Alaska Aurora Borealis Photo Workshop
Feb 10-17, 2021 - Sold Out!!
Experience Alaska's ethereal winter beauty as the mysterious Northern Lights dance across the skies and golden light illuminates the snowy landscapes. Our journey will take us far above the Arctic Circle in chase of the aurora borealis, stunning scenery, and arctic wildlife. And there's more - you will gaze in awe at a stunning ice cave, spend a day with dog mushers, and soak in warm thermal hot springs!
- Photographing the aurora borealis is the primary focus of the workshop. Dates are timed for very dark skies with little to no moon interference!
- Journey well above the Arctic Circle where we'll be directly under the auroral band. This allows us to see the lights even when activity levels are low!
- Experience the dramatic snow-covered landscapes of North Central Alaska. Low sun angles throughout the day will produce rich colors and warm light.
- Gaze in awe inside a spectacular ice cave. When conditions are right, it can be full of ice crystals!
- Relax in the warm thermal waters of Chena Hot Springs and enjoy a day with the dog mushers.
- Workshop is led by pro-photographer David Swindler and includes post-processing training as well.
- All transportation and lodging is provided during the workshop so you can focus completely on your photography.
The itinerary may be subject to change due to the unpredictability of Arctic weather. We will make every effort to optimize our shooting conditions no matter what the weather throws at us.
- Day 1 (Feb 10): Meet at 7PM in Fairbanks, Alaska for a mandatory introductory session. Come prepared to shoot and we'll go out to chase the Northern Lights if conditions warrant!
- Day 2 (Feb 11): We leave Fairbanks this morning and head out for a day of fun and adventure with the dog mushers. We'll see some beautiful scenery and have a blast playing with the puppies! We check into our rooms after we shoot sunset and then enjoy a relaxing swim at some thermal hot springs. Skies clear later in the evening and we are out until late capturing the amazing aurora borealis!
- Day 3 (Feb 12): After breakfast, we photograph sunrise and then make our way back towards Fairbanks. We have various activities planned depending on the weather conditions. The chances for auroral activity look good tonight, and so we head out of town to photograph them.
- Day 4 (Feb 13): We leave early in the morning for our ice cave adventure. Equipped with snow shoes, crampons, and helmets, we hike to the foot of the glacier and gaze in awe at the incredible ice formations inside. We spend several hours photographing before making our way back to the vehicle.
- Day 5 (Feb 14): We wake up early and start our journey into the Far North, taking lots of photos along the way and stopping for wildlife sightings. After checking into our hotel, we head out for sunset and aurora shooting at a place well known for frost-covered trees!
- Day 6 (Feb 15): We hit the road again and journey up above the Arctic Circle. After lunch, we photograph a number of spectacular mountains and rugged landscapes. As darkness falls, we get our group into some prime locations for Northern Lights photography.
- Day 7 (Feb 16): Today we explore many areas to the North and even find some great wildlife shooting opportunities! A fresh coat of snow makes the landscape sparkle and come alive in the beautiful low-angle light. After dinner we go out for our final night of aurora chasing!
- Day 8 (Feb 17): We wake up early for our long return journey to Fairbanks. We have a couple stops planned along the way for photography. We hope to get back to town by mid-afternoon, allowing you to either stay one more night in Fairbanks or catch a late evening flight back home. It's always tough to say goodbye to all the new friends we have made during our week together.
- Plan to arrive in Fairbanks no later than 6PM on Feb 10th.
- Mild to moderate hiking is required to reach some locations. For the ice cave day, the hiking could be more strenuous (max of 3 miles). We will have snowshoes for all participants for the ice cave day.
- Winter weather is unpredictable in Alaska and temperatures can be very cold. We will email you a list of personal items and recommended clothing after you sign up for the trip.
- We will be driving together in two vehicles for added safety. Please see our COVID-19 Policies for information on how we'll keep you safe.
- All participants are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel to Alaska.
- Due to the pandemic, we are not allowing people who don't know each other to share hotel rooms. A single supplement of $750 applies for anyone that wants their own room.
- Lodging in the arctic is very expensive and in short supply. When we are outside of Fairbanks, one hotel night will not have en-suite bathrooms. There will be shared mens/women's restrooms with showers in the hallway. All other nights will have private en-suite bathrooms.
- Food is not included in the workshop fee. We will be stopping for meals at either stores or restaurants during our journey. Note that many of the restaurants in Alaska are take-out only.
- There is no need for you to rent a car. The hotel will provide free shuttle service to/from the Fairbanks International Airport. Once you are with us, we will provide all transportation for the workshop.
- We highly recommend Travel Insurance to cover any non-refundable fees or medical coverage during the workshop.
$3990/person + Tax
- 7 Nights Double Occupancy Lodging. A $750/person charge will be added for those wanting single occupancy.
- Photography guiding and instruction throughout the trip.
- Post-processing and image critique sessions.
- Swim Passes for the Hot Springs
- Dog Mushing Experience
- All Ground Transportation
- Gear Rental for the Ice Cave
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Flights to/from Alaska.
- Meals, beverages, and snacks.
A 50% deposit is required to secure your spot. The remaining balance will be charged 90 days prior to the workshop.
Recommended Camera Gear
- Sturdy tripod and ballhead
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
- Fast wide angle lens in the 14-35mm range. We recommend a lens that is f/2.8 or faster for night photography.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Telephoto lenses will come in handy for landscape compression and wildlife encounters.
- Circular polarizer filters and 3-stop ND filters for your lenses. If you like shooting with grads, bring them along. Very dark ND's can be useful for creating long exposures.
- Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies.
- Remote cord for your camera.
- Cover for your camera/lens to protect against high winds and precipitation.
- Camera backpack you can use while hiking.
- Drone camera for aerial photography (optional).
- Laptop if you wish to backup your photos or follow along during the post-processing instruction.
Personal Gear List
- Lots of warm clothes! We will email you a recommended list with many more details.
- Microspikes are recommended for walking on slick surfaces.
- Warm, waterproof winter boots.
- Thermos for hot beverages
Instructor - David Swindler
David Swindler is a National Geographic award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer. He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked many years in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. Thus, the technical side of photography came very easy to him. Back in 2014 he decided to quit his day job to follow his true passion. As a photographer, he has traveled to many locations around the world and has extensive experience with landscape, wildlife, night, and macro photography. He finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in stunning outdoor environments! Follow the links below to see more of Mr. Swindler's work.
Mr Swindler has been leading guided photo tours for many years and knows many different camera systems and how to capture the best photos. On his trips, you'll travel to impressive locations and receive photography instruction at the same time! Unlike many other photo guides, his clients are his top priority while out in the field. Read what others are saying about his trips here: Trip Advisor. Mr Swindler has extensive outdoor experience and will ensure your safety and well-being. If you have any questions, please Contact Us and we'll be happy to assist.