Kayak Photography Workshop on Lake Superior


Lake Superior’s shoreline offers a basalt shores, rugged cliffs and untouched forests that are only reachable by boat. A kayak allows you to get close enough to these features to easily photography them and kayaks can easily land on shore to allow you to explore. They also look great in pictures. On this kayak photography workshop, you’ll experience the unique features of a tandem sea kayak that makes it a perfect photography platform. You’ll also get to take shots and see places that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see. It’s an entirely new way to experience the north shore as a photographer. Beginners welcome.

Dates: June 27 to 29, 2014
Cost: $399 ($100 non-refundable deposit due at signup – remainder due 30 days before the workshop)

Bring a friend for 1/2 price. Add two workshops to the cart and apply the coupon code “kayak1/2” at checkout.

SKU: Kayak Photo Workshop Tag:



On this Lake Superior kayak photography workshop, you’ll learn photography techniques for capturing kayaking trips and visit locations that are unreachable by anything but kayak. There’s plenty of time for one-on-one instruction with the small group size. Kayaking skills will be taught, so photographers who haven’t kayaked before will have the opportunity to learn basic kayaking skills. Contact me about physical fitness before you sign up if you have any worries about kayaking up to 8 miles a day. Unlike my other workshops, this workshop won’t have a final image review, but I’ll create a special Facebook group for sharing workshop photos and so you can get feedback. We’ll use tandem kayaks for the workshop, because they offer increased stability which is important for learning kayak photography.

The class starts at 1pm to 4pm with a kayak gear fitting and training class (I’m also a certified American Canoe Association kayaking instructor and kayaking guide). The location will be determined by the weather with a preference for Lake Superior, but Devil Track Lake will serve as a backup. You’ll receive a short lesson and then we’ll spend some time on the water getting used the kayaks. You can bring cameras, because we’ll likely see interesting shoreline. After dinner, we’ll meet up again before sunset for instruction about shooting on the water. Sunset is at 8:50pm and we’ll photograph it at an inland lake. You’ll learn how to use ND grads filters during the sunset. I have demo filters that you can try.

If the weather is right, we’ll tackle Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior. Tettegouche is a mainly undeveloped area around Tettegouche State Park. It’s rugged shoreline consists of 200-foot cliffs, spruce and fir forests, sea caves and cobblestone beaches. We’ll meet at 9am at Tettegouche State Park and kayak and photograph until 3 or 4pm. If the big lake is too rough, then we’ll visit one or two inland lakes depending on time. Sunset is on your own, so you can practice using ND grad filters. We meet back up at a simulated kayaking campsite at 10pm for an optional night photography session.

We meet up at the simulated kayaking campsite for a sunrise over Lake Superior. After a breakfast on the beach, we’ll take an early morning paddle to take advantage of the golden hour light. If the big lake is rough, we’ll head to a nearby inland lake for our morning paddle.

Note: The itinerary will be fluid based on the weather.

Required Photography Equipment

Camera: A SLR-style digital camera, mirrorless camera, or a point and shoot that allows you to manually set your shutter speed and aperture is highly recommended. A variety of lenses ranging from 18mm to 200mm. Most of the time, you’ll use something in the 18mm to 70mm range, but the other focal lengths are useful. A GoPro camera is a blast.

Note: You can rent a Nikon AW1 and a lens for under $100 for the workshop from Lensrentals. This is a waterproof interchangable lens camera system. While you can use your own camera, a case of some type is recommended, especially so if the water is choppy.

Filters: A polarizing filter and three stop ND grads with a holder and rings for your lenses are recommended (See this newsletter for more info about NDs).

Other Suggested Equipment: Bring a tripod, your camera’s manual, waterproof camera bag and drybag or Pelican case. A waterproof camera is also recommended.

I’ll send out a full equipment list a month before the workshop.

Registration and Cancellation Policies


North Shore Expeditions is providing kayaking gear for this trip. You’ll be fully outfitted with everything you need to kayak on Lake Superior, including wetsuits, spray skirts, paddles and a kayak. Normally the instruction, Tettegouche trip and the morning trip would run $255.

Additional information


June 27 to 29, 2014

Max Participants



This workshop is for all levels of photographers and works best for photographers using digital cameras. It involves moderate physical activity.

What's Included

Quality small group and one-on-one photography instruction. Kayaking equipment Kayaking instruction Fun!

What's Not Included

Transportation to Grand Marais and photography/kayaking 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. Call 800-247-6020 to make your room reservations. Mention that it's a "Bryan Hansel Photography" room for a 10% discount.

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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