Jack Nichols Photography
Night sky and landscape photographer in Seattle, Washington


Wildlife in Campbell River, BC

I recently spent an amazing weekend up in beautiful Campbell River, BC with Stan Novotny and Stuart Clark on a boat looking for whales, dolphins, birds, and bears. If you know me well, you know that this sort of thing is a little out of my comfort zone. I normally get seasick even on calm seas, and I have very little wildlife photography experience. Despite that, I jumped in with both feet (metaphorically speaking) and had a blast! Stuart and Stan were awesome guides, we had great weather, saw lots of animals, and I didn’t fall off the boat or chum the water!

Over the course of three days, we saw humpback whales, orca whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dahl’s porpoise, sea lions, seals, bald eagles, cormorants, black bears, and grizzly bears. So much wildlife to be seen everywhere you turned. Each species was different and interesting in its own way, especially photographically. The dolphins were the hardest to photograph, as they are so fast you barely have time to hit the shutter when they come out of the water. The humpbacks were hard at first but got easier as I came to understand their behavior. The bears required the most patience, but have a lot of personality and were fun to watch. Speaking of personality, the sea lions were entertaining as always, and it was hard not to fire off shot after shot of them barking at one another!

Besides the wildlife, the scenery in this part of the world is beautiful! I had not been to this part of Vancouver Island before, and I was taken by how pretty it was. It’s got a very different vibe from my part of the Pacific Northwest. Lots of islands and channels with huge mountains coming almost straight up out of the water, and incredibly, calm seas even in poor weather. It reminded me of a cross between the fjords in Norway and the calmer stretches of Puget Sound. What I found more striking though was how wild it was. Very few boats on the water, and on land, there was an occasional house or lodge or two, but large stretches of just undisturbed wilderness. Very cool.

I’ve selected a few of my favorite images of these amazing animals and beautiful landscape to share with you below. I hope you enjoy!

Campbell River, Water - Two whale watching boats observing an unseen whale with mountains on the horizon-20190906.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Humpback tail side view with water flowing from the back-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Head of humpback whale peeking out of the water, with blowhole-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Humpback diving with tail, with second humpback-20190906.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Humpback pectoral fin, underside view-20190906.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Two orca whales playing in the waves-20190906.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Dog at the front of whale watching boat-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Small distant island on the horizon with calm seas-20190906.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Pacific Whiteside Dolphin breaking through the wake, black and white-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Pod of Pacific Whitesided Dolphins playing in the waves-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Pacific Whitesided Dolphin riding the wake in front of the boat-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Bald eagle flying in front of a distant forested hillside-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Small forested island lit by the sun-20190906.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Sea lion peeking head above water and looking at camera-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Two sea lions barking at each other on rocks-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Group of large sea lions on rocks in front of Sonora Resort-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Rafting sea lions with one looking at camera-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Toba Inlet - Footprints of grizzly bear on river bank, black and white-20190908.jpg
Campbell River, Quinsam - Black bear on rock sticking tongue out-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Quinsam - Black bear pulling salmon from river-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Toba Inlet - Distant ridges appearing in layers through the fog-20190908.jpg
Campbell River, Toba Inlet - Grizzly bear walking on beach after exiting water-20190908.jpg
Campbell River, Toba Inlet - Grizzly bear swimming towards camera in the river-20190908.jpg
Campbell River, Toba Inlet - Grizzly bear looking at camera on rocks-20190908.jpg
Campbell River, Toba Inlet - Grizzly bear playing in the river, facing away from camera-20190908.jpg
Campbell River, Toba Inlet - Foggy forest ridgeline-20190908.jpg
Campbell River, Buttle Lake - Moon setting over distant mountain with trees in silhouette-20190907.jpg
Campbell River, Water - Patterns in waves in calm seas-20190906.jpg
Jack Nichols