Nature & Wildlife Photography
Join me for a full day in Canada's oldest provincial park, or Ontario's cottage country to capture the incredible natural beauty this region has to offer photographers from around the world.
Explore the picturesque landscapes, and set off in search of the magnificent wild faces of Algonquin Park or Muskoka! Suitable for all skill levels - those requiring intensive instruction, those who need a little coaching, as well as those who wish to simply be guided to "the good stuff".
I design this adventure according to your level, needs and interests, which could include, for example:
* landscapes of Algonquin Park or Muskoka * wildlife of Algonquin Park * becoming more comfortable with your camera * how to get sharper images * how to expose your wildlife and landscape images properly * composition * waterfall photography * macro photography * how to shoot in manual exposure mode
Along the way, you're sure to learn about some of the different animals you might find, their habitats and behaviour, as well as some tips to help you find wildlife to photograph, as I'm keen to follow wildlife clues.
Choose from Algonquin Provincial Park, or Muskoka Ontario
The whole day is yours! From dawn to dusk, we'll chase the light and explore. If you're not an early riser, have considerations that prevent certain or sustained physical activity, or simply think a full day is too much, don't worry. The day is truly designed around you. We'll discuss options and I'll provide recommendations based on my experience.
Our itinerary is loose and designed according to your needs and interests - from where we meet, to trails we take, to subjects we photograph. It's also flexible to allow us to adjust to changes in light, weather and wildlife sightings. I spend a great deal of time exploring the region and have a mix of tried-and-true highlights, tucked away gems, and wildlife hotspots to share with you. The number of places we'll visit depends in part on Mother Nature and the opportunities she puts in our path, as well as how much coaching and instruction you need. When we spend more time exploring camera settings, discussing composition, and reading the scene, we typically stay in one place longer.
Private Adventure Cost:
November to April -- $795 +hst
May to October -- $895 +hst
Payment Policy & Details:
A 50% +HST non-refundable payment is required to secure your adventure date(s), with the balance due 7 days before we meet. Please note that your date will not be held until your payment has been received. Payments may be made by eTransfer, or credit. If you are booking within 7 days of your adventure date, the full fee is required at the time of booking and is non-refundable.
Cancellation & Changes Policy:
Please be sure you check your schedule prior to booking, as your initial payment of 50% is non-refundable. In the event you pay in full at the time of booking, should you need to cancel 61 days or more prior to your adventure date, you will be refunded 50% less handling and transaction fees. Cancellations 60 days or fewer prior to the adventure are non-refundable. Should you need to change your date after you've booked and up to 7 days prior, a change fee of $50 +hst is applicable for a one day adventure, with a change fee of $30 +hst for each additional day booked. We regret that we cannot accommodate changes within 7 days of your adventure. In the event an adventure cannot take place as scheduled due to provincial or federal regulations, Helen will discuss options on a case-by-case basis.
What's included in your adventure?
Photography instruction by me, Helen. I am a professional photographer with more than a decade of experience, including teaching nature & landscape photography at Georgian College, and presenting educational information (not simply show & tell!) to camera clubs around Ontario.
Guiding in and around Algonquin Provincial Park. I have been coming to Algonquin Park since 1989, and actively explore the park on a regular basis. I never stop searching for new and exciting photo opportunities.
A day use Provincial Park pass.
What's not included in your adventure?
Transportation -- you are responsible for your own transportation and fuel, including getting to and from Algonquin Park. You will follow me to our various destinations in and around Algonquin Park/Muskoka. A daily vehicle pass is included in the fees.
Accommodations, as required. I am happy to provide you with a list of accommodation options around the park, should you require it. For Algonquin Park: suggested places to look on the west side of the park are Huntsville, Dwight, Oxtongue Lake & on the east side of the park is Whitney. For Muskoka: Bracebridge, or Gravenhurst.
Meals, Snacks & Hydration. It's strongly recommended that you bring snacks and water, as the best photographic times are during typical meal times. We will take a break for lunch around 12-2 p.m. This could include going to a local restaurant for a warm meal, or packing a lunch and taking a break along the way.
Photography gear & personal items. I will provide you with a list of suggested gear and personal items you may wish to bring for your comfort. It's important to note that you'll learn with whatever photography gear you have... you don't need a "really good camera" or expensive lens. We'll work with what you have! Suggested items are just that - suggested to bring if you have them. Of course, I can't be held responsible for your growing gear wish-list after your lesson ;o)
Can I add on days?
Absolutely! Many clients find multiple days really amp up their learning (as well as the photo opportunities). Additional consecutive days may be booked at a rate of: $735 (November - April) and $835 (May - October).
Can I bring my husband/wife/friend?
Yes! For no additional charge, you may bring a non-photographer OR another photographer with you. You must be travelling in the same vehicle together. Add a third person (also in the same vehicle) for 50% of the fee. Maximum 3 people per group. For larger groups, please contact Helen to discuss booking a private group adventure.
Will we be hiking?
Yes. Where we go will depend, in part, on how active you want to be. There are lots of easy walking paths in Algonquin Park, as well as road-side opportunities. Of course, I do feel some of the best opportunities are a little off the beaten path, which typically means a bit more of a hike and on uneven ground such as over rocks, roots, hills to lookouts, etc. While I ask about your comfort level in this area in advance, it's your responsibility to know your own limits, participate only in things you're comfortable with, and pace yourself accordingly.
What time of year do you recommend I book? And what about weather?
Good question! But you might not like my answer... any time in Algonquin is a good time! And we shoot regardless of weather - some of my best days in Algonquin, photographically-speaking, have been in what many would consider bad weather... including finding twin moose calves in the pouring rain! Each season has its own special charm, as well as its cons. Spring is great for roadside moose and the potential of baby animals, but sometimes the bugs can be annoying. Summer is gorgeous and lush, but the heat can keep animals in the forest and seeking shade. Winter is a wonderland and a great time for tracking animals because you can easily see evidence of their activity, but there's that whole snow and cold thing. And fall is an all-around grand time for seeing the beauty of the colours and animals in peak shape, but it's also very busy with people. In any season - and any weather - opportunity exists. The point is just get out and do it!
When do you offer private lessons?
I offer lessons year-round on weekdays and weekends. Weekend bookings in September, October, and December, and on long weekends incur an additional fee of $100 for each weekend day. Fridays and Mondays are counted as weekend days on long weekends. My preference is to schedule lessons in the park on weekdays, as those are often less busy with people. I'm busiest in the spring and fall, so I'd advise you to book early to avoid disappointment.
Please note: all participants are required to sign a release, indemnity & non-disclosure agreement. Participants will not disclose, or take others to, the locations we visit, nor may they offer lessons, workshops, tours, or similar activities in the area. Participants may not engage in behaviour that disturbs or harasses wildlife, such as baiting, luring, or flushing. Any such behaviour will result in the lesson ending immediately, with no refund. Part of nature and wildlife photography means respecting our subjects, and the environment in which they live.
While every effort is made to find wildlife to photograph, there are many factors outside of our control and, therefore, no guarantees are made.
Please contact Helen today book your Nature & Wildlife Photography Adventure!
"I recently had the privilege of spending two days with Helen - one exploring Muskoka landscapes and a second concentrating on wildlife in Algonquin Park.
Wow! I’ve attended sessions offered by other photographers across the country, and have never encountered anyone with Helen’s skill level. She is not only an exceptional photographer, but is also a talented communicator, animal behaviourist, and educator."
"I wanted to say thanks again for an amazing day. I really enjoyed it and feel like I have more confidence in terms of things to think of when I’m using the camera."
"I just wanted to thank you for the day yesterday. I learned a heck of a lot from you - information overload! The rain and sheltering wildlife was obviously a big downer but I appreciate the effort you went to to try to find subjects! Despite this, you've opened my eyes to how to use this camera not on iphone-mode."