Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill


Autumn in the Queen Charlotte Strait 2023



The Queen Charlotte Strait is located on the northern eastern tip of Vancouver Island and separates Vancouver Island from the British Columbia mainland. It's incredibly rich in wildlife. During the summer and autumn it is home to a wide variety of marine mammals as the Pacific Ocean delivers nutrients to the numerous channels and inlets of the region. Orcas, dolphins, porpoises and sea lions assemble to feed on the Pacific salmon that are returning to their natal rivers. Humpback Whales and coastal seabirds feed on the nutrients stirred up by the strong tidal currents. And all this takes place in a region that is absolutely chock full of small and picturesque islands and islets and is nothing short of a stunning land- and seascape!


This Exploratory Photo Adventure photo tour offers you 7 days of fabulous marine mammal and migratory bird viewing and photography in the Queen Charlotte Strait region of northern Vancouver Island aboard the Passing Cloud - a classic and very comfortable 70' wooden schooner. We will be assisted by a professional marine ecology guide during our time cruising the picturesque waters between the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the BC mainland coast. We anticipate superb opportunities to photograph Humpback Whales, Killer Whales (or Orcas), Gray Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, and more. This trip also features great opportunities for land- and seascape photography and have offered excellent "animalscape" photo ops in past years.

Historically we ran Marine Mammals photo tours in this region in August. In 2021 we experimented with running our classic Marine Mammals trip later in the autumn and found it was an even better trip. Not only are all the marine mammals still in very high abundance in early October, but we have much higher numbers of migratory seabirds in the region as well. And, best of all, most of the local boat traffic and other wildlife watching vessels have disappeared by early October, thus leaving us all alone with a stunning array of wildlife subject matter! So a great trip got even better in 2021 and beyond!

This photo tour begins and ends in Port MacNeill, British Columbia, Canada.

What's Included? This is another all-inclusive trip (once you arrive in Port McNeill, BC) and includes all meals, accommodation, all travel during the trip, 6 nights/7 days aboard the Passing Cloud schooner, a great crew and cook, photography guide, great camaraderie, tons of AMAZING photo ops and more!

Sample Photos? The majority of the images in my very popular "Marine Mammals" photo gallery were captured in the Queen Charlotte Strait. Feel free to check them out to see what the Autumn in the Queen Charlotte Strait Exploratory Photo Adventure has to offer for a keen photographer!


PHOTO TOUR TYPE: Photo Op Photo Tour and Exploratory Photo Adventure (go here for a description of our photo tour types).


DURATION: 7 NIGHTS/8 DAYS (including arrival and departure days) with 6 NIGHTS/7 DAYS aboard the Passing Cloud sailboat (a 70-foot wooden schooner).

DATES: October 12-19, 2023, including arrival and departure days. October 13-19, 2022 aboard the Passing Cloud.


CURRENT NUMBER OF AVAILABLE SPOTS: 1 spot (opened up by a late cancellation).

COST: Trip with single accommodation room (in Port McNeill, BC): $5799 Canadian plus 5% GST. Subtract $75 CAD for shared accommodation in Port McNeill. Currency converter available here.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS TRIP: This photo tour is not excessively physically demanding and there is only a little hiking involved. On this trip we will be shooting images from both the deck of the Passing Cloud as well as from a 19' Zodiac. To fully enjoy and participate in the shooting sessions in the Zodiac there are a few physical tasks you should be able to perform. These include:

Being able to easily move between the sailboat and the Zodiac. This involves climbing up or down a 5' vertical ladder.
Be able to easily move from the Zodiac and a beach and/or rocky shoreline. This involves being able to climb over an obstacle (the side of the Zodiac!) approximately 1 meter high to or from a surface that may be unstable or slippery. This requires some balance and mobility.
Be able to hike up to 2 km (up to about 1.2 miles) on uneven, slanted and potentially slippery terrain and/or over some obstacles that could be up to a meter or slightly more high (e.g., large fallen logs) - all while carrying your own camera gear.
Be able to shoot your camera from within a Zodiac. This ultimately involves multiple tasks that are dependent on a degree of mobility and flexibility. The specific tasks including shooting your camera while sitting on the pontoon of the Zodiac or, at times, while sitting on the floor of the Zodiac. In some cases you may find that the most convenient way to shoot will be while kneeling (on your knees) on the bottom of the Zodiac. Note that tripods can NOT be used within the Zodiac and while it is theoretically possible to use a monopod in the Zodiac, few photographers find it practical. This means you must be able to hand-hold the camera/lens combinations you choose to bring on this trip.

REGISTRATION: Contact me at to reserve your spot!

MORE INFORMATION? Just download this brochure (PDF; 7.1 MB) - or contact me now at for more information and details about this spectacular photo tour.