Sandra Lee Photography presents … ALASKA – A Photographic Workshop

 

 

“Humpback Whales of Sitka”

 

April 3 – 7, 2025

 

Registration NOW OPEN! Inquire HERE.

 

Workshop leader – Sandy Zelasko

Humpback whale, Sitka AK

INTRODUCTION

It's "age old" behavior and if you are a wildlife photographer it's one of the most exciting actions you'll have an opportunity to photograph: humpback whale bubble net feeding. This is a cooperative feeding or hunting method used by pods of humpback whales in southeast Alaska. It is a learned behavior which uses vocalizations to coordinate and effectively execute a "bubble net" that surrounds and stuns their prey so they can all feed.

In Sitka, for one month in early spring, that prey is herring. One whale begins the process by exhaling out its blowhole underwater. Soon others join in and a spiral of bubbles reach the surface as the pod simultaneously swims upward with mouths open to feed on the trapped fish. That is the precise moment you'll want to be ready to capture the action. During a 2023 trip we witnessed a minimum of 50 bubble net feedings each day allowing multiple chances to capture these magnificent and powerful creatures in their natural habitat.

Your time in Sitka, Alaska, will be geared toward safely photographing humpback whales from our vessel in and around the Sitka Sound. We'll spend three eight-hour days on the water hanging out with pods of whales and witnessing majestic breaches, lunge feeding, fin slapping, spy hopping, tail lobbing and more. Seeing bald eagles, cormorants, pelagic birds, otters among other wildlife is probable. 

This workshop is designed for all levels of photo enthusiasts. An understanding of basic photography principles is recommended.

Join us for an exciting adventure in southeast Alaska. Get a front row seat for the action!

          

Included in Humpback Whales of Sitka are three full eight-hour days whale watching aboard our vessel, one day exploring historic Sitka, personal photographic instruction and attention, small instructor-to-student ratio, a leader with years of photographic experience, snacks, hot beverage and heated cabin.                                                                                                 

Not included: airfare to/from Sitka, Alaska (SIT), lodging, transportation in town (everything will be within walking distance), meals, alcoholic beverages, trip insurance or gratuities.

You'll get ...

  • Trip leader/instructor, Sandy Zelasko who will work to get you in the right place at the right time for stunning imagery.
  • A captain with years of experience who knows humpback whale behavior and what makes a great photograph.
  • 25+ years of instructional experience, insured, licensed, CPR/AED/First Aid certified.
  • Enthusiastic, passionate and experienced nature photographer pro at your side!
     

Thank you for considering "Humpback Whales of Sitka" for your next photo adventure!

Humpback whale, Sitka AK

WORKSHOP ITINERARY:

  • Your flight to Sitka, Alaska should arrive the day before the workshop begins. Please arrive in time for our meet and greet April 3, 2025 at 7:30 PM in the lobby of the Sitka Hotel, 118 Lincoln Street, Sitka, Alaska 99835, (907)747-3288. The Sitka Hotel offers a shuttle from the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport.
  • Workshop commences at 7:00 AM April 4, 2025. Meeting location TBA. The harbor is .2 miles from the recommended Sitka Hotel.
  • The first three days of your workshop will be filled with wildlife and scenic photographic opportunities aboard our comfortable vessel.
  • On our fourth day, April 7th, we will explore the historic Russian Orthodox Cemetery and wander through the Sitka National Historic Park with its hand carved totems, towering spruce and hemlock trees. All locations are within walking distance from most lodging in town.
  • You may wish to extend your stay and see more of what Sitka has to offer.
  • The workshop ends late afternoon on April 7, 2025.  

_30D3475_30D3475Images for the Sitka Conservation Society, Rebranding the Tongass, Sitka, Alaska

DETAILS and RESOURCES: 

  • Sitka Hotel, 118 Lincoln Street, Sitka, Alaska 99835 is the recommended location for lodging. It is within walking distance to all of our destinations, restaurants and market. Consider staying a week for the best rates.  https://sitkahotel.com/.  There are other hotels in Sitka and you are free to make reservations anywhere. Keep in mind, unless you are renting a vehicle, you will be walking to all destinations. Taxis may be available. Buses will be running.
  • Your instructor has a memorable workshop planned for you however, note that this itinerary will be flexible in response to inclement weather and client safety. We will do everything we can to be on the water for three eight-hours days. In the event we have to cut one day short because of weather we will add the hours to another day. There is a possibility that weather will keep us off the water and a day may be cancelled.
  • A typical day will go something like this: Board the vessel at 7 AM and return to the harbor at approximately 3 PM. You will have late afternoons to yourself to explore Sitka, download and review images or whatever you wish.
  • Plan your breakfast to go. We may not have a chance to eat breakfast before leaving each day. You may wish to shop for breakfast items in advance. Bring a refillable water bottle. You are welcome to pack a lunch for our days on the boat. Snacks and hot beverages will be provided. 
  • There is a marine toilet on the boat. The boat cabin will be heated.
  • Suggested packing lists, safety schedule and other information will be sent to you upon registration.
     

INVESTMENT:

  • $2850.00 per participant for four photography days.
  • Open to a maximum of 6 participants (minimum of 5 participants necessary to run the workshop).
  • $1000.00 deposit due at registration. Balance due 90 days prior to workshop.
  • Make payment out to Sandra Lee Photography and mail to 15864 Severino Lane, Valley Center, CA 92082 or call 760-749-2174 to pay with a credit card. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, check or money order are all acceptable forms of payment.  

Still have questions? Contact Sandy at [email protected] and we will do our best to get you the information you need!

 

Sandra Lee Photography is not responsible for cancellations due to medical or other emergencies or reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation. Please consider purchasing travel insurance.

 

Please enjoy the IMAGE GALLERY below ... a colorful sampling of what is possible!

     _G2F2989_G2F2989Images for the Sitka Conservation Society, Rebranding the Tongass, Sitka, Alaska

       

        Humpback whale, Sitka AK

   

   _30D2178_30D2178Images for the Sitka Conservation Society, Rebranding the Tongass, Sitka, Alaska Humpback whale, Sitka AK

  _30D1243_30D1243Images for the Sitka Conservation Society, Rebranding the Tongass, Sitka, Alaska

  Humpback whale, Sitka AK

   _30D1153_30D1153Images for the Sitka Conservation Society, Rebranding the Tongass, Sitka, Alaska _30D3715_30D3715Images for the Sitka Conservation Society, Rebranding the Tongass, Sitka, Alaska