Okefenokee Photo TourUncategorized

Posted On:  March 24th   Author: joyce

Okefenokee Photo Tour 
November 3 – 6, 2014  [4 days, 3 nights]            Limited to 8 participants

Fee $1,500.

Photography Leader:  Bill Durrence                Naturalist Guides by Wilderness Southeast

Minnie's Lake Run ovrhng limbCrpdWhy Photograph the Okefenokee?   The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Georgia is a vast watery wilderness of primeval splendor.  Photo Tour participants will enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife.  Alligators, turtles, raccoons, black bears, deer, ibis, herons, wood storks, red-cockaded woodpeckers and numerous other creatures make their homes in the 402,000-acre refuge (354,000 acres are designated wilderness).  While certainly worthy of our respect, alligators, the most famous Okefenokee inhabitant, are fascinating and can be safely approached for photography. Your naturalist guides can be relied upon to coach you to safe and respectful interactions with these docile reptiles.

This unique natural area, called “the land of trembling earth”, is filled with peat-covered prairies, lakes, hardwood hammocks, and spectacularly photogenic cypress forests.  This diversity of habitats provides homes for multitudes of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, as well as plants (including 9 species of carnivorous plants), all remarkably adapted to their watery world. Our trip will focus primarily on the cypress forest habitat, where cypress knees extend above the dark water. Indeed, the black water of the swamp creates a flawless surface for reflections, effectively doubling photographic opportunities. Bring your sense of curiosity!  You’ll be capturing the mystery and the grandeur of a unique ecosystem.

OkefPaddlersPhotogrphGatorOkefenokee photo tour itinerary is ideal for those who wish to explore the swamp, but also to return to a cozy cabin each evening. We’ll paddle to different locations every day – observing basking alligators, graceful wading birds, many songbirds, and spectacular wetland forests. Your naturalist guide will open new perspectives while leading the way to discovering things often overlooked, exploring life under the lily pads while paddling the open areas, and, spotting the remains of fire, come to understand its significance in the ecology of the swamp. We’ll stretch our legs and our imaginations while exploring the remains of a once-thriving logging town on Billy’s Island. Another day we’ll portage into the celebrated Suwannee River, gliding downstream past the gnarled trunks of Ogeechee lime trees.  Each night we’ll stay in our simple, comfortable cabins, with showers and full kitchen (double occupancy per bedroom; 2 bedrooms per cabin; shared bath), and enjoy hearty meals prepared for us by our Wilderness Southeast staff.

Bill Durrence, your photographic guide, will answer questions, provide insights, and offer evening critiques of the day’s shooting efforts.

GDITT egrets swampEdgeQualifications for Okefenokee Photo Tour:  Open to all enthusiastic photographers. Minimum age suggested is 18. There is no maximum age. Previous canoeing experience is not necessary although everyone will paddle, two people per canoe. (Wilderness Southeast staff will provide basic paddling instructions.) Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition.

Trip Details:  The fee for your Okefenokee Photo Tour includes round-trip transport from Savannah, GA, to the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, all entrance fees and permits, three nights in State Park cabins (double occupancy), canoes and associated equipment for the 3 days of swamp exploration (two paddlers per canoe), all meals and snacks from dinner on Monday, 11/3/14 to lunch on Thursday, 11/6/14, and naturalist guides, who will also prepare your food. Photographic education and critiques will be provided by photographer Bill Durrence.
Transportation will leave from and return to two Savannah locations, the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport, and the Inn at Ellis Square (http://www.innatellissquare.com/), located in the heart of Savannah’s Landmark Historic District.

TurtleFaceDeparture from Savannah will be at 11 AM Monday, 11/3, and arrival back in Savannah approximately 9 PM Thursday, 11/6.  If you cannot get flights that coordinate with that schedule, you can stay overnight Sunday and/or Thursday at an airport hotel, or a downtown hotel or maybe a nice B & B.  If staying downtown, you will need to meet for pickup at The Inn at Ellis Square if you choose not to stay there.  It generally has the most reasonable rates for downtown, and is in the midst of the City Market area, so there are plenty of dining options.  You might want to consider spending a few extra days seeing Savannah’s beautiful Historic District either before or after the swamp trip. Please be aware the Rock and Roll Marathon will be taking place on Saturday, 11/8, so you will need to make hotel reservations early.

Registration:   A 25% deposit is required for registration and full payment is due 60 days prior to the trip.  Any payment is fully refundable up to 60 days before the trip.  Within 60 days of the trip 10% of the fee will be non-refundable.  Within 15 days of the trip 50% of the fee is non-refundable.

For more information contact Wilderness Southeast; 912-236-8115; or naturesavannah@gmail.com.

You may send your 25% deposit to Wilderness Southeast, 3025 Bull St., Savannah, GA, or


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