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Let's get adventure-ready!

Please read through the sections of this page, as they contain some valuable information you’ll need to take into consideration when packing and preparing for our adventure. If you have any questions about the information here, please ask.

The information below is designed to cover all my workshops & private lessons. Please select the relevant location, and also review the suggested packing lists and helpful tips. Click on the sub-heading to read the relevant information.

  • Can I hire you?
    Yes! For photography services, such as real estate, portraits, pets, special events etc. - please see details and rates here: Photography Services For photography workshops, private lessons, & photography adventures, please see details and rates here: Photography Workshops & Adventures
  • Can I / how do I purchase a photo?
    Yes, most of my images are available for purchase. I sell prints, wall art, stationary and license digital images for specific uses. I offer prints and wall art in a variety of sizes (from 5x7 to 24x36+) and mediums (photographic prints, gallery-wrap canvasses, aluminum, acrylic). Please send me an email with the details of the image you'd like, the size and the medium, as well as your shipping address (if applicable). I will reply with a detailed quote or request further details, if required. COMING SOON: you will be able to purchase prints and wall art directly through my website by visiting the s h o p A R T page. Stay tuned! COMING SOON: you will be able to purchase prints, wall art, blank greeting cards, holiday cards, and calendars at my gallery located just outside of Bracebridge in Muskoka. Sign up for my newsletter to be notified of the gallery opening! You may, in some instances, purchase a license (personal, promotional, editorial & commercial) to use an image digitally. Please send me an email with complete project details; including: intended use, image(s) requested, and print run (if applicable). I will likely need to obtain further details based on the information you submit prior to providing you with a quote. _________________________ IMPORTANT: Unless you are a registered charity, please do not ask if you may use my image(s) for free. There are plenty of photographers who offer work with a Creative Commons license, but I am not one of them. Here's a great write-up that helps explain why professional photographers cannot work for free.
  • Do you ship to the US & internationally?
    Yes! At the moment, my website provider prevents listing shipping prices by item. Since there's a significant difference in shipping costs for cards, calendars, and wall art, I'm currently unable to take US or International web orders. I would be more than happy to send you a shipping quote. Please send me the item, size, and quantity (as applicable), and your shipping address using the contact tab in the menu at the top of the page. If you are interested in purchasing my calendar, please visit the calendar page in the shopART tab in the menu at the top of the page to find a link for online orders worldwide. The calendar is printed on demand at the facility closest to you, which may help you save on shipping and duty costs.
  • Where can I see your work in person?
    Yes!! My gallery is open year-round and located at 1736 Falkenburg Road, Muskoka Lakes. For more details, please visit: www.helengrose.ca/gallery
  • Do you offer wholesale prices for businesses interested in carrying your work?
    Yes! Please send me an email, including information about your business and clientele and the types of pieces and quantity you're interested in carrying. Popular items include: blank greeting cards, photo magnets, matted prints, framed prints, and gallery wrapped canvasses.
  • May I use your image for my ___________? (e.g. project, poster, brochure, cover photo, computer desktop, background image, as a reference for a painting...)"
    Almost all of my image are available for purchase. I offer prints and wall art in a number of sizes and styles, and, in some instances, offer licenses to use low and high resolution digital image files. To purchase a license (personal, promotional, editorial & commercial) to use my images digitally, please send me an email with complete project details; including: intended use, image(s) requested, and print run (if applicable). I will likely need to obtain further details based on the information you submit prior to providing you with a quote. Unauthorized use of my images (even where it includes my logo and/or watermark and/or cites full credit) is a copyright infringement, which I take very seriously. The images I create are automatically my property the moment I make them with my camera. Printing and licensing my images for use is how I make my livelihood. Using, copying, distributing and manipulating my images without my authorization is essentially theft and has a great impact on my livelihood. Unless you are a registered charity, please do not ask if you may use my image(s) for free. There are plenty of photographers who offer work with a Creative Commons license, but I am not one of them. Here's a great write-up that helps explain why professional photographers cannot work for free.
  • What does copyright mean?
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines copyright as "the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)." Copyright is automatic upon the creation of an image, so even if it is not stated, it is protected, meaning the artist is the only one legally able to distribute, reproduce, or sell the image. Any unauthorized use - even if accompanied by a credit to the artist or displaying the artist's watermark - is a copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is the specific term used to state that it is illegal. The appearance or posting of an image on the Internet does not mean it is fair game or free to use. Those seeking images to use for free, must look for artists who have granted a Creative Commons license to use the image as they wish (often still with terms attached) and ensure the artist has specifically stated a given image carries such a license. It is extremely important to secure licensing prior to using images to avoid legal ramifications. Even when an artist has granted a license to use an image - for broad or specific purposes - the artist maintains ownership of the image and copyright unless it is clearly stated in the terms of agreement that those are sold to the purchaser. It is also important to note that an image may not be manipulated beyond recognition as a way to get around image licensing. In order for the image - or even the likeness of the image, such as an artist's rendering - to be used, permission must be granted by the copyright owner first. I have seen a lot of excuses over the years and there are a great deal of people who do not understand copyright and make assumptions based on speculation or myth. Simply put, if you did not create the image, you do not own the image, and you cannot use it without permission. I like to put it this way: you see a car that you do not own. It's in plain sight for anyone walking or driving by to see. Regardless of whether the car is locked or unlocked, and regardless of where it's parked - on a public street, in a private driveway etc. - if you do not own it, you cannot legally use it without the permission of the owner. Substitute the car for any piece of property. Images - film negatives, digital files, prints... - are all property. Yes, theft happens. Whether the property is large or small in size, of high or low value, taking someone's property without permission is theft and against the law.
  • What mediums do you offer for wall art?
    I offer photographic prints on luster paper and gallery wrap canvas through the website, but also offer metallic photographic prints, metal (printed on metal as opposed to metallic photo paper), and acrylic by custom order. Please contact me for a customized quote. ​ To read more about the wall art choices available, please visit: https://www.helengrose.ca/choices
  • Do you offer framing?
    Yes! Through the website, you have a choice of black, espresso or white framing for both photographic prints and gallery wrap canvasses. For more information about the frames available, please visit: https://www.helengrose.ca/choices For additional colours, or barnboard frames for both prints and canvasses, please contact me for a custom quote.
  • What's the difference in sizes offered?
    When size is simply listed as a number, it can be difficult to imagine on a wall in your home. I have included some samples to help you see what the different sizes I offer will look like. If you'd like me to create an image for you that will show you the image of your choice, please contact me and I'd be happy to assist!
  • What's the difference between canvas and prints?
    For details, including illustrative photos, please visit: www.helengrose.ca/choices Essentially, canvas prints are my images printed on canvas. The canvas is wrapped around a wooden frame, but only the canvas is visible - the wood is behind it. Canvas prints are ready to hang, though you can add a float frame around them if you wish. Prints are my images printed on photo paper - the traditional medium for photographs. I choose luster paper to show the richness of the image's tones in a more matte finish that doesn't show fingerprints etc. Prints are not ready to hang. Prints must be framed before they can be displayed.
  • When can I expect my order?
    Prints & Wall Art all wall art (photographic prints and canvasses) are produced at professional labs in Ontario, Canada. The average turn-around time is 5-7 business days after the order is received, but may be longer around popular gift-giving holidays. All wall art is then shipped directly from the lab, as soon as it is ready. Delivery is typically 2-5 business days after the order leaves the lab. Cards & Calendars all in-stock cards and calendars are ready to ship. Please keep in mind that our location is 30 minutes (one-way) to the closest post office, so shipping may not happen the same day. Shipping time depends on the quantity and location, but delivery is typically 2-7 business days after it is shipped. Gift Certificates we will work to customize and email you the personalized gift certificate as soon as possible. Generally this can be done in one business day, but may take longer. If you require your gift certificate within a certain time-frame, please email us to confirm we can meet your deadline. Please note our products cannot be shipped to P.O. boxes - please ensure you provide an actual street address for the delivery. We regret that we cannot be responsible for shipping information that has been entered incorrectly by the customer during the ordering process.
  • Where do you ship?
    We ship worldwide. However, purchases made through our website can only be shipped to the Canadian provinces and continental US. If you would like your order shipped elsewhere (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alaska, Hawaii, and international destinations), please send us an email for a shipping quote. Be sure to include the details of the items you would like to order (medium, size and quantity e.g. 5 cards, 24x36 canvas, 8x12 photo print) and your full mailing address. Please note that we cannot ship to P.O. boxes.
  • Do you accept returns?
    No. All items are printed to order and, therefore, all sales are final. If, however, you are unhappy with the quality of the product you purchased, we will work with you and the lab that printed your order to repair or replace it. Please note that the colour and density of the artwork you receive may not exactly match what you see on screen. This is because of the large variety of monitors used to view images. Therefore, no colour guarantees are made.
  • May I use your image for my ___________? (e.g. project, poster, brochure, cover photo, computer desktop, background image...)"
    Almost all of my image are available for purchase. I offer prints and wall art in a number of sizes and styles, and, in some instances, offer licenses to use low and high resolution digital image files. To purchase a license (personal, promotional, editorial & commercial) to use my images digitally, please send me an email with complete project details; including: intended use, image(s) requested, and print run (if applicable). I will likely need to obtain further details based on the information you submit prior to providing you with a quote. Unauthorized use of my images (even where it includes my logo and/or watermark and/or cites full credit) is a copyright infringement, which I take very seriously. The images I create are automatically my property the moment I make them with my camera. Printing and licensing my images for use is how I make my livelihood. Using, copying, distributing and manipulating my images without my authorization is essentially theft and has a great impact on my livelihood. Unless you are a registered charity, please do not ask if you may use my image(s) for free. There are plenty of photographers who offer work with a Creative Commons license, but I am not one of them. Here's a great write-up that helps explain why professional photographers cannot work for free.
  • What does copyright mean?
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines copyright as "the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)." Copyright is automatic upon the creation of an image, so even if it is not stated, it is protected, meaning the artist is the only one legally able to distribute, reproduce, or sell the image. Any unauthorized use - even if accompanied by a credit to the artist or displaying the artist's watermark - is a copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is the specific term used to state that it is illegal. The appearance or posting of an image on the Internet does not mean it is fair game or free to use. Those seeking images to use for free, must look for artists who have granted a Creative Commons license to use the image as they wish (often still with terms attached) and ensure the artist has specifically stated a given image carries such a license. It is extremely important to secure licensing prior to using images to avoid legal ramifications. Even when an artist has granted a license to use an image - for broad or specific purposes - the artist maintains ownership of the image and copyright unless it is clearly stated in the terms of agreement that those are sold to the purchaser. It is also important to note that an image may not be manipulated beyond recognition as a way to get around image licensing. In order for the image - or even the likeness of the image, such as an artist's rendering - to be used, permission must be granted by the copyright owner first. I have seen a lot of excuses over the years and there are a great deal of people who do not understand copyright and make assumptions based on speculation or myth. Simply put, if you did not create the image, you do not own the image, and you cannot use it without permission. I like to put it this way: you see a car that you do not own. It's in plain sight for anyone walking or driving by to see. Regardless of whether the car is locked or unlocked, and regardless of where it's parked - on a public street, in a private driveway etc. - if you do not own it, you cannot legally use it without the permission of the owner. Substitute the car for any piece of property. Images - film negatives, digital files, prints... - are all property. Yes, theft happens. Whether the property is large or small in size, of high or low value, taking someone's property without permission is theft and against the law.
  • What photography gear do you use?
    This depends on what I'm photographing, where I'm shooting and what the conditions are like. Here's a general guide: For sports, I use a Canon 1DX or Canon R3 camera with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. For wildlife, I use a Canon R3 camera with a Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens (+ ef-rf adapter). For landscapes and waterfalls, I use the Canon R3 or 5DMKIV cameras with the Canon 17-40mm f/4L, 24-70 f/2.8L IS, the 24-105mm f/4L IS II or the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II lenses, plus various neutral density and polarizing filters. For real estate, I use a Canon 5DMKIV with the Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens. For macro, I use the Canon 5DMKIV with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 lens.
  • How do you protect your camera from the elements?
    I am lucky to use the Canon 1DX and Canon L series lenses, which offer superior protection against the elements. When out in terrible elements, I use Aquatech sport shields and love them. When photographing sports, specifically paintball, I protect my lens with high-density clear filters - to protect from oils and scratches due to contact cleaning of my lens. I've seen people use all kinds of things to protect their gear (from boxes to plastic bags), but what it comes down to is you use what works for you and gives you the flexibiliy you require to shoot the way you're most comfortable.
  • I'm just getting into photography. What camera do you recommend?
    I don't. Gear is constantly changing. Some photographers are very interested in the "tech" side of the profession, but I am not. My time spent on research pertains to the gear I'm interested in purchasing, which falls at the pro end of the line or specialty items. Having said that, I can absolutely offer generic advice that may help you in your search. 1. Most cameras are created equal - in terms of being able to take decent images. I use Canon, but I do not subscribe to the Canon v. Nikon v. Sony debates. Nor do I discount the other options on the market. Buying photography equipment is like buying a car... so many brands, they'll all get you from A to Z, but what is right for you depends on the specific uses, your budget, and your preference for look and feel, as well as how the gear functions. 2. Get a camera that feels comfortable and makes sense to you. We are all different. Most cameras offer the same or similar features, but they all have different ways of getting there - dials, menus, buttons. So, if the way one brand sets up those things up makes sense to you, and another does not, you have your answer. Cameras do also feel different in your hands. I'd highly recommend a trip to your local camera store where you can hold the options you're considering and see which feels best. It will also give you a chance to press buttons, turn switches and dials, and see which is most comfortable. 3. Brand Considerations. Point 2 notwithstanding, when choosing a brand, here are a few things to consider: a) Do they make a range of products that you'll be able to grow into? Look at the lens options in particular. b) Are you comfortable with the price point levels offered? c) Is the company progressing with the times? 4. I highly recommend you invest in a good lens or lenses. Consider what you want to shoot. First, look at the focal range that will work for you (e.g. wide angle for landscape, telephoto for sports, super telephoto for wildlife), and buy the very best lens possible. I typically recommend zoom lenses as a good place to start, as it allows more creative options, but fixed focal length lenses have amazing reputations and are highly coveted. Again, what will work best for you? Think size - will you be comfortable carrying it? Think weight - will you be able to hand-hold, or will you need to use a tripod? Think price - does it fit in your budget and will you make good use of it? Consider the conditions you'll most likely be shooting in - do you only go out when the light is good or might you be shooting in poor lighting conditions, as this will have an impact on the aperture range you'll want (e.g larger apertures - f/2.8 - for low light, as well as that "thin focus slice"). Consider the shutter speeds you'll need to use - are you shooting sports or action? Again, the aperture range will have an impact - you'll want a "faster" lens, which again, falls at the f/2.8 end. If you choose wisely, that lens will last and be a great investment. Lenses typically don't lose their value over time the way camera bodies do and updates by companies are not as frequent. And, in my opinion, lenses are a far more important factor in image clarity, colour, and sharpness than the camera. 5. Choose a camera body that does what you need right now. New camera bodies are introduced every year... and you will want to upgrade. All cameras these days - including phones in cameras - are capable of producing beautiful prints. Instead of going all out on an expensive body, find one that will allow you to invest in a good lens, a spare battery, a comfortable strap, and a bag that suits your lifestyle best. 6. Don't buy the cheapest - ever! This is particularly true for lenses and tripods. Accessories are things people waste the most money on. This is partly because you're not really sure how you're going to use them, but also because many figure a tripod, for example, is just something to secure your camera, so they should all work, right? Wrong! Tripods are the #1 thing I see clients waste money on. You need good, sturdy legs for your equipment and they need to be easy to use. A good tripod is typically purchased in two pieces - head and legs. I use and recommend the Canadian brand FLM. They are well constructed, and offer a better price point than their US counterparts. How you carry your camera is also important. I use and recommend a Cotton Carrier, which allows you to hike hands-free, while reducing the pull on your neck and shoulders that happens with other straps.
  • Where do you buy your equipment?
    I have purchased my gear from many different places. I was a very loyal customer of one specific store, but "my guy" retired and I've since been disappointed every time I've tried to deal with anyone else there. I always recommend starting your homework online. I've been into specialty camera stores and been given wrong advice. So knowing what you need and want and the options available before you go in can help ensure a successful purchase. You can also window-shop prices through various retailers without ever leaving home. One site I highly recommend is photoprice.ca, which will help you compare prices across the country and even internationally. I never recommend purchasing photography gear at big box retailers, as their knowledge and selection are generally limited, although I have heard of some finding great deals on consumer / entry-level gear. I recommend you build a relationship with someone in your local camera store and don't be afraid to ask for a price match. If you live in the US, I highly recommend B&H - shop online and have it delivered to your door. Their service is fast and great - even across the border.
  • How do you protect yourself from the elements?
    GREAT question! Over the years, I've tried many things to help protect me... and I'm constantly testing new gear. Since this is a popular question, I'm going to start adding gear reviews to my monthly newsletters. One thing people don't often think of is what they smell like when they head outside to photograph wildlife. Animals have notoriously keen senses of smell, so whatever you're putting down, they're picking up! So I use unscented deodorant. I'm also health-conscious and do care if companies test on animals, so I found a brand that both works and meets my ethical standards. The brand I use is Native. If you're interested in giving them a try, click on their name and enter the code HEALTH10 to get a 10% discount. Bug protection: this one is huge. Just last year, someone shared their secret recipe with me. It's a blend of carrier oils and essential oils that works quite well. I also make sure I'm covered from head to toe in dull, muted colours whenever possible! I will also do the chemical route in extreme situations and for that I use ThermaCell, which you can find at places like Walmart and Canadian Tire.
  • Don't see an answer to your question?
    I'd be happy to answer your question as best I can, so please get in touch!

Algonquin Provincial Park Information

 

Algonquin Provincial Park is huge - 7,635 square kilometres to be exact! We'll be exploring a small portion of it at the southern end along what's known as the Highway 60 corridor. Hwy 60 is a major highway (80km/h) that runs through the park. Along the corridor are wonderful landscape and wildlife opportunities. There are also a number of trails and campgrounds, and a few dirt roads worth exploring. While there are both West and East gates, they're not actual gates that open and close. Traffic through the park is 24 hours.

There are limited - and seasonal - facilities in the park, so here are a few recommendations to ensure your comfort:

Flush toilets are available year-round at the West & East Gate, Mew Lake Campground, and the Visitor's Centre. Please come physically and mentally prepared to use the great outdoors (or outhouses), and remember that you must pack out all garbage, including toilet paper. I'd suggest bringing two ziplock bags - one with fresh toilet paper (to keep it dry!), and one for used toilet paper.

Food

I highly recommend bringing snacks and hydration. Options in the park are limited. There is a small cafe in the park operated by Algonquin Outfitters and open seasonally (May - October), but it is slow and often very busy. If you'd like a good meal, I do recommend The Mad Musher in Whitney for your mid-day break, or dinner - it is your closest, fastest and tastiest option. You might also be interested in checking out one of the three lodges (open seasonally May - October) in the park for fancier meals, but times are often limited and not convenient for photographers. Other options are The Algonquin Lunch Bar in Whitney, and Erika's Bakery, Henrietta's Bakery, and The Cookhouse in Dwight. It's best to look online at their hours or call ahead to ensure they'll be open at suitable times during your visit.

 

Algonquin Park Day Use Permit Information

Permits are required. You will need a Day Use Vehicle Permit for each day you are in the park. Day passes are valid from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m., but there's no one monitoring traffic into and out of the park, except during the peak fall colour season (late September to early October). For the most up-to-date information about purchasing your day use vehicle permit, please visit: https://algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/general_park_info/fees-day-use.php

IF a vehicle permit is included in the cost of your private adventure, I will provide you with the permit when we meet, and you will return it at the end of our time together. Please send me your license plate number and the province/state of issue. If you plan to enjoy the park before or after your adventure, you will need to purchase a day use permit.

Where to Stay for Algonquin Park Adventures

There are only three accommodation providers located in Algonquin Park: Killarney Lodge, Bartlett Lodge, and Arowhon Pines. All three offer meal plans and are on the higher end cost-wise. These providers are only open seasonally (May to October). Please note that meal times may not be suitable for group workshop itineraries. Your best bet is to stay either in Dwight, which is 15 minutes west of the park, or Whitney 5 minutes east of the park. November to April, I often recommend staying on the west side of Algonquin Park, as there are more options open for both accommodations and restaurants. If you're participating in an Algonquin Backcountry Adventure, I recommend staying on the east side of Algonquin Park in Whitney, as our water taxi departs from Algonquin Outfitter's Opeongo Store, which is on the east side of the park.

Since everyone has different expectations and budgets, I do not recommend places to stay. Please keep in mind that many of these establishments are independent and locally owned and cater to seasonal clientele who are spending most of their time outdoors. Decor is often dated, and amenities are different than what you typically find at chain hotels in cities. If you have specific needs, please ensure the facility you choose offers it. Examples include tea/coffee station, kitchenette, fridge. There are also AirBNB / Vrbo options in the area -- I'd recommend searching for Dwight and Whitney.

 

Here is a list of some of the accommodation providers in the area to help you with your search. Please note that links are provided for your convenience and establishments may change. This list is not necessarily current.

Dwight (15 minutes from Algonquin Park's west gate)

The Blue Spruce Resort - This comes highly recommend by all my clients who have stayed here

Wolf Den Nature Retreat Hostel & Cabins - The eco-cabins come highly recommended by all my clients who have stayed there

Dwight Village Motel

Oxtongue Lake Cottages

Huntsville (35 minutes from Algonquin Park's west gate)

Deerhurst Resort 

Holiday Inn Express

Home2 Suites

Comfort Inn

Best Western Plus Muskoka Inn

Huntsville Inn

Rodeway Inn King William

Whitney (5 minutes from Algonquin Park's east gate)

The Mad Musher Restaurant & Riverside Rooms - This hostel-style accommodation is where I stay when I need a room

Camp Bongopix Retro Cabins

Algonquin Dreamcatcher Motel

Algonquin East Gate Motel

Algonquin Rolling Rapids Motel

Four Corners Algonquin

Couples Resort

Adventure Lodge

And, of course, camping in the park is an option. Mew Lake campground is open year-round. It offers tent camping, yurts and RV hook-ups.

Fuel

There are no fuel stations in Algonquin Park, so please "gas up" prior to our adventure and when you have the opportunity throughout. Your best bet is to fuel up in one of the larger centres on your way to Algonquin Park (i.e. Huntsville), as the cost of fuel tends to be considerably cheaper. There is a gas station in Dwight at the intersection of Hwys 35 & 60, about 15 minutes from the west gate, as well as two gas stations in Whitney (both full service), about 5 minutes from the east gate. None of these options is open 24 hours, so please be mindful of your fuel level. The stretch of Hwy 60 that we travel through the park is 56km long from gate to gate, not including adventures down other roads. If you need to get fuel, please speak up!

Muskoka

 

The district of Muskoka is made up of a number of small towns. The "big three" from south to north are: Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, & Huntsville. The area is quite large, and travel within the region always involves going around a lake (or two).

Where to Stay for Muskoka Adventures

There are lots of options for hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts & Air BNBs in the area, as a quick Google search will reveal. I do recommend checking out the list of providers compiled by Discover Muskoka. Since everyone has different expectations and budgets, I do not recommend places to stay. But here is a list of some of the accommodation providers in the area:

Bracebridge (I typically recommend staying in Bracebridge as it's central to everything)

Sleep Inn

Inn at the Falls

Quality Inn

Touchstone Resort

Patterson Kaye Resort

Gravenhurst

Residence Inn by Marriott

Howard Johnson

Taboo

Huntsville

Deerhurst Resort 

Holiday Inn Express

Comfort Inn

Home2 Suites

Best Western Plus Muskoka Inn

Huntsville Inn

Rodeway Inn King William

Others

JW Marriott in Rosseau

Windermere House in Windermere

Sherwood Inn in Port Carling

Suggested Photography Equipment

This list is designed to be an exhaustive list of equipment you may wish to bring if you have it. You only require the basics - camera, lens, battery, memory card. Please also consider your adventure, and its focus. For example, I recommend a "keep it simple" approach for backcountry adventures, and a tripod for waterfall workshops. 

  • DSLR / mirrorless camera(s)

  • Wide angle lens for landscape photos (traditionally 24mm or wider focal length)

  • Telephoto lens for wildlife photos (traditionally 200mm or longer focal length)

  • Fully charged camera battery & spare battery - bring as many as you have

  • Battery charger (pack this in your bag as soon as you've finished charging your batteries!)

  • Formatted (empty) memory card(s) - bring as many as you have

  • Tripod: legs, head (ball head, gimbal or whatever you use) and quick release plate(s) to attached your camera to your tripod - highly recommended for waterfalls, sunrises, and sunsets in particular.

  • Wireless or cable shutter release/remote for long exposures (if you do not have, you can use mirror lock-up and the self-timer) - recommended for waterfalls, sunrises, and sunsets

  • Microfiber cloths, lens pen, or whatever you use to clean your len's glass - consider bringing at least three of these when photographing waterfalls

  • Filters for landscape photos: circular polarizer, neutral density, graduated neutral density are the three most common

  • Rain cover to keep rain/snow off your camera (Henry's has a 2-pack of rain sleeves, but ziplock bags will do in a pinch!)

  • A rain cover for your bag (some are detachable & easy to forget). If you don't have a rain cover, consider bringing a plastic garbage bag.

  • Camera strap or whatever you use to carry your camera on your person. (I use a Cotton Carrier halter. Use code H-CREW for a 10% discount.)

  • Comfortable bag for carrying desired gear while hiking - please make sure you're comfortable carrying your bag and whatever is in it. Extra gear can be left in your room or vehicle. If doing a backcountry adventure, consider a dry-bag instead of a traditional camera bag. For dry-bag tips, please see equipment tips below.

  • Camera manual(s) - we'll be discussing settings and I don't necessarily know where to find them in every camera. Plus, they come in handy in the event you need to understand a dreaded error code.

  • Laptop computer and/or storage device and proper cables & memory card reader IF you wish to clear your cards or look at your images each evening.

Suggested Personal Items

Again, this list is exhaustive, so please keep the season in mind when packing for your workshop. I'd highly recommend taking a look at the weather forecast for the area to help anticipate your needs. And remember, even just two hours north of Toronto sees a significant difference in weather. Algonquin Highlands, Dwight, and Whitney should give you a more accurate forecast when searching your weather app.

  • Layered clothing (in all seasons) -- we will be walking & standing in changing weather for substantial amounts of time. Layering allows you to add or remove as necessary to ensure your personal comfort as both your body and the outside temperatures fluctuate. Even in the summer, temperatures can dip, so it's best if you're prepared for anything! In spring and summer, I recommend light, neutral coloured clothing, as bugs are attracted to dark colours.

  • Proper footwear, including socks, and sturdy boots/shoes you can hike in -- waterproof is always beneficial when hiking in the event we encounter muddy or wet areas. Winter boots are essential for workshops during the winter. For Backcountry Adventures, we are in canoes most of the time with just a couple of brief stops on land (no hiking).

  • Rain jacket / winter jacket / waterproof jacket & pants - we will be out rain, snow or shine! For Backcountry Adventures, our day starts and ends with a speedboat ride, so a windbreaker and warm hat (like a toque that will stay on your head) are advised.

  • One full set of spare clothes as an emergency precaution. In the event you get wet when out hiking, you will want to have a spare set of clothes in the car to change into immediately. I keep mine in a small backpack with my car battery booster.

  • Sunglasses (even in winter - sun on snow is bright!)

  • Sunscreen

  • Hat for sun or cold weather protection

  • Buff / multifunctional headwear

  • Gloves and any cold weather gear you use, such as hand warmers. For Backcountry Adventures, you may want to consider something like those thin work gloves with nitrile coated palms, or wool liner gloves.

  • Bug spray (whatever works for you!) in spring and summer (mid-May to early August) - containing DEET or Picaridin. I use Deep Woods Off on my clothes and a combination of natural products on my skin. Bugs we can experience include black flies, mosquitoes, deer & horse flies. Bug spray is mandatory for Backcountry Adventures.

  • Bug jacket or bug hat are essential mid-May to early August and mandatory for Algonquin Backcountry Adventures. In order to be effective, the mesh on your bug jacket or hat must not touch your face. I find wearing a baseball hat underneath my bug hat or jacket is very helpful. I use Ben's Invisinet and The Original Bug Shirt. You likely will not need to have your head covered most of the time when paddling, but will when we go on land. We have affectionally dubbed one spot we stop, "Bug Island". Other bug considerations include using a Thermacell device, and wearing clothes pretreated with permethrin.

  • Any currently recommended or mandated PPE (face covering/mask, hand sanitizer etc.)

  • Headlamp or flashlight -- we may be hiking to and from sunrise/sunset locations in the dark

  • Hiking/trekking poles if you have/use

  • Snowshoes and crampons/ice cleats. Early December to early April, snowshoes may help you navigate trails more easily. Ice cleats/crampons are good from late December to early May, as snow has compacted and the trails can be very icy. In early spring, sometimes all that's left on trails is ice from winter travel.

  • Water bottle(s) & travel mug/thermos

  • Snacks

  • Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, & sealable plastic bag for trash - you must pack out all garbage, including toilet paper!

  • Medications, glasses, other personal comfort items as necessary - please consider bringing a small medical kit with items like Benedryl, bandages, ointment and pain killers. These can be useful for emergencies, as well as things like bug bites and blisters.
    NOTE: Please do not wear body spray/perfume/cologne. I recommend going as scentless as possible to help improve our chances of tracking wildlife, as well as keeping bugs at bay. I try to ensure everything I'm using is unscented/fragrance-free -- deodorant, soap, moisturizer, shampoo and conditioner, and sensitive formula laundry detergent. 

  • Towel to keep in the car in case you or your gear get muddy or wet. Also helpful for drying off your feet and legs on Backcountry Adventures

  • Windshield wiper scraper

  • Mobile phone and charger - we may find it handy/necessary to text (although I have 2-way radios for when we're in our cars)

Photography Equipment Tips

Have more than one camera body?

Consider setting them up so one is dedicated for landscapes and the other for wildlife. I like to keep my wildlife setup accessible (carried on my person and ready to use - lens hood on & forward, lens cap off, camera turned on, settings appropriate), while my landscape setup is packed in my bag and on my back.

Which to use?

  • If one body has a full frame sensor and one a crop sensor, use the full frame sensor for landscape and the crop for wildlife.

  • If both bodies have the same sensor size, use the camera with a faster frames per second rate, better ISO capabilities, or better auto focusing system for wildlife.

Hiking Set-up

Whenever I hit the trail, I'm always prepared for wildlife encounters. I use a Cotton Carrier camera harness and carry my camera with telephoto lens attached. If I'm interested in photographing landscapes, I'll carry my camera bag on my back with my landscape gear, and tripod strapped to my bag. I also include safety gear, rain gear, snacks, and water in my bag, as well as spare batteries and memory cards. If I'm not interested in photographing landscapes, instead of bringing my full camera bag, I'll bring a small bag to pack my safety gear, rain gear, snacks, water, spare batteries and memory cards. I can advise you of what I'd recommend, but ultimately, how much you carry is up to you!

Canoe Set-up

When I'm in my canoe or kayak, I keep my gear simple to avoid too much fussing around. I take only one camera body and two lenses - a telephoto zoom lens (100-400mm, which I keep on my camera), and a landscape or macro lens. Most of the time, I don't switch lenses. I've asked a number of clients what they'd recommend after going on a backcountry adventure and they've agreed - a telephoto zoom lens was their go-to (if they had a choice). That being said, macro enthusiasts said they'd pack a macro lens next time instead of a landscape lens. The creek is reasonably wide with the closest opportunities being frogs and flora we glide past. I pack my camera in a dry-bag. If using a dry-bag for the first time with your gear, please test it at home to ensure you can roll the top enough to close it properly with your camera (and anything else you're planning to put in the bag) inside. I have used a 30L Seal Line Baja bag for my Canon 1DX with 100-400mm lens attached, and then I usually wrap a towel around it for cushioning. Any time I'm entering or exiting the boat, I put my gear in the dry bag and seal it. When simply paddling, the bag is open and my gear is accessible and ready for photo opportunities. I would recommend bringing an extra towel to drape over your gear during these times to catch any drips from your paddle, an extra microfiber in a ziplock sandwich bag is also good to have close at hand. I do also bring a smaller dry bag (like a waist pack) to keep my phone, spare battery, and memory cards in.

Shooting in cold weather?

  • Don't crank the heat in your car, as this could warm up your camera and lens to the point that you'll get condensation on the lens with the temperature change from getting into and out of your vehicle. Try using your seat warmers (if you're lucky to have them!) to keep your body warm instead.

  • To stop your lens from fogging up due to the temperature change, try putting your camera in a large plastic bag to allow it to acclimatize slowly. Also, putting your camera in your back seat may help. Be careful not to breathe on your eye-piece as this will fog it up. You may find the warmth from your face is enough to fog it up, so keep a microfibre handy, or hold your camera away from your face as much as possible. You can try the snorkelling trick or rubbing a little bit of saliva on your viewfinder, but I've had varying rates of success with this.

  • Keep your spare battery in your inside jacket pocket to keep it warm. Cold weather drains batteries quickly!

Personal Items Tips

Be prepared for everything!

I carry one full set of clothes in my trunk with a car battery booster, as well as snacks, an emergency kit, and hydration. This ensures I'm prepared for anything!

Warm Gear

When I get in my car, I place my gloves and hat on my dashboard - these keep them warm and help dry them off. Also, if I know I'm going to be in my car for a while, I'll strip off my outer layer to make sure I don't overheat, or feel colder when I get out of my car again.

Snacks & hydration!

The best photo opportunities come at the most inconvenient times. If you have plenty of snacks and hydration in your vehicle, you can help reduce the chance you'll miss opportunities because you were hungry! I highly recommend you bring more hydration than you think you'll need. One water bottle is not sufficient for any of my adventures, and there won't be a place for you to refill it.

Download my simple packing list here:

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