Bella Coola

Tallheo Cannery Guest House, Bella Coola BC Canada, under the stars

The Tallheo Cannery Guest House, once an active fish cannery, is the comfortable home for our 7-day creative photography workshop.

The Tallheo Cannery Inn, the original location for our workshop, is a private, rustic retreat located across the bay from the Bella Coola harbour. A water taxi is used to travel the short distance from the harbor to Tallheo. The Cannery offers visitors a chance to taste and feel British Columbia’s history by exploring an authentic coastal fish cannery.

Canneries once dotted BC’s coast until the introduction of modern refrigeration in the 1950s caused them to fade from use, leaving Tallheo as one of very few canneries still standing.

The cannery itself has the look of an operation that closed only recently, with nets still hanging in the lofts, tools in the shop, employment records in the office and merchandise in the company store. All of this is available for visitors to view, touch and photograph in a setting filled with texture, colour and shape.

We continue to hold our workshops at the cannery for several reasons:

  • Rain or shine, the weather doesn’t matter! We can work with our cameras under cover when it rains or outdoors when it doesn’t. In any given week in the rainforest, it’s fair to expect showers, clouds and sun. 
  • All of the photography situations are directly outside our doors. Get up in the morning and photograph before breakfast. We don’t need to waste time and expense with buses or car pools. And the subject matter here is infinite.
  • No distractions! We’ll be isolated from the world enough that you can focus on the photography you came to do. Although your cell phones will work, you won’t be going to town for Starbucks.
  • Our hosts are a welcoming and gracious family with food that is outstanding. You definitely will not be hungry.
dining at the Tallheo Cannery Guest House, Bella Coola BC Canada

Meals are generous, delicious and social. There is a healthy diversity of food and individual dietary needs are attended to.


We get to stay in the former women’s residence, built in the 1920s, and experience the unique characteristics of that period. The building we sleep and work in is a two-story structure with ten bedrooms and two bathrooms, which include a shower in one bathroom and a clawfoot bathtub with shower in the other. The electricity for the entire site is provided by a generator that runs from 7 am until about noon and again from about 5 pm until 11:00 pm. Batteries and computers are charged during that time.

“The accommodations, while rustic, are more than adequate. The food was amazing!” Judy, 2017


The bedrooms reflect the mid 1900s period and include comfortable furnishings.

The upstairs hallway of the former women’s residence.

The view from outside the dining area. In its day, the cannery was almost entirely connected by boardwalks.

Our Tallheo classroom is warm and cozy.

our hosts at the Tallheo Cannery Guest House, Bella Coola BC Canada

Our gracious hosts, the Newkirk family, look after our every need.

Getting to Bella Coola

Make Getting There part of the adventure.

Bella Coola is one of BC’s hidden treasures tucked in to a spectacular inlet on the fabled mid-coast fjordlands. Part of the charm of the workshop can be the opportunity to travel through Beautiful British Columbia. Add to the adventure!

Arrive by air, sea or land! The Bella Coola Valley Tourism Association has the current information about your travel options.

  1. The quickest route (by air):
    Fly from Vancouver south terminal to Bella Coola with Pacific Coastal Airlines. We’ll pick you up at the airport. If you choose this option, book well in advance and pay careful attention to their weight restrictions. We recommend choosing the afternoon flight on the day of the workshop.
  2. The scenic route (by sea):
    Newly restored in Spring 2019, travel to Bella Coola with BC Ferries is once again a viable option. If you’re from the Lower Mainland, drive to Port Hardy, take the ferry to Bella Coola, and drive home via Williams Lake, making your trip a wonderful circle route. Check with BC Ferries for current schedules.
  3. The other scenic route (by land):
    It’s an unforgettable drive from the Lower Mainland to Bella Coola. We recommend doing it in two or more days, with many stops along the way. Click the link above for helpful information. We recommend an overnight at the beautiful Eagle’s Nest Resort near Anahim Lake.




Gallery: A few more images from our Bella Coola workshops.

Sunset at Bella Coola creative photography workshop

Sunset at Bella Coola with a view of British Columbia’s coast mountains. The Tallheo Cannery Guest house is just to the right of this location. 

Mist and moisture slowly rot an old fish boat at Bella Coola, BC, Canada

This old fishing vessel, a sister to the one that once graced our $5 bill, at her final resting place. Every spring when we return, more of her has disappeared, thanks to the relentless beating of the winter storms.

Colourful lupines are abundant in spring at Bella Coola photography workshops.

Our spring workshops at Bella Coola are sprinkled with an abundance of wildflowers, including these colourful lupines.

environmental portraiture at Develop Your Creative Vision creative photography workshops, Bella Coola, BC, Canada

Practicing environmental portraiture at Bella Coola photography workshops. And thankful for Ed, our agreeable model.

A long exposure image at Develop Your Creative Vision creative photography workshops makes the sea appear calm.

The seas appear unusually calm thanks to a 16 minute long exposure of the bay in front of the Tallheo Cannery Guest House.

Watching the salmon spawners at Develop Your Creative Vision photography workshop, Bella Coola BC Canada.

The salmon gather and circle endlessly before the conditions are right for their final struggle upstream. Each August, photographers can watch and photograph the event.

Salmon spawners gather and create a photographic opportunity for creative photography workshops at Bella Coola BC Canada

Hundreds of salmon gather in the stream next to the Tallheo Cannery Guest House, waiting for the cue to make the final trek upstream.

A double exposure image at Develop Your Creative Vision creative photography workshop in Bella Coola, BC. Canada.

Someone’s watching you! A double exposure and old lumber create the effect of an eye in the window.