Tours and Workshops

Barrow, Alaska
Barrow, Alaska  – Why Barrow For Birds?Barrow is home to many highly sought, specialty bird species.  It is the best place in North America to photograph many of the high arctic nesting birds.  There are few places in North America where one could expect to see all four species of eiders, all three species of Jaeger or three species of loons without tallying a Common Loon.  At Barrow you have a good chance of doing all three! 


Warblers and More Northwest Ohio –  Why join the Warblers and More Workshop?   Lake Erie is a formidable barrier for the small songbirds winging their way north during spring migration.  A huge variety and great numbers of songbirds “lay-up” when confronted with the prospect of crossing the lake.  Here they congregate in small wood lots near the lake front to rest and forage, rebuilding the fat reserves needed to complete their migration.  Participants will be led to the best locations on any given day to photograph the various migrant traps near the western end of Lake Erie.  You will learn the techniques I have developed to make it a snap to get the correct exposure,   I will explain where I like to be and why depending on varying wind and lighting conditions.  I have been birding and photographing this region for over 15 years.  No one has spent more time photographing warblers on Ohio’s North Coast. 

Ducks in Natural Habitat Northwest Ohio  – Why join the Waterfowl in Natural Habitat Workshop?   Northwest Ohio is home to numerous waterfowl species during spring migration.  Participants will be led to the best locations on any given day to photograph waterfowl in the marshes and lakes of NW Ohio.  Make no mistake; this workshop is not about photographing birds in the sterile environments of your average duck pond or zoo.  It is about entering the birds’ natural environment and working hard to blend in with that environment to get close to normally wary species on their terms.  The inclusion of cattails and other marsh plants can add much to your compositions of wild waterfowl.

Artie and Brian in Barrow
 Image courtesy Chas McRae
“I first visited Barrow, AK in a previous life, with film. I went on my own. It was a very disappointing trip. I photographed a very few of the common shorebirds. I saw one or two eiders at distances of a thousand yards. I searched the vast tundra almost completely in vain, not knowing where to look for what. I caught an early flight home.In June, 2010 I returned to Barrow with Brian Zwiebel as my guide. We found and photographed every target shorebird species but one, the elusive and lovely Buff-breasted Sandpiper. We photographed all three species of eiders at close range. In gorgeous settings, in great light. I learned of new and productive spots right in town. I learned new techniques and strategies. I saw and photographed several new species. All thanks to Brian’s knowledge and expertise.”                                                                                        – Arthur Morris 

Matthew Studebaker
“Brian Zwiebel is one of the main reasons that I am a serious bird photographer today. Brian’s top notch work both inspired me and proved that with dedication and excellent birding skills, good bird images could be made even in a place like our home state of Ohio. Not only did his work inspire, but Brian proved to be a kind and knowledgeable mentor and teacher. I always felt comfortable asking him basic questions without feeling judged for my lack of knowledge. Now, as an advanced photographer, Brian is still usually the first person I go to to bounce ideas off of and ask his opinion.  On top of his skills as a photographer and teacher, with his good nature and sense of humor, there’s no one better to spend time with in the field.”

                                                                           – Matthew Studebaker

Chas McRae

“I first met Brian ten plus years ago at Magee Marsh (known then as Crane Creek) in Ohio. He was very helpful with the birding and photography.  Brian is an outstanding bird photographer along with being a “people” person. He interacts with others very well at all levels and shares knowledge readily which sets him apart from many others. Spending two weeks with Brian in Barrow and lower Alaska was a great experience. He was an outstanding guide and travel companion. “

                                                                             – Charles McRae

Jim Urbach

“I first met Brian over 10 years ago at Ft. DeSoto and have since been to Magee Marsh and his home in Ohio. He’s easy going and knowledgeable. I’ve been amazed by his duck images taken from his floating blind. When I learned he would be co-leading a trip to Barrow in June 2010, I jumped at signing up. Brian knows Barrow. He knows how to get close to the birds there without spooking them. Brian’s emails and recommendations on getting chest high light weight waders were spot on.  I knew what to expect.    Barrow for me was a most unique and rewarding trip. The images I captured were beyond my expectations. Don’t pass up this unique opportunity to go to Barrow with Brian.”  
                                                                           – Jim Urbach

Lana Hays

I, like many, first met Brian at Magee Marsh.   I can’t tell you how helpful he was about birding the area.   He is a first class birder and photographer who is always willing to share knowledge and help others to be successful.  He is a pleasure to be around with his great sense of humor and positive attitude.   When others are ready to give up….he’s willing to give it one more try.   He always has a plan.I was fortunate enough to be a part of his trip to Barrow, AK in 2010.   He knew the area from previous trips and had made excellent preparations for the workshop.  We were notified well in advance of what equipment was required and what arrangements had been made.   Once there, he coordinated with other birders and photographers to put us in the right locations at the right time. We didn’t miss a thing.  It was the most exciting and productive photography trip that I’ve ever had.   It just doesn’t get any better than that going with Brian.                                                                -Lana Hays