Take a Photo Worth Taking at Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico

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A photographer shooting in a meadow as cumulonimbus capillatus clouds form over Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico. James Reidy photos

A photographer shooting in a meadow as cumulonimbus capillatus clouds form over Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico. James Reidy photos

By Elijah Rivera

How much is a photo of the Vermejo Park Ranch worth to you? Starting at $2,200 per person, amateur and professional photographers alike can be taken on a guided (and gilded)  photography tour spanning the New Mexico park and its legendary natural beauty. Over 600,o00 acres of oasis are on the table, most distinguishably on private land. This means visitors experience a more intimate scene with nature, less likely to feel like a tourist or intruder among hundreds or thousands of others. James Reidy, one of the lead photographers for the expeditions says “the experience as far as the tours go is unparalleled because it combined the opportunity for quality photography with unique inclusive lodging.”

In July, the ranch offers a “Babes and Blooms” tour, named after the many blooming flowers of the rockies as well as the new born animals of the season. Freshly born wildlife wobble their way through plains and forests at the same time that wildflowers find the peak in their seasons. James Reidy, as a lead photographer in many of these tours says he has been told people have been uncomfortable by how close they are able to get to the wildlife: “the elk tour guide calls elk towards you, often they come within 20 yards of you, making for a very intimate experience.” Photography Coach Sean Fitzgerald leads the three-day, four-night event which focuses on mid-elevation to high range lakes and streams. The tour can take visitors up to 12 thousand feet high in search for the perfect picture.

Photographer on ridge above timberline looking into valleys below at East Fork overlook, Vermejo Park Ranch, Colorado, USA. Overlook is in Colorado, but most of Vermejo is in New Mexico

Photographer on ridge above timberline looking into valleys below at East Fork overlook, Vermejo Park Ranch, Colorado, USA. Overlook is in Colorado, but most of Vermejo is in New Mexico

Life on the Prairie Tour

In August, a “Life on The Prairie” tour, also led by Sean Fitzgerald, explores a much different, equally fascinating portion of the ranch. From the Vermejo Park lodge to historic pioneer settlements and mining operations, the tour transcends the expectation of a mere natural beauty exhibit.

Because the tours rely on natural seasonal phenomena, most visitors will not have identical experiences, bringing the ultimate authenticity. James Reidy says “it’s more often a reorganization of the day, so that all are able to cover everything promised in the itinerary.” While some might experience the benefit of a monsoon in the form of the raging blossoming wildflowers, others may find luck in witnessing the annual mating rituals of the native elk!

Coyote pups at play with stick, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA.

Coyote pups at play with stick, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA.

Introductory and orientation courses are offered the evenings before the photography courses, offering advice and general guidance on touring procedure. Departures for photography courses are before sunrise. Visitors are lodged at a designated headquarters, expected to spend the entirety of the day in action and welcomed warmly for a round table dinner, ranch style.

Ted Turner Expeditions

Unlike the many other types of tours offered by Ted Turner expeditions, photography tours have a day by day itinerary that is subject to change based on environmental factors. Itineraries are most often built around the best times of day for pictures-sunrise and sunset. Schedules are more likely to stay consistent in the early morning and late night, while mid-day operations vary in order to capture the day’s best scenery.

A bison and its calf at the New Mexico ranch.

A bison and its calf at the New Mexico ranch.

Professional consultations are offered on each tour day along with simpler amenities like  mealtimes that often include delicious boxed lunches made on the ranch.

What attracts more experienced photographers is their commitment to the best schedule according to opportunity, however James Reidy admits that the greater amount of people who tour are beginner to intermediate photographers and commented on how his co-lead photographer Sean Fitzgerald loves to teach in action.

The ranch’s website admits that sleep is not a priority when considering the most beautiful times of day for photography. That being said, they also welcome anybody else who is as dedicated and committed in taking instruction and welcoming a constructive learning experience.

Although a camera is all you think you’d need, the ranch has created a suggested packing list based on variable weather and conditions which includes:

  • Castle Rock, wildflowers and fringed sage at sunrise, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA.

    Castle Rock, wildflowers and fringed sage at sunrise, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA.

    Hiking Shoes/ Boots

  • Sunscreen/ Insect repellent
  • Rain gear & warm layers
  • Coffee Mug/ Water Bottle
  • Day Pack
  • Camera
  • Memory Cards

Book your visit now as spots are very limited!

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