British Columbia Grizzly & Black Bear & whales Workshop 2020
Are you ready to have intimate encounters with a momma grizzly bear mom and her cubs? How about watching as black bears forage along the shores at low tide? Join me in British Columbia, the playground for wildlife in Canada. Here we will help you come home with some of the best wildlife photographs for your portfolio.
Date: August 1st to August 6th, 2020
Instructor: Chris Pepper
Price: $7495 CDN plus HST
Deposit: $1000 CDN
Included: Accommodation, transportation, bear watching excursion(s), snacks and water during the day.
Not Included: Anything not listed as included, trip insurance, alcohol, laundry, items of personal nature.
Day One Events: Are you ready to play in one of the richest areas for wildlife in Canada? Today we will start our workshop as you fly in to Port McNeill, BC (YMP), our morning will start with a breakfast and we will be off to our first photo shoot of the day. Are your cards cleared and emptied? Batteries charged? Because you are about to see some of the most beautiful landscape British Columbia has to offer, all on our way to our first outing with grizzly bears.
Heading along the fiords of this area, it is not uncommon to see: humpback whales, pacific white sided dolphins, seals, and bald eagles sitting in trees or foraging for sea life at low tide. Our boat is a lovely covered vessels, that will offer us hot and cold beverages, as well as snacks all day long. Once we get out to the bears, we will switch over to a smaller flat bottom boat, so that we can get close to the shores during low tide. Somedays the captain will put us up on a shoal, so that the boat is sturdy and we can just sit back and let the magic happen.
We will be visiting an estuary that is well known, as comfortable habitat for mother bears and their cubs. The mothers are somewhat confident here as the big males stay away, so the mothers can let their cubs play and frolic, as she eats to her hearts content. The images that you take here will capture beautiful moments of this experience, that you can share with your friends and family. But in all reality, no photograph will ever replicate the feelings of this close magical encounter with beautiful wild animal.
After out morning shoot, we will go back to our main boat or to the dock. We will enjoy a nice lunch and something to drink before heading back out to the estuary for some more wildlife encounters to photograph. On our way back to the island, remember the photographic opportunities never end here, there will always be beauty around you. Fun fact, you can see a bear or elk anywhere on this workshop.
Once we return we will grab a nice dinner at a local restaurant and talk about what our experience was like that day and what we can do to be ready for tomorrow.
Day Two Events: Wait, are we are doing this all over again? You got that right! We are going to some of the same gorgeous locations, but today we are definitely going to be ready for action! Sometimes being on a wildlife shoot is all about time management. You may wonder how time management and wildlife photography are related to each other. Well, I was once taught you should always shoot with both eyes open. Your one eye will be looking through the viewfinder of your camera, and the other should be watching all your surroundings. That way you do not miss any photographic opportunities.
In our location, there is two bald eagles that frequently fish in the area. Get ready as you may be able to capture them as they swoop from the tree tops to grab a fish out of the river. If you are prepared, you can even get that stellar image of a bald eagle with both talons out stretched splashing into the water.
I can only hope you get to see some of the affection, that I have personally witnessed in may past trips between mother and cubs. Priceless moments, that will make you want to hug or cuddle a baby grizzly for how darn cute they really can be. (Disclaimer!!! If you actually try to hug/cuddle a bear you will be deemed nuts and kicked off the workshop.) Tonight we will be having a great dinner at a dock side restraunt. Some of the special fish dinners served at this location, are the best dinners I eat all year long! So bring your appetite.
Day Three Events: I have decided that this year we are going to do one extra day of grizzly bears, they say third times a charm. After this trip, I would love to know if you have started thinking like myself. Because when I return home, all I can think about is the bears! What are the bears doing today? I wonder if that little cub can make it up on that log now? Is Bella sharing the area with Freya, or is she still trying to be the boss because she can? Your time here will definitely imprint something into your soul. Being allowed into their precious kingdom, watching as their daily lives unfold before your eyes each day, is something so pure and beautiful that I can not put it into words. This experience is truly one of the greatest experiences and privileges I personally have all year.
Today is our last day here, you will now excel at predicting the actions and behaviours of the bears as they travel along the shoreline. Don't follow the bear today, attempt to predict its moves before they happen and be ready for your shot! Sometimes this works for me, or other times it just won't happen no matter how hard I try. But, when you get the perfect shot the reward is simply magical. Tonight, we dine like its 2 for $10.99!!! 😜 We are going to grab a quick bite to eat and then we are heading south to get to our next location.
Day Four Events: Today we will be in a our new location, with new photographic opportunities. Mixing things up a bit, we will have two outings today. Our morning outing will consist of looking for black bears along the shores during low tide. We will be on a zodiac boat; zipping in and out of inlets around some smaller islands, staying out of the wind in sheltered areas. Also, on the agenda is visiting some areas that have been well known to hold large numbers of bald eagles. Here these beautiful creatures, are waiting in the trees for the proper tides to snatch up some breakfast.
After our morning shoot, we will stop and have a lunch at a local restaurant not far from the dock. This afternoon we will be looking for a new target to photograph. In the past, these nutrient rich waters can be very active with sea life. The large groups of fish that enjoy these protected waters, attract larger species such as humpback whales. Another common target, if we get lucky enough to view them, are Pacific white sided dolphins. These playful dolphins, can get very close and have been know to ride on the wake from the boat. I kid you not, it seems that the more excited you get, the more playful the dolphins become! In past years, I have witnessed these dolphins jump right out of the water ten feet or higher.
After our day on the Zodiacs we will enjoy a meal at our hotel before retiring for the evening. If people would like we can either photograph the sunset or we can find a quiet area to work on some editing techniques.
Day Five Events: I have decided that today we are taking the morning off! You can sleep in, catch up of some editing, or if you would like I can drop off you off at the gorgeous waters edge. Here you can see humming birds, zooming around all the summer wildflowers. Osprey and blue heron also frequent the area, you can spot them fishing along the shores or in the marsh areas. You could even go for a lovely walk along the docks, or check out the quiet town of Cowichan Bay. I will be heading out to grab us a dinner for tonight.
Today at noon we will be heading out with one of my favorite captains, who I have done business with for many many years. This guy will be sure to get us into the best locations, with the photographer in mind. His speciality is Orca whales, so get ready to photograph these monochromatic beauties! One of two things will happen on this outing: one we will photograph transient orca whales (Biggs Killer Whales) or we will spend some time photographing the resident Orca whales (J,K or L pod). During these whale trips, anything is possible so you must always be ready! Spy hops, tail lobs, high speed porpusing, full out breaches and much much more. We will also have a chance to photograph some rock sausages! What is a rock sausage, you may ask? I guess you will just have to come along and find out. Our boat is one of my favorite boats to photograph from. Once the boat is stopped, we are allowed to walk around, to get ourselves into the ultimate positions to get best shots.
After this first outing, we will come back to the dock and have a dinner amongst the house boat. Here we will relax, as we have a mere forty-five minutes until our next trip of the day. Our boat will have a washroom aboard, if anyone needs to use it. Ahhh the late afternoon trip! One of my personal favourites, for sure. This trip has given me some stellar images, the beautiful low evening light cascades the whales into a beautiful golden colours. If the situation arises, our captain will be sure to even set us up for some beautiful backlit sunset images. After our outing, we can all thank our captain for the day! If at any time on this trip you feel that one of the boat captains deserve a gratuity, please feel free to do so. I am very certain that they would appreciate this little gesture, and knowing that you enjoyed their tour.
Day Six: We will wake up and have our last breakfast together, enjoy some coffee and laughter before making our way to Vancouver. This morning we will enjoy a ferry ride across the strait, this two hour ferry ride is relaxing and can be enjoyed kicking up your feet watching tv, hanging out in the café or enjoying the open top deck. If you like you can lean against the railing and let the cool sea breeze blow in your hair. 😁 If you don’t have hair this may not be the best vision for you. 🙈 Once we get to Horseshoe Bay, it is a one hour car ride to the Vancouver airport (YVR) please make sure your flight time is after 5 pm so we are not rushed to get to the airport in the morning.