Return To Freedom Photo Safaris

April 27 - May 2, 2025

April 27-29 ~Return to Freedom Photography Workshop and Editing Lab at RTF Headquarters Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA ~ Beginning with a meet and greet on Sunday, followed by two days of photography with the various bands and herds on the ranch.  In addition, we may have the opportunity to do some barn portraits in addition to setting up an editing lab in the barn.

April 30-May 2 ~ Return to Freedom Safari, San Luis Obispo ~ 2.5 Days with the rescued mustangs on their 2000 acre sanctuary. Includes two sunrise shoots and three sunset shoots. Stay in hotel of your choice and meet at the sanctuary each day. Editing lab mid day at the sanctuary, if/when lighting outdoors is harsh.  This workshop's proceeds benefit Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary.

Details are forming.  Save the Dates.  Registration will open soon.

Safari Schedule, Outline, and Details

Photography Workshop and Safari with Editing Lab 

Hosted by Lori Sortino 

with Cathy Wallace and Deb Hofstetter assisting

 

Description:

This workshop is intended for photographers to spend time with the rescued mustang herds and bands on sanctuary land in Lompoc and San Luis Obispo (SLO), CA. 

In Lompoc, we will go into pastures with various bands of horses, to photograph them in groups, as they move on their own.  We may be able to do some barn portraits as well.  We will have an editing lab set up on one of the barns.

In SLO, We will observe and photograph the herd in their natural state.  There will be time during the day for group editing here as well, for those interested in learning and sharing editing techniques. 

A significant portion of your registration will go to supporting Return to Freedom.

$3,000

Includes food as noted
Not Included: Lodging, transportation, additional meals

Outline:

Sunday, April 27 ~ Meet and Greet at Lompoc Return to Freedom location 3-5 p.m.

Monday, April 28Lompoc

7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. approximately - Photography

9:30 Breakfast Snacks

10:30 - 4:00 -  Editing Lab, Lunch & Barn Portraits

4:00 - 7:00 p.m. - Photography

Dinner in town (no host)

Tuesday, April 29Lompoc

7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. approximately - Photography

9:30 Breakfast Snacks

10:30 - 4:00 -  Editing Lab, Lunch & Barn Portraits

4:00 - 7:00 p.m. - Photography

Dinner in town (no host)

Wednesday, April 30 ~ San Luis Obispo

3:30 - Sunset Photography & Dinner

Thursday, May 1 ~ San Luis Obispo

7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. approximately - Photography

9:30 Brunch on the hill then drive down to the house

10-3:30 Options:

Edit together at the house (snacks available)

Return to hotel to rest / personal time

3:30 - Sunset Photography & Dinner

Friday, May 2 ~ San Luis Obispo

7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. approximately - Photography

9:30 Brunch on the hill then drive down to the house

10-3:30 Options:

Edit together at the house (snacks available)

Return to hotel to rest / personal time

3:30 - Sunset Photography & Dinner

Contact Lori with any questions!

805-709-6000

Deb Hofstetter
Photographing the herd, photo by Bari Lee
Safari participants in San Luis Obispo
Lori Sortino, photo by Bari Lee
Neda driving a photographer to a good location for viewing the herd, photo by Deb Hofstetter
Safari participants at RTF in San Luis Obispo
Cathy Wallace
Photographer capturing a horse in motion
Safari participant

About Lori Sortino, Deb Hofstetter, and Cathy Wallace

I had "photograph wild horses" on my bucket list and found my way to Return to Freedom.  I registered for and attended a week long workshop with Tony Stromberg in June of 2018.  It changed my life.  It changed my "world-view" of horses and deepened my interest in and love for these incredible animals.  I continue to be impressed by Neda DeMayo's (founder of Return to Freedom) dedication and accomplishments on behalf of the wild mustangs.  I have taken three workshops with Tony Stromberg (two at RTF and one in Idaho) and work as a professional equine photographer.  I have accumulated about 1,000 hours of actual behind the camera time photographing horses, and probably over 5,000 hours editing equestrian images.  This is where I am "in the flow" and the hours just whiz by!  Several of my images were published in 2023 in a book for young students titled Wild Horses: Running Free, by Linda L. Richards.

I have been volunteering with Return to Freedom at their afternoon photo safaris since 2019, and holding a multi-day photo safari has been on my mind for quite a while, so I quickly responded "YES!" when Neda asked if I'd like to offer a workshop at RTF.  

In addition to photographing horses on my own time to create fine art, which I sell on line and in cafe's, galleries, and coffee houses, I have photographed equine sports and horse shows since 2019 (hunter/jumper, eventing, polo, dressage, breed shows, and cow-horse cutting).  In this work I have had Deb Hofstetter and Cathy Wallace become my partners because of their equally profound love for horses and photography, and because they stepped up and helped with some of the behind the scenes and before the events work, providing input and work beyond shooting and editing.  When I started offering equine photography workshops in 2021, I invited them to join me.  Deb adds extensive editing experience and is eager to share, show, and tell.  Cathy, in addition to her photography and editing experience, has experience as a horse-owner, rider, competitor, and trainer.  Her knowledge of horses is extensive.

Return to Freedom Photos by Lori Sortino

Horse Playhorse at sunset, orange skyhorses in golden sunlightwhite horse running hills in background wild mustangs be freeblack and white Mustang
wild mustangs walking in linehorse standing on hillside with mist, fogbrown horse grazing in front of old shed with oak tree behindroan mustangmustang

Workshop End Notes ~ The Fine Print

Schedule and Timing Details are subject to change with or without notice, based on weather or other environmental hazards, or any issues with the herd.

Be advised, in San Luis Obispo, the terrain is rough and riding in Polaris or Can-AM type All Terrain Vehicles on the ranch is mostly off road.  The vehicle rides are rough and jostling and you may be in an open air vehicle with lots of dust and wind.  Up on the hill there it is cold and the winds are strong.  You will likely do a lot of walking up and down hills with squirrel holes; some hidden by tall grass.  On rare occasions we come across snakes.

There are NO Refunds, as these Safaris are fundraisers for Return to Freedom, so once we have started the Safari, whatever happens was meant to happen and we all agree to support this wonderful organization without complaint.  If your Safari is cancelled in advance, partial or full refunds may occur.  If your Safari is re-scheduled, your deposit or payment will be transferred to the new dates.  If you are unable to attend those dates, you may attend another one of my workshops or safaris and transfer your payment to that event.  I am not interested in taking people's money and not providing the service offered, so I expect we will come to an agreeable outcome with regard to money collected.

Follow Me:
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram