Owl Photography Workshops in Canada: 2024

Snowy Owl Photography Workshop
Snowy Owl Photography Workshop
Northern Hawk Owl & Ptarmigan Photography Workshop
Northern Hawk Owl & Ptarmigan Photography Workshop

Northern Hawk Owls and Great Gray Owls north of Saskatoon

The center of the permanent range for both Northern Hawk Owl and Great Gray Owl occurs within the  boreal forests of northern Saskatchewan. These regions are easily accessed by driving north of Saskatoon.

Northern Hawk owl
Northern Hawk Owl
by Nick Saunders

Northern Hawk Owl rangeGreat Gray Owl map

Snowy Owl Photography Workshops

Snowy Owl Photography Workshop Dates:

February Break Workshop: February 17 – 19, 2024

Northern Hawk Owl and Ptarmigan Photography Workshop: Follows this workshop

Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Workshop Hotel: TBA
Hotel booking information will be sent to registered participants.

Snowy Owl Photography Workshop Instructor: Boyd Coburn

Host: Stan Shadick

Registration Limit: 5 Participants
Early Booking Recommended

Workshop Summary

  • 2 Full Day – Snowy Owl Photography Session
  • 1 Late Afternoon – Snowy Owl Photography Session
  • Hands-on Camera Settings Help during all Photography Sessions
  • 2 Indoor Snowy Owl Photography Editing Sessions
  • Optional Post Workshop 2-day Great Gray Owl and Northern Hawk Owl Photography Tour
  • Both novice and experienced bird photographers are welcome.
  • We do NOT bait owls.
  • Carpooling will be encouraged at the start of each outdoor event.
  • Partial Tax Receipt (50%) will be given to all registrants.  (The leaders volunteer their time so that all proceeds support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation charity).

Snowy Owl Photography Workshop Itinerary

DAY 1: Saturday, February 17, 2024

2:00 PM – 2:15 PM Snowy Owl Photography Workshop Welcome and Overview

2:15 PM – 6:00 PM Snowy Owl Photography Session 1
The Snowy Owl Photography workshop begins with a driving tour to view and photograph any Snowy Owls at one regular wintering area near Saskatoon.

Carpooling is encouraged. Return driving distance should be less than 100 km.

You should have breakfast before we depart and/or bring food with you for this tour.

6:00 PM – 6:30 PM Hotel Check-In

6:30 PM – 9:30 PM Snowy Owl Photography Indoor Editing Session 1
We plan to reserve our own room at a restaurant where we can order food for supper while we download and discuss processing and editing of our first set of images.

DAY 2: Sunday, February 18, 2024

7:30 AM – 6:30 PM Snowy Owl Photography Session 2
Following breakfast, your instructor will guide you to the heart of the winter distribution of Snowy Owls in Saskatchewan. We hope to find and photograph more than 10 owls on this full-day driving session. We will stop at a small town restaurant for lunch. Return driving distance should be about 600 km.

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Snowy Owl Photography Indoor Editing Session 2
We again plan to reserve our own room at a restaurant where we can order food for supper while we download and discuss processing and editing of our second set of images.

DAY 3: Monday, February 19, 2024

7:30 AM – 7:00 PM Snowy Owl Photography Session 3
Your instructor will guide you to another location where more Snowy Owls will be wintering south of Saskatoon.
Return driving distance should be less about 400 km.

7:00 PM Snowy Owl Photography Workshop Ends

Participants may return to their hotel in Saskatoon in preparation for departure home or plan to continue north on the  Northern Hawk Owl and Ptarmigan Photography Workshop if you have pre-registered for it.

Questions: please email questions to birdtours@sasktel.net and include your phone number and times when you may be contacted.

Snowy Owl Tour
Snowy Owl by Nick Saunders

 

Northern Hawk Owl  & Ptarmigan Photography Workshops

Workshop Dates:
February Break Workshop: February 20 – 22, 2024

Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

Workshop Hotel: TBA
Hotel booking information will be sent to registered participants.

Owl Photography Workshop Instructor: Boyd Coburn

Host: Stan Shadick

Registration Limit: 5 Participants
Early Booking Recommended

Workshop Summary

  • 3 Full Day – Owl Photography Session
  • Hands-on Camera Settings Help during all Photography Sessions
  • 2 Evening Indoor Photography Editing Session
  • Both novice and experienced bird photographers are welcome.
  • We do NOT bait owls.
  • Carpooling will be encouraged at the start of each outdoor event.
  • Partial Tax Receipt (50%) will be given to all registrants.  (The leaders volunteer their time so that all proceeds support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation charity).

Northern Hawk Owl & Ptarmigan Photography Workshop Itinerary

Participants should plan to arrive in Saskatoon on the previous day and stay overnight at a Saskatoon Hotel.

DAY 1:  Tuesday, February 20, 2024

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM 
Participants will drive north of Saskatoon to Prince Albert where you may have a short coffee break and purchase food for lunch on the road.

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM 
We will continue driving northeast of Prince Albert through the boreal forest making photography stops wherever we spot a Northern Hawk Owl.
During the late afternoon, we will search for a possible flock of Willow Ptarmigan.
Hotel accommodation information will be sent to registered participants.
Today’s estimated driving distance should be roughly 550 km.

5:30 PM – 8:00 PM Indoor Photography Editing Session
We will order supper and edit our recently obtained images.

DAY 2: Wednesday, February 21, 2024

8:00 AM – 10: AM
We will have breakfast and then search for any Willow Ptarmigan to photograph.

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
We will continue drive roads in search of Northern Hawk Owls to photograph.
Bring Lunch to eat in the field.
Supper at a restaurant in or near our hotel.
Hotel information will be sent to registered guests.

DAY 3: Thursday, February 22, 2024

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Breakfast and check out.

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
We will hike some trails looking for American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls and other songbirds to photograph. We should see Elk and Red Fox. There is a chance of finding a Canada Lynx.

Drive back to Saskatoon in the evening.

Questions: please email questions to birdtours@sasktel.net and include your phone number and times when you may be contacted.

Bird Tours Gift Certificate
CLICK PICTURE for details.

Great Gray Owl

 

 

 

Ethical Owl Photography Policy

We feel it is important that we follow ethical owl photography techniques when photographing owls in the wild during our tours and workshops. We suggest clients read the Owl Observation and Photography Tips suggested by Birds Canada.

Our owl observation and photography policy includes the following key points designed to avoid disturbing any owls we find. Whenever we are near an owl, we will let you know what is permitted depending upon the distance and behaviour of the owl.

  • We do NOT bait owls. Baiting owls with food may alter their behaviour near people. Any owls we encounter should exhibit natural wild behaviour and may be wary of humans.
  • Clients should use a telephoto lens on your camera for the best images or view the owls using binoculars or with a spotting scope. When appropriate and requested, we will set up a high magnification spotting scope at a reasonable distance to avoid disturbing the owls.
  • In some situations, it is best to observe and photograph owls from inside a vehicle which may act as a blind. Bring a bean bag or window mount for your camera. Also bring 2 dark pieces of cloth (t-shirts, pillow cases, towels) to cover the windows on the opposite side of your vehicle from the owls so that they are less likely to see you move inside your vehicle.
  • In some circumstances, you may exit the vehicle on the side away from the owl and then crouch down to hide behind the vehicle for photography or observation.
  • Avoid talking loudly or making noise when an owl is close to us. We want the owl to be able to listen for its prey.

Fees for Owl Photography Workshops & Photography Tours

FEE for 3-day Snowy Owl Photography Workshop:  CAD $1490 per person (about US $1100 £870).
Fee includes only leadership services. Clients must cover transportation costs for leaders in their personal or rented vehicle. We can communicate via hands-fee cell phone when driving. Accommodation, transportation and meals are not included.

FEE for 3-day Northern Hawk Owl and Ptarmigan Quest Photographic Workshop:  CAD $1490 per person (about US $1100, £870). Fee includes only guiding services of leaders. Clients must cover transportation costs of leaders in their personal or rented vehicle. We can communicate via hands-fee cell phone. Accommodation, transportation and meals are not included.

FEE for both above Workshops (6-days: February 17 – 22) CAD $2580 per person. SAVE $400.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $50 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 60 days before date of this Snowy Owl Photography Workshop.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 60 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

TAX RECEIPT: A tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee will be issued to the person paying for the Owl Photography Workshop.

All guiding fee proceeds will be donated to Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Tax Receipts

 

 

 

 

 

Registration Form: Scroll Down to bottom of webpage.

Why book these Owl Photography Workshops with us?

  1. LOCAL EXPERIENCE. Your guides have over 50 years experience in observing and photographing birds in Saskatchewan.  Although owls often move to different locations in different years, they will lead you to the best spots to photograph them.
  2. ETHICS. We do NOT bait owls.
    Your guide will show you how to use special techniques to observe and photograph nearby owls responsibly without disturbing these birds. A spotting scope may be used to observe birds that are too far away from the vehicle to photograph.
  3. LEARN ID TIPS. You can learn how to use field marks and sounds to identify the cranes, swans, geese (up to 5 species), ducks, grebes, eagles and other raptors plus many songbirds. Your guide will take you to the best locations for finding these species during this event.
  4. BEST VEHICLE FOR OBSERVING. We believe that your personal or rented vehicle will usually provide a better observing and photography experience than the crowded expensive vans offered by some out-of-province companies. Often dark tinted van windows cannot be rolled down to provide optimal conditions for viewing and photography. Winter Tires recommended.
  5. WILDLIFE CHARITY. Because your Owl Photography Workshop leaders volunteer their time, all of your fees are used by our local wildlife rehabilitation center to help pay the cost of food, medicine and hiring of summer students needed to care for injured birds and small mammals harmed by human activities.
  6. TAX RECEIPTS. You will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the  fees.

What to Wear

What to Wear. Wear winter hat, winter coat, warm pants and long underwear and winter snow boots.

Stan Shadick in winter
Stan Shadick in winter.
Photo by Bhaskar Thankey.

What to Bring

  • Participants should bring a digital camera with both long and short focal lengths.
  • Participants should bring a laptop computer equipped with their favourite photographic editing software.
  • You need to plan to drive your own personal or rented vehicle to and from locations where we will be photographing and viewing cranes. Winter tires recommended.
  • Bring good a winter parka, long windproof pants, long underwear, winter hat and gloves.

Transportation

Participants on these Owl Photography Workshops need to drive their own personal or rented vehicle. RVs and vehicles pulling trailers are not recommended. Full electric vehicles are not recommended. The driving distance may be about 600 km for full day Snowy Owl Photography session and 600 km for the full day Northern Hawk  Owl session and less than 100 km for half-day Snowy Owl Photography Sessions. Round Trip driving distance for the post conference Northern Hawk Owl and Ptarmigan photography tour to northern Saskatchewan will be about 1300 km.

Carpooling

If you would like to share your vehicle with other participants then complete the Carpooling Section of the Registration Request Form below or email the workshop name, your name, phone number and email address to birdtours@sasktel.net

How to get to Saskatoon

Air: Saskatoon International Airport (YXE) is served by Flair,  Air Canada, Westjet and their U.S. partners United and Delta.

Air Canada Star Alliance partners also include Aegean, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA, Lot, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAP, Thai, Turkish, United.

Westjet international partners include AeroMexico, Air France, Air Transat, Azores, Cathay Pacific, China, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Emirates, Hainan, Hong Kong, Japan, KLM, Korean, LATAM, Philippine, Quantas, Virgin Atlantic, Xiamen.

Train: Saskatoon’s  Train Station is served by Via Rail’s Canadian train serving Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper and Vancouver.

Bus: Saskatoon – Edmonton, Saskatoon – Winnipeg and Saskatoon – Regina bus service

Car: Saskatoon is located on Canada’s Yellowhead cross-country highway plus 6 other major highways connecting with all cities in Canada and USA. If you drive, you do not need to rent a car for our tours.

Entering Canada

CLICK HERE for government regulations for entering Canada.
The previous Covid vaccine requirements have been eliminated.
There are no significant delays at the border provided they have fully completed the ArriveCan app in advance.

Owl Photography Instructor: Boyd Coburn

Boyd Coburn
Boyd Coburn – Bird Photography Workshop Instructor

Boyd Coburn has over 30 years experience as a wildlife photographer in Saskatchewan. He is knowledgeable about operating cameras and processing and editing images. He claims he is always learning new techniques for imaging and post processing.

Boyd has a keen eye to find wildlife and the patience required to wait for the best opportunities for photography. He is passionate about being ethical when interacting with wildlife and their natural environment. He enjoys nature and is always looking for those uncommon birds and mammals that we don’t often see.

His approach to bird photography: “It is not always about getting the shot though, sometimes you miss the shot but get a spectacular experience.”

CLICK HERE to see some of Boyd Coburn’s images.

Boyd Coburn in winter
Boyd Coburn in winter

Owl Photography Workshop Host: Stan Shadick

Stan Shadick – Tour Leader

 Host: Your Snowy Owl Photography Workshop host has many years of experience finding and observing birds throughout Saskatchewan. For over 30 years, Stan Shadick has been a birding guide for nature tours and bird photography tours around Saskatchewan and other parts of the country that have been organized by Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation, Nature Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan Extension Division.

Stan is a past president of Nature Saskatchewan as well as a past president and current field trip chairman for the Saskatoon Nature Society. He is a co-editor of the reference publication “Birds of the Saskatoon Area” and contributed significantly to the recently published “Birds of Saskatchewan”.

Stan regularly contributes sightings to e-bird and currently holds the e-bird record for the most bird species seen in Saskatchewan.

Owl Photography Workshop Registration Form

If you do not have a cell phone, enter your land line.
Mailing Address needed for tax receipt.

 

Monthly Newsletter

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CLICK HERE to sign up for the monthly electronic Newsletter from Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours.

Other Bird Photography Sessions

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Great Gray Owl Quest
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Fall Birdwatching Tours

Other Birding Tours

Monthly Newsletter

Learn about special offers and new tours.
CLICK HERE to sign up for the monthly electronic Newsletter from Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours.

Saskatchewan Owl Tours

 

 

Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours