Fall Photography Workshop on Lake Superior


During the first weekend of October, Lake Superior’s north shore has exploded into vibrant colors. The birch and aspen turn vibrant yellow, the sumac and mountain ash turn red and sometimes the maple colors are still around. During this Lake Superior fall photography workshop, we’ll explore the north shore, photograph the fall color and make photos that you’ll proudly hang on your walls.

This Fall on Lake Superior photography workshop sets up a fun hands-on learning experience in one of the most beautiful parts of Minnesota. We’ll set up our base at Aspen Lodge in Grand Marais and adventure out to nearby locations. We’ll visit scenic overlooks around the area. Based on the fall color, we may explore the Lutsen, Gunflint or Lake Superior areas. Along the way, you will learn new techniques, improve on old ones and make great photos.



  • October 5 to 7, 2018

Cost: $399  ($200 nonrefundable deposit. Final payment is due 60 days before the workshop.)


This event is in cooperation with and under a Special Use Permit from the U.S.  Forest Service, Gunflint Ranger District.

SKU: Fall Photo Workshop Category: Tag:



This Lake Superior photography workshop combines classroom time with field-work and a final review. There’s plenty of time for one-on-one instruction with the small group size.

Day 1: Sunrise to sunset (optional: sunrise)

The photography workshop officially begins at noon with a slideshow and lecture about camera control, composition and the recommended filters. For participants arriving Thursday night, an optional sunrise session on Lake Superior is available and highly recommended. After the slideshow, we’ll head out to photograph sunset while practicing using polarizers and neutral density filters.

Day 2: Sunrise to sunset

We will spend the day in the field visiting locations that have the best fall color. If the maples are at peak, we will spend time in the Lutsen and Tofte area. If the aspen are peak we will spend time up the Gunflint Trail or near Lake Superior. Expect to be in the field from sunrise to sunset with a break for breakfast. We will eat lunch in the field either at a cafe or you can pack your own lunch.


Day 3: Sunrise to 1pm with an afternoon feedback session

We start on Lake Superior for the sunrise and after breakfast, we meet up for an image review in the classroom. You’ll share your five images with the classroom and receive honest and support feedback and tips on how to process the images.

Level of Physical Difficulty

This workshop may involve hikes up to 2 or 3 miles depending on the fall color. Trails will generally be easy to moderate but may have short difficult sections. You should be moderately fit to participate in this workshop. Sunrise or sunset may involve walking to or out of the location in the dark. If you have any questions about your ability to keep up with the group, please, call me at 218-370-8351 to discuss.

When is Peak Fall Color on the North Shore?

Fall color on the north shore happens in two stages. The maples peak red, orange and yellow first. Then about a week later, the birch and aspen along Lake Superior peak to yellow. The aspen and birch on the Gunflint Trail usually peak sometime between the two. The maple peak is generally what attracts the most people to the area, because when at peak it’s literally breathtaking. But, the aspen peak lasts longer and is more dependable.

Since 2003, the earliest that I’ve seen Oberg Mountain peak is September 18th (in 2004), and the latest I’ve seen peak on Oberg Mountain is October 1st (in 2015). Generally, Oberg peaks around the 26th to 28th. Oberg is the indicator for the area. If it’s going, the maples will be peak throughout the area and the birch and aspen will be closing in on peak on the Gunflint and peak the following weekend. The birch and aspen along the lake will just be starting. I’ve run this workshop for nine years and we’ve found color on every year. The hardest year was 2015, because fall colors were running one to two weeks late across the entire state. On the majority, we’ve had peak color. Typically, the last weekend in September is peak maple and the first weekend in October is peak aspen and birch.

Required Photography Equipment

Camera: A camera that has interchangeable lenses or a bridge camera that allows you to manually set your shutter speed and aperture is highly recommended. A variety of lenses ranging from 18mm to 200mm.

Filters: I highly recommend filters. After you sign up you will receive a full equipment list detailing the recommended filters. When you sign up for a workshop, you also qualify for a discount on filters from Singh-Ray.

Other Suggested Equipment: Bring a tripod, your camera’s manual, a USB thumb drive, waterproof camera bag and a laptop computer (for sharing images).

Registration and Cancellation Policies

Additional information

Max Participants



This workshop is for all levels of photographers and works best for photographers using digital cameras

What's Included

Quality small group and one-on-one instruction. Conference room for classroom time. Fun!

What's Not Included

Transportation to Grand Marais and photography locations. Car pooling is highly recommended. Lodging. Meals.

Lodging Partner

Aspen Lodge in Grand Marais, MN is the lodging partner for this workshop. It is on the east side of Grand Marais across the street from a popular restaurant, My Sister’s Place. Aspen Lodge offers views of Artist’s Point, the East Bay and the Coast Guard Station. It has a giant whirlpool spa, a sauna and a pool. It’s within walking distance of downtown. For the workshop, rates are 10% off the regular rack price. The conference room and lobby is on the second floor. When making your reservation, ask for a “Bryan Hansel Photography” room. Call 800-247-6020 to make your room reservations.

Getting There

Grand Marais, Minnesota is 110 miles north of Duluth, Minnesota on Highway 61. Duluth boasts a small international airport. It’s 260 miles north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has an international airport that also acts as a regional hub. Grand Marais is 128 kilometers south of Thunder Bay, Ontario on Highway 61. Thunderbay has a small airport. Car rentals are available at the airports.


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