Great Bear Rainforest

Join Melissa Groo and Chris Steppig as they lead a small, select group of intrepid travelers into the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. 

October 7 -16, 2024 | Location: Great Bear Rainforest, BC, Canada

This is a tour for photographers who are looking for a new way of approaching nature photography, both in an aesthetic and storytelling way. 
Workshop highlights include a s
mall group experience, stay at a community based ecotourism lodge owned and operated by the Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, and ample time with faculty for guidance and portfolio reviews.

Storytelling Power & Conservation Impact

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.

We’ll photograph sweeping vistas of valleys carved by glaciers, and gigantic hemlock trees dripping with “old man’s beard.” 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 will discover it all. 

A once in a lifetime journey

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.



Due upon registration
  • of total tuition

Single Occupancy

Full Tuition
David_Grazing Bear 2

Double Occupancy

Discount available if booking with another guest
  • Per person

Deposit due upon registration. Full tuition is due 120 days before the workshop begins.

Topics we will cover

Nature Photography
Environmental Portraiture
Conservation Photography

Workshop Itinerary

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.

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.

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.

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.

Fly back to the US at any time.

Workshop Information

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. 

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. 


Meet Your Instructors

Workshop Faculty

Melissa Groo

Owner / Director

Chris Steppig

Workshop Faculty

Melissa Groo

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. Melissa was Chair of the Ethics Committee for the North American Nature Photography Association from 2014-2018. 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.

Owner / Director

Chris Steppig

Chris is the owner and director of Summit Workshops. Summit was his first job out of college and nearly 20 years later, this is home.  He 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 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.  He is also a professional advisor for Outdoor Photographer magazine.  Through collaboration and great communications with the editor of the magazine, there have been countless articles written by Summit Alumni in the magazine over the years.

Frequently Asked Questions

No! Summit Workshops is available to any photographer, regardless of what brand of camera you use. We often have camera gear available to borrow, free of charge, but you are not required to use that gear or any specific brand. 

Tuition includes activity fees, location fees, all instruction, planning and logistics. It does not cover airfare to Vancouver, alcoholic beverages or gratuities.

Our workshop is for shooters of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to seasoned veterans. We all learn from and help one another, that is what makes the Summit Community so special. 

With few exceptions (like a medical reason), having proof of COVID-19 vaccine is a requirement on our Summit Workshops.


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


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