Orca Whales of the San Juan Islands
5 Days, $3695 Seattle & Friday Harbor, Washington
The San Juan Islands are one of the best place in the world to observe and photograph orca whales in the wild. On this custom built photo tour you’ll enter the world of the orca whale…Pacific Northwest islands scenery surrounded by sapphire water and a large diversity of wildlife. You’ll ride in style on a private vessel alongside Aaron Baggenstos, an Award-winning professional wildlife photographer, as you experience, and learn to photograph these iconic and magical creatures. All on the backdrop of the majestic San Juan Islands that enjoy 250 sunny days a year!
About Our Vessel
Built in 2015, our brand new private 30ft vessel was perfectly designed for orca photography. We choose to carry just 8 photographers in a vessel designed for 12 leaving plenty of room for everyone to roam and photograph at the best angle in the best light. Some orca tours pack 100 or more shoulder to sholder in giant vessels that ride high above the water ruining a photographers essential low angle perspective.
We will enjoy comfortable seating, snacks, and a very safe, smooth ride. Our captain has over 8 years of professional guiding experience and is educated in composition and lighting. The boat is equipped with the latest in navigation, safety equipment, and connected to an extensive whale watching network so we always know exactly where to find the whales. Other accommodations include a full bathroom as well as indoor and outdoor seating.
The Orca trip was beyond anything we’d imagined it would be. Aaron did a superb job leading our photography tour, giving instruction when needed and making sure we were comfortable in our lodging and well- fed. Taking into account personal interests and abilities, Aaron gave each client individualized attention and with the small group, everyone felt a bit like family before the end of the trip. I would recommend Aaron’s Photo Tours to others and would not hesitate to travel with Aaron again. – Jules and Jim P. – Franktown CO
The Orcas of the San Juan Islands was a dream trip for me. I’ve wanted to see wild orcas for more than 25 years, and have been an avid photography hobbyist for the past 6 years. Aaron’s Orcas of the San Juan Islands trip was beyond my expectations. We saw many beautiful orcas, and quite a bit of other wildlife, which Aaron taught us how to photograph based on the lighting and activity in each situation. Our group consisted of wonderful people who felt like good friends right off the bat. Our boat captain, was also amazing in getting us to the right spots for the whales and sharing his knowledge of the local marine life. The trip was really well planned out. I feel like I really captured the essence of our time in the San Juan Islands (my new favorite place) and will surely relive the joy of it all over and over and I revisit my gallery of photos. – Chelle W – Springfield, VA
We will also photograph San Juan’s prettiest lighthouse at sunset as well as many other species of wildlife possible on this trip including bald eagles, fox, other species of whales, seals, stellar sea lions, and shore birds.
Come ready for an unforgettable trip!
Day 1: Arrival day. 7pm orientation and welcome presentation at our base hotel to prepare you for the days to come. Aaron will give a slideshow showcasing orca imagery while demonstrating relevent photographic techniques and concepts. We will not eat as a group this evening so you are free to walk to one of the many local restaurants or dine at the hotel.
Day 2: Morning departure after breakfast as a group. Scenic flight to the San Juan Islands. Afternoon boat tour where orca photography will begin.
Days 3-4: Each day we will spend 6 hours on a private vessel photographing orca whales. We will also spend time exploring the surrounding areas in search of fox, birds, otter, deer, eagles, and island landscapes. One of our boat charters is scheduled at sunset with hopes of shooting the orca whales against a magical orange and red sunset. In the past we have been the only boat on the water for this magical light. This is the only departure of its kind we know of in the San Juan Islands! Afternoon scenic flight back to Seattle. Dinner, image review, and image critiques.
Day 5: Departures anytime, free shuttle to the airport.
In the charming town of Friday Harbor, just a few blocks from downtown, lies the quaint and comfortable accommodations of the Earthbox Inn and Spa, winner of the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Northwest styling inspired by the earth, sea, sun and sky so you can kick back and remember you’re on vacation.
4 nights lodging, airfare from Seattle to San Juan Island, meals, transportation throughout the entire tour, boat departures onboard a private 30-ft vessel designed specifically for orca photography, in field photographic instruction, evening presentation, image review.
Itinerary Does Not Include
Airfare to Seattle (SEA), dinner on arrival day, items of a personal nature (souvenirs, laundry, ect.), alcohol, gratuities for local guides, travel insurance
Arrival & Departure
Flights in and out of Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
If you would like to register for this workshop or have additional questions, please fill out the form using the sign up today button below. Please specify the date of the tour you prefer. Please also take a minute to review our Terms & Conditions, containing important information about our cancellation and refund policies. Refer to our workshop information section to learn more about the registration process and our frequently asked questions.