Want to photograph one of nature’s greatest events? Then, this workshop is for you! This is the absolute best time and Sitka is the unrivaled place to capture frame worthy images of this remarkable display. This group feeding behavior is on display as often as 150+ times per day during these dates. Envision the stunning images we will help you capture when up to 20 whales explode through the water with their mouths agape, throat grooves bulging with herring and seawater flushing through their baleen plates. Then, hundreds of Gulls and Bald Eagles come in, screaming and picking off the scraps, seemingly right out of the whales open mouths.
It’s with good reasoning, the BBC chose to film in Sitka for the bubble-net feeding content for the Netflix program, “Our Planet” Episode 4. While they filmed in 2018, 52 humpback whales were identified in a 2 square mile area feasting on the bounty of calorie-rich herring as they returned to these pristine feeding grounds. During this immersive workshop, we will spend over 28 hours on the waters of Sitka Sound and over 20 hours visiting tidepools, muskegs, beaches and historic sites around Sitka. You will see why Conde Nast Travel magazine named Sitka, “the most beautiful town in Alaska.” We limit attendance to a maximum of 6 photographers so we can give our guests personalized attention and every opportunity to be in the exact position you want to be in when the action is happening.
Wildlife Frequently Seen
Humpback whales / Bald Eagles / Sea Otters / Harbor Seals / Harbor Porpoise / Stellar sea lions / Pelagic and Double Crested Cormorants / Common Murres / Buffleheads / Long Tailed Ducks / Surf Scoters / Harlequin Ducks / Greater Scaups / Common Mergansers / Common Loons / Black Oyster Catchers/ Pigeon Guillemots / Marbled Murrelets / Glaucous-winged, Mew, and Herring Gulls / Rhinoceros Auklets
Species Sometimes Seen
Transient Orcas / Minke Whales / Gray Whales / Coastal Brown Bears / Sitka Black-tailed Deer / Pacific Octopus / Tufted Puffin / Common Golden Eyes / Barrow’s Golden Eyes / Pacific Loons / Mink / Martens / River Otters / Belted Kingfisher / Great Blue Herons / Harbor porpoise / California sea lion
❖ Witness one of nature’s greatest events as humpback whales feast on the bounty of Herring alongside hundreds of Sealions, Bald Eagles and Gulls. They will gorge on the bounty of herring, along with hundreds of sea lions, bald eagles, and gulls.
❖ Our photography leaders are also accomplished naturalists, so they can explain the wildlife behaviors as you witness them and give you in the moment tips to help you capture your best photos. Our team has an excess of 60 years of Alaskan residency.
❖ Sitka lies along the coastal edge of Baranof Island in the Tongass National Forest in spectacular Southeast Alaska. Witness both the wildlife and town, home to a mere 8,900 year-round residents, spring to life. Our remote community, with its myriad of forested Islands and rugged coastline, is what whale biologists call the humpback whales’ “first service station,” as they return ravenous from their mating and calving time in Hawaii.
❖ This is truly a photographer’s paradise! No other town in the 49th state has Sitka’s charisma. As we journey through historic Sitka, you will appreciate how three cultures—Tlingit, Russian, and American—were woven together. During your land portion of the expedition, we will visit the Starrigavan Estuary, The Sitka National Historical Park, the sacred Russian Cemetery, and explore the Tongass temperate rainforest. We will also find excellent opportunities to capture beautiful shots of classic and historical boats in the harbors of this fishing community.
❖ Ride in comfort aboard our very stable and heated 43’ catamaran that features 360-degree viewing, complete walk around deck and spacious restroom. Our research quality hydrophone allows you enjoy the sometimes-funny whale communication and alert us as to when the whales will be lunging out of the water so you can have your cameras at the ready.
❖ Feel good knowing you are joining a globally recognized true eco-tour company. We are one of only 5 companies worldwide that are certified by the World Cetacean Alliance as a responsible whale watching company.
We will do everything in our power to find, view, and capture the images that are of interest to our guests and stay on itinerary. Circumstances including, but not limited to, species location, weather, and sea conditions may necessitate alteration of an itinerary. Plenty of time will be allocated for image editing and image review.
Day 1 – Your adventure begins! (D)
Please arrange arrival into Sitka prior to noon on day one. Our van driver will meet you at Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport and transport you to the Longliner Lodge and Suites where you can get settled into your accommodations. You will attend our 3:30 PM workshop / meet and greet at the Longliner float house located down the ramp on the beautiful Sitka harbor. Upon conclusion of the workshop we will board our custom Sitka built catamaran, MV Cat Daddy for a short ride to the Mean Queen for a welcome dinner. The Mean Queen has excellent lunch and dinner options (including gluten free). After Dinner we will board Cat Daddy once again for a scenic cruise of the bays and islands around Sitka returning to the Longliner about 7:30 PM.
Day 2 through 6
These will be full days! We will keep our schedule flexible so we can take advantage of the best conditions the weather and the seas present us. Below is a typical itinerary for days 2-6.
Day 2 (B,L)
We will meet at Longliner float house at 6:00am ready for the morning photo session aboard, “Cat Daddy” and start our journey to photograph humpback whales bubble-net feeding. We will be on the water until approximately 2:30. Your lunch selection as well snack bars, pastries, hot beverages, and water are available onboard. After a brief respite we will convene in the parking lot and travel to one of Sitka’s scenic harbors photographing classic and historic fishing vessels. You will be on your own for dinner from 4:30 until 6:00 pm. At 6:00 pm we will meet in the parking lot of the lodge and make our way to Eliason or Thompson Harbors to capture images of these colorful and busy fishing harbors all the way through sunset.
Day 3 (B,L)
Like the morning itinerary above with new locations and new techniques. Meet at the float house at 6:00 AM. We will again board our vessel and head out for more marine wildlife pictures. Like day 2, we will be on the vessel until approximately 2:30pm. We will have a review and critique of your images in the Float House from 3:00 until 4:30. You will be on your own dinner from 4:30 until 6:00 pm. At 6:00 we will meet in the parking lot of the lodge to board the van and head to Starrigavan for estuary and muskeg photography or Sandy Beach for the Alaskan sunset. We will head back to the lodge after sunset.
Day 4 (B,L)
Like the morning itinerary above with new locations and new techniques. Meet at the float house at 6:00 AM. We will again board our vessel and head out for more marine wildlife pictures. Again we will be on the vessel until approximately 2:30pm. We get a small break for a bit today to catch up on our rest, or perhaps image review and editing from 2:30 until 6:00 PM when we will head back out on the boat for some evening golden hour photography returning to the Longliner at 7:30. Again, dinner is on your own.
Day 5 (B,L)
At 6:00 AM we will meet in the parking lot and proceed to downtown Sitka to capture images of Pioneer Home, St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church, The Russian Cemetery, Crescent Harbor, and the many beautiful places in our historic town. We will also visit the O’Connell Bridge for high angle shots of the environs. We will stop at the Highliner café for breakfast items and pastries while in the downtown portion. We will then take a short drive to the Sitka National Historical Park. Locally known as Totem Park, where we will capture images amongst Sitka Spruce and along the shoreline punctuated with amazing totems. The park in its various forms has sought to commemorate the Tlingit and Russian experiences in Alaska and boasts 117 sacred rainforest acres and 18 totems. Our driver will return us to the lodge at 2:30 so you can prepare for our final photo review and critique in the Float House from 3:30 – 4:30. After Dinner we will meet in the parking lot to head to Swan Lake or Magic Island where great reflective shots and sunsets await.
Day 6 (B)
We will meet at the Longliner Lodge parking lot at 6:00 AM for our final morning session We will head to the trailheads of Indian River or Herring Cove trails, that feature outstanding macro, waterfall, muskeg, and landscape photo opportunities in a tranquil rainforest setting. We will return to the Longliner Lodge at 10:00 am. After we will say our goodbyes and head home (or photograph more on your own using new skills / concepts). Note; check out time is 11am. We are also happy to do another photo tour or image review after.
Please call or email me directly if you have any questions.
PAYMENT & CANCELLATION POLICY
● $4199 + 5% Sitka city sales tax. Balance due 30 days prior to trip start date
● $1000 deposit required to reserve your spot
● Single supplement room fee of $799, based on availability
● More than 30 days prior to trip start date, 50% refund (unless we can fill your spot)
● Less than 30 days prior to trip start date, no refunds (unless we can fill your spot)