Great Bear Rainforest - May 2020 - davehutchison


May 26-31, 2020

6 days, 5 nights (meals, all lodgings included*)

limited to 8 participants (we may reduce to 7 depending on gear)

* workshop in partnership with Shane McDermott / VisionQuest Photography

Workshop base: Khutzeymateen Wilderness Lodge Ltd.

Price $4,250 USD + 5% GST tax - based on double occupancy only**

Deposit $1,500 USD + 5% GST tax

Balance due 90 days prior to trip departure date

Khutz Lodge May 2020 Payment

This is not your traditional photo tour simply meant to get you to the best locations in the best light. That is a given! We've set the bar super high and expect you to come away from this experience feeling completely transformed both as a photographer and as a human being. Regardless if you are a beginner, intermediate or seasoned professional. this experience will forever transform the way you approach your photography and open up creative dimensions you've never even thought about.

Simply put...

"This is about opening the EYES of your SOUL to a radically different way of seeing and being"

Vision quest photography is a radically transformative experience! It is meant offer breakthrough insights, experiences and profound practices you can take away and integrate into your photography as it evolves overtime.

The Khutzeymateen is a precious jewel in wilderness crown of the Great Bear Rainforest! Three days in the Khutz is a transformative experience regardless of what else you learn. VisionQuest is unique mindfulness based teaching meant toremove the barriers that obstruct your creative genius and open the eyes of your Soul to new ways of seeing. It gets you to the heart of magical image making!

"In the full presence of this moment, there is no loss, no lack, no limits to the boundless nature of your unique creative expression."

As seen on Trip Advisor

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Over the years I have enjoyed sharing my photography passion with others.   Sharing my passion for both landscape and wildlife photography through a variety of workshops and photo tours is a privilege that I continue cherish year after year.

In the last year I have partnered with long time friend and fellow photographer Shane McDermott to offer something very unique in the photography field.  The foundation of our teaching is based on "What is in here" as well as "What is out there".  The "What is out there" part is often taught (sometimes very well) in photography.  This the part that encompasses the best locations, best light, camera settings, gear selection, etc.  But what about the emotions, our thoughts, how we think of ourselves, etc. intertwine with our photography - and how we photograph and see.

Our workshops become unique as we bring to light to the "What is in here" component.  If you are still reading this, you have made the first step about gaining awareness about what is happening within ourselves while we are photographing and uncovering what we call "Breaking the Barriers to Creativity".

In summary, we can help you turn Barriers into Opportunities which is the essence of our workshops.

Testimonials ...

Dave is a highly qualified and experienced photographer. His knowledge of the Vancouver Island area allowed him to plan an experience that was second to none. Throughout he was always teaching and helping. The result was a experience from which I learned much about photography and the Vancouver Island coastal area.

Stu, Kelowna, BC

Dave provided an excellent workshop. He is passionate about his profession and photography and as a result, found him to be very engaging and interesting. Dave was clearly interested and willing to determine where your ability levels were at and encouraged you to take the next steps out of your comfort zones to learn and try new techniques. I also found Dave was very generous with his time one on one in the field. I look forward to future workshops with Dave.

Don C, Kelowna, BC

Khutzeymateen Introduction:

I first went to the Khutzeymateen in 2008 & 09 and was immediately drawn to the pristine area and the abundance of wildlife, mainly the coastal Grizzly bears.  I have sold many Grizzly bear prints, cards and license rights for images captured on those trips.  Over the last nine years I have explored other areas of nature photography (landscapes, long exposures, nightscapes, etc.) and have once again been drawn to the "Khutz". 

I went again June 2018 on a personal trip (not a photo tour) to capture new images for myself.  During this recent trip I knew the time was right to create a Photo Tour to assist photographers in capturing the experience of the "Khutz".  For some people, the time in the Khutz can be life changing.  It is different for everyone. 

If you are thinking about visiting the area with myself or otherwise, please consider the following.  The Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen Photo Tour has taken A LOT of time and energy and which started with reserving Ocean Light II for our first tour that filled June 6-11, 2019.  The reservation took 2 years from start to finish of the tour.  To say I feel very fortunate to have this space for 2019 reserved is an understatement.

The demand for the Khutzeymateen is high.  Only around 200 people are permitted to enter the Khutz Estuary each spring which makes it more difficult to schedule.  Due to our recent success of filling our boat based tour with Ocean Light II, my business partner (Shane) and I decided to research other photo tour options for the Khutzeymateen. 

After months of research, we decided to reserve a second Khutzeymateen Photo Tour for May 30 - June 4, 2019.  The teachings will be the same as the June 6-11, 2019 tour but the actual tour operator is different.  We decided after careful consideration that the Khutzeymateen Wilderness Lodge situated in the Khutz Inlet would be a great fit for our clients.  Note, there are only 2 tour operators permitted by BC Parks to enter the Khutz Estuary (very good bear photography!).  We have now reserved both operators for spring 2019 (first one is full - the second date in the calendar).

Where the two operators differ the most is how and where they are situated.  When reserving a tour where Ocean Light II is the base, all participants remain on the ship for the trip.  Land based access is not permitted (for some people, not being able to walk around much on a ship for 3-4 days can be restrictive).  When reserving our new May 30 - June 4, 2019 tour where the Khutz Wilderness Lodge is the base, participants stay in a lodge / motel style resort that is more like being land based (room to walk around).

If you have any questions at all about the Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen Photo Tour, please call 250-655-1105 or email me directly.

Trip Info:

Now for the actual trip information.  First we will spend the first 2 days photo in Prince Rupert with a small amount of class time and time for eagle photography.  We take a float plane (morning of June 1) to the Khutzeymateen Inlet where the staff at the Khutz Lodge will be waiting our arrival.  After a brief introduction and depending on tide levels at the time we will head out in the 24 ft (partially covered) boat in search of grizzly bears. 

The Khutzeymateen Valley is Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary and the home of one of British Columbia’s most important coastal populations of grizzly bears.  Located on the northwest coast of BC, the Khutzeymateen is a stunning land of dense Sitka spruce rainforest, fjords and high, rugged mountains.  The Khutzeymateen River watershed plus the neighbouring drainages of Larch and Cedar Creek, make up the 44,000 hectares of the sanctuary.  It is thought that a minimum of 60 grizzlies call the pristine wilderness of the Khutzeymateen home, which is perhaps the largest known concentration of grizzly bears on the entire BC coast.  The grizzlies share the watershed with black bears, wolves, wolverines, mountain goats, mink, otters, martens, porcupines and beavers. Marine mammals such as seals, otters, and whales frequent the area and over 100 species of birds are also found in the valley.

Activity info:

This Photo Tour is not meant to be strenuous but a good average physical fitness is required for daily activities.  There are several hours (with breaks) spent in the 24 ft (partially covered) boat where you will be sitting, kneeling, squating, etc.  There are three kneeling pads provided in the Zodiac which are very useful while photographing.  If you have mobility concerns, please call or email myself directly.


Day 1 May 26 - Arrive into Prince Rupert and check into Eagle Bluff B&B in Cow Bay (part of Prince Rupert).  Orientation and general meet and greet 4 pm at Eagle Bluff B&B.  We will  spend the remainder of the day photographing eagles and marine life in Prince Rupert.  Most is walking distance from Cow Bay.

Day 2 May 27 - Time spent photographing eagles and marine life in Prince Rupert and Cow Bay.  Some structured time will be allowed for image processing and image review.

Day 3 May 28 - After breakfast, we leave Eagle Bluff B&B for the float plane base very close to Cow Bay.  The float plane ride is about 30 minutes to the Khutzeymateen Inlet where the Khutzeymateen Wilderness Lodge is located.  After a briefing and introduction, we will head out in search of grizzly bears (I can't wait for that part).  When we actually leave the lodge is tide dependent.  We actually can go back and forth from the ship to the Khutzeymateen Estuary 2-3 times per day (a meal in between is common).

Day 4 May 29 - Depending on the tides we may head out straight away to see the bears and have a light snack along the way and breakfast when we return.  Again this is largely tide dependent.

Day 5 May 30 - same as above, MORE bears.

Day 6 May 31 - Breakfast and then say your good byes to the staff at the Khutz Wilderness Lodge and board the float plane for the trip back to Prince Rupert.  Depending on your personal schedule and return flight we may gather again for a good bye lunch.  If you choose to stay longer in Prince Rupert, hotel / food is not included on June 4 (just breakfast at the Khutz Lodge).

What is included:

- float plane transportation to and from the Khutzeymateen Inlet from Prince Rupert.

- any transfer fees incurred getting to and from the Prince Rupert Airport to the Eagle Bluff Bed & Breakfast.

- first 2 nights stay at the Eagle Bluff Bed & Breakfast (May 30-June 1, 2019 - 2 nights)

- 3 nights stay at the Khutzeymateen Wilderness Lodge (June 1-4, 2019 - 3 nights)

- park entrance fees (currently $50 per day per person which is included in the workshop fee)

- breakfast May 31 & June 1 at Eagle Bluff B&B

- lunch, and dinner at Khutz Wilderness Lodge June 1

- breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Khutz Lodge June 2-3

- breakfast only at the Khutz Lodge June 4

What is NOT included:

- medical insurance

- trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance  

- airfare to and from Prince Rupert Airport

- lunch and dinner on May 30 & May 31

- any additional baggage charges incurred to get to Prince Rupert

- any additional baggage charges (max 45lbs - no tripods) on the float plane to and from the Khutzeymateen from Prince Rupert (details will be published in 2019)

- your personal items and camera gear

What to bring:

- 2 x camera bodies is very beneficial

- 5-6 memory cards (depending on the sizes you have)

- spare camera body batteries

- mid range wide angle for landscape shots like a 24-70mm or 24-120mm

- mid range telephoto 70-200mm (this focal range is very important)

- telephoto or zooms 80-400, 200

-400mm, 200-500mm, 300 2.8, etc.

- from my experience prime 500 and 600mm are not necessary

- polarizer for landscape shots

- tripods are not necessary as all image making is done from the 19ft Zodiac (if you do bring a tripod please arrange to leave it at Eagle Bluff B&B

- it will not go on the float plane)

- camera bag with water proof cover

- camera lens cover (Aquatech or Think Tank Hydrophobia is recommended)

- several lens cloths

- water bottle

- water proof rain pants (we will photograph in the Great Bear "Rain" forest)

- water proof rain jacket (light one is good if you are layering with a few sweaters)

- light sweater(s)

(please dress in layers as it can be cool and warm in the Khutz on the same day)

- rubber boots are mandatory (boots can be provided if you are traveling from overseas - please check first)

- sandles or light runners while at the Lodge

- hiking boots are NOT required

- hat / cap - waterproof

- sunscreen (can be bright on the water)

- pen and small note pad for camera bag

- laptop for image review and backup (or storage for memory cards)

Other details:

*  Our intention is to offer two instructors on this trip (myself and Shane McDermott) and eight participants.  However, in the event of an unforeseen circumstance we can't guarantee two instructors.

** Trip pricing is based on shared accommodations due to the layout at the Khutz Lodge

Payment & Cancellation Policy:

- $1,500 USD + 5% GST tax deposit due to book your spot

- $2,750 USD + 5% GST tax due 90 days prior to trip start date (March 1, 2019)

- more than 60 days prior to trip start date, 50% refund (unless I can fill your spot)

- less than 60 days prior to trip start date, no refunds (unless I can fill your spot)

- payment accepted by PayPal, E-transfer (Canada only), or credit card over the phone

- highly recommend trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance (medical too)

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