• Orca Tours



Tour Details

The San Juan Islands are easily one of the best places in the world to observe and photograph orca whales in the wild. Between the plethora of pods that visit these sapphire blue waters year-after-year to feed, and the scenic backdrops these islands provide, it is a true paradise for Orcas and photographers alike.

There aren’t many instances in wildlife photography that compare to eagerly waiting for an orca to breach and erupt out of the ocean. The excitement of swinging your camera left and right as whales preform tail slaps and barrel rolls is truly something every wildlife photographer should experience.

On this custom-built photo tour, you will enter the world of the orca whale… Each day we will board our privately chartered 30ft vessel and our experienced captain will not only take us to where the action is, but will also maneuver the boat for the best lighting and backdrop. Built to hold 12 photographers, we limit to just ten leaving plenty of room for everyone to roam and photograph from the best angle. We also have one of the fastest boats in the harbor, we can go further for the whales and stay longer.  This is a huge advantage over most other orca tours which pack one hundred or more people shoulder-to-shoulder in giant boats that ride high above the water which ruins a photographer’s essential low-angle perspective.

Three extended sunset charters will also allow photographers the possibility to capture images of orcas in the magical golden hour light and when they are most active. In years past we have been the only orca tour boat on the water during this time, as most other boats have to return back to the harbor. We will also spend time land based searching for deer, eagles, fox, birds and scenic lighthouse landscapes.

This orca tour is built for ocean lovers and presents even the most seasoned wildlife photographers new and exciting challenges, and subjects to photograph.

Images From Orca Tours


Orca Tours
“The Orca trip was beyond anything we’d imagined it would be.  Aaron did a superb job leading our photography tour, giving instruction when needed and making sure we were comfortable in our lodging and well- fed. Taking into account personal interests and abilities, Aaron gave each client individualized attention and with the small group, everyone felt a bit like family before the end of the trip. I would recommend Aaron’s Photo Tours to others and would not hesitate to travel with Aaron again.”
Aaron Photo tours

“The Orcas of the San Juan Islands was a dream trip for me. I’ve wanted to see wild orcas for more than 25 years, and have been an avid photography hobbyist for the past 6 years. Aaron’s Orcas of the San Juan Islands trip was beyond my expectations. We saw many beautiful orcas, and quite a bit of other wildlife, which Aaron taught us how to photograph based on the lighting and activity in each situation. Our group consisted of wonderful people who felt like good friends right off the bat. Our boat captain, was also amazing in getting us to the right spots for the whales and sharing his knowledge of the local marine life. The trip was really well planned out. I feel like I really captured the essence of our time in the San Juan Islands (my new favorite place) and will surely relive the joy of it all over and over and I revisit my gallery of photos.” 2 time Aaron’s Photo Tours Participant

Itinerary Includes

Lodging, airfare from Seattle to San Juan Island, meals, transportation throughout the entire tour, boat departures onboard a private 30-ft vessel designed specifically for orca photography, in field photographic instruction, evening presentation, image review.


  • Join Aaron in the best place in the world to photograph orca whales in the wild
  • Extended private boat departures have been designed exclusively for our photo tour to maximize your time photographing in the best light
  • We have the fastest and most photographer friendly vessel in the harbor allowing us to go further and stay longer with the animals
  • Gorgeous Pacific Northwest island scenery & a variety of other birds and wildlfe 

Tour Info:

Group Size: 9 Participants

Payment Terms: 25% Non-Refundable Deposit, Rest Due at 120 Days Before Departure


The Best Place in the World to Photograph Orcas

Day 1:  Arrival day.  7pm orientation and welcome presentation at our base hotel to prepare you for the days to come.  Aaron will give a slideshow showcasing orca imagery while demonstrating relevant photographic techniques and concepts.  Bring your camera as we will get into the menus and get setup for our shoot tomorrow.  We will not eat as a group this evening so you are free to walk to one of the many local restaurants or dine at the hotel.

Day 2:  Morning departure after breakfast as a group.  Scenic flight in our privately chartered float plane to the San Juan Islands.  Have your camera ready to photograph the Seattle skyline from the air.  Afternoon boat tour where orca photography will begin.

Days 3-5: Each day we will board a privately chartered vessel on extended 6 hour outings to photographing orca whales.  Or extra time on the water gives us a distinct advantage to go further and stay with the animals longer. We will also spend time exploring the surrounding areas in search of fox, birds, otter, deer, eagles, and island landscapes. Three of our boat charters are scheduled at sunset with hopes of shooting the orca whales against a magical orange and red sunset as we have been extremely successful in the past with.  And in the past we have been the only boat on the water for this magical light.  This is the only departure of its kind in the San Juan Islands custom designed to bring you home not only with epic orca images, but with memories that will last you a lifetime. Afternoon scenic flight in our privately chartered float plane back to Seattle. Dinner and image celebration.

Day 6: Departures anytime, free shuttle to the airport.



Aaron Baggenstos

In the last 10 years Aaron has led over 200 wildlife photography tours around the world. He has earned a reputation for his gracious teaching style to photographers of all skill levels and extensive knowledge of Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony digital cameras.