The Canadian Rockies. For those already initiated in their beauty and wildness, they need no introduction. For everyone else, words do not do them justice. Profoundly beautiful. Big. Wild. Rugged. And rich with wildlife. The region between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park encompasses one of my favorite locations on the planet to photograph. And with this workshop, everything is timed for the elk rut!
We will be based in Jasper National Park for this workshop, where one of the greatest elk ruts in the world will be on display all around us. Aspens will be turning colors, lighting up the landscape with the golden hues of Autumn, while snow should already be settling into the high country. Glaciers dot the backdrops, and we will even take a day to spend photographing the cool blues and extraordinary patterns of these rivers of ice. Big horn sheep will be coming down to prepare for their annual rut, while the moose will be in chasing girls across the wetlands. If you think Yellowstone and the Tetons are good in the Fall, wait till you experience the Canadian Rockies!
Dates: September 20 – 26
Optional Add-on: Sept 19 – A full day of photographic instruction in the classroom touching on mastering histograms, to advanced concepts in wildlife and landscape photograph. This add-on is designed to get you mentally prepared for the week to come by learning new techniques, and sharpening your skills.
Price for basic workshop: $4500
Price for optional add-on day: $500
Location: Jasper National Park
Transportation during workshop: provided
Difficulty level: easy
Skill level: beginner to advanced
Airport: You can fly into either Calgary, AB or Edmonton, AB. Either will work just fine, but there is a difference in distance. Calgary is roughly 4 hour drive. Edmonton is a 3 hour drive. Flying into Calgary, however, allows you the chance to explore Banff National Park and drive the world famous Ice Fields Parkway. Edmonton is closest. Calgary gives you photographic opportunities and should be chosen if you wish to spend a couple days in the Canadian Rockies on your own beforehand.
What to Expect
- 5 full days of field photography
- Hands on instruction in a small group setting
- ample opportunities for 1 on 1
- incredible wildlife and landscape photography opportunities
- group blind critiques at the end of the workshop
- A private online forum specifically for participants of this workshop to learn and share images in
- Day 1: Fly to Canada and arrive in Jasper National Park. You can fly into Edmonton or Calgary and either rent a vehicle or arrange for a shuttle to get to Jasper. Both locations will be around 4 hours drive from where we will meet for this workshop. That evening we will have a meet and great dinner before discussing the logistics of the coming week.
- Day 2 – 6: Each day will be divided into two shoots – a morning and afternoon. We will leave out for the field before sunrise each morning and be back at our lodgings around 11am or so. We will then return to the field in the afternoon and shoot until dark. While wildlife will be the primary focus of this workshop, we will also do quite a bit of landscape photography as well – including the possibility of a night shoot depending upon clouds.
- Day 7: return to the airport and fly home
If this is both a wildlife and landscape workshop, what lenses should I bring?
For the wildlife side of things:
- long telephoto lens. I reccomend a minimum of 400mm but 600mm is even better. This does not mean you must have a 600mm prime however as 150-600mm achieves the same goal, as does a 200-400mm lens on a crop body.
- Sturdy tripod
- Tripod head: I recommend a gimbal type head but a ball head will work as well.
- You may also consider bringing a shorter telephoto lens such as a 70-200 for environmental portraits as well as telephoto landscapes
For the landscape side of things:
- 24-70mm or 24-105
- An extreme wide angle lens such as a 12-24 or 16-24
- ballhead. It is advised that you do not try and use your gimbal head for landscape photography if at all possible.
- Circular polarizer filter
- Any other landscape filter you may have such as solid neutral density filters. If you decide to buy one filter for this workshop (other than a polarizing filter, purchase a 3 stop REVERSE NEUTRAL DENSITY filter – such as those made by Singh-Ray. You do not have to have this filter for this workshop, BUT in today’s world of exposure blending options in Photoshop and Lightroom, this is the only useful graduated neutral density filter to have in the field.
Do I need a passport for this workshop?
If you are not a Canadian citizen, you will need a passport to enter Canada. When you arrive at customs, just explain to them that you are coming to visit the national parks.
What about tripods?
Yes you will! Tripods are crucially important in wildlife photography and on this workshop you will need one. Though there may be times that we hand hold our lenses, in most instances we will want to properly stabilize our equipment.
For wildlife photographers, as a general rule of thumb, you want a tripod with a load capacity that is twice the amount of weight that you will put on it. So, you were to estimate that the tripod head weights 5lbs, your camera body weighs 5lbs, you biggest lens weighs 12 lbs, this is 22 lbs total. And therefore, we recommend you have a tripod that can hold a minimum of 44lbs. Most likely you will need to round up to 50lbs for this.
Another rule of thumb for wildlife photographers is to work with a tripod that DOES NOT come with a center column. There are thousands of reasons you will want to get lower with your gear. But, there is rarely any reason you want to get taller. Thus, a tripod without a center column will allow you to get your camera all the way down to the ground – which is critically important in many situations.
For more information about Jared’s suggestion for tripods, click this link: TRIPOD PRIMER
For more information about Jared’s suggestion for heads, click this link: TRIPOD HEAD PRIMER