BC wildlife photography workshop



Where: Haida Way Motel, Port McNeill (1 night) & Echo Bay Marina & Lodge

 (3 nights at the Green Roof Cabin), BC

Google Map Location

When: August 25-29, 2023 (6 spots available)

Who: For photographers wanting to explore & create images & video on the wild west coast of BC


Limited to 6 participants


Price: $6,495 CDN


Dave Hutchison

2020 PPOC Best in Class Fine Art Winner

Matt Shannon

Owner, Matt Shannon Photography


Any questions, please email dave@davehutchison.ca

Payment instructions: Click the Deposit payment button ($1,000 + GST) below to secure your spot.  Credit cards AND e-transfer are available for payment options via the online store.


Dave Hard at Work

outdoor photography adventure session workshop

Thank you very much for considering a workshop with Matt Shannon & myself for 2023.  I started my photography career 17 years ago and have had the privilege to explore and create images all over the BC coast.  I have done countless trips up and down the BC coast including three tours of the beautiful Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary north of Prince Rupert.  I also co-organized a workshop to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly in 2019 with long time friend of 25 years, Shane McDermott.  A highlight of my career was leading a successful workshop out of Klemtu, on the north central BC coast in search of the illusive Spirit Bear.  Those spirit bear images are still vivid in my mind today (yes, I photographed a spirit bear)!  I have also led over a dozen single day workshops for long exposure photography, orca whales and humpbacks, & more. 

Over the last 2 years, Matt & I have researched several locations on the southern BC mainland coast that would provide a once in a lifetime opportunity where our clients can grow both personally and photographically and found Echo Bay to be the best location.

outdoor photography photographer adventure

I am very confident we have found the best location and the best guides at Coastal Rainforest Safaris & Sea Wolf Adventures based out of Echo Bay Marina & Lodge north of the Broughton Achipelago!  I visited the Broughtons several times in the last 10 years and it is an outstanding area of BC.  You will not be disappointed!

If you have any questions, please email myself directly.

Wildlife Photos by Dave Hutchison that Matt & I will help YOU make!

Introduction to Echo Bay

We are the Kwakwaka’wakw, the Kwak´wala-speaking people, made up of 18 tribes whose territory reaches from what is now northern Vancouver Island southeast to the middle of the island, and to smaller islands and inlets such as Johnstone Strait.

Deeply connected to and physically and spiritually sustained by the animals, trees, and waters of this region, our rich culture has survived millennia and we are proud to introduce guests to our homeland and our communities.

Led by Sea Wolf Adventures’ owner Mike Willie, a proud member of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis people, our team of Indigenous expert guides introduce visitors to areas that we have called home for millennia. Alert Bay was one of several traditional Kwakwaka’wakw villages where our people were resettled and schooled by the government. Breaking free from the iron hand that came down on us in the form of residential schools and a Potlatch ban, each of our guides play an important role in keeping our culture alive today. “Potlatch is a way to carry out traditional governance for the people. A way to look after the old people,” explains Mike Willie. “Potlatch is a way to maintain intertribal connections, by dancing your masks, stories, and songs in front of other tribes to record our history. A way to carry forward teachings for the future generations.”

All our guides are culturally trained and very active in the Potlatches today; we are ceremonial leaders and take great pride in being able to teach and pass on the knowledge of our ancestors. We are active in exercising our traditional laws that protect our lands and waters for our future generations and we are honoured to share our beautiful home with visitors from around the globe.

Images from around Echo Bay by Mike Willie (our indigenous guide)

Indigenous powerhouse Mike Willie, owner of Sea Wolf Adventures, takes great pride in teaching and passing on the knowledge of his ancestors. As a ceremonial leader in Potlatches and a steward of the land, Mike and his team are active in exercising traditional laws that protect our land and water for future generations.

Mike grew up in the remote village of Kingcome Inlet and is a member of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation. He has been given the names, T’ɬaɬba’lisame’ (Breaching Whale and Leader) and T’ɬalis (Breaching Whale Around the World), celebrating his deep connection to the culture, the history, and the original land of his ancestors.

Mike has spent his life travelling the waters of the Broughton Archipelago as a route to his homeland and as a place to harvest food. Dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of his traditional culture and language, Mike devotes his time to research and spending time with Elders. Passionate about sharing historical information and traditional knowledge as a speaker, multimedia producer, and teacher, Mike learned the songs of his ancestors at a young age and is an active song keeper and composer. He is respected as a leader of ceremonies in the Potlatch and takes pride in being active in his culture. Mike also has a love for tourism and gets exciting to share his upbringing to guests from around the world; he loves being on the water showing guests the exciting wildlife and scenery!

map port mcneil west coast british columbia canada


Trip & Activity Information:

This five day, four nights workshop is best for those that are used to the outdoors. We will be doing short hikes and may have to walk over rocks and other unstable surfaces. However, we will also spend a fair amount of time photographing from the 27ft Zodiac on day 2 and the 31ft partially covered Mayumi on day 3 & 4. Some bear viewing will be best on land but only when Mike says it is fine to do so. Day 5, will be in either the Zodiac or the Mayumi. If you have any questions about the physical activities, please email.


Day 1: Friday, August 25 – Arrive into Port McNeil by 2pm for 2 hour orientation. Check-in to the Haida Way Motel around 3-4pm. After dinner, we will have another orientation / Q & A period at 7pm. This will include a slide show to get you excited about what is to come. Note, meals are not included on Day 1.

Day 2: Saturday, August 26 – Leave early morning (around 9am) via 31ft Sea Wolf boat (they have two) for Echo Bay. This day will be devoted to whales, dolphins, seas lions and more. Note, you only need to have your camera gear on the Zodiac for this trip. You other 1-2 bags of personal items will be transported to Echo Bay via water taxi. Note, lunch and dinner are included on Day 2 (not breakfast).

Day 3: Sunday, August 27 – This day is devoted to the wonderful GRIZZLY BEARS of Thompson River, Bond Sound and any other locations the bears are found. All meals are included on Day 3.

Day 4: Monday, August 28 – This day is devoted to the wonderful GRIZZLY BEARS of Thompson River, Bond Sound and any other locations the bears are found. All meals are included on Day 3.

Day 5, Tuesday, August 29 – After breakfast we will head out from Echo Bay Marina & Lodge in search of whales, dolphins & more. We also have a few options for this day, some of which are a surprise. You will not be disappointed.

What IS included:

  • Boat transportation to and from the Echo Bay Marina & Lodge from Port McNeil.
  • Parking fees incurred while parking your vehicle while at Haida Way Motel for the entire trip.
  • Any indigenous fees to enter their land
  • Lunch & dinner Day, all meals, Day 3 & 4, breakfast and lunch on Day 5
  • Note, there is stable hydro at Echo Bay Lodge for charging camera batteries, etc., however, there is very limited internet service and no cell service. Note the internet service will not be suitable for large file transfers or video streaming or video calling.

What is NOT included:

First night at Haida Way Motor Inn is not included. We are not permitted by BC law to book accommodations on behalf of clients. There is a group rate for this hotel under “Dave Hutchison” or “Mike Willie’s group”.  Rate is $96 + taxes.  Please call the motel directly to book your first night say for the 5 day, 4 nights trip.

Haida-Way Motor Inn
Port McNeill B.C.
Phone: (250) 956-3373


  • Meals on Day 1, breakfast on Day 2
  • 1st night stay in Port McNeill
  • Medical evacuation insurance is required for this remote access trip (read below before you register)
  • Trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance
  • Transportation to and from Port McNeil
  • Your personal items and camera gear

What to bring:

    • 2 x camera bodies is very beneficial, but 1 will do
    • A video camera would be an added bonus
    • 3-4 memory cards (depending on the sizes you have)
    • Laptop or external storage device (whale photography can accumulate images at a rapid rate)
    • Spare camera batteries
    • Mid range wide angle for landscape shots like a 24-70mm or 24-120mm (great for video too)
    • Mid range telephoto 70-200mm
    • Telephoto or zooms 80-400mm, 200-500mm, 180-400mm, 300mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4, etc. (most important for this trip)
    • 1.4x teleconverter could be handy depending on your lens
    • Polarizer for landscape shots
    • Most of the wildlife photography will be handheld. However, a tripod will be beneficial when we are on land viewing the bears and safe to do so.
    • Camera bag with waterproof cover (plastic rain sleeves work well too and are much cheaper)
    • 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)
    • Rubber boots for a possible walk in an estuary with wet grass (as an example)
    • Light sweater(s)

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

  • Hiking boots while on the Day 2-4 adventures
  • Sandals or light runners while at the Lodge
  • Hat and or warm toque – waterproof
  • Sunscreen (can be bright on the water)
  • Pen and small note pad for camera bag

Note, synthetic or wool clothing is recommended – avoid cotton for clothes worn away from the lodge.

Other details:

*  Our intention is to offer two instructors on this trip (myself and Matt Shannon) and six participants.  However, in the event of an unforeseen circumstance we can’t guarantee two instructors.  If one of us is sick or injured, the workshop will proceed.

** Trip pricing is based on shared accommodations and in some situations a private room and shared bath is available.  Please inquire first if this is crucial for your participation.  There are limited private rooms with private bathroom available for an additional charge of $900 + GST (for the three nights at Echo Bay Lodge).

Payment & Cancellation Policy:

In the event that Coastal Rainforest Safaris (or Dave Hutchison / Matt Shannon) are unable to operate the tour due to a BC Government imposed non-essential travel advisory during the dates of your trip, you will be refunded in full.

If you cancel for another reason due to injury, sickness, etc. then your optional trip cancellation insurance would be in effect.


  • $1,000 + 5% GST deposit to secure your spot.
  • Cost is $6,495 + 5% GST.
  • Balance due or payment in full is due by June 15, 2023 for August 25-29, 2023 workshop.
  • If you must cancel your tour, with 60 or more days notice, your deposit in non-refundable.  If we find a replacement participant, a $500 + GST admin fee applies (you would receive $500 + GST refund based on a $1,000 + GST deposit).
  • If you must cancel with less than 60 days notice, no refunds are provided (we will have paid the tour operator).
  • Please purchase insurance to provide cancellation insurance.
  • All cancellations must be received by email.
  • Payment instructions are listed at the beginning of this page.  Credit card and / or e transfer is available for payment via the online store on this website.
  • Medical insurance including wilderness evacuation (Global Rescue) is mandatory for all participants (approx. $129 US).
  • A signed liability waiver is required by both Dave Hutchison Images & Matt Shannon Photography (one waiver for both), as well as, Coastal Rainforest Safaris & Sea Wolf Adventures.


To purchase insurance, please email Mike directly at mike@tailwindtravel.ca or visit http://www.tailwindtravel.ca/ for more information on your insurance needs.  Another option is BCAA for trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance.  Insurance does not have to be purchased through Tailwind Travel.

Mike Gilmore

Tailwind Travel

o. 250 419 4544

c. 250 415 7665


Note, Matt & I are not qualified to consult on insurance. We will direct you to call or email Mike or contact BCAA (or other providers).



Delighted with my pictures. Excellent service with great communication. Only 1 week to receive pictures from overseas. Much quicker service than shopping in my own country! Highly recommend pictures and service to all.

Dave Hutchison Photography, Fairy Lake, Bonsai tree, Port Renfrew, famous tree, award winner, PPOC
Liz B, Highlands, Scotland

"I have known Dave since early 2021 when I was first interested in joining some photography workshops and Meetups. From the start, he has been so helpful, communicative and always eager to share his knowledge and passion for photography. On a recent wildlife photography workshop of his in the Great Bear Rainforest, I learned a lot from him and greatly improved my wildlife photography with his help!"

grizzly bear, bears, british columbia, wildlife photography, dave hutchison photography, wlidlife
Laura L, Nanaimo, BC

"I came to Dave as an amateur photographer (still am) wanting to get into it a little bit deeper. Dave has gone above and beyond that and has given me that little boost of confidence that I needed to get out there. Once he had figured out what kind of photography I wanted to do he helped me with equipment to achieve my goals . Because there’s so much out there it can be very confusing for an amateur photographer but he made it very clear and understandable . Dave has put up with my many questions and has happily answered them. I am definitely going to go back to him for private lessons so I can hone what skills that I have. I would recommend Dave whether you’re a seasoned photographer or amateur."

Aileen W, Campbell River, BC

"Wow, just when you think a photo cannot capture the beauty of the moment you lived through, Dave is able to bring it back to life!  Thank you, not only for sharing your amazing talent, but how you handled the experience from my first inquiring phone call, through to the careful shipping process and the genuine follow up and excitement for my 20th Anniversary gift to my wife. Thank you Dave!"

Brad B, Windsor, Ontario

"Thank you Dave for wonderful photos and sending so quickly and checking if I received them. They are fabulous and people always say how gorgeous they are in my home."

Shelley N, Gold River, BC
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