Photo Tours - Frequently Asked Questions

The following are a lot of the questions that we are asked frequently regarding our photo tours.


If you have any further questions that are not addressed here, or need more information on  some of the questions here, feel free to contact me [email protected].

What type of photo tours are offered, and how do they differ?

We offer three different types of photo tours, each photo tour listing indicates the photo tour type.


The details of how they differ are as follows:

1. Instructional Photo Tours – Includes a full day of classroom style photography instruction on the first day of the trip.  Throughout the trip there will also be informal instruction as time permits.  The photography instruction focuses on both the technical and creative aspects of capturing images, and also has specifics about photography in the area that we will be visiting.  And of course, like all of our photo tours, the instructional photo tours are focused on getting fantastic photos of dramatic subjects in the areas that we visit.

Our instructional photo tours are targeted at all level of photographers from beginners to serious nature photographers.


2. Photo Op Photo Tours – These photo tours are similar to our Instructional Photo Tours without the full day of classroom style instruction at the beginning of the photo tour. They offer access to amazing photographic opportunities in a small group of like-minded individuals.


Photo Op photo tours will have photographic coaching on issues related to both image capture and image processing upon request of the clients.


Our Photo Op tours are designed more for the intermediate-to-advanced (and professional) photographer not wishing formal instruction. These tours are very popular with those who have previously attended one or more of our Instructional Photo Tours.


3. Exploratory Photo Tours – First introduced in 2013, these guided adventures visit the same general wildlife photography “hotspots” (such as the Great Bear Rainforest) that we do on our other tours, but instead of focusing on the “tried and true” locations we strike out to explore rarely visited inlets, bays, streams, and forests.


It’s best to think of these trips as “higher risk” (in terms of seeing a single specific species) but “higher potential reward” (in terms of getting shots of species in locations and settings not commonly photographed).


These trips should appeal to the adventurous types who really like to “get out there”. Those considering these trips should be physically mobile, able to carry their own photography gear over rough terrain (such as slippery rocks or through thick forests).


These trips typically appeal to those photographers who have done one of our trips before, and want to see something a little different.

What are the physical requirements of your photo tours?

All of our photo tours requires a moderate level of physical fitness and good mobility.


All of our tours are in remote wilderness locations, and typically on a sailboat, with a lot of our photography taking place from an inflatable Zodiac.


We may be walking/hiking on trails and beaches while on our trips and we will be shooting images from the deck of the sailboat, from within a Zodiac, and on shore. The following are guidelines of the physical requirements of our photo tours.


Instructional and Photo Op Tours:

To participate in an Instructional or Photo Op photo tours you should be able to perform the following tasks:

• Be able to hike up to 1-3 km on uneven, slanted and potentially slippery terrain and/or over some obstacles that could be up to a meter or slightly more high (e.g., large fallen logs) – all while carrying your own camera gear.
• Be able to easily move between the sailboat and the Zodiac. This involves climbing up or down a 5′ vertical ladder.
• Be able to easily move from the Zodiac and a beach and/or rocky shoreline. This involves being able to climb over an obstacle (the side of the Zodiac!) approximately 1 meter high to or from a surface that may be unstable or slippery. This requires some balance and mobility.
• Be able to shoot your camera from within a Zodiac. Including shooting your camera while sitting on the pontoon of the Zodiac or, at times, while sitting on the floor of the Zodiac. Note that tripods can NOT be used within the Zodiac.


Exploratory Photo Tours:

Given the more rugged nature of Exploratory Photo Tours compared to the Instructional and Photo Op Tours in addition to the above, participants should be able to hike up to 4 km on uneven, slanted and potentially slippery terrain and/or over some obstacles that could be up to a meter or slightly more high (e.g., large fallen logs) – all while carrying your own camera gear.


If you are concerned about your physical abilities and ability to participate in one of our photo tours, please contact me at [email protected].

How do the various Great Bear Rainforest trips differ?

In 2020 we are offering 5 trips in the Great Bear Rainforest, 2 in the Spring, 1 in the Summer, and two in the Autumn. The trips differ as follows:


1. Different Season: We offer trips in the Spring, Summer and Autumn.

The Spring trips will have the potential for Black Bears and Grizzly Bears visiting the estuaries to feed on the sedge grasses. The Humpback Whales that migrated south are starting to make their way back to the area.  There is no salmon run at this time, so there will be no fishing bear photos.


The Summer trips will be at the start of the salmon run, and Black Bears and Grizzly Bears will be starting to make their way to the waterways to start feeding on salmon.  The Humpback Whales will be in full force, throughout the area.


The Autumn trips will be during the salmon runs, and Black Bears and Grizzly Bears will be feeding on salmon in the waterway. The Humpback Whales will be in full force, throughout the area.


2. Region Explored: The Spring and Summer in the Great Bear Rainforest trips stick to the more southerly portions of the Great Bear Rainforest than on our Fall Great Bear photo tours which stick to the more northern region of the Great Bear Rainforest.


Additionally, the Spring and Summer in the Great Bear Rainforest trips we spend time in the Inner Great Bear AND we venture out into the more exposed and “saltier-and-sandier” outer islands and islets of the “Outer Great Bear”.


During our Fall Great Bear Rainforest photo tours we stick to the inner channels and inlets of the Great Bear Rainforest (i.e., the “Inner Great Bear”)

Will I see a Spirit Bear?

We are offering 5 photo tours into the Great Bear Rainforest in 2020, which is home to the largest population of Spirit Bears.  These are not alninos, instead they are white-phased Black Bears with are carrying the recessive gene that causes their coat to be white instead of black.


One question that we are asked frequently for people who are interested in visiting the Great Bear Rainforest is “Will we see a Spirit Bear?”.


There is no guarantee that we will see a Spirit Bear on any of our photo tours.  All of our Great Bear Rainforest photo tours are about exploring, seeing, and photographing all the riches of the Great Bear Rainforest. They are not dedicated to photographing any single species of wildlife such as Spirit Bears (or even coastal Gray Wolves).


We cannot guarantee that participants will return with Spirit Bear photos. But we can guarantee that we will do our absolute best to ensure they will see – and photograph – as much of the biological diversity of the Great Bear Rainforest as possible!


The photo tour where we dedicate the most time to searching for Spirit Bears is our Fall in the Great Bear Rainforest Instructional photo tour.

What are the ethical guidelines followed for your photo tours?

What are the ethical guidelines followed for your photo tours?


Wildlife conservation is the primary reason for our involvement in wildlife photography. As such, we place the welfare and value of our subjects above the value of any photograph of them. This philosophy is embodied in our Wildlife FIRST rules of conduct that guide our actions during all our photo tours, and photography.


These four simple ethical rules state that:

1. We work only with true WILDlife! That means completely free-ranging subjects in natural (non-captive and non-confining) environments.

2. We engage in PASSIVE wildlife photography only. This means we strive to capture images of our subjects behaving as naturally as possible and without the use of “set-ups”, contrivances, or actions that could guide our subjects toward desirable settings/backdrops or elicit specific “poses”.

3. We do nothing intentional to alter or influence the behaviour of our subject(s) for the purposes of photography. This means we do not engage in any form of luring or baiting (or any other form of food supplementation). Additionally, we will not use any form of sound to alter the behaviour of the subject for the purpose of photography (including using predator and/or prey calls, vocal clicking, or making any other sound to encourage the subject to look at us).

4. We always allow the wildlife subject – regardless of the species – to determine the distance it is comfortable with between itself and us. This principle not only serves to reduce the stress on the subject, but it also allows photographers to capture the subject behaving in a more natural, and often more interesting, fashion.


Those participating in our photo tours are expected to conform to these rules of photographer conduct.


All images on this website, including those contained within PDF brochures for all our photo tours, were captured following these guidelines.

What level of photographer should participate in your photo tours?

What level of photographer should participate in your photo tours?

All levels of photographers from beginners to experienced nature photographers are welcome on our photo tours.  We offer different types of photo tours (instructional, photo op and exploratory) to meet the needs of various levels of photographers.


Our tours are geared towards photographers that are bringing DSLR or mirrorless cameras, and a basic understanding of the basic operation of you camera will help you get the most out of your photography during the tour.


I recommend if you are a beginner, or new to wildlife photography that you take advantage of signing up for one of our instructional photo tours, which includes a full day of classroom style instruction at the beginning of the trip.

Are non-photographers welcome?

While our tours are geared towards photographers, non-photographers are welcome to participate in our trips.  It should be noted that since these are photo tours, we will often stick with subjects longer, or dedicate more time waiting for a situation to play out than non photo tours.


If you are a non-photographer and interested in participating in our trips, please contact me at [email protected] if you would like more information.

What Type of Camera Gear Should I Bring

Before the start of each photo tour we will provide a comprehensive trip compendium which will detail various specifics of that trip, including recommended camera gear.

Generally, a camera body that performs well at high ISOs, will work the best for the majority of our photo tours, given that some of them take place in rainforests, or in areas with low-light.  For lenses, covering the focal length is a good idea, with a zoom lens such as the Canon 100-400 or the Nikon 200-500, and a long telephoto lens such as 400, or 500, and it’s always a great idea to bring a wider-angle lens to capture the stunning landscape and animalscapes as they present themselves.


Given that rain is possible (or sometimes even highly likely) on most of our photo tours, high quality rain covers are always recommended.


Do you offer Private Tutoring

If you are looking to get more out of your photography or image editing, but don’t want to attend one of our photo tours, or want more time than will be available on our photo tours, I would be willing to discuss the possibility of private tutoring options to see if we can find something to meet your needs.


If you would like more information, or would like to register for a photo tour, contact me at [email protected].