4-Day Allagash Photography Workshop: August 16–19, 2021
9 participant maximum
INSTRUCTORS: BENJAMIN WILLIAMSON and DAVE CONLEY
Breathtaking images taken by acclaimed photographer Benjamin Williamson have filled the pages of Down East and many of its covers for the past four years, and earned a raft of accolades, including first place in the 2016 Maine Photography Show. In 2018, the U.S. Postal Service chose Ben’s photo of sunrise on the east-facing shore of Bailey Island for its “O Beautiful” series.
Ben is largely self-taught — he began taking pictures in 2012 while working nights tending bar. Likes of his iconic New England scenes on Facebook and Instagram quickly became requests for prints, and within two years of picking up a camera, Ben’s photography hobby had evolved into a full-time profession. “When I find something I enjoy, my first instinct is to share it,” says Ben, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, who lives in Bath with his wife, 3-year old daughter, newborn twins, two dogs and a cat.
Ben’s love of photography — and the beauty that he sees — is infectious. And his desire to share the work he loves is what drives the popular Down East photography workshops.
These one-day and multi-day trips, which fill up fast, draw photographers of all abilities from all over the world. At Ben’s favorite shooting locations around Maine, and in concentrated classroom sessions, Ben shares his best shooting and editing tips, helping new photographers master the basics and seasoned photographers take their skills to the next level. The bonds participants forge last long after the workshop has ended. “I love the camaraderie that develops,” Williamson says. “That’s very gratifying.”
The Allagash is renowned in Maine lore, and for good reason. We’ve partnered with Canoe the Wild, run by registered Maine guide Dave Conley, on this all-inclusive, 4-day guided trip along the Allagash River, with a special focus on wildlife photography. This is a truly immersive experience, a chance to leave behind electronic devices (except, of course, cameras) and tune in to nature. Paddling will be leisurely, with plenty of time set aside to look out for eagles, loons, moose, and other animals, plus ample opportunities for scenic photography. You’ll be surprised how comfortable wilderness camping can be. The comfortable sleeping arrangements and nights around the campfire, sharing stories and eating great food, will have you wanting to do this trip again and again.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM CANOE THE WILD:
Here is information about our 4-day Allagash canoe trip with Down East Magazine.
Four Day Trip Itinerary: Meet in the town of Ashland at 8AM at the Ashland One Stop at 117 Main St, Ashland, which is located in the center of town on your left as you are heading north on route 11. After transitioning your clothing and sleeping bag into our river bags, we’ll have you park your vehicle in a secure location in Ashland while on the trip. Next we’ll load into a van, enter the North Maine Woods and travel over good dirt roads to our put in location at Umsaskis/Long Lake throughfare. Our takeout location is Michaud Farms on day four at 12 noon. With this option we skip the larger lakes & Chase Stream Rapids, only canoeing the upper
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is Maine’s best-known canoe trip and has attracted paddler’s for more than a century. Henry David Thoreau ventured into this region more than 150 years ago by traveling into the Allagash via the Mud Pond Carry from the West Penobscot watershed. The legendary Allagash is Maine’s only designated Wild and Scenic River. With its easy flowing river sections and its moderate whitewater on Chase Stream Rapids, the Allagash is well suited for ages 12 and up. It is one of the few eastern rivers that can be paddled for a week or longer without coming into contact with modern civilization. If you’re hoping to encounter wildlife, the Allagash is where you want to be. It has consistently been our best Maine canoe trip for spotting wildlife, including moose and eagles.
What is Provided:
Logistics: We take care of all pre-trip planning, packing of group gear, menu, shopping for food and packing meals. With years of experience and many outings on Maine and Canadian rivers, we’ve become quite
efficient with the whole process including best place to start and end your trip, where to camp, what rapids to scout, river distances and time needed to travel, points of interest, camp setup & takedown, providing quick shelter, proper fire wood selection and building the campfire, the knowledge & experience of your canoe route so you can have a safe and enjoyable time.
Gear We Provide: We will provide all necessary camping equipment including river bags to keep your clothing dry, compact sleeping pad, quality and spacious outfitter tents, type III life jacket, paddle, spare paddle, durable Old Town canoes, compact camp chairs to relax around the campsite, group tarp, cooking & eating utensils, well stocked First Aid kit and for a little added peace of mind, a satellite phone and Garmin InReach two-way satellite communicator.
Meals served on the Trip: Breakfasts include the best organic coffee, assortment of regular & herbal teas, & hot chocolate, oatmeal with fruit, buttermilk pancakes, served with real Maine blueberries & syrup, and the traditional Maine guide breakfast of local farm fresh eggs, meat, potatoes. Lunches are on the fly and may include make your own wraps with assorted breads, variety of meats and cheeses, Tuna, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes. Snack foods may include trail mix, bars, cookies, fruit. Suppers may include the best cuts of locally raised Ribeye steaks, wild caught Atlantic salmon, vegetables, fresh cooked biscuits, spaghetti with homemade sauce and Garlic bread, Chicken, rice, vegetables & dumplings, fresh salads and freshly baked desserts
including brownies & strawberry shortcake. We can accommodate vegetarian diets. Note for the gluten free folks, please contact us to discuss what you can bring to substitute as needed. Vegan diets require bringing substitutes that require no extra cooking as space over the fire and pots are limited.
You Provide: Personal clothing, sleeping bag, waterproof cases or packs for your camera equipment (see packing list)
Extra Costs: Optional fishing license for those who desire to fish. Nonresidents ages 16 and older 3-day fishing license is $43.00 for a 7-day nonresident fishing license, ages 15 & under can fish for free. Licenses can be purchased on line. Go to my resource’s web page for a link to the Maine.gov website. There are no hidden costs.
Link for buying fishing licenses on line: www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/fishing.htm
Canoe the Wild reserves the right to cancel a trip due to safety, forces in nature that are beyond our control such as low & high-water levels. In these cases, your payments are fully refundable.
FOUR DAY PERSONAL GEAR LIST
( ) *Dry Bag for your personal clothing and sleeping bag (Sealine 115 liter) ( ) *Dry Bag to use as a day bag (Sealine 20 or 30 liter)
( ) *Sleeping Pad
( ) *Biodegradable soap
( ) Hard waterproof cases and or waterproof river bags to place your camera equipment into. Note: We like pelican cases that are quick to access when spotting wildlife underway.
( ) Sleeping Bag (I recommend a 20 degree F. bag, compact and packable) ( ) Quality rain coat & rain pants
( ) 1-2 Warm synthetic tops for cool weather.
( ) Knit or felt hat in case of cold or rainy weather
( ) Windbreaker
( ) Heavy duty Crocks or hiking boots for around the campsite (This pair you will never want to wear on the river so as to prevent having both pairs of shoes wet!)
( ) 1 pair of river shoes for canoeing and wading WITH GOOD TRACTION AND PROPER FITTING (Old sneakers with smart wool socks or similar)
( ) 2 quick drying pants (light cotton or synthetic, no jeans as they don’t dry well when wet) ( ) 3 pair wool socks (synthetic or wool is best…smart wool)
( ) 2 pair cotton socks
( ) 2-3 pair underwear (cotton or synthetic)
( ) 2-3 undershirts (at least one is synthetic or Marino wool)
( ) 1 long sleeve shirt light in color (bugs and sun). Avoid navy blue, brown and black colors…these colors attract bugs. Note: bugs should not be bad during early August unless it has been rainy followed by warm weather.
( ) 1 compact towel
( ) 1 pair shorts and or quick drying swim suit
( ) Hat with visor (sun) ( ) Sunblock
( ) 1 bandanna
( ) Small flashlight (extra batteries)
( ) Personal toiletries: toothpaste & brush, deodorant. ( ) Several gallon size ziploc bags to organize stuff in
( ) Pocket knife or one that you wear in a sheath on your belt (cut your steak with)!
( ) 2 WIDE MOUTH personal water bottles (quart size or similar, stainless steel, plastic or Lexan…no glass)
OPTIONAL GEAR LIST
( ) Box of wine (no glass) ( ) Fishing gear ( ) camera ( ) lip balm ( ) lotion ( ) small shave kit or wait until trip’s end. ( ) Medications ( ) spare eye glasses ( ) bug net ( ) Paddling gloves ( ) Long underwear (top & bottom lightweight, synthetic, polypropylene or Marino wool are best & provide some warmth when wet) ( ) lightweight over the calf rubber boots with good traction to use around the campsite on rainy days, while paddling cold wet rainy days on flat water, wear with medium weight smart wool socks.
Note on Packing: I like to organize my personal gear and clothing in 3 or more 13-gallon size trash bags prior to placing in my waterproof river bag. If this is already done when we meet in Allagash Village, it will save us time transitioning into riverbags. Trying to stuff your pack or duffel bag into my river bag size 70L or 115L, robs room and makes it harder to fold and roll the river bag shut. Items you may want throughout the day can be packed into a smaller dry bag size 20 or 30L bag Don’t forget to pack your fishing license if you plan on fishing!
*Provided unless you indicate on the application that you are bringing your own. We DO NOT provide sleeping bags.
The payment is 50% refundable in the event you have to cancel, as long as the cancellation is made 21 days before the trip. After that time, your payment is non-refundable. Alternately, 100% of your payment will be refunded if a replacement can be found prior to the trip. However, if, due to state and/or federal COVID-19 policies, a lockdown is still in effect, we will refund 100% or offer credit on future trip.
COVID: We will continue to evaluate trip cancellations as state and CDC guidance is updated. We will notify all participants immediately if we decide to cancel a trip. All participants will be required to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need a lot of experience or expensive gear to take this workshop?
No. You can make great images right away with simple equipment, and that’s what this workshops aim to teach you. If you have photographed before and aim to update yourself on the latest techniques in digital photography, this is definitely for you. If you are just starting out and have a new camera you want to learn, this is for you, too. If you are a seasoned veteran who doesn’t need much help, just wants to go to great locations and have fun with like-minded individuals, well, this is for you, as well! You will need a basic DSLR camera and a tripod, but you don’t need a lot of fancy gear. I’ve put together a list of recommended accessories.
What about transportation?
Participants are responsible for their own transportation.
What should I wear?
The most recommended piece of gear is a pair of sturdy shoes. We walk across the hard and angular rocks in many of these locations, so hiking shoes are very helpful. We also like to layer, which usually means a base layer of synthetic, fast-wicking material, a warm fleece or soft shell, and a down jacket for cool mornings. Other suggested items are found below.
– Insect and Tick Repellant
– Waterproof Outerwear
– Wool Socks
– Two hats, one for warmth, the other for sun protection
– Rubber Boots (not absolutely necessary, but there may be mud or wading in some locations)
Should I be concerned about ticks?
Yes. All outdoor activities in New England carry the risk of picking up these nasty hitchhikers. Please use bug repellent that you can apply to your skin, or even better, permethrin, which you apply to clothes you plan on wearing in the field. Also, give yourself an extensive review when you get home at night to check for ticks.
What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
Bad weather is good weather to landscape photographers. If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes. There are many idioms that apply to the weather, and if you don’t already know, following the weather is one of our favorite things to do! Ben’s been running workshops for years now, and he can honestly say that there hasn’t been a single day where we haven’t enjoyed being out photographing, even in the rain. Please keep an open mind when it comes to your expectations about what ‘good’ conditions are. We want to teach you how to shoot in all conditions!
What does my tuition cover?
The price of the workshop includes all fieldwork, group instruction, and individual tutoring. It does not include travel insurance, meals other than what has been specified, transportation, and lodging.
Should I bring a laptop?
Yes. We recommend you bring your laptop to follow along during classroom time and to take notes. We also recommend you bring a card reader so that we can share and critique your photos if you’d like.
What camera equipment do you recommend I bring?
– DSLR or mirrorless camera
– Lenses to cover 16-200mm are recommended
– A sturdy tripod and head
– Circular polarizing filter
– Waterproof camera bag