Across many countries and cultures, owls have been the subject of some of the oldest folklore, labeled as both wise and unwise, linked to birth and death, and associated with witchcraft and healing.  Great gray owls are no exception and have been coveted by photographers all over the world for their stature and scarcity.   Join me for a workshop focused on capturing images of these amazing creatures, the largest owl species in North America.  During their winter migration, hundreds make their way to northern Minnesota, making it one of the best locations in the world to photograph them. 

Great gray’s do an incredible job of hiding by blending into their background.  With enough effort, patience and scouting, you will be able to add some magnificent photos of the species to your portfolio.

Most owls hunt the same area for some time so we will scout the countryside for up to a week before the workshop to increase our chances of finding them in the field.  They often prove to be willing subjects as long as their space is respected.  While great gray owls will be our primary focus, we will also be scouting for snowy owls in the days leading up to the workshop.  

The destination will be Duluth, Minnesota. 

While nocturnal and tough to locate, great gray owls often hunt during the day.  At just under three feet tall and sporting a wingspan of around five feet, the size of this raptor allow the photographer to capture stunning images from a distance.  


You want to capture some great photographs.  I can help.


Great gray owls spend the majority of their day on a perch.  As long as you limit noise and keep at a safe distance, capturing portraits should be a breeze.

Great Gray Owl on a Perch
Great gray owl displays its full win span.


One of the most exciting feelings I’ve experienced as a photographer is watching a great gray leave it’s perch in search of prey.  This takes both patience and time, but well worth the wait.


Every time I think I know what to expect, our subjects surprise me.  This is what keeps us coming back!  Great gray owls are no exception.

Great gray owl vision.
northern hawk owl photo


While great gray owls are the focus, winter becomes an incredible place to photograph wildlife in Minnesota.  Red fox, hawk owls, bald eagles and many other subjects are commonly sighted in the area.


1.10.21 – 1.16.21 (2 spots left!)


$ 1


While our main focus for this tour is to send you home with dynamite images of great gray owls for your portfolio, we have other goals in mind for each client.  Sending you home with great photos might not improve your ability to capture them in the future unless we deliver the information in a way that helps you retain the information.  During my 20+ years as a corporate trainer, I was fortunate to learn several techniques to help make this happen.  Whether you’re a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, we will take advantage of each learning style to ensure that you take home more than just great photos.  

The third goal is the easiest.  We simply want you to have fun.  I traded in my corporate life to combine what I had learned with what I have loved.  Watching another photographer glow with the anticipation of getting a fantastic shot is a tremendous reward for me.  Seeing that light bulb moment when we are able to simplify a complex concept is more gratifying than anything I had accomplished in my previous life.  We understand that this is a once in a lifetime trip for many, and will do whatever it takes to make it fun!

Great Gray Owl in flight. Sax-Zim Bog.

the curriculum

We will have a relaxed, informal discussion about key learning topics. Special attention will be paid to learning best practices and problem solving.


Understanding shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focus settings can be daunting and has caused many to put down their cameras for good. We will cover each of these items in detail and continually review camera settings throughout the week. This will be a constant source of discussion, starting in the classroom and into the field. Putting these concepts into practice is the best way for it to stick. We will also discuss some resources that can be used in the future to increase retention.


The right body movements, position and other nuances are critical for improving your chance of success. This workshop will cover all of the above and more.


What impact can the tried and true "rules" for landscape photography have on wildlife photography? What role does wing placement, head position and perspective have on your outcome? Great shots often sit unnoticed on hard drives until we "see" them with a fresh perspective. We will discuss the image assessment process as it relates to bald eagle photography and judge our own images by a set of criteria.


Our main focus will be in the field. While classroom discussion is extremely valuable, you won't take a wall worthy photo from a comfortable chair. That said, involvement is absolutely critical to learning, and putting your new knowledge into practice is essential for retention. We want you to take stellar photos, whether it's during this workshop or after you return home.


Weather isn't the only challenge in Minnesota. Winter light is minimal and the direction can be downright brutal unless the right steps are taken. There are methods to managing this challenge and we will continually analyze and discuss it in detail. Special attention will be paid to establishing your Window of Opportunity as the conditions change, as they often do.


As Benjamin Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If we learn the right shutter speed, aperture and focus settings, the need for photo editing should be drastically reduced. That said, there are simple ways to enhance your photos without completely ruining authentic spirit of the image. We will discuss non-destructive editing technique along with the tools to prevent you from having to sit in front of your computer for longer than you already do.


AJ Harrison has spent close to 30 years working on his photographic technique.  His award-winning work has been recognized by publications such as National Geographic, Popular Photography, Forbes Magazine and The National Wildlife Federation.  One of his photographs went viral in 2016 with over 8 million views.  To date, he has captured over 500,000 photos of bald eagles in the wild.

Serving as a corporate trainer and director for one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the United States, AJ is able to combine his experience in public speaking and training to provide the highest quality instruction to other photographers in a workshop setting. 

In 2017, AJ published his first book, titled The Bald Eagle Book for Kids, which he created to be as visually appealing to adults as it is educational for children.  He is currently working on two additional books that are scheduled to be published in 2019. 

While bald eagle photography is his specialty, AJ has also been recognized for other subjects.  He was named as a National Geographic Top Shot Award Winner in 2016 for one of his brown bear photographs.  All of his photos are captured in the wild. 


If you have questions about the workshop or planning your trip to Minnesota, don’t hesitate to contact us directly with the information below.

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(319) 400 7929

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