North American Black Bears Photo Workshop
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Intermediate Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs, Professionals
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: You need to be experienced with your camera to make suggested setting changes in the field without hands-on assistance and comprehend the rationale behind the recommended settings (including exposure mode, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, metering mode, focus mode, assessing histogram and highlight information, and making corresponding exposure compensation changes). This is not a workshop to learn how to use your camera.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Participants must be in good health, able to walk on uneven terrain with tripod/camera/lens and able to stand at all times to photograph the bears. You must be able to carry your gear without assistance. There will be no exceptions to these requirements.
Minnesota is the most northern state outside of Alaska, and has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined. There are an estimated 12,000-15,000 black bears in Minnesota. Photographing the North American Black Bear is the purpose of this 3-day photo workshop. Emphasis will be on helping you to capture incredible photographs of black bears of all sizes and ages in their natural environment, and giving you as much time as possible with the bears. This workshop provides an amazing in-field photographic experience. Participants must 18+ years old to attend the workshop.
The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is 500+ acres of North Woods habitat in Minnesota, ideal for black bears and other wildlife. It is located about two hours northwest of Duluth. Vince Shute habituated generations of bears frequenting the Sanctuary unintentionally, as he tried to find a way to peacefully coexist with his forest neighbors. Vince fed the bear for more than 25 years. The feeding continues today as a means of preserving the extraordinary opportunities this unique situation provides. It allows the American Bear Association to educate the visiting public about the natural history of the American black bear and all natural resources. In addition, it allows the Association to offer you the chance to photograph this normally shy and reclusive animal.
- An informative online webinar presentation in advance of the workshop that covers wildlife photography composition tips, camera settings and recommended gear. It will also include and illustrative slideshow of photos with camera settings taken by Kathleen at the Sanctuary to prepare you to maximize your camera’s potential while shooting.
- 3 full-days access to photograph black bears and other wildlife on ground level, not available to the public. The most common lens focal length is 100-400 mm.
- Workshop size is limited to 7 participants so you’ll have plenty of one-on-one time with Kathleen to ask questions and get coaching specific to your individual photographic needs.
- Before the workshop:
- An online recorded webinar prior to the workshop that covers wildlife photography composition tips, camera settings and recommended gear to prepare you. You will have access to both the recording and the webinar materials.
- Detailed handout of what to bring, the itinerary, what to expect and more
- American Bear Association introductory session on bear safety, bear behavior, history and mission of the organization, black bear natural history
- During the workshop:
- 3 full days access to the Sanctuary ground level property, as well as the viewing deck; includes all Sanctuary fees and water throughout the days
- Group and one-on-one guidance on location before each photo session to ensure you get the most out of your camera, including optimal shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure compensation settings
- Lots of iPhone photos of you photographing the bears!
- Mid-day optional visit to the North American Bear Center and the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota
- After the workshop:
- Group gallery for sharing people pictures
- Online webinar 30-60 days after the workshop. Interactive review of images submitted by participants. Participants submit up to 6 of their favorite images from the workshop. Kathleen will critique images, offer post processing tips and will demonstrate post processing edits.
- Airfare – Recommend flying into Minneapolis or Duluth, Minnesota
- Lodging – Recommend Oveson’s Pelican Lake Resort & Inn in Orr, MN (218-757-3613)
- Ground transportation