A magical first for us! Join acclaimed photographer, Peter Ralston, for an intimate ten days on the amazing French island of St. Pierre and aboard WANDERBIRD, the remarkable 90’ expedition vessel awarded multiple kudos by National Geographic, as she explores the fabled southern coast of Newfoundland. 

This intimate photographic adventure will take us from beautiful St. Pierre to the small outport communities along the legendarily beautiful southern coastline of Newfoundland. Saint Pierre, once a thriving fishing outport of the French Empire, and a hotspot for prohibition rum-running, is today a fantastically picturesque bastion of Old World charm, culture and cuisine. Whales, puffins, seals and other wildlife are readily found in this remote region, but it is the maritime way of life, still intact albeit it a vestige of former glory days, that provides the intensity and intimacy of “place” where we will be exploring. Peter is delighted to be able to share the excitement of discovery as well as his photographic expertise and counsel with up to twelve shipmates for ten days of splendid comfort, sumptuous meals and private cabins on WANDERBIRD.

The itinerary summary:    

9/18/12 – arrive by plane, day on St. Pierre Island  

9/19/12 – day on St. Pierre  

9/20/12 – board WANDERBIRD and depart for Newfoundland  

9/27/12 – disembark Port-aux-Basque, Newfoundland     

As Peter says, “My philosophy about conducting an expedition workshop such as ours is that it must and will be fun, exciting, comfortable, enriching and as stress-free as I can possibly make it.” One very likely option toward that end will be a private flight from Rockland, Maine, only 20 minutes from Maine Media Workshops. This option would incur additional expense…travel to/from our start/finish locations is not included in the course price.

We will meet on the French island of St. Pierre, which lies just south of Newfoundland, two days before we board WANDERBIRD so we will have time to explore this wonderful island, break the ice, make sure that all photographic equipment and other needs are in place, to wine and dine ourselves in a wonderfully charming and truly French setting, and to stock up on any personally desired provisions…great French wines, cheeses, etc. As Peter says, “I promise that you will fall in love with this unique remote outpost of the French empire.”

We will board WANDERBIRD on the morning of September 20 and cast off early for Newfoundland, visible on the horizon, with the first port of call being Fortune where we will clear Canadian customs. As soon as official matters are concluded, we will set a westerly course across Fortune Bay for the five-hour run to Francois. Then the legendary best of coastal Newfoundland lies ahead for a week of exploration and unforgettable experience.  We will visit the outport communities and most compelling geographic features of the 120-plus (crow’s flight) miles between Francois and Port-aux-Basques, and our ports of call and remote anchorages will likely include Grey River, White Bear Bay, Ramea, Burgeo, Gran Bruit, and La Poile.  

We will spend the night at the head of a fjord wrapped in thousand foot cliffs. We will visit outports where over the past seven years WANDERBIRD has become a welcomed sight in the harbor. Captains Karen and Rick Miles and their crew of up to four will share with us their vast local knowledge as well as local friendships that directly reflect the unique and deeply respectful manner in which they have come to know this coast and its people so well.  Money cannot buy this sort of access…it is only through years of mutually valued relationships and intense nautical experience that one gains their intimate level of acceptance and knowledge. 

Peter says, “Photography is the central organizing principle of this expedition, but please don’t feel that you will be excluded if you are not a finely honed photographer. I truly love to share what I know of the art and craft of this medium. I have taught numerous workshops and classes over the years and it is something I profoundly enjoy. I strongly encourage those who are at a beginner’s level to contact me so I can help point you in a few directions that will bring you more up to speed before the trip. In fairness to all, I don’t want to be giving beginner’s level instruction on this voyage; however, having said that I have found that a diverse range of experience provides an environment rich in opportunity for all…and the more intimate the experience the better! Non-photographing spouses/partners are completely welcome.” 

We have AC electricity in each cabin, so it is easy to charge your various batteries and devices. Peter says, “I will have a new 27” iMac computer aboard, loaded with all the software I personally use to process my images, and this will be available to all hands. I really look forward to working with you in the field as well as to daily reviewing and critiquing your photographs in the comfort of WANDERBIRD’s cozy and elegant Coach House.”  

About the photographic instruction itself….this is a location workshop and is not intended to “go deep” in any one particular facet of specific technical instruction. This is a workshop led by a Master photographer who excels in conveying the eye-brain-heart-hand combination that is critical for fine-image making. 

Peter says, “What is unique this year is that for me, like most of you, this is my very first trip to a place that has called to me for decades. The thrill of seeing remarkable places for the first time, especially with a camera, is hard to beat! I intend this to become an annual event for me and for a small cadre of shipmates with a similar predilection for northern exploration including, next year, Labrador and Greenland! I hope – maybe even starting this year – that you will be able to join me on some of these great adventures!” 

Please keep in mind the following:
Passports are required
Evacuation insurance required
We will try to accommodate critical dietary needs; please remember that we can only take twelve guests so, if you would like to join us, sign up early!  

Reservations will be accepted in the order received. We strongly encourage all of you reading this to email Peter directly with any and all questions you may have. 

In closing, Peter writes, “I want to share a passage sent to me by one of my students after a workshop I led at Maine Media Workshops last summer. At first, I have to admit, I wondered if it was meant as a “here’s what we hoped to have had with you…here’s what you should aspire to,” so, of course I nervously called him right away. He laughed and allowed that this is exactly what he (and his wife) and others had received in the course of our week together here in Rockport.  My humble and heartfelt promise to you who may be considering joining me in Newfoundland is to do my very best to live up to the spirit and practice embodied in this lovely piece: 

“It is said sometimes that the great teachers and mentors, the rabbis and gurus, achieve their ends by inducting the disciple into a kind of secret circle of knowledge and belief, make of their charisma a kind of gift. The more I think about it, though, the more I suspect that the best teachers….do something else. They do not mystify the work and offer themselves as a model of rabbinical authority, a practice that nearly always lapses into a history of acolytes and excommunications. The real teachers and coaches may offer a charismatic model--they probably have to--but then they insist that all the magic they have to offer is a commitment to repetition and perseverance. The great oracles may enthrall, but the really great teachers demystify. They make particle physics into a series of diagrams that anyone can follow, football into a series of steps that anyone can master, and art into a series of slides that anyone can see. A guru gives us himself and then his system; a teacher gives us his subject, and then ourselves.”  - Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, May 10, 2004 

Links to www.ralstongallery.com and to www.wanderbirdcruises.com 

Price includes tips to ship’s crew, shore-based transportation in Newfoundland (to Stephenville International airport), wine with meals aboard, hotel accommodations and evening dinners on St. Pierre Island, all amenities aboard WANDERBIRD, photographic instruction, and a limited-edition expedition book by Peter Ralston. 

Price is based on double cabin occupancy. For single cabin occupancy, add $2,400 US 

Price does not include evacuation insurance, trip insurance or airfare.

A private flight option will likely be available from Rockland, Maine, and possibly from Portland, Maine. Please inquire directly with Peter for details on these options. Commercial flights are available to St. Pierre Island as well as from Newfoundland…the WANDERBIRD site offers detailed “Travel Tips.” 

Course Dates

This course is not offered at this time.
Check our full workshop listing for other alternatives.

Please email us or call 1-877-577-7700 with any questions.




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