Shorebirds, Icebergs, Whales, and Lighthouses
With it's craggy shoreline, Newfoundland is the land where the sun rises first in North America. A vast land with relatively small population, this island has some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Here you can immerse yourself in wilderness and wildlife. A land with a rich history, Newfoundland is one of the first places in the New World where Europeans settled, and St. John’s is considered to be the oldest city in Canada and the oldest continuously settled location in English-speaking North America.
We invite you to join us on this exciting expedition on the eastern coast of Newfoundland for 7 days as we photograph the natural wonders of the 16th largest island in the world. During these 7 days we will photograph Newfoundland’s spectacular coastlines, lighthouses, icebergs, whales, puffins, northern gannets, thick-billed murres, and much, much more. In addition we have arranged for 2 private boat charters to photograph the whales, icebergs, and puffins.
We have single rooming for this workshop, and everything is all-inclusive. Of course, tons of classroom and in-the-field instruction from veteran pros Juan Pons and Kevin Pepper.
June 25–July 1, 2017
June 25, 2017: Arrive in St. Johns, Newfoundland and meet everyone at the hotel in St. Johns. Your arrival should be before dinnertime. We will meet for a group dinner and discuss the itinerary for the week.
June 26, 2017: This morning we head 15 minutes south for a sunrise photo shoot at Cape Spear Lighthouse. Stark white Cape Spear Lighthouse pierces a sky swirling with seabirds atop a craggy headland. It overlooks a vast expanse of indigo ocean where glittering processions of icebergs glide by, Humpback whales breach and pods of porpoises send misty spouts into the Atlantic air. On North America’s easternmost point of land, historic Cape Spear Lighthouse, the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador, offers a glimpse into the lives of 19th century lighthouse keepers and their families.
In the afternoon we will head a further 25 minutes south to the largest colony of Puffins in North America. The reserve we will be visiting by boat contains North America’s largest Atlantic puffin colony. More than 260,000 pairs of the province’s official bird nest here during the late spring and summer. Notably, Witless Bay Ecological Reserve also hosts the second-largest Leach’s storm-petrel colony in the world-more than 620,000 pairs come here to nest. In addition, black-legged kittiwakes and common murres appear in the thousands.
The islands lie just a few kilometres off the east coast of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, between the communities of Bay Bulls and Bauline East, half an hour south of St. John's. Today we will be taking a boat tour, where we will have four hours to photograph over 200,000 mating pairs of Puffins on one island.
June 27, 2017: This morning we will head south for 90 minutes to Cape St. Marys towards Canada’s largest colony of Northern Gannets. Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve is a wonderland for birdwatchers and explorers alike. Thousands of gulls, razorbills, common murres, black-legged kittiwakes, northern gannets, and double-crested and great cormorants nest here. Where 20,000 scoters, oldsquaw, harlequin, dovekies, thick-billed murres, and kittiwakes winter. This captivating area is one of seven seabird ecological reserves protected by provincial legislation. Its natural beauty makes it perfect for nature walks and family adventures.
Cape St. Mary’s is the most accessible seabird rookery in North America. Bird Rock is the third largest nesting site and southernmost colony of northern gannets in North America. Cape St. Mary’s is also the southernmost breeding area for thick-billed murres in the world and the southernmost major breeding site for common murres in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. This site is overflowing with perching, diving, and scrambling birds from edge to edge—melding together into an awesome moving, breathing spectacle of colour and sound
June 28, 2017: After an early morning photoshoot of the St Mary’s Ecological reserve we will depart in the morning for Elliston, which is 3 hours to the north, and check into our hotel. In the afternoon you will have your first of three boat tours to photograph the icebergs and follow the migratory whales as they feed on capelin and play in their pods off the coast.
Whale watching is one of the most exciting activities you may ever experience but beware—you may get ‘hooked’ for life! You will be amazed by these “gentle giants” as we watch them feed, play, and migrate through our study area around the Bonavista peninsula (the historical Heritage sites of Trinity and Bonavista are in the area). Juan and Kevin are dedicated to showing you the best whales that our area has to offer including fin, humpback, sperm, minke, and pilot whales and, although rare, orcas too.
You may expect to see various species of dolphins and porpoises, eagles, and offshore sea birds including puffins and northern gannets. It is our hope that you will walk off the boat feeling educated and enlightened by the experience with memory cards full.
June 29, 2017: In the morning we will head out on another private boat tour to photograph whales and icebergs in the same locations as we did the day prior. From there we will head to another puffin colony in Elliston. Here you will sit on the edge of cliffs and photograph over 1,200 mating pairs of puffins.
Elliston is home to the Atlantic puffin and has one of the closest land views of puffins in North America. The Atlantic puffin fratercula arctica is one of four species of puffins and is the only one that lives on the North Atlantic Ocean. Elliston has approximately 300 nesting pairs at Elliston Point and approximately 1,000 pairs on Bird Island.
June 30, 2017: It’s a sunrise photo shoot at Cape Bonavista to photograph the lighthouses and rugged shorelines. Built in 1843, the light at Cape Bonavista is one of the few in the world where you can still climb up the stone tower and see the same seal oil fueled catoptric light apparatus that was used in the 1800's. Experience a light keeper's day in 1870—a 24/7 job of polishing glass, filling oil lamps, recording weather patterns, and watching the waves from one of the most rugged points in Newfoundland.
In the afternoon we visit Skerwink Trail The Skerwink Trail loop skirts the north and south coasts of Skerwink Head, a rocky peninsula that separates Trinity’s harbour from Port Rexton’s. Formed mainly of sedimentary rock (much of it sandstone), its exposed stone profile has been shaped by the pounding it takes from the Atlantic. Notable photo opportunities are the sea stacks and extremely rugged shoreline with pounding surf. Late in the day we head to Elliston to photograph the nesting puffins once again before we head to Trinity for one last private whale and iceberg tour to finish our day.
July 1, 2017: After a hearty breakfast and an early departure we will stop for one final photo session to photograph the largest Puffin colony in North America. From there we are headed 2 hours south to St. Johns to have you at the airport in St. Johns by 3:00 pm. Workshop concludes.
- Single occupancy lodging throughout
- All meals during the workshop
- All transportation including airport transfers
- Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
- Image reviews, critiques and post-processing instruction
- Fun, inspiration and a great time!
What’s Not Included?
Flights are to/from St. Johns, Newfoundland (YYT), arrive on June 25, 2017 before 6:00pm. Depart on July 1, 2017 after 3:00pm. Ready to join us on this amazing photographic adventure? Click the "Sign Me Up!" button and we'll see you in Newfoundland!