This workshop does not involve any strenuous hiking and the majority of our shooting locations are a short distance from the vehicles. The ability to comfortably carry your gear on flat trails for 1 - 2 km (0.6 - 1.2 miles) will be beneficial, though not imperative.
- One or more DSLR camera bodies
- Telephoto lens of at least 400mm
- Mid-range telephoto lens (ex: 70-200mm, 100-400mm)
- Wide-angle lens (with circular polarizing filter)
- Lens plates and the tools for installation
- Tripod and head
- Rain covers for cameras and lenses
- Microfiber cleaning cloth
- Giottos Rocket Air Blower
- Spare batteries and ample memory cards
- Laptop and external hard drive for storing images
Vancouver's weather is often very changeable, so being prepared with the proper clothing is important. We schedule this workshop to coincide with the driest period of Vancouver's winter, though it is likely that we will experience some sort of precipitation during the workshop, whether rain or snow. Forecasts are very regional and often change quickly. The average daytime high should be approximately 8°c (46°f) and the nighttime low 2°c (36°f). With that said, it is not uncommon for Vancouver to experience temperatures well below freezing.
You'll stay comfortable by dressing in layers. Here is what we recommend...
- Long sleeve base layer (moisture wicking, merino wool or polyester)
- Mid layer (fleece or polyester)
- Warm outer layer (insulated, down or synthetic)
- Waterproof shell jacket
- Long underwear (moisture wicking, merino wool or polyester)
- Quick dry soft shell pants
- Rain pants
- Outer layer of clothing you don't mind getting dirty, for shooting on the beach, edges of ponds, etc.
- Thin gloves (good dexterity for operating camera controls)
- Thick gloves
- Warm hat
- Warm socks
- Rubber boots
- Knee pads
- Chest waders (optional* - you may have the opportunity to enter the water to achieve eye-level images of water birds)
Approximately 30 species of waterfowl are possible in the Vancouver area during the winter. While we focus on quality encounters over quantity, our trip is designed with diversity in mind, with participants coming away with a large portfolio of waterfowl, including several tough to photograph species. Highlights include...
A Wood Duck drake calls out to a potential mate.
A Green-winged Teal drake "peeping".
The incredible rainbow iridescence of a Bufflehead drake.
An elegant Northern Pintail drake on ice.
A male Hooded Merganser displaying his full crest.
A Common Goldeneye drake bathed in the last few minutes of evening light.
As waterfowl, shorebirds and passerines inundate the region, with them comes a host of predatory birds. Exploring the agricultural areas throughout the Fraser River Delta, it isn't uncommon to encounter dozens of hawks and harriers, hundreds of eagles, and if you know where to look, owls! Eight species of owls can be expected in the Vancouver area during the winter months. A few other atypical species may wander into the region as well.
Each year brings different opportunities and we work hard to maximize your success; scouting for many weeks to find off the beaten track, unique locations.
Surrounded by the bark of a western red cedar, a Barred Owl emerges from the rainforest just before dusk.
A pair of Barred Owls in their mossy temperate rainforest domain.
A Northern Saw-whet Owl perched in a snowy deciduous forest.
A roosting Long-eared Owl photographed after a rain squall.
A Short-eared Owl floats over a coastal salt marsh during its evening hunt.
A Short-eared Owl at rest atop a drift log.
A Northern Pygmy-Owl with a freshly captured vole.
A Northern Pygmy-Owl perched on the edge of its temperate rainforest domain.
A pair of Barn Owls roost in the rafters of a 100 year-old barn.
A Barn Owl hunts for rodents before dusk.
Perching Birds & Others
A nice variety of songbirds, woodpeckers, and other families call our forests home during the winter months. Shooting from blinds in a friend's yard provides incredible opportunities to photograph over 20 different species! Here are a few of our favourites...
Chestnut-backed Chickadee perched on a Douglas fir branch.
A Spotted Towhee perched on a moss covered branch.
Steller's Jay - British Columbia's Provincial Bird.
A male Northern Flicker excavates a mossy stump.
A male California Quail poised atop a mossy log.
West Coast Specialities
A handful of species seen during this workshop are unique to the West Coast.
A male Anna's Hummingbird stretching his wings, revealing amazing iridescent colours.
A Black Oystercatcher cruises the rocky shoreline with a freshly captured whelk.
A Black Turnstone at rest along the coast of the Salish Sea.
What participants are saying...
Below you'll find a small sampling of the incredible images taken during this workshop by some of our participants.