SNOWY OWLS IN THE HIGH NORTH


A PHOTO TOUR ORGANISED WITH STARLING REIZEN

No other owl species seems to be so magical as the captivating Snowy owl. Very rare in most parts of the northern hemisphere, but pretty easy to spot in the open and accessible plains of southern Canada. This is action photography in an amazing setting. A once-in-a-lifetime must for the dedicated bird-photographer.

Book now with Starling Tours

TOUR DATES

12th of 18th January 2020

Group Size

5 people (min/max)

Condition

Easy, comfortable, cold !

Book Before

1st of November 2019

Schedule

12/01: Flight to Montreal and transfer to our bed & breakfast.

13 – 17/01 : Snowy owl photography with a session in the morning and a session in the evening. Lunch break in a local lunchbar and dinner in a restaurant.
Potential excursions to distant locations.

18/01 : Transfer to airport of Montreal and flight back home.


Great Conditions

The Canadian Snowy owls gotten very popular amongst birdwatchers and photographers. In a short time it got quite busy on the public spots and crowds of photographers gathered. Yves is working together with a Snowy owl expert that has exclusive access to some of the best areas. It will be only our group and the Snowy owls on stage. Nobody will come and disturb us. We stay close to these places and have a great accommodation nearby. That means we don’t need to travel far each day and loose a lot of time. We will get up very early each day to be ready before sunrise and photograph through the morning. We have our lunchbreak in a warm place and go out again in the late afternoon, and shoot until all twilight colors have faded out in the evening sky.
We are with a very small group, thus very flexible. We search for the best conditions, every moment.


ARCTIC ATMOSPHERE

Photographing Snowy owls is done with style: dressed warm in our down parka’s, warm hat and gloves, big snowboots. We spend hours close to the Snowy owls. They will give as show never to forget. The landscape and winter conditions are amazing. In a week time we can expect all kinds of weather : sun, misty, white out snow-blizzards, etc. It is all the same for the Snowy owls, and all these conditions are great for photography. White on white subjects are very appealing, and we will use all our photography skills to use the cool tones in the pictures. We go out every day, in whatever weather conditions and not miss a single moment. It is the extremes we are looking for, that makes the most impressive pictures.


Snowy owls, Snowy owls, Snowy owls

Target species number one is of course the Snowy owl. After a long journey direction ‘south’ they come to winter and hunt on voles and rodents in the wide open fields of southern Canada. Every owl has it’s own mind, and can be photographed in different ways. The easiest ones can be approached within just a few meters, and then even those long lenses are too big! We search for various winter landscapes, so we can photograph the owls in as many different situations as possible.
Most common are the speckled younger and female birds, but if we have some luck, we might even find an adult male in pure white plumage.
Some years also other species of owls are to be found and photographed, including Great grey owls, Northern hawk owl and Boreal owl.


Autofocus and exposure controls

For a bird photographer nothing is more exciting than to have a Snowy owl in the viewfinder, when it jumps up from the snow and goes for it’s hunt straight to your camera in full speed. During our week every photographer will get plenty of instructions how to adjust your camera’s and lenses AF settings to get the highest success rate in sharp frames. Exposure of white subjects on white sunny backgrounds is very challenging for your camera, so we will have a very close look at this as well.
Before we get out in the cold, we will prepare you how to dress appropriately and how to protect your precious gear, and how to handle long lenses and when to use or not use your tripod. We will get into every aspect of how to get those stunning shots! This might probably the biggest bird action photography your camera will ever get to see!


Accommodation and transport

We will fly to Montreal and drive with our bus to our basecamp, a cozy bed & breakfast about an hour and a half drive from the airport. From here we will be close to the Snowy owl locations. However, it is possible we will change destinations on larger distances, just to make sure we get the best conditions. We will with a small group, so we can move easy and fast and adapt to potentially other or better conditions.


Clothing, condition and gear

Very warm clothes are essential for this trip, because we will be out for many hours in sub zero temperatures. I will explain you how to dress warm, and what kind of clothes to bring for this trip. We can expect very different temperatures, from -5°C to -25°C, wind-chill factor not included! We will never walk very far, but deep snow and cold and long days will be the challenging factors.
Everybody is welcome to join us on this adventure, from to starter to expect in photography, and with appropriate clothing you will be able to fight the cold.
We will photograph fast moving birds, so bring very fast camera’s, with lenses from 200mm to 600mm. Distances to the owls will vary a lot, from just a few meters to birds in the landscape. Lens covers will protect your gear against cold and snow.
On a normal day we will get to shoot loads of pictures, so you will need a lot of battery power! Bring big and fast memory cards too. We advise to bring a laptop and fast card readers and big memory disks. You will be amazed by the number of pictures we can take each session. Don’t expect to have enough time to download during the lunchbreak.


My favorite environment

During this photoweek, I will guide you and will help you at any time to get to know as much as possible about the Snowy owl and how to photograph it and how to prepare for the cold. I travelled years ago to Canada to photograph Snowy owls. I love the freezing cold and Arctic birds, such as the Snowy owl.. I met a real Snowy owl whisperer, and agreed to come back and guide a trip for dedicated photographers. Now they are eager and ready to plow through the deep snow in search of Snowy owls.


SPOT LOCATION


INCLUDED

Professional guidance, booking fees, all local transport, all meals,
all nights in bed&breakfast, non-alcoholic drinks, guarantee fund.

NOT INCLUDED

Flight(s) to Montreal, alcoholic beverages, cancellation insurance,
travel insurance, purchases of personal nature, gratuities.

 

TESTIMONIALS


They joined me on my last phototour and it was lots of fun ! Thank you to them for their trust.
  • I certainly recommend a trip with Yves. He’s not only an excellent photographer but also an excellent tour guide. He’s very social, speaks a lot of languages and is very pragmatic and hands-on. He takes care of his people during the entire trip.
    Carl Verstraelen, Belgium
  • I undertook no less than 16 (!) photo trips with this guy, starting in 2012. Why? All I can say is that I have a lot of beautiful images. Yves provides all the right photo opportunities and my skills have increased considerably. Everything I expect from a trip as a photographer is there. Just see for yourself and book a trip, you won’t regret it!
    Julien Herremans, Belgium
  • Yves knows a lot about Svalbard! He is very helpful, has expertise of photography and equipment, loves a good joke and is a very kind person.
    Alex Boel, Belgium
  • I met Yves in Norway. His humor and optimism was infectious! He gives the best of himself and brings out the best in you as a photographer. Travelers get lots of space to do their thing!
    Regi Popelier, Belgium
  • Yves has lots of patience with his group and plenty of knowledge about wildlife and landscape photography.
    Wim De Baets, Belgium
  • We join Yves every year since we first met him! Hiss social skills, his knowledge of the environment he explores, his possibility to adapt to changing situations and the fact that he will never put his team in danger: trips with Yves are smooth and hassle-free!
    Bert Van Der Krieken & Kristien Van Acker, Belgium
  • We always delight in traveling with Yves. He does his best to satisfy the travelers every single time and is very responsible for the group. The trips are always perfect!
    Pascale Carrette & Bas Talpe, Belgium

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