In Guides Shooting Rapids, a sense of nature's power permeates the watercolors of the painting. On his visits to Buebec and Lake St. John in 1897 and 1902, Homer concentrated primarily on images of fishing in the rapids, evoking through forceful brushwork the swift currents of the Saguenay. Descending the river, the terrifying trip through the rapids was safely made only with the expert aid of an Indian guide. Watercolors like Guides Shooting Rapids catch the breathtaking senses of peril and excitement of a whitewater passage.
In Quebec, Homer painted a small group of watercolors where man and nauter appear in harmonious relationship. Homer himself considered the Quebec watercolors to be exceptionally fine, and he hoped a significant number of them could be kept together. "My idea is to keep them in one collection for some Institution to buy the lot." He priced them at $100 and up, with highest being $400 for Guides Shooting Rapids - the most he had asked for his watercolors, and an indication of what he thought of them.