Lindblad Expeditions is offering nature photography enthusiasts the ultimate immersive learning experience with its new Baja California Land & Sea Photography Retreat.

The custom-designed travel photography experience includes complete and exclusive access to a stunning retreat once favored by some of the biggest stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, combined with a Sea of Cortez expedition on the intimate 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird. 

The 8 day/7 night photography retreat is set for two departures - January 4-11 and January 8-15, 2013 – and will feature National Geographic photographers Bob Krist (Jan. 4) and Michael Melford & Ralph Lee Hopkins (Jan. 4 and 8 departures).
Photography enthusiasts and their companions will be treated to an intensive 3-night photography retreat at Rancho Las Cruces, a secluded Baja hideaway which once served as the playground of Old Hollywood elites like Bing Crosby and Desi Arnaz.  Set on five spectacular miles of oceanfront property, it is a place that captures the magical charm of that golden age and Lindblad guests will enjoy complete access to the retreat as it is transformed into a dynamic and gorgeous learning laboratory. Workshops and review sessions will be provided by National Geographic photographers and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor.  In addition, two editing specialists from B&H Photo/Video will be on hand to teach Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom image processing techniques used by top photography pros, and to share the very latest in high-end gear for guests to test in the field.

Days at Rancho Las Cruces begin with sunrise photography sessions, followed by workshops designed to prepare you for what awaits at sea, including sessions on composition, light, workflow and editing. As the sun goes down, work on using long exposures to “paint the cacti with light.” The stay also features opportunities to kayak pristine waters, hike with one of the area’s leading naturalists to see and learn about the region’s endemic flora, head out on horseback rides and more.

Noted local art expert Enrique Hambleton will talk about the area’s rich artistic heritage dating back to the art and artifacts of ancient civilizations.  The owner, grandson of Abelardo L. Rodriguez, president of Mexico from 1932 to 1934 who purchased the property in 1948, will share the history of the retreat and provide exclusive tours of a handful of private estates, including those owned by Crosby and Arnaz.

All that learning will immediately be put to good use on a 4-night expedition on the 62 guest National Geographic Sea Bird, which will head out onto the Sea of Cortez, an eco-playground nearly unmatched in the world for pure wildness.  As the ship heads for Isla Santa Catalina, where guests can hike a forest of towering cacti, snorkel and swim, eyes will be peeled for whales as well as bottlenose and common dolphins.

After anchoring along a dramatic island shoreline in the Bahia Loreto Marine Reserve – known as a rich area for whales and dolphins - guests can head out on kayaks or snorkel through the turquoise bays in search of brand new ways to try out their newfound photography knowledge before capping off the day under starry skies with a beach barbecue.

A trip to Los Islotes brings the rare opportunity to snorkel right alongside gatherings of curious sea lions that are neither shy… nor camera shy! And a visit to Isla Espiritu Santo unveils a photography lover’s paradise, complete with its indented shoreline and dramatic cliffs – all yours for the exploring from the deck or via kayak excursions.