Great Bear Rainforest

Location: British Columbia

Dates: October 3-11, 2019

Registration Deadline: July 4, 2019

Deposit: $3,000 / Tuition: $8,995

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A Once In A Lifetime Journey


Join Michael Forsberg and Melissa Groo as they lead a small, select group of intrepid travelers into the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. This is a tour for photographers who are looking for a new way of approaching nature photography, both in an aesthetic and storytelling way. Photography has the power to tell a story and to affect conservation. Although we may see and photograph bears (black bears, grizzly bears and spirit bears), this tour is not about getting frame-filling shots of bears; it’s about engaging with and documenting the countless things that make up this ecosystem, from the large, luminous jellyfish, to the fin of a humpback whale scything the water, to the salmon skeletons found deep in the forest, picked clean. We’ll photograph sweeping vistas of valleys carved by glaciers, and gigantic hemlock trees dripping with “old man’s beard.” We will venture deep into old-growth rainforest, guided by expect trackers who will point out to us the plants and animals that make this ecosystem so special, and we’ll trek into valleys marked by meadows of wildflowers and meandering streams. Back at the lodge we’ll spend time with the First Nations people that are working hard to conserve this area, discovering what the threats are what they’re doing to combat them. Throughout all of this, we’ll talk and think about making pictures that touch on conservation principles applicable to any situation.

Check out this story on the Great Bear Rainforest photographed by Melissa Groo for Smithsonian Magazine! 

What To Know

The Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) is the largest tract of temperate coastal rainforest left in the world. GBR is an area of roughly 21 million acres, and staggering beauty, with mountains and granite cliffs rising out of the sea, glacier-carved fjords that wend their way around islands or primeval old-growth forest, where 300-foot-tall hemlock and spruce trees tower above, shrouded in mist. Bald Eagles and Ravens are the most common birds you see, while humpback whales and orcas surface around you as they surge through waters rich with otters, porpoises, and seals. And all these animals, as well as the forest, are critically sustained by the salmon that appear in the late summer and early fall to make their annual spawning run. Even the coastal gray wolf has evolved into a fishing expert.

Will we see Spirit Bears?  The odds are very likely as we will be embarking on this journey during the height of the salmon run.

Participants need to be in good physical condition. This means that they are able to walk up to 3 or 4 miles carrying their chosen equipment, snacks, water. They should be able to clamber in and out of boats on their own, and cope with maneuvering often slippery rocks at the shoreline. They should be able to handle being on small boats sometimes on choppy water for up to two hours at a time. 

Lodging for the workshop is located at the Spirit Bear Lodge in British Columbia. 

Spouse and companion discounts are available for this workshop! These discounts are for non-photographers who want to share in this amazing experience with you. Please contact us for more information. 

Please Call or Email to Register


Topics We Will Cover









Michael Forsberg

Workshop Faculty

Mike is a senior fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers who has focused his career on North America’s Great Plains, its prairie wildlife, and watersheds. His work has appeared in National Geographic and Outdoor Photographer, and his books on On Ancient Wings and Great Plains – America’s Lingering Wild have been turned into documentary films for PBS. Mike is co-founder of the Platte Basin Timelapse Project, and currently serves as faculty with the University of Nebraska.

Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo

Workshop Faculty

Melissa is a wildlife photographer, writer, speaker, and educator. She's a contributing editor to Audubon magazine, writes a column on wildlife photography for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and is an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. She speaks and writes extensively on issues of ethics and conservation in wildlife photography, and leads workshops in the U.S. and abroad. Chair of the Ethics Committee for the North American Nature Photography Association from 2014-2018, she remains on the committee as a member, also serving on the Conservation Committee. Melissa has received awards and honorable mentions in photography competitions including Audubon (2015 Grand Prize winner), and Nature’s Best. Her work has been published in numerous books and magazines, such as Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, and Natural History. Melissa is represented by National Geographic Image Collection and has a long-term gallery at Audubon Greenwich in Connecticut.

Chris Steppig

Workshop Director

Chris runs the annual series of workshops and is in charge of all workshop operations, scheduling, logistics, faculty, social media, marketing and sponsorship. Chris has a passion for conservation, travel, and education and the workshops are a dream platform to help others reach new heights as not only photographers but as people. Chris is also an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers. The iLCP is a U.S. based non-profit whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography. This affiliation provides a tremendous opportunity to help deliver great content and also be an advisor on matters large and small.

Workshop Information & Itinerary

Trip Highlights:

Small Group Experience

Stay at a community based ecotourism lodge owned and operated by the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation

Ample time with faculty for guidance and portfolio reviews


Costs Included In Tuition:

Lodging, Meals, Domestic Flights


Not Included:

International Flights

Hotels in Vancouver

Please Call or Email to Register


Workshop Itinerary

October 3

Arrive in Vancouver at any time. We will have an informal group dinner and settle in early. Note that you are responsible for your own hotel arrangements tonight, however we have reserved a block of rooms for the group.

October 4

Today we will wake early to begin our journey to the Great Bear Rainforest. Because of its remote location we will travel by plane and boat to reach the lodge.

 October 5 – 9

The following days will be spent exploring the vast beauty and biodiversity of the Great Bear Rainforest. We will travel by boat and on foot in search of wildlife and scenery as we learn about photography techniques and conservation practices. Our exact day to day itineraries will depend on the interests of the group and where animals can be found. Expect an incredible diversity of subjects and a never ending array of stunning landscapes. Evenings will be spent at the lodge with image critiques, lectures, and informal discussions about conservation, nature, and landscape photography.

October 10

We will wake up early to being our journey back to Vancouver. Once landed and settled in, we will meet for a final group dinner before saying goodbye. Note that you are responsible for arranging accommodations for tonight, however we will provide information for the group hotel.

October 11

Fly back to the US at any time.

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