Upcoming Workshops


Capture the Magic

Join professional guides and whale watch captains Jeff Friedman and Sara Shimazu as they share their passion and love for whales, bringing you personal stories of recent whale sightings and encounters, research, news and interviews.

$579 + tax / Day
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Come Capture the Magic with us!

I’m excited to announce our new 2022 Capture the Magic Photography Workshop on the Salish Sea! This spectacular photo workshop will take place in the beautiful Pacific Northwest off the San Juan Islands, a location National Geographic calls, “A biologically rich environment filled with some of our planets greatest marine mammals.” An impressive claim, but just a few hours on the water is enough to make a believer out of any skeptic. In fact, I think the National Geographic statement may not do it justice, this place is absolutely stunning and provides an excellent backdrop for jaw dropping photos!

My friend, Lee Andelson, and I decided we wanted to invite people out to join us on the water as we take in the beauty of the Salish Sea. Lee is a professional photographer with years of hands-on experience out on the water and in teaching others the details of how to use your gear. I am born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and have spent the last 28 years with the whales out here. I am a lifelong photographer and also a captain and guide.

Although there are never any guarantees with wildlife, it’s very likely you’ll see quite a few of the species listed below – heck, you may see them all and then some! In fact, the San Juan Island have cetaceans, primarily Killer Whales, all year round. There are hundreds of species including marine mammals, birds, terrestrial species, fish and other marine goodies. – think of it as one of the ultimate destinations for marine wildlife photographers! Check out my tour galleries to see a sampling of photos from here. 


How do I book a spot?

Email myself and/or Lee to reserve your spot. Full payment is due upon booking and is non-refundable*. Once you reach out we’ll send you a registration form and payment link. (*see FAQ about cancellations for exceptions to the rule!)

How much does it cost?

Each day is $579.00 per person plus tax and includes all any marine/sanctuary fees and any fuel surcharges. (Note, if you book within 90 days of the trip, the entire payment is required upon booking.)

Are there discounts if I book both days?

I really wish we could offer a discount for multiple days out on the water with us. Unfortunately with the limited space we have on the boat for each tour the price is per day, per person. We really appreciate your understanding.

What happens if I need to cancel?

We have a 90-day cancellation policy. If you cancel outside of the 90 day window then your fee is fully-refundable. Within 90 days the fee is non-refundable, unless we are able to re-sell your seat. If you end up needing to cancel we ask for as much notice as possible. This helps all of us as we will do everything in our power to sell your spot. If we are able to resell your spot we will refund your workshop fee in full.

What camera gear should I bring?

Keep in mind this is a dedicated wildlife trip, so you’ll definitely want your large zoom lens. Using full frame, you’ll want at least 100-400mm and possibly bringing a teleconverter for extra reach. One of the super zooms is a good choice like the Nikon 200-500, Sigma 150-600, Tamron 150-600, or Canon 100-400. If you happen to have a big prime that’s awesome, however I find those to be too bulky and heavy to be handholding all day out on the water. Fixed prime lenses can be challenging as you are locked into a certain focal length and acquiring your target within the perfect frame might not be possible.

Tripods and Monopods are not allowed onto the boat as they can create a tripping and safety hazard but bring them along to the island as there can be a fantastic opportunities for a killer sunset landscape image!

I also highly recommend taking a short zoom for snapshots and it’s always possible a good landscape opportunity will crop up. Something like a 24-70 would be just fine.

Since it can be rainy at times, you also may want some sort of “rain jacket” for your gear (or at least borrow a towel from your hotel room).

When it comes to cameras, you’ll want as new of a DSLR as you can muster, preferably something from the last 3~4 years. We end up in a lot of tricky lighting scenarios, often requiring good dynamic range and good high ISO. So, the newer, the better. Any current Nikon or Canon is just fine.

You can always rent lenses and other gear before you send thousands of dollars on bigger glass. I recommend taking a look at rental sites like lensrental.com which offer affordable equipment rentals for photography workshops just like this. Oh, and don’t forget extra memory cards and batteries!

Will we see whales for sure?

If there were two things I could control on every wildlife photography tour it would be weather and gaurantees of wildlife sightings. Unfortunately I can’t but keep in mind every time we head out into this dynamic ecosystem we have about an 80% chance of seeing cetaceans (whales), especially orcas. The San Juan Islands are truly an incredible place where you can reliably find orcas and other marine species all year. I imagine a lot of you would like to join in hopes of capturing images of orcas and we will do everything in our power and skillset to set you up for those opportunities. We offer these workshops May through September as those months have the greatest odds of finding the most species. Please understand these whales can travel well over 100 miles in a single day and we simply do not just head over to “whale cove” to view and photograph these incredible mammals. Our captain will also be chatting with other boats out on the water that day to keep up with the most recent sightings.

What happens if it rains?

We go out rain or shine, but our tours are weather dependent. We do not go out in excessively heavy rain, big seas or thick fog. We are inland from the Pacific coast and in a rain shadow, so we rarely need to cancel tours. In the event it does rain during your tour, our boat has an enclosed cabin with indoor seating and wrap around windows for viewing.

What should I wear?

It is always cooler on the water, even when it feels warm on shore, and especially in the late afternoon and evening. In the Pacific Northwest, we believe in layers! Even for summer adventures, bring layering options such as a sweatshirt, jacket and long pants. For evening tours you will want to bring that extra layer. For Spring, Fall and Winter tours, bring heavier layers; a heavier warm jacket, hat, gloves and close-toed shoes. You will be more comfortable having too many layers than not enough.

With an average of 247 days of sunshine, we always recommend that you bring sunglasses.

How do I get to Friday Harbor and where do I stay?

There are several ways to get here from Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and the surrounding areas. Each of them are a beautiful adventure in their own right.

The most economical way to get here is on the Washington State ferry. The ferry departs from Anacortes, which is about a two hour drive north of Seattle and about two hours south of Vancouver. The ferry is a beautiful one hour ride through the San Juan Islands. You can drive your car onto the ferry or walk on.

If you are just coming to San Juan Island for the day, we highly recommend that you leave your car at the ferry terminal in Anacortes and walk onto the ferry. The ferry lands in downtown Friday Harbor and our tour departure location and all of the amenities in the town of Friday Harbor are walkable from the ferry landing. If you are bringing your car on the ferry we strongly encourage making a vehicle reservation. Walk-on passengers do not need a reservation.

The fastest way to get here is on a commuter plane or float plane with a company like Friday Harbor Sea Planes, which offer one way and round trip flights to Friday Harbor. It is a quick, gorgeous 25-30 minute flight up through Puget Sound and the islands.

Flights are also available from other mainland and Vancouver Island locations by regional operators such as Kenmore Air, San Juan Airlines, Westwind Aviation and Rite Bros.

Feel free to ask us if you have questions about the best way to get here from where you are starting your journey.

San Juan Island has many great hotels and accommodations right in town. My favorite place to stay is Friday Harbor House. They offer beautiful rooms, some looking over the harbor and have a great restaurant. If you are looking for something a little more budget friendly, I recommend Earthbox or Discovery Inn. Friday Harbor also has some very charming B&Bs, one of my favorite being the Trumpeter Inn! You can also find some great AirBNB’s too! Most of these accommodations are within walking distance of our meeting place and the dock.

Is any of this subject to change?

Yes. We may choose to rearrange / modify the schedule based on weather, unforeseen circumstances, or just better opportunities for you to get a better selection of images. The primary goal is for YOU to get as many great images as possible, and any schedule change will be based on meeting that goal.

Are tips included?

If you feel like Lee and myself have provided an excellent workshop tips are always appreciated but never expected. I would ask that you consider our Captain first as they are the ones that have kept us safe out on the water and have the wealth of knowledge when it comes to photographing these critters we came to see!

I have other questions!

Use the form below to reach out. I’m happy to help!