Snowy Owl Photography Workshop: 2024

Snowy Owl Photography Workshop
Snowy Owl Photography Workshop

Snowy Owls near Saskatoon, Canada

Each winter many Snowy Owls migrate south to spend their winter on the Canadian prairies. The Saskatoon region is situated near the center of the winter range for Snowy Owls in North America. Snowy Owl experts tell us that our region has the highest concentration of wintering Snowy Owls anywhere in the world making it an ideal location for Snowy Owl Photography.

Snowy Owl Winter Range









Snowy Owl Photography Workshops

February Break Workshop Dates: February 17 – 19, 2024

Northern Hawk Owl & Ptarmigan Photography Workshops 

  • February 20 – 22, 2024

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 Sessions
  • 1 Late Afternoon – Snowy Owl Photography Session
  • Hands-on Camera Settings Help during all Photography Sessions
  • 2 Indoor Snowy Owl Photography Editing Session
  • Optional Post Workshop 3-day Northern Hawk Owl & Ptarmigan Photography Tour
  • Both novice and experienced bird photographers are welcome.
  • 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).

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.
Snowy Owl
by Brian Henderson

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. We normally find between 3 and 10 owls in this area.

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 400 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 some Snowy Owls may be wintering near Saskatoon.
Return driving distance should be about 600 km.

7:00 PM Snowy Owl Photography Workshop Ends

Participants may return to their hotel in preparation for departure home or plan to continue north on the  optional post-workshop tour in search of Northern Hawk Owls if they have pre-registered for it.

Post Workshop Event

DAY 1: Tuesday, February 20, 2024

8:00 AM – 7:00 PM Post Workshop Northern Hawk Owl and Ptarmigan Photography Workshop
You may optionally plan to join a group convoy on a special 2-day driving tour to Saskatchewan’s boreal forests.  Here we will drive some back roads in search of Northern Hawk Owls and Willow Ptarmigan.
Hotel accommodation information will be sent to registered participants.
Return driving distance should be roughly 1200 km.

Leadership Fee for Northern Hawk Owl and Great Gray Owl Quest Tour is $1490 per person.

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

CLICK HERE for details of the Northern Hawk Owl and Ptarmigan Photography Workshop.

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

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.
Snowy Owl Tour
Snowy Owl by Nick Saunders

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.

Monthly Newsletter

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

Snowy 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

Snowy 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.

Fees for Snowy Owl Photography Workshops and Photography Sessions.

FEE for 3-day Snowy Owl Photography Workshop:  CAD $1490 per person (about US $1100 £880).
Fee includes only leadership services. Clients must cover transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Guide will travel in a separate vehicle. or ride in your vehicle, if your prefer. We can communicate via hands-fee cell phone when driving. Accommodation, transportation and meals are not included.

FEE for 3-day Post Workshop Northern Hawk Owl and Ptarmigan Quest Photographic Tour:  CAD $1490 per person (about US $1100, £880). Fee includes only guiding services of leader and shared use of spotting scope. Clients must cover transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Guide will travel in a separate vehicle. or ride in your vehicle, if your prefer. We can communicate via hands-fee cell phone. Accommodation, transportation and meals are not included.

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 Snowy Owl Photography Workshop.

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

Tax Receipts



Bird Tours Gift Certificate
CLICK PICTURE for details.

Why book this Snowy Owl Photography Workshop 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 Snowy Owls responsibly without disturbing these birds. A spotting scope may be used to observe birds that are far away from the vehicle.
  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.
  5. WILDLIFE CHARITY. Because your Snowy 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

Bring your cameras and tripod. Binoculars and a scope (optional).


Participants on this Snowy Owl Photography Workshop 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 500 km for full day Owl Photography session and less than 200 km for half-day Snowy Owl Photography Sessions. Round Trip driving distance for the post conference Northern Hawk Owl photography tour to northern Saskatchewan will be about 1200 km.


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

Snowy Owl Workshop Registration Form

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


Saskatchewan Owl Tours



Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours