Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

 

Photo Tours with Natural Art Images - 2022 & 2023

We specialize in world-class photo tours on British Columbia's spectacular Pacific Coast.

Our photo tours feature the absolute best wildlife subjects that BC's coastal wilderness can offer, including Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Spirit Bears, Gray Wolves, Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, and a whole lot more!

All our photo tours travel to remote wilderness locations FAR OFF THE BEATEN PATH and that are difficult to access. These aren't "roadside" photo tours - most are to remote wilderness locations with no road access. We keep our trips small in size (normally with 6 or fewer participants) so everyone receives our full attention as well as unobstructed shooting angles and photo opportunities.

3 PHOTO TOUR CATEGORIES: We currently offer three distinct categories of Photo Tours - Instructional Photo Tours, Photo Op Photo Tours, and Exploratory Photo Adventures. For detailed descriptions of these categories just go here....

ETHICS STATEMENT: ALL of our photo tours conform to strict ethical wildlife photography guidelines. These guidelines are designed to put the welfare of our subjects FIRST and, as such, we collectively refer to them as the Wildlife FIRST Principles of Photographer Conduct. You can review the four simple principles that form the basis of the Wildlife FIRST code of wildlife photographer conduct here...

See immediately below for an overview of our 2022 photo tours. Or, jump directly to our 2023 photo tours

And, if you're curious about the actual photography on our photo tours (you know...things like where we shoot from, the "style" of photography on our photo tours, recommended photo gear, etc.) you may find the document we distribute to our clients before each photo tour quite insightful. If you want to take a look, just download this PDF:

Photography on the BC Coast - A Wildlife Photographer's Guide (PDF: 4.8 MB)


2022 Photo Tours

2022 Photo Tours

Here's a listing of our 2022 photo tours organized by subject category and chronology. Immediately below that you'll find a always-up-to-date list of ALL 2022 photo tours that have available spots on them.

COVID Vaccination Requirement: For the 2022 season (and possibly beyond) it will be mandatory for all guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All crew and photo tour leaders will be fully vaccinated.

IMPORTANT NOTE: During the period of November 24 through to December 15, 2021 I will be busy placing guests who missed their photo tours in 2020 and 2021 on 2022 photo tours. Some additional openings on 2022 photo tours may open up after this process is complete.

2022 Khutzeymateen Grizzlies Photo Tours

These are photo tours with a very heavy focus on Grizzly Bears! They take place in early spring in the world-famous but very tightly regulated Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary. Bear photography nirvana...with the occasional coastal Gray Wolf thrown in to spice things up!

• Late May 2022: Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen Instructional (waiting list only)
• Late May - Early June 2022: Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen Photo Op (waiting list only)
• Mid June 2022: The Khutzeymateen Explorer Photo Op (waiting list only)

2022 Great Bear Rainforest Photo Tours

These are photo tours that take place within British Columbia's famous Great Bear Rainforest! They take place in early spring, late summer, and early autumn. These photo tours feature a diversity of terrestrial and marine mammals, including Grizzly Bears, Black Bears (including white Spirit Bears), coastal Gray Wolves, Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, Steller Sea Lions, and more! Each of these trips qualify as "must do's" in ANY wildlife photographer's bucket list!

• Mid May 2022: Spring in the Southern Great Bear Instructional (waiting list only)
• Late May - Early June 2022: Spring in the Southern Great Bear Photo Op (waiting list only)
• Mid August 2022: Summer in the Southern Great Bear Instructional (waiting list only)
• Late Aug - Early Sept 2022: Summer in the Southern Great Bear Photo Op (waiting list only)
• Late September 2022: Into the Great Bear Rainforest Exploratory (waiting list only)

2022 Photo Tours With a Focus on Marine Mammals

These photo tours take place on and around Vancouver Island, BC. They feature many species of marine mammals, including Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, Gray Whales, Sea Otters, Stellar Sea Lions, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Harbour Seals, and more. Both trips also feature countless Bald Eagles and a huge number of species of seabirds. Black Bears and coastal Gray Wolves are present in these areas and may occasionally be seen and photographed. And...expect stunning land- and seascapes!

• Mid October 2022: Autumn in the Queen Charlottte Strait Photo Op (spots available!)

2022 Photo Tours with Available Spots (all categories)

Here's a list of ALL our 2022 photo tours (and workshops) with available spots. Chronologically organized...and updated continuously!

• Mid October 2022: Autumn in the Queen Charlottte Strait Photo Op - 2 spots available!


2023 Photo Tours

2023 Photo Tours

In 2023 my photo tour offerings will be evolving somewhat. But don't worry...we'll still be offering the best the BC coast can offer!

Here's a "broad strokes" look at my 2023 photo tour program:

• Early Spring 2023: Pacific Rim Explorers!. I'll be offering TWO combined photo tours and workshops on the west coast of Vancouver Island in 2023. Both of these trips will be based out of Bamfield, British Columbia and we'll be using both the beautiful Outer Shores Lodge and the 70' Passing Cloud schooner. In mid-March we'll be focused on the spectacle of the herring spawn (and ALL the associated wildlife it attracts) and in mid-May we'll be going after ALL the wildlife the region offers during the peak of nature's spring party! On both of these trips we can accept up to 12 guests, and these are our best trips ever for couples to participate in (even if one of the couple is a non-photographer). These trips offer spectacular wildlife and scenery, world-class accommodations and dining, and unrivaled comfort (while still being absolutely surrounded by stunning wilderness)! I'll be accepting bookings for these trips beginning in mid July 2022.

• June 2023: Khutzeymateen Grizzlies Photo Tours. Back again! My Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen photo tours offer the best grizzly photography opportunities anywhere. I'll be offering one "standard" 5-day instructional photo tour that focuses solely on the Khutzeymateen and one 7-day Khutzeymateen Explorer trip that combines 3 days in the Khutzeymateen with an additional 4 days of exploring nearby "grizzly inlets" as well as locations featuring marine mammals and coastal gray wolves. I'll be accepting bookings for these trips beginning in mid July 2022.

• Late Summer 2023 Great Bear Rainforest Photo Tours. We'll be offering two amazing Great Bear Rainforest photo tours in 2023. In August we'll be exploring the southern end of the Great Bear on an extended "Super Voyage". These trips feature ALL the subject matter the Great Bear Rainforest can offer up. And, in September we'll be offering an instructional photo tour that visits the region of highest density of Spirit Bears. I'll be accepting bookings for these trips AFTER the equivalent trips in 2022 have been completed (so in August and September of 2022).

• October 2023: Autumn in the Queen Charlotte Strait. Back for 2023! This trip in the waters around the northern tip of Vancouver Island offers incredible marine mammal photography opportunities, and with simply STUNNING backdrops. I'll be accepting bookings for this trip immediately after we complete the 2022 version of the trip (in mid October of 2022)

Booking YOUR 2023 Photo Tour? While I'm not accepting official bookings for these 2023 trips quite yet, I am keeping a "Priority Booking List" (commitment free!) for EACH of my 2023 trips. What does going on this list give you? Basically...it's a "first right of refusal list" - which means YOU will be given first crack at the spots on your chosen trip BEFORE the spots are put up for grabs. And there is no commitment (and no deposit) needed on your part to go on the Priority Booking Lists - all you need to do is email me at seminars@naturalart.ca - and please make sure you indicate which trip you're interested in within the body of the email. Please include your FULL contact info, including mailing address and best phone number to contact you. See you in 2023?


MORE About Our Photo Tours!

Our 3 Categories of Photo Tours


We currently offer three categories of Photo Tours:

1. Instructional Photo Tours: Instructional Photo Tours include targeted wildlife photography both before and during the photo tour. Prior to the 2022 photo tour season the pre-trip instruction consisted of a full-day of targeted wildlife photography instruction at the beginning of the photo tour (at the start point of the tour). Beginning in 2022 we are shifting the pre-trip wildlife photography instruction online! This online instruction will take place in the weeks BEFORE the trip and will consist of a number of 1 to 1.5 hour sessions.

Why the shift to online pre-trip instruction? In short, we feel it will be much more effective! Historically the day of instruction took place the day before we began the "field-based" portion of the photo tour, and the day of instruction invariably ended up being a LONG session! During the instruction we cover both the technical and creative aspects of wildlife photography with a strong emphasis on the unique photographic conditions and subject matter encountered on that specific photo tour. Invariably we present folks with new ideas on how to use their camera or how to approach the subject matter - which is a good thing. However, presenting that much material and concepts the day before going into the field isn't all positive! In the excitement to try to use their cameras in new ways (and exacerbated by the absolute volume of information they were presented with), many folks changed their camera setup (sometimes quite radically) and consequently got "lost in their cameras" and/or somewhat overwhelmed. Which is decidedly NOT a good thing, especially the day before we begin some serious shooting! By taking the instruction online not only will our guests be able to participate from the comfort of their home, but they'll also have the time necessary to digest the information and develop questions we can deal with BEFORE the photo tour actually begins. I'm excited about the prospect of going online with the pre-trip instruction for 2022 and beyond!

Our Instructional Photo Tours also include informal instruction during the field-based portion of the photo tour. In most cases this tends to be limited to the solving of gear-related or technical problems and/or questions (e.g., how to most effectively shoot long telephoto lenses from a Zodiac), or discussions of compositional principles. However, if we happen to have inclement weather this instruction may include demonstrations of post-processing techniques or topics. It is important to know, however, that during the field-based portion of the photo tour the priority is ALWAYS spending time capturing images!

2. "Photo Op" Photo Tours: "Photo Op" tours are similar to our instructional photo tours but offer a reduced instructional component (the pre-trip online component is limited to a single session focused mostly on trip logistics). "Photo Op" photo tours offer access to amazing photographic opportunities in a small, intimate group of like-minded individuals and with experienced guides and a dedicated photographic guide. During Photo Op photo tours photographic coaching and/or instruction on issues related to both image capture and image processing is available upon request. Our Photo Op photo tours are designed more for the intermediate-to-advanced (and professional) photographer not wishing formal instruction. These tours are very popular with those who have previously attended one or more of our Instructional Photo Tours. That said, many long-time professional photographers choose to participate in Instructional Photo Tours whenever they can get a spot on one!

3. Exploratory Photo Adventures: First introduced in 2013, these guided adventures visit the same general areas that we do on our other photo tours (such as the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia), but instead of focusing on the "tried and true" locations we strike out to explore rarely visited islands, inlets, bays, streams, and forests. It's best to think of these trips as "higher risk" (in terms of "bagging" ANY single specific species) but "higher potential reward" (in terms of getting shots of species in locations and settings not commonly photographed). In short, these trips should appeal to the adventurous types who really like to "get out there". Those with a strong and sole desire to photograph a specific species (e.g., a Spirit Bear) at the expense of other photographic opportunities should probably not participate in these exploratory trips. Those considering these trips should be physically mobile, able to carry their own photography gear over rough terrain (such as slippery rocks or through thick forests), and be comfortable with the thought of working outside in weather that could be considered challenging. Note that the exact physical fitness requirements for each Exploratory Photo Adventure are detailed under the specific trip listing and description. Note also that Exploratory Photo Adventures may or may not have an instructional component depending on the trip (i.e., they may be Instructional Exploratory Photo Adventures or Photo Op Exploratory Photo Adventures).

Our Wildlife Photography Ethics - Wildlife FIRST!


Wildlife conservation is the primary reason for my involvement in wildlife photography. I have a high respect for - and near reverence of - the subjects I photograph. I believe they have an inherent right to exist that is independent of my "use" of them - or to their utility to mankind. They are not props. As a logic extension of this philosophy, I place the welfare and value of my subjects above the value of any photograph of them. This value system - that the welfare of the wildlife comes FIRST - was the driving force in the development of my Wildlife FIRST! principles of photographer conduct to guide MY actions in the field and during all the photo tours of Natural Art Images.

For purposes of clarity, these guidelines apply strictly to wildlife photography, i.e., the act of capturing images of completely free-ranging wild animals in natural (non-captive and non-confining) environments.

The four simple ethical principles governing my actions state that:

1. I engage in passive wildlife photography only. This means I strive to capture images of wildlife behaving as naturally as possible and without any actions on my part that could guide the subjects toward desirable settings and/or backdrops or elicit specific "poses".

2. I do nothing intentional to alter or influence the behaviour of my subjects for the purpose of photography. This includes NOT intentionally influencing their distribution in space OR their behaviour. This translates into NOT engaging in any form of luring or baiting (or any other form of food supplementation). Additionally, I won't use any sound to alter the behaviour of the subject for the purpose of photography, including using predator and/or prey calls, song or vocalization playbacks, vocal clicking, or making any other sound to cause the subject to alter its ongoing behaviour and look at me/us.

3. While conforming to and working within any legal guidelines determining minimum allowable approach distances, I always allow the wildlife subject - regardless of the species - to determine the distance it is comfortable with between itself and me. This principle serves to reduce stress on the subject - and also allows the capture of photographs of the subject behaving in a more natural, and often more interesting, fashion.

4. I strive to always consider both the individual and collective effects my photographic activities can have on the subject(s). This includes being aware of the total time spent with the subjects. In practice this means I (or we) will often break contact and withdraw from the subject, especially if there is any indication that our presence is impacting on the subject's behavioural routine (including activities such as feeding, resting and/or sleeping, caring for its offspring, etc.). This consideration is always important and may become even MORE important if multiple photographers or groups of photographers are working with the same subject.

Those participating in the photo tours of Natural Art Images are expected to conform to these principles of photographer conduct.

All images on this website, including those contained within PDF brochures or other marketing materials for my photo tours, were captured following these Wildlife FIRST! principles of photographer conduct.

What Previous Photo Tour Participants Have Said...

Here's a small sampling of what previous attendees of our Photo Tours have thought of their experiences:

"The time we spent in the Khutzeymateen was the trip of a lifetime - the combination of the bears, scenery, the boat and your guidance and coaching was beyond compare. I learned so much from you and the other photographers (and the bears) that I'm still processing. Thanks again for a wonderful photographic experience!" Dennis W., June 2017

"I just got back from the Khutzeymateen Instructional trip, and it was a trip of a lifetime. The days were packed with unique photographic opportunities that I have not experienced anywhere else in the world, and it was amazing because we had the bears, and the Khutzeymateen, all to ourselves. The small group made it possible to easily work from within the zodiac with long lenses and allow everyone the opportunity to get the shot. The instruction day is very useful for photographers at all levels, and in addition to general photography instruction, offers tips on shooting in the unique conditions of the Khutzeymateen (zodiac, rain, etc.). Throughout the trip Brad was always available to answer questions. Thank you to Brad and the crew of the Ocean Light II for providing me with the experience of a lifetime, I look forward to the next one." Terri S., June 2015

"The Spirit Bear trip (Instructional) was an experience that is very difficult to put into words. Magnificent, superb, breath taking, astonishing, are mere words that barely come close to what you actually feel while on this trip. The days are packed full with wonderful opportunities for photography, with a tremendous amount of information, and all the while having a whole lotta fun! The entire trip is extremely well organized, while flexible when needed. The hospitality is top notch and the photography is some of the best you will ever have the opportunity to shoot.
With having such a small group, you get a strong sense of personal one-on-one service, there is always someone able to answer questions whether it be about cameras or what kind of tree that is. Brad and his team make this trip an experience that one will not soon forget. This was my first trip and I've already booked my second; and I expect there will be a third and fourth and more! Thank you Brad for giving me the memory of a lifetime!" Goldie A., November 2011

"Beautiful locations, amazing wildlife photo opportunities, topflight photo instruction, fun loving people. I learned a lot, witnessed wildlife behavior in an unspoiled natural environment, and was well taken care of around the clock. I came away with new photo skills to apply to my passion for wildlife photography, experiences that I will remember for a lifetime, an even deeper appreciation for protecting the remaining unspoiled areas, some images that I think are pretty cool, and a boat load of new friends." Patrick M., November 2011

"Participating in one of Brad's photo tours has so many positives, it's difficult to succinctly name them all. From having the opportunity to experience the beauty of Canada's west coast ecology to benefiting from Brad's many talents, your tour fee is more than rewarded. During a photo tour, Brad goes out of his way to answer questions from guests, including, but not limited to, appropriate camera settings, photographic advice, photo software applications and local biology. I have been on two of his photo tours and I have learned and experienced so much about photography and wildlife that I have signed-up for a third photo tour." Clint B., November 2011

"Fabulous experience. Well organized and Brad is always on top of things. The Ocean Light II is very comfortable and we were well fed. I would recommend this trip to anyone. Brad is a very accomplished photographer and knows his field. Very knowledgeable about about camera gear, etc." David F., November 2011

"The trip to the Khutz has made my 2010 unforgettable. It was an unbelievable learning experience and a once in a lifetime adventure at the same time. I will forever be moved having been so close to such a magnificent natural world. I simply cannot thank you enough." Brian B., December 2010

"In the fall of 2009 I participated in one of Brad Hill's photo instructional tours to the Great Bear Rainforest. What an experience! The combination of best in class instruction combined with a world class adventure is something I will never forget. More importantly, something I'm already signed up to repeat." Ray R., October 2009

"The grizzly bear workshop in the Khutzeymateen was the experience of a lifetime, and the bears were incredible. Brad's class in wildlife photography was worth the price of the trip in itself!" Durwood E., June 2008

"It's been several years since my photo tour to the Khutzeymateen with Brad Hill. I'm still editing and processing (reprocessing even) the photos I took, reliving the experience, and enjoying it all over again. Unforgettable!" Matt D., March 2010

"Photographing Grizzlies with Brad Hill in Canada's Khutzeymateen Bear Preserve was an amazing and life-altering experience. Brad is extremely generous sharing his wealth of knowledge. It is impossible not to feel infused with his photographic wisdom and respect for the region's bears and other wildlife. Tom, Jenn and Sarah quickly make you feel safe and at home in the Ocean Light II, their beautiful sailing ship. For any photographer who really wants an intense Grizzly experience let Brad be your spirit guide." Peter G., June 2009

"A fantastic trip to see the bears and the very scenic Khutzeymateen. The Ocean Light II and crew were superb, as was Brad Hill's advice on the photography which was invaluable to all." Malcolm B., June 2009

"My wife and I had the pleasure of attending one of Brad's photo tours in the Khutzeymateen Valley. The first full day of our trip consisted of an informal yet very well structured seminar where Brad brought a wealth of personal experience to the classroom covering aspects of digital nature photography ranging from the artistic to the more technical. I walked away from that seminar with concepts and techniques that I have used on every photographic outing since then...
We then traveled to the Khutzeymateen Valley via float plane where we witnessed grizzly bears roaming free and unmolested against the backdrop of pristine rain forest and snow covered mountains. The bears would often allow our Zodiac to approach close enough for encounters yielding some very dramatic and intimate images. I will always consider this one of the most amazing experiences of my life." David S., June 2008