Private Tours in British Columbia
Your personal guide to get you to the best spots!
Put Me to Work Helping You Get Your Shot
Come in spring, summer, winter or fall and I will guide you to incredible views and lighting conditions to add some amazing images to your portfolio. I not only get you to the location, I can also assist you with every aspect of getting the shot, working with you on composition, advanced techniques such as focus stacking and temporal blending, and post-processing in Photoshop.
Cost and Length
If you want a tour out of the Banff / Jasper area to the south-central and south-eastern part of the province, then the minimum engagement is for three days at $600 CAD per day, (plus 5% GST). Add $100 CAD / day (plus 5% GST) for each additional person. Banff and Jasper are of course in Alberta, not BC, but these serve as a launching off point to photograph amazing BC locations not far from the Alberta border. Note that my Canadian Rockies tours also frequently cross into BC for part of the trip, but you may want to focus on some BC areas rather than Alberta.
I am also beginning work on two major photography projects, one targeting the northwest coastal region which has some of the greatest wilderness areas on the planet, and one focused on waterfalls and waterways in the northeast. Trips to these areas are a minimum of six days and preferably longer. These will typically include float plane or helicopter transportation and backcountry camping, though we can also plan road-access trips as well. For example, I can suggest a lovely little 3,000 + km circle route around the northern half of the province. Another option is to paddle some long wilderness rivers in open canoes or ride jet boats on the raging Stikine River and camp in the side valleys.
For SUV-based trips, days typically begin 90 minutes before sunrise and extend into early evening. During the longer days of summer, this can run from 3:30 am to 10:30 pm. Night sessions to capture aurora borealis, milky way shots, meteor showers, and rising/setting moon images are also included, if the conditions are favorable.
Note that an additional fee may be charged for tours that include overnight backcountry camping. Let's discuss your needs and I will quote you a price.
British Columbia is just under a million sq. km. That's over twice the size of California, nearly three times the size of Germany, and larger than Texas and Washington State combined!
With a population of just 4 million people who are mostly clustered in the Vancouver area, BC is truly a land of spectacular wilderness and amazing landscapes. Bordered by the Canadian Rockies straddling the eastern border and the fractured Pacific Coast and Salish Sea to the west, BC is more incredible and diverse than most people could imagine. Stunning peaks, 1,000' + high waterfalls, cascading glaciers, recent lava fields, estuaries and beaches ... the list goes on and on.
John Muir loved to visit northern British Columbia and described just one of the river's there as “a Yosemite … a hundred miles long.” He wrote in his journal: "I never before had seen so richly sculptured a range or so many awe-inspiring inaccessible mountains crowded together.”
For trips in the southeast quadrant of the province, we will normally begin the adventure in the mountain town of Banff, Alberta, in the heart of Banff National Park and a 90-minute drive from Calgary International Airport. From there we may decide to shoot in the Alberta range for awhile before moving into the BC parks and wild lands. Trips in the northern half of the province can start in Smithers, Terrace, Prince George, or even Whitehorse (in the Yukon, just over the BC border). From those starting points, the options for photographic exploration are endless!
Ready to explore some new terrain?
Normally we would meet anywhere from 90-120 minutes before sunrise, to get an early start on our first photo shoot of the day.
We will usually NOT follow a fixed itinerary as we need to stay flexible to react to rapidly changing weather systems. The schedule for the first day and beyond will therefore be adapted as needed with the goal of putting ourselves in the best possible locations at the best possible time.
A Typical Day
While we will adapt the day-to-day plans as the weather systems change, in general we will head out every morning well before dawn and not finish shooting until well after sunset. If we are close to a town, we might duck in after the morning shoot for breakfast and again in the late afternoon for a late lunch or early dinner. Because the sun rises at 5:30 am and doesn't set until nearly 10:00 pm in early summer, this means we will be out for long days. In winter the days are shorter so we will start later, but the light is frequently more magical! As well, if conditions are right, we will also go out for nighttime shoots, to try to capture aurora borealis or moonlight on the peaks.
A huge part of being able to successfully realize your photographic vision is perfecting the creative and technical sides of photography. It is my goal on every tour to help you learn and improve techniques that will make a difference to the quality of your output. Modules that we will address include:
- learning to "see" more creatively
- shot planning / sampling other creative arts
- ways to brainstorm possibilities and explore options
- approaches to composition
- lens / filter selection
- how to plan, capture, and process panorama shots
- best practices for focus stacking and focal length blending
- temporal blending and twilight blends
- night / star / moon / aurora photography
In addition to field instruction, we will also look for opportunities to practice with Lightroom and Photoshop. I will take you through my entire workflow from RAW processing to final published image. I like to take a very pragmatic hands-on approach to make sure you get a chance to thoroughly learn the essentials that you can apply to your own photo processing.
As an added bonus, after the tour is over I will ask you to send me two unprocessed RAW image files that you captured during the trip. I will then meet with you online and process the images, showing you all the steps in my complete workflow. Depending on the images you provide, this could include focus stacking, panoramic stitching, RAW processing, advanced Photoshop processing, color management, and final sharpening. I will record these editing sessions as video files and make these available to you to download, so you can practice these techniques on your own.
Meals and Accommodations
Tour fee does not include restaurant meals or accommodations. Light meals in the field will be provided if we are shooting at distance from suitable restaurants.
You will have the option to stay in a hotel or camp in a campground each evening. I can provide you with a tent and sleeping pad/bag if required. As well, if you are up to the challenge, we can also hike and camp to overnight backcountry locations. There food will be provided. I do charge an extra fee for overnight trips.
Because this is a private tour, we can tailor the physical activity level to your abilities. Whether you want to undertake a massive hike into the backcountry or just stay close to the car or helicopter, I've got you covered. We will not be doing any arduous mountain climbing but we normally do light daily hiking with occasional elevation gains and somewhat steep sections. I also have extensive experience working with people who have physical challenges such as paralysis.
You are welcome to bring your own vehicle or car-pool with me. I have a 4WD Toyota Sequoia with 8 seats, but I prefer to carry no more than 5 passengers so everyone gets a window seat.
I can also arrange a helicopter to take us up into the alpine. You will be required to pay the helicopter company directly for this booking.
You will need a camera, lenses, tripod and some hiking gear. I will provide a full list of recommended gear once you book or upon request. Mountain weather changes rapidly and we will be hiking around streams, rivers, and lakes, so it is important to have proper clothing and footwear.
Permits and Safety
I am a certified member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, which means that I have been rigorously trained and tested to lead clients on extended wilderness expeditions. I have a current 80-hour Wilderness First Responder certificate and extensive training in wilderness navigation and emergency response. I also hold permits and insurance for wilderness parks covering over 30,000 sq. km. in the SE quadrant of the province as well as liability insurance and permissions for camping on wilderness lands in northern BC. Add to this a lifetime of camping and wilderness travel experience and I am well qualified to lead clients in search of epic mountain landscapes.
Note that all participants will be required to sign a standard liability waiver at the start of the tour. I will send you a copy of this upon booking.
Book Today to Reserve your Place
A 50% reservation fee holds your spot. Normally, the balance plus GST (a 5% local tax) is due on the first day of the tour, but for longer tours especially in northern BC, I will require full payment one week before the start of the tour.
A full refund will be made for cancellations more than 90 days before the tour start date.
For cancellations 90 days to 3 days before the tour start time, your deposit will not be refunded but will instead be held on account for you to use for a future tour with me.
Cancellations made less than 72 hours before the tour start time will result in forfeiture of your reservation fee.
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