Return To Freedom Photo Safaris in San Luis Obispo, California

April 23-24-25, 2024

April 23-24-25, 2024 ~ Return to Freedom Safari, San Luis Obispo ~ 3 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, when lighting outdoors is harsh. If this workshop fills up, we will open a second workshop in June. This workshop's proceeds benefit Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary.


Safari Schedule, Outline, and Details

Photo Safari and Editing Lab with Lori Sortino 

with Cathy Wallace and Deb Hofstetter assisting



This workshop is intended for photographers to spend time with the rescued mustang herd on sanctuary land in San Luis Obispo, CA.  We will observe and photograph the herd in their natural state.  There will be time during the day for group editing for those interested in learning and sharing editing techniques.  A significant portion of your registration will go to supporting Return to Freedom.


Includes food as noted
Not Included: Lodging, transportation*, additional meals
*exception - someone flying in that doesn’t want to rent a car, we could help with transportation to/from hotel and Prefumo Canyon and/or airport pick up.


Three Day Workshop

Tuesday, April 23 ~ Day 1 - 1 p.m. to sunset

1-2:30 Orientation at the house, meet and greet, fill out waivers, light snacks

2:30 - 3:30 Drive the Ranch to locate horses

3:30 - sunset  Photography & Picnic Dinner

Wednesday, April 24 ~ Day 2

Meet at Corrals at 6:30 a.m.

Locate & Photograph horses

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 & Picnic Dinner

Thursday, April 25 ~ Day 3

Meet at Corrals at 6:30 a.m.

Locate & Photograph horses

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 & Picnic Dinner


Contact Lori with any questions!


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.

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.

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