longer hours of laying prone on the ground.

Since this tour focuses on the wildlife such as prairie dogs and burrowing owls, telephoto lenses are going to be key to achieving the best images that require little cropping. Feel free to bring wider lenses but understand the majority of photo opportunities be in the 400-600mm. Here are my suggestions:

  • Your longest telephoto for wildlife and birds – I use the Tamron 150-600mm G2 and highly recommend it if you are looking for a lens in this range. Anything 500mm or longer is going to create the best results.
  • A shorter telephoto such as a 70-300mm or 100-400mm for wider environmental shots – I typically carry the Tamron 18-400mm or Tamron 100-400mm for covering this range.
  • Tripod for extra support of long lenses during longer field sessions. If you have a ground-pod or beanbag rest or a tripod without a center column, these tools will be very useful for when we are in prone positions for longer periods of time.

We have the proper permits for the State Park.

*Although we will eat our meals as a group, meals costs are not included in this tour.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

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