The area surrounding Sault Ste Marie, Michigan provides incredible opportunities to photograph the annual snowy owl migration and has been at the top of our list for workshops.  Stunning winter scenes can surround the area from November to late March, providing the perfect habitat for snowy owls.  A significant amount of farmland and limited human development make for the perfect location to photograph snowy owls in the lower 48 states.

While the migration changes slightly from year to year, Sault Ste Marie has enjoyed a consistent migration to the area for well over a decade.  We have chosen the best time of year to maximize the potential to see and photograph snowy owls in their natural habitat while maximizing light.  Nocturnal species are always a challenge to find, but when the weather cooperates, we typically locate an average of 3-5 snowy owl sightings in a given day.

Snowy Owl Skimming in Low Flight

Sault Ste Marie sits on the border of Canada and the United States.  Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the area is rich with wildlife photo ops.  Bald eagles frequent the area each winter and several northern hawk owls have been spotted throughout the area over the years.

Travel to the Sault Ste Marie area is relatively inexpensive during the winter months, thanks to off-season prices.  There are several brand name hotels throughout the area, such as Hilton and IHG properties.  

Perched snowy owl on fence post


While they typically select high perches to give them a good vantage point from which to hunt, we have scouted several locations that increase the likelihood of capturing an eye-level perch shot.


Witnessing a snowy owl in flight is something every nature photographer should experience.  We will also be on the lookout for opportunities to photograph them in static poses as well.

Northern Hawk Owl perched on a branch


While snowy owls are the focus, winter becomes an incredible place to photograph wildlife in the Upper Peninsula.  Northern hawk owls are commonly sighted in the area and can potentially become a secondary focus.


While they tend to stick closer to rivers and lakes around this time of year, we see bald eagles on a regular basis during the tour.  If the opportunity presents itself, we will make them a focus.

Bald eagle in flight blue sky


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tour dates & pricing




We are in the process of working out the details of our upcoming osprey tours.  Be sure to add your name to our “Heads Up List” for future tours.  Just click the button below.


We are in the process of working out the details of our upcoming osprey tours.  Be sure to add your name to our “Heads Up List” for future tours.  Just click the button below.


-$ 1
repeat customer discount

Attend a workshop with us before?  You can take another $200 off of this one!

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


While our main focus for this tour is to send you home with dynamite images of bald eagles 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 his 20+ years as a corporate trainer and director, AJ was fortunate to learn several techniques to 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.  In most cases, our clients have traded their hard earned vacation time to make the trip to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.  We simply want you to enjoy yourself.  While we are heavily focused on getting each client into a position to capture outstanding images, balancing this agenda with a little relaxation is essential. 

Watching another photographer glow with the anticipation of getting a fantastic shot is tremendously rewarding.  We understand that this is a once in a lifetime trip for many, and will do whatever it takes to make it both educational and fun!



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.


Wild animals are wild and unpredictable for the most part. What if you could determine when a snowy owl spotted prey? What if there was a tell tale sign that they were about to take off? What if you could predict which direction they would fly? We will discuss all of these behaviors 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 snowy owl 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 capture stellar photos, whether it's in Sault Ste Marie or after you return home.


Winter weather isn't the only challenge in Michigan. Light is minimal and the direction can be downright brutal unless the appropriate actions 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 in the winter.


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.

Meet your guide.

AJ Harrison has spent over 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 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. His second book, “The Photographer’s Guide to Bald Eagles”, was completed in 2020.  He is currently working on two additional books that are scheduled to be published in 2021.

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.