The call of the loon is perhaps the most recognizable of all bird sounds in North America. If you’ve ever been to a cottage on a lake during the summer months you know exactly what I am talking about. We all know the call but few have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent birds in quiet natural settings as it requires local knowledge, patience and above all a boat.
For those of you who have paddled into the interior of Algonquin Park you have no doubt been treated to this unique experience whether by luck or design however that kind of trekking, especially during the summer months, requires a great deal of planning and camp sites need to be booked a year in advance.
Consider A Loon Photography Tour/Loon Photography Workshop
Fortunately for wildlife photographers there is another way to take in this magnificent experience and that is by joining a loon photography tour for a few days. Introducing Michael Bertelsen, he’s a Nature Photographer, Guide and Instructor all wrapped into one and a very likable guy to boot. I first joined Michael on one of his moose/loon photography tours by boat in July 2010 and I must say I was very impressed. As it turned out I had a family emergency come up on my first tour date and Michael graciously allowed me to reschedule. Trust me when I tell you not all tour guides are this accommodating so I have to applaud Michael for his integrity and how he conducts his business. I also very quickly came to realize after a few hours on the lake with Michael that he sure knows his way around Algonquin Park and where the loons are going to be so you can count on him to get you in front of the loons and their chicks.
A Boat Built Specifically For Loon Tours/Loon Workshops
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little envious when I first saw Michael’s loon tour boat. This thing is tripped up specifically for loon photography and really does set him apart from other loon tour guides. As you can see from the picture each photographer has their own spot so there is no one sitting beside you on the typical bench seating blocking your view which is a very thoughtful design indeed.
And as an added bonus two of the four comfortable swivel seats are designed to drop down to allow extreme low angle photography; just a mere 14 inches from lens to the surface of the water which is key to getting quality eye level loon images. The boat has a flat floor and a removable top for protection from the rain, as well as an outboard motor that will get you to the loons quickly while the best light is upon you. Once the loons have been located Michael will use an electric trolling motor to silently get you in close without disturbing the birds for what is sure to be one of your most memorable wildlife photography experiences of your life.
Will You See Loon Chicks?
Michael monitors 11 pairs of nesting loons on 9 different lakes. This has made it possible for him to offer photographers a 90% loon chick success rate since 1997. I don’t know about you but I like those odds.
Michael is the only guide on the boat with you and he will be constantly offering helpful shooting tips, answering questions and explaining what to expect next. As a result, you’ll be ready when the action happens and come away with a card filled with excellent loon images.
The 2 day workshop includes two morning and two evening shoots. The 3 day workshop offers 3 mornings and 3 evening shoots. You will be on the water for the early morning light and breakfast will be served on board the boat. By mid-morning the light get too harsh to get quality images so you will return to base. Many photographers venture off to try shooting spruce grouse, moose, herons, beaver, grey jays, etc. so it is easy to fill the day before you all meet later in the afternoon for the evening light and more loon photography.
Private Loon Photography Workshops
If the scheduled tours or dates do not work for you, you may have the option to book your own private trip where you can pull together your own group of photographers up to four participants which is the maximum capacity for the boat.
Schedule 2 Day Loon Tours * Maximum 4 Photographers *
- 2 Day Loons & Chicks Cost:$580.00 Date: June 29-30, 2017 (Full)
- 2 Day Loons & Chicks Cost:$580.00 Date: July 01-02, 2017 (Full)
- 2 Day Loons & Chicks Cost: $580.00 Date: July 03-04, 2017 (Full)
- 2 Day Loons & Chicks Cost: $580.00 Date: July 12-13 2017 (Full)
- 2 Day Loons & Chicks Cost: $580.00 Date: July 14-15 2017 (Full)
- Now taking names for 2018 tours.
If you need accommodations, Michael will would be happy to recommend something for you.
- Personalized instruction, due to very small groups
- Breakfast served on board (granola bar, yogurt, fruit juice & water)
- Bottled water always on hand.
Deposit & Registration for Loon Tours/Loon Workshops
A nonrefundable 50% deposit plus 13% HST is required to reserve your spot.
Please contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or wish to reserve a spot for 2018.