I don't think of myself as "teaching". What I love to do is share what I know about photography, about Maine, about people, about life.
I hope you will consider maybe spending a little time with me in the field. Email me directly with interest or inquiries.

Come share the coast of Maine with me aboard Raven!

Ralston Gallery

I am extremely pleased to announce that I am initiating an annual series of four private photography cruises. Over the years countless people have asked to accompany me on my photography trips aboard RAVEN, and as of this coming summer that is finally possible with RAVEN ADVENTURES!

Come with me as I work on my upcoming book about Penobscot Bay; let’s explore remote islands, eat at some of the coast’s finest restaurants or with my fishing friends and their families, and behold sights that you will never otherwise get to see here. I’ll show you dawns and sunsets, nature and working waterfronts…like you have never seen them before.

After a couple of days with me you will be a better photographer…you will, I promise, never look at the world the same way again.

To a significant extent we can choreograph your adventure to your own desires, photographic commitment, and appetite for adventure. To the best of my knowledge there is not another photography adventure or workshop that can offer this sort of personally tailored approach anywhere.

The heart of our trips will be in Penobscot and Muscongus Bays, comprising some of America’s most iconic land and seascapes. Some of my personal favorite places include Criehaven, Matinicus, Vinalhaven, Monhegan, Hurricane I., Brimstone I., Isle au Haut and North Haven as well as scores of private islands and “secret” locations to which I have access. We will plan our waypoints together and take you to the places you would most like to see. We base out of my homeport, Rockport, called by Charles Kuralt, “the most perfect small harbor in America.”

Ralston GalleryThe fundamental principle behind these adventures/workshops/cruises is to give you an experience as close as possible to the intimate times I have been privileged to enjoy over the last three decades along this coast.

It may seem odd to limit RAVEN to only two shipmates, but this is all about intimacy. I want to continue to do the intensely personal work that you may have seen from me over the years and to be able to fully share that experience. It simply would not work with more people; hence what I believe might be the smallest “workshop” in the country!

Along the same lines, and applying the same mindset, a single-day trip is simply not conducive to experiencing the level of intimacy that one needs to fully appreciate this coast, its islands and its people. Ideally, your trip will include at least two dawns, two full and long days, and two sunsets. My tongue-in-cheek thinking on this is “from the time you wake until you drop!” Please understand, this is not boot-camp…your comfort, gratification and safety come above all else, but, again, I want you to know that your adventure will be exactly as demanding and/or as cozy as you would like it to be.

To that end, I should tell you a bit about RAVEN. I’ve skippered her for over 20 years; I know her backwards and forwards. She is the ultimate boat for the sort of photography I do here and I describe her as my 37’, 350 HP, live-aboard tripod. She was built on one of the legendary Repco commercial lobsterboat hulls and is an exceptionally well-designed boat for these waters. She has a fly bridge which I have always credited for the unique point-of-view in many of my photographs. She has a lot of power and a big rudder which means that she handles like a dream. She really and truly is my dream tripod!

RAVEN has three primary interior spaces; a private forward cabin with a largeRalston Gallery berth, closet and stowage space; an open cabin amidships with two bunks directly across from a nice little head with a shower (a key factor in buying her in the first place!), and the main cabin/wheelhouse replete with a galley with a stove/oven. She has three heating systems, a full complement of electronic (and traditional) navigational instruments, safety gear that handily exceeds USCG regulations, and a stout skiff. RAVEN is well known to many fishermen and we are almost always welcomed to photograph alongside when they are hauling. They know a “real” boat when they see one!

Having very briefly extolled a few of her ample virtues, I want to be even more explicit about what RAVEN is not. It is important to me that you understand that RAVEN is first and foremost a work boat for me. She is not a yacht and does not have a lot of bright-work or dainty frills. She is thirty years old but wears those years well. She has a diesel engine that is loud inside when we’re underway; however, outside she is not loud to those aboard. Her paint is not of show room quality, but she is clean, ship-shape and she’s a wonderfully comfortable and extremely functional work-boat. You don’t have to take off your shoes when you come aboard RAVEN!

As far as meals are concerned, I love good food, and delicious informality is the order of the day. Eating breakfast and lunch aboard allows us to be in the field for maximum photographic opportunities, and RAVEN'S pantry is well equipped with fresh and yummy goodies for these meals. Dinners are more of a toss up. As you know, summer daylight stretches well into the evening, and the best light of the day often bestows itself upon us at dusk, which can present a conflict between gustatory and photographic satiation. Put simply, we have the freedom to do whatever we’d like…we can sup aboard or dine ashore; we’ll plan this together as some of the wonderful restaurants available to us require reservations in season. Basically, there are superb eateries scattered along the coast and I know where they are; we stand ready to make this work to your heart’s content. We will happily work with you to accommodate special dietary needs.

Ralston GalleryOur photography work together will concentrate on both aesthetic and technical issues, helping you to develop a unique perspective and personal vision of the amazing sightings you’ll have. RAVEN ADVENTURES presumes some existing level of photographic experience, but I am not overly fussy about this…I can and will happily embrace photographers of almost all levels, however, this is not intended as a true beginner’s level introduction to photography. You will need to know how your camera works! I generally like to look at a few of your images before the trip so I have some idea of your level of accomplishment. Together we'll ensure that you are ready to go.

While I have a long and abiding love for the inherent qualities of film, RAVEN ADVENTURES is fundamentally a digitally based experience. Working digitally allows us to immediately review what we’re doing in the field, as well as more leisurely and critically in the evenings. We will be able to immediately see what we’re doing and apply new techniques on the spot. RAVEN’s laptop essentially gives us a darkroom at sea! The digital experience also allows us the incredible option of spending time together when we are back ashore…further reviewing, editing, Photoshopping and printing your images.

Specific details of RAVEN ADVENTURES:

Basics: Maximum of 2 people, Minimum of two days…Maximum beauty and adventure! Per person/per day at $1500, based on two guests per trip; Couples at $2600 per day. In the case of two passengers who are not a couple, the two cabins will be assigned in order of acceptance. The center cabin is less private and is correspondingly priced at $150 less per day.

Prices include - myself as licensed captain and teacher, boat “charter,” fuel, meals, and a printed portrait of you from our time together. You are welcome - even encouraged - to check in with us (and load your gear) the evening before departure so we are able to get underway as effectively as possible in the morning.

Prices do not include - shore-side lodging while in the field, dinner spirits, photographic gear, post-shoot processing and printing at Ralston Gallery. Lodging the night before we start and the night we end is not included.

The season within which we offer RAVEN ADVENTURES is between mid-May and mid-October.

Deposit - a 50% deposit is required upon acceptance to hold your berth. Checks preferred.

Full payment - required two weeks before the start of your trip. Checks preferred.

Refunds - a full refund of deposit will be made if we receive your cancellation notice at least 45 days before your scheduled trip with us. A 50% refund will be made if we receive your cancellation notice at least 10 days before your trip. Refunds cannot be made if you cancel your trip with less than 10 days notice.

Cancellations - if for any reason RAVEN ADVENTURES is forced to cancel a scheduled trip, you will receive your choice of a full refund or credit toward another trip.

Rain dates - First & foremost, we will make decisions about trip viability based on safety…then based on your comfort. If we determine that conditions warrant cancellation, early termination or modification to your trip as we have planned it, we will do so. We will work with you to make sure your trip is rescheduled or refunded.

Trip insurance - is highly recommended when travel and adventure is involved. Contact your insurance agent.

Additional information - will be sent upon receipt of your deposit.

  • Treat yourself to a very special follow-up day with Peter at Ralston Gallery in Rockport: a full day to be spent in intense review, editing, processing and printing. Includes lunch, ink and paper. $750/day for either one or two people. Available exclusively to RAVEN ADVENTURES participants.
  • additional RAVEN days at a 15% reduced rate;
  • arrangements can usually be made for sleeping ashore while in the field;
  • special, private flights from Portland to Rockland (our nearest airport) can be arranged;
  • Penobscot Island Air planes can pickup or drop you off at remote sites, if so desired; it’s worth noting that they have float planes as well as wheel landing capacity;
  • Trips typically originate in Rockport, but I can pick-up/drop-off at your location by special request;
  • RAVEN will travel beyond Muscongus and Penobscot Bays by special request.
To get your name on the waiting list, or with any questions, please email me directly. Commencing with this email, we are taking applications and we expect this summer’s total of four trips to sell out very quickly. There have already been serious expressions of interest and we will honor those first.

Before closing, I would invite you to read two short pieces. The second (below) is a quote from my book, Sightings, in which I share my way of going about my photography here. The other is an excerpt from a New Yorker piece sent me by a happy student of mine. It was deeply gratifying and humbling to have this sent my way. According to the kind sender, and to students with whom I have subsequently shared this piece, it captures what I apparently somehow “do.” I have come to treasure this as a credo.

“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 -- and, for that matter, the truly long-term winning coaches -- do something else. They don't 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

Ralston Gallery“I’ve often thought of what I do as a photographer as being a lot like fishing. Like my fishing friends I have spent many long hours, usually alone, often with nothing to show for a lot of work but a sense of having been there and having tried, going over the same ground again and again, often disappointed, occasionally coming back with a worthy catch to show for the endless investment of what Melville referred to in Moby Dick as ‘Time, Strength, Cash and Patience.’ Like the good fishermen, I've had to know my territory and respect the rules, be ready to take a few calculated risks when it felt right, look people in the eye, keep the gear as simple as possible, get out early & come in late, watch the sky and, above all, respect the people and place where I work.”     Peter Ralston, Sightings, 1997

It works for me and I will apply the same thinking to your trip with me. And I do guarantee that you’ll come back with “keepers!”

I hope to welcome you aboard in sharing some truly unique sightings with me.

Best regards,


Newfoundland and French Islands!

I plan on returning to the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, as well as the southwest coast of Newfoundland in the future. My journey there in September 2012, was, in a word, extraordinary. Click here to see a story I wrote about an outport we visited there... one of the most haunting places I have ever experienced. If you would like to join me there in the future, please let me know.