Campbell River, British Columbia – Photography

Grizzly Bear Photography

Fall is the best time during the salmon run. Be sure to book a grizzly bear tour well in advance. Spots fill up quickly.

Photography Basics

Brush up on the basics.

Shutter Speed – Find out more about how to shoot in shutter priority by following the link if you need to. This is the setting you will photograph the grizzly bears in. Shutter speed should be at least 1/1000th. If it is sunny, go even higher. When the bears run and slam on the poor fish, you can catch the droplets in great detail if you are 1/1000, 1/1200 or even higher if you have enough light.

Aperture – When shooting in shutter priority, the camera will pick the aperture for you to balance out the exposure.

ISO – This controls how much light is let into your camera when exposing your picture. When you have a lot of sun photographing the bears you will be around 100 ISO. When the bears go into the heavy shade, you may have to go a higher.

White Balance – Color temperature. Cloud, shade, or sun, for photographing the bears.

Milky Way Photography at Night in British Columbia

Tips For Your Dark Sky Photography Trip

If you are looking for a breathtaking Milky Way photography spot in Canada, look no further; Campbell River and the surrounding area have dark skies. This location offers stunning night sky views, and with a bit of planning, you can capture some truly incredible images.

1. Plan your shoot around the moon cycle—The moon’s brightness can wash out the Milky Way in your photos, so it’s best to plan your shoot for a time when the moon is not visible or is in its new moon phase. Here you can find more details. 

We plan all of our Photography Tours around when the Milky Way is visible.

2. Arrive early to scout out the best shooting locations–It’s a good idea to arrive well before sunset to have time to find the perfect spot for your photos if you are not going on our tour. This side of the island does not face the water with the Milky Way, so it’s hard to find locations. On the other side of the island, it’s really easy. Stand on the beach and face the Milky Way. The Campbell River side is the opposite. Our photo tour takes us to the other side of the island, so we will get great Milky Way shots.

3. Use a tripod—Night photography requires long exposures, so a tripod is essential for keeping your camera still and ensuring sharp images.

4. Set your camera to manual mode—This will give you complete control over your camera’s settings and allow you to experiment to find the perfect exposure for the conditions. See more details below.

Location – How to get to Campbell River

Bear with us while we fix the map… pun intended.

The Oyster Bay Resort

Think Tank Camera BAgs

The only bag we use


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How to Shoot Milky Way and Night Sky Photography

What you will need:

Light pollution map – light pollution map

Camera – You will need a camera to manually control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.

Lens – A fast wide-angle lens of 1.4 – 2.8 is ideal. If you use a 3.5 or higher (slower lens), you must increase the ISO. The higher the ISO, the more grain or digital noise or grain in your photos.

Tripod – A good, sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy, you will need a sturdy one. Remember that when you buy one, it should be sturdy enough to withstand the wind but small enough to fit in your suitcase.

Sky Map – Sky Guide is $ available through the iTunes Store for $1.99. It has a 5 out of 5-star rating on both the current (3.2) version (1200+ ratings) and all previous versions (8600+ ratings).

Flashlight –  Our choice is Coast brand for flashlights. The ideal flashlight will have high lumens, and you can zoom in and out on the amount of light emitting from the flashlight. Get the HP7, PX45, or the G50. Ideally, go with the  HP7.

Moon Phaze Map – The best time to go is during a new moon, and you want to be in the darkest area possible. The week before the new moon, when the moon has not risen, is a perfect time to go, so check the moonrise chart to see when the moon will be up.

Remote Shutter Release – When painting with light and you want to go over a 30-second exposure, you must have a shutter release to use your bulb mode. When exposing your pictures in general, you can use the remote release or your camera’s built-in two-second timer.

Camera Settings

ISO – Start with ISO 1600 – 3200. This is a common starting point, and you will adjust from here.

Focus – Use live view. Use your camera’s live view to focus in the dark, hit the zoom button, and focus on a bright star. You can also use the infinity setting on your lens but do several test shots to determine accuracy. It can be off a little on some lenses. You can also light it up with a flashlight, focus, then gently, without touching the focus ring, put the camera in manual focus so it will not search for the focus. You must do this each time you move your camera to take your next angel.

Camera Settings

Shutter Speed – Remember, the earth is rotating. If you leave the shutter open for too long, you will see star trails that will not make for a crisp image. We want crisp, non-star trail images. Here is the formula to avoid star trails—the 500 rule – Divide 500 by the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you are using a crop sensor camera, first do the math of the crop sensor to find the focal length. Cannon is 1.6, and Nikon is 1.5. Convert to full-frame focal length, then use the formula. Nikon 18mm x 1.5= 27mm – 500/27 = 18.51 seconds.

Aperture – Depth of field isn’t critical in these shots, but letting the light into the camera is; therefore, you should shoot wide open. If the depth of field is essential to you, try not to go too high. (wide open =the lowest aperture your camera will allow). You will have to increase the ISO some, giving you digital noise.

White balance suggestion: Use live view mode to change your white balance settings and see what it will look like. You can shoot in shade or cloud mode as a standard setting and adjust things later.


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area information - photography


There are no fees to visit the Campbell River area, but the boat fees to get to the grizzly bears start at about $500.00 a trip. We do two trips on our photo tour.

The best hotels while doing photography


Oyster Bay Resorts
4357 South Island Highway (19A)
Campbell River, BC,
Canada V9H 1B7

Tel: (250) 923-7413

Getting to Campbell River and the Oyster Bay Resort

Air travel options from Seattle to Vancouver Island

Fly from Seattle, WA (and many other locations) to Victoria or Vancouver, and rent a car from there!
Horizon Air Reservations: Toll-free 1-800-547-9308

Air travel options From Vancouver to Campbell River & Comox

Fly WestJet to Comox on Vancouver Island and rent a car  (approx. 20 minutes’ drive (32 kms) from airport to resort).
Budget Car Rental: 1-800-268-8900 or 250-754-7368.
National Car Rental 1-800-387-4747 or (250) 923-7278

Fly to Nanaimo or Campbell River on Air Canada Jazz, rent car from Budget Car rental (approx. 1.5 hour drive from Nanaimo Airport to Resort & 15 minutes from Campbell River Airport).
Budget Car Rental: 1-800-268-8900 or 250-754-7368.
National Car Rental 1-800-387-4747 or (250) 923-7278



Add  Your Campground Here

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.



 Add Your Restaurant Here  – Easy and Affordable

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your restaurant after doing photography? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.



 Click here to see what the weather is near the location.

Don’t forget that you can use a rain sleeve on your camera if it is raining. If it is bright and sunny, you want to use a low ISO such as 100.

If you are doing photography along with your ghost hunting on cloudy days, you can do running water or waterfall photography to avoid the glaring sun. You can also use an ND filter to get a long exposure for dramatic effects, even in the sunshine. If you ghost hunt indoors in abandoned places, be careful!

Go to our Photography Store after reading all about waterfall photography or neutral density filters.

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