Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen
June 11th – 15th, 2020
Grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen
British Columbia, Canada
The Khutzeymateen Valley is Canada’s only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. This 39,000-hectare valley lies 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of Prince Rupert on the British Columbia coast. It supports a robust ancient trilogy of grizzly bears, spawning salmon, and mammoth Sitka spruce trees. In 1992, after years of eﬀort by several individuals and organizations, such as the Valhalla Society, the Khutzeymateen Valley was declared Canada’s ﬁrst Grizzly Bear Sanctuary by the B.C. government.
This area is home to an estimated 40 – 60 grizzlies who depend on the rich valley for their existence, with its dense rainforest, river mouth estuary, and open fjord. It also attracts wolves, migrating geese, ducks, harbor seals, beavers, and otters, as well as orca and humpback whales. The watershed also supports over 100 species of birds including owls, grouse, shore birds, hummingbirds, swifts, woodpeckers, and kingﬁshers.
Uninhabited by humans, there are no roads, villages or campsites, making this valley pure wilderness and the perfect habitat for the grizzly bear. To explore this magniﬁcent valley, we will use an Ocean 71 ketch, the Ocean Light II as our base, and then travel by a motorized inﬂatable vessel to the estuary to safely observe and photograph these mighty animals.
The opportunity to be eye to eye with the grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen might be enough to engage with this workshop, but more than that, this experience will extend the invite for participants to actively put their images to work for conservation.
What is Conservation Photography?
It’s What You Do With Your Images That Really Matters
Skilled photographers the world over have long been using the camera to document wildlife and landscapes but more recently there has been a wave of interest in using these skills to document the relationship between humanity and our natural planet. Looking through the lens with a heightened sense of awareness for our ecological footprint provides enriching experiences to elevate your own photography.
Conservation photography combines nature photography with the proactive, issue-oriented approach of documentary photography and can be used as a tool for change. Conservation photography uses the art of high-quality photography and visual storytelling to elicit action that creates tangible and meaningful conservation measures.
In short, conservation photographers “put their images to work.”
You can learn more about conservation photography in a widely viewed documentary made for the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) here.
This documentary film was inspired by “Conservation Photography”, a thesis authored by Carlton Ward, Jr.
Build Awareness and Alliances
- participate in a social media campaign that features your images made in this workshop to create awareness for grizzly conservation in the Khutzeymateen
- share your images with new alliances
- send your images to a person of influence in British Columbia with the assistance of Neil Ever Osborne
- use a portion of your expedition fee to support real grizzly bear conservation action; opportunities to be discussed pre- and post-expedition
- air charter from Prince Rupert to the Khutzeymateen Valley return
- sleeping quarters on the Ocean Light II sail boat
- the services of a fully qualiﬁed skipper/bear guide and cook/crew
- access to the Khutzeymateen Valley via zodiac
- all meals as listed on the itinerary (B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)
- photography guide
- conservation photography best practices
What’s Not Included
- gratuities for crew (optional and/or discretionary, but always appreciated!)
- optional airport drop-oﬀ fee if you request the ﬂoat plane to drop you oﬀ at Prince Rupert Airport (ﬁnal day of trip)
- transportation between your home and Prince Rupert, BC
- personal belongings and equipment
- any meals and accommodation in Prince Rupert prior to Day 1
- excess baggage charges
- any extra personal expenses incurred because of weather, logistical delays, or delayed departures of chartered or scheduled aircraft
Arrive in Prince Rupert from your home destination and meet for a dinner to be introduced to the team. We will spend one night at a hotel (TBD) in Prince Rupert.
June 11th: Day 1 (light B/L/D)
The trip begins in the coastal community of Prince Rupert. An early morning ﬂoat plane ﬂight from the Seal Cove dock takes you to the Ocean Light II sail boat—our home for the next few days—and her crew who await at the head of the Khutzeymateen Inlet. The remainder of the day will be spent pursuing bear viewing opportunities.
June 12–14th: Days 2–4 (B/L/D)
The itinerary for these days must remain ﬂexible so that we can maximize each day’s bear and wildlife viewing opportunities. The daily tide schedule varies and will largely dictate our itinerary. But our time in the inﬂatable or ashore will ﬁnd us in some part of the estuary/inlet viewing what could be any number of animals, including black and grizzly bears, seals, river otters, coastal grey wolves, geese, ducks, and eagles. At dusk, after the evening’s activities, you will return to the boat to enjoy a hot drink and dinner while reﬂecting on the day’s events.
June 15th: Day 5 (B)
After breakfast the float plane will arrive for your return trip to Prince Rupert.
Please be advised that there is a slight possibility that the charter ﬂight may be delayed due to adverse weather conditions, and you should therefore make connecting airline reservations that can be changed with little or no penalty.
Recommended Photo Gear
- at least one DSLR camera body
- a telephoto lens at least 300mm focal length (longer focal lengths will be advantageous)
- a wide to mid lens
- a monopod
- at least 32 gb memory card x2
Recommended Workshop Gear
- see Workshop PDF upon making your deposit
Neil Ever Osborne
TreeHugger named Neil Ever Osborne “one of conservation photography’s most vocal advocates” and the UK’s best selling Practical Photography Magazine called him “one of the world’s best conservation photographers.”
Whether he’s trudging through miles of dense jungle in the Amazon or crossing a frozen Northwest Passage braving the elements, Osborne works as a conservation photojournalist and visual artist to make photographs that link people and planet.
He is represented by National Geographic Image Collection, has been recently named as a National Geographic Explorer, and he holds titles as an International Fellow with the Explorer’s Club; a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society; and a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers.
Osborne also previously held a 2-year tenure as a Nikon Ambassador and he was the first ever Photographer-in-Residence with Canadian Geographic Magazine.
When he is not in the field on assignment for international magazines, environmental organizations, or sustainable corporations, he works as the Managing Partner at Evermaven, an agency and academy that publishes environmental communication and trains people in visual storytelling across North America and abroad.
Ocean Light II
Chris Tulloch and Tom McPherson have many years of coastal sailing and bear viewing experience. They have introduced the coast of B.C. to hundreds of people, young and old. Assisting as crew, guide, and cook is Jenn Broom. She has worked on the coast for many years and will make you feel at home aboard their beautiful boat.
Ocean Light II Adventures and her crew continually contribute a tremendous amount to the conservation of our endangered wilderness areas.