Alaska Fall Photo Workshop

Sept 5-11, 2022

Experience the brilliant fall colors in Alaska's rugged mountains.  Get off the beaten path in search of enchanting landscapes exploding in brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange. The wildlife is busy getting ready for winter and we may photograph species such as moose, bears, wolves, dall sheep, caribou, and more. The workshop includes all lodging and transportation and you can save 10% by joining our Loyalty ProgramAs an added bonus, we'll spend our last night together soaking in warm thermal hot springs!  Supercharge your Alaska experience by adding our Arctic Wildlife & Landscapes Extension

Tuition

  • $4800 (6 Nights Lodging)
  • 50% Deposit

Max Group Size

  • 4 Students per Instructor
  • Max 8 Students

Instructor(s)

  • Nickolas Warner 
  • Kevin McNeal
alaska bear snow fall autumn grizzly

Highlights

  • Photograph the amazing landscapes of America's Last Frontier erupting in pristine fall colors!
  • Capture the wildlife as they are busy preparing for the cold winter months.  Species include grizzly bear, moose, caribou, dall sheep, wolves, and more!
  • Explore deep into Denali National Park in addition to the backcountry around the park.
  • If activity levels are high, we'll be out in search of the aurora borealis!
  • Relax in the warm thermal waters of Chena Hot Springs.
  • Alaska experts Nickolas Warner and Kevin McNeal will instruct our small group of 8 participants.
  • Workshop includes all transportation, lodging, and some meals.
  • Supercharge your trip with the Arctic Wildlife & Landscapes Extension

Itinerary

The exact itinerary will be kept flexible to account for the weather and current conditions. We will optimize our time for the best possible photography. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.

  • Day 1 (Sept 5):  Meet at 7PM at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks for a mandatory orientation session.  We'll cover the photo techniques we'll be using during our time together and go over all the details of the trip.
  • Day 2 (Sept 6):  After breakfast, we begin our journey south towards Denali.  We stop at various spots for photo ops.  After lunch we check into our hotel and then spend the rest of the day hiking some scenic trails and capturing the insane fall colors all around us!  We even photograph some moose in the brightly colored dwarf birch!
  • Day 3 (Sept 7): We start with an early breakfast and begin our full day bus tour deep into Denali. We'll be on the lookout for wildlife species such as grizzly bear, caribou, moose, dall sheep, and more. The landscapes are sure to impress with brilliant fall colors!  If the weather cooperates, we'll enjoy fantastic views of the imposing and snowy Denali Peak behind Wonder Lake.  Our bus pass will take us to the end of the park road and back.
  • Day 4 (Sept 8):  It's another early morning departure as we head south with awesome views of the snow-capped Alaska Range.  We do a little hiking and then start our journey west on the rugged Denali Highway.  Photo ops abound and we stop to eat some of the plentiful tundra blueberries.  We check into our hotel in a beautiful alpine setting.  We have great locations planned if the aurora borealis comes out to play!
  • Day 5 (Sept 9):  We take the morning to catch up on some much needed rest before continuing our explorations along the Denali Hwy with gorgeous views all around us! We do some hiking in the afternoon and capture a gorgeous sunset!
Alaska Fall - Kevin McNeal
Alaska Fall Workshop
Alaska Fall - Nickolas Warner

Itinerary (cont.)

  • Day 6 (Sept 10):  Today is a big travel day and we'll drive through some exquiste high country cloaked in autumn colors.  We stop often for photo ops!  In the evening we check into our cabins in a quintessential Alaska setting and spend the night relaxing in soothing thermal hot springs.
  • Day 7 (Sept 11): This is our last day together.  After a sunrise shoot, we enjoy breakfast together as a group before making our way back to Fairbanks.  The workshop will conclude by 2PM, allowing you to either stay one more night in Fairbanks or catch a late flight back home.
  • For those wanting an Epic Adventure, we invite you to join our Arctic Wildlife & Landscapes Extension Aug 31 - Sept 5, 2022.

Logistics

  • Plan to arrive at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks no later than 7PM on Sept 5th.  Please have dinner before meeting the group for the orientation session.
  • Mild to moderate hiking is required to reach some locations.  We aren't expecting to do any more than 2-3 miles total in one day. Waterproof hiking boots and gaiters are recommended due to the boggy nature of the tundra.
  • Fall weather is unpredictable in Alaska.  It can be sunny and comfortable or cold and snowy.  We will email you a list of personal items and recommended clothing after you sign up for the trip.
  • 5 breakfasts and 2 dinners are included in the workshop fee. All other meals/snacks are on your own.  We will be stopping for meals at either stores or restaurants during our journey.
  • 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.
Alaska Fall Colors
Alaska Fall - Kevin McNeal

Pricing

$4800/person + Tax

Save 10% by Joining our Loyalty Program

Trip Includes:

  • 6 nights double occupancy lodging
  • Single Supplement:  $700
  • 5 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • Photography guiding and instruction throughout the trip.
  • Post-processing and image critique sessions.
  • Swim passes for the Hot Springs
  • Tickets for the full day Denali bus tour to Kantishna/Wonder Lake.
  • All ground transportation

 

Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Flights to/from Alaska.
  • Meals, beverages, and snacks except for 5 Breakfasts and 2 Dinners.
  • Alcohol

 

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. Having 2 camera bodies will greatly reduce the number of lens changes.
  • 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.
  • Long elephoto lenses will come in handy for landscape compression and wildlife encounters. We recommend a zoom lens in the range of 100-400mm or 200-600mm.  For landscape shots, it's really important you cover the 100-200mm range.
  • 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.
  • Warm, waterproof boots.
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermos for hot beverages
Alaska Fall - Kevin McNeal
Alaska Fall - Kevin McNeal

Arctic Wildlife and Landscapes

Aug 31-Sept 5, 2022

This 5-day adventure will take you deep into the remote Arctic environment where we'll photograph wildlife, fall colors, Northern Lights, and stunning mountain landscapes!  You'll get to spend time with musk oxen and see caribou as they make their way over mountain passes. We'll travel through the mighty Brooks Range with endless mountain peaks! The trip is limited to 8 participants and 2 instructors and is rated Moderate for physical intensity. The workshop fee includes all transportation, hotels, food, and photo guiding and you can save 10% by joining our Loyalty Program.

Tuition

  • $ 4500 All-Inclusive
  • 50% Deposit

Max Group Size

  • 4 Students per Instructor
  • Max 8 Students

Instructor(s)

  • Nickolas Warner 
  • Kevin McNeal
Dalton Fall

Highlights

  • Venture high above the Arctic Circle on this 5-day adventure where we will encounter some of the best wildlife and landscapes of the far north.
  • Wildlife species include musk oxen, red fox, caribou, dall sheep, moose, and much more!
  • Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the mighty treeless Brooks Range surrounded by endless mountain peaks.
  • We hope to find everything from peak fall colors to dancing aurora borealis in the skies above us. We'll cover lots of ground and have many different photo ops planned.
  • This workshop can be paired with our Alaska Fall Photo Workshop and is all-inclusive with lodging, meals, and transportation included.
  • With only 8 participants and 2 instructors, we'll ensure everyone gets individual attention and quick access to their gear for wildlife shooting!
Alaska Fall - Nickolas Warner

Itinerary

Due to the unpredictability of weather in the high arctic, the itinerary below is subject to change.  We will optimize our time to give you the best possible photography experience.

  • Day 1 (Aug 31): Meet at 7PM for our orientation session at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, AK.  We'll cover detailed logistics for our upcoming days together in addition to shooting techniques.
  • Day 2 (Sept 1):  Depart at 8AM from Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks, AK to begin our long journey to the north. We photograph the fall colors and rivers along the way, stopping whenever we have good wildlife sightings! We break for lunch at the Arctic Circle and do some short hikes to nice viewpoints. At sunset we photograph blazing tundra colors along an impressive river and then check into our hotel for the night. With cloudy conditions overnight, we do some post-processing training at the hotel.
  • Day 3 (Sept 2):  After an early breakfast we set out to capture first light on the mountainous landscape before continuing up and over the mighty Brooks Range. Along the way, we stop to photograph dall sheep and caribou!  As we descend the North Slope, the landscape gradually flattens out and we find several herds of musk oxen to photograph. Close to sunset we get some wonderful warm tones on the landscapes and wildlife. We check in for the night at our accommodations near the Arctic Ocean.
  • Day 4 (Sept 3):  We are up early and begin our return journey towards Fairbanks, stopping for wildlife and landscape photos all along the way!  With clear conditions tonight, we venture out after dinner and watch for the aurora borealis.  The aurora start to get active around 10PM and we stay out photographing until almost 2AM.
  • Day 5 (Sept 4):  Today we decide to sleep in since we were out so late the night before.  We load up the vehicles after breakfast and enjoy many more wildlife and landscape photo ops along the way!  Once in Fairbanks, we enjoy our final group dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in town and reminisce on the wonderful experiences we shared together.  Lodging is included for the night of Sept 4th at Pike's Waterfront Lodge
  • Day 6 (Sept 5): Transfer to Alaska Fall Workshop or return home.
Alaska Fall - Nickolas Warner

What to Expect

Alaska experts Nickolas Warner & Kevin McNeal have spent a lot of time photographing the Arctic and know how to get you the best shots! Due to the far northern latitude, the weather can be highly variable. We can have warmer temps and beautiful fall colors, or cold temps with an early snow blanketing the landscape.  No matter what happens, we'll ensure you get the best shots! Temperatures can range from 5°F to as high as 40°F.

Trip difficulty is rated as Moderate since we will be doing some short hikes from the vehicles over rough terrain.  We won't be doing any more than 1-2 miles per day. You should be comfortable carrying your own photo gear.

We expect to encounter lots of wildlife during our journey. We've been able to photograph musk oxen and caribou every year we've been there.  Other species such as moose, red foxes, lynx, grizzly bear, dall sheep, otters, swans, snowy owls, ptarmigan, and more can occasionally be seen. Having 2 camera bodies will really help as you won't have to keep changing lenses for landscape shots vs wildlife shots.

With 2 large vehicles and a small group of 8 participants, we'll have plenty of room to spread out along with quick access to our gear.  This is really important since we need to respond quickly when we spot wildlife.

If skies are clear in the evening, we'll be watching for the Northern Lights.  If we see them, we'll be out photographing!  Being this far north, we can often see the aurora even with low Kp activity.

After you register, we'll be emailing you detailed information on how to book your flights along with checklists for clothing and gear to bring.  We will continue to stay in touch as we get closer to ensure you are setup for success!

Logistics

This trip can be paired with our Alaska Fall Photo Workshop Sept 5-11.  We will be departing at 8AM from Pike's Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks on Sept 1st, and lodging is included for the night of Aug 31st.  This trip will be venturing into some very remote parts of the high arctic.  We will have satellite communication devices in the event of an emergency since there is little to no cell signal. There is always a chance that adverse weather will make it unsafe to drive the Dalton Highway. If that were to happen, our itinerary could be delayed or modified.  Situations like this are beyond our control and this is why we highly recommend Travel Insurance. We have partnered with Squaremouth, a website that allows you to compare policies from multiple providers to choose the best one for you. For meals, we will be stopping at restaurants and dining areas whenever possible.  Food will be available in the vehicles for areas where there are no restaurants.

Alaska Fall - Nickolas Warner
Alaska Aurora Borealis

Pricing

$4500/person + Tax

Save 10% by Joining our Loyalty Program

Trip Includes:

  • 5 nights double-occupancy lodging.
  • Single supplement is $700.
  • All meals and snacks as per the itinerary.
  • All ground transportation in large vehicles.
  • In-Field photography instruction
  • Post-processing and image critique

 

Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Fairbanks, AK.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Hotel charges if we must spend an additional night in the Arctic due to inclement weather.  He highly recommend Trip Insurance!

When you complete the checkout process, you will be given the option to either pay the full amount or put down a 50% deposit.  If you pay the deposit, the remaining amount will be charged 90 days prior to departure.  See the full Terms and Conditions.

We are an authorized permittee of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and the Alaska BLM.

 

Recommended Camera Gear

  • Sturdy tripod and ballhead
  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body. Two camera bodies will help reduce the number of lens changes.
  • 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. We recommend a lens in the 100-200mm range for landscapes. A 100-400mm lens is ideal for both landscapes/wildlife. You may want something longer than 400mm for wildlife.
  • 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.
  • Warm, waterproof boots.
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermos for hot beverages
Alaska Fall - Nickolas Warner
Dalton Fall
Nickolas Warner

Nickolas Warner

Nickolas is a photographer and tour guide with a particular interest in extreme and unusual locations.  His travels have taken him to some fascinating locations, but the American Southwest is his favorite place to photograph.

Nickolas spent the past decade guiding in Alaska, where he provided instruction on photographing the aurora borealis, and shared his knowledge of the far north’s rugged terrain and resilient wildlife.

When not guiding, Nickolas enjoys long distance hiking and extended backpacking trips through remote wilderness areas.

Nickolas's portfolio can be found at Nickolas Warner Photography

Instagram

 

Kevin McNeal

Kevin McNeal

Kevin McNeal is a Washington-State photographer who is passionate about photographing grand landscapes that reflect the most unique places on earth. Capturing moments of magic light and transferring this to print is the ultimate goal. His images hold a combination of perseverance, patience, and dedication to capture landscapes in fresh ways. The stories of how these images are rendered come across in the feelings the images convey. He has traveled all over North America, shooting diverse landscapes and finding remote places with the hope that we can convey to the public that this earth is worth caring for. His award winning images can be seen in galleries and showings across the United States.  He was recently invited to the Art Wolfe Art Gallery for the Environmental Photography Invitational. Kevin was the grand winner of the Landscape category for the Natures Best Magazine and was selected for the Smithsonian National Museum of History in Washington D.C..  He is a regular contributor to publications like Outdoor Photographer.

Artist’s Statement

“I believe that the Earth shares secrets with us that only can be discovered by trying to understand our position on this planet. We are never fully intimate with the planet but are given brief moments that make our souls want more. These glimpses of nature’s power are fleeting and never the same twice. I also believe it is important to share with those who want it. The treasures that await us given the patience that is out there. What I try to do is bring some of that magic to my images to share with the rest of the world. Each of my images tells a story that everyone can relate to in some way whether it is success, fear, or challenging oneself to overcome obstacles

Kevin's portfolio can be found at www.kevinmcnealphotography.com.

Testimonials

Our workshop was let by David and Kevin who are both knowledgeable, personable and high energy individuals with a goal of getting you to the best spots in the best light and providing you with all the assistance you want on location. I especially appreciated being led out in the dark to the mud cracks to shoot the Milky Way, something I never would have done on my own and a really beautiful experience. Weather is always a big factor in photography and they kept on top of the changing conditions and altered our schedule accordingly. I learned a ton in the post processing sessions on Raw and Lightroom. I think the most important factor overall is that you can feel that their main goal is to make the workshop experience all about you and the other workshop attendees.

-Patty, Montana

We talked non-stop for the 2 days of driving home, raving about the workshop. Kevin and David got us to the locations in time, motivated us, educated us and cared for our well being. I saw the group had a wide range of photographic experience and you made sure each member had personalized attention.

-David, British Columbia

David Swindler and Kevin McNeal are two of the most talented landscape photographers in the world. I felt so fortunate to have them as the leaders of the Death Valley Workshop. Every day we shot from before sunrise until after sunset. Their advice was exceptional in the field, but also in the classroom where outstanding tips re post processing were shared. Altogether, this was an amazing learning experience!

- Mary, Ontario

Action Photo Tours provides for an outstanding photo and post processing experience. David and Kevin are very experienced and enthusiastic photographers. David constantly monitored the conditions to give us the best possible opportunities. Both he and Kevin were always available to answer questions and provide invaluable tips on composition and camera techniques. The night shoot was outstanding. Excellent post processing instruction based on photos taken during the trip. Plus, both David and Kevin are really great people to be around. Will be a repeat customer.

-Frank, Washington

Dave and Kevin were outstanding! They both have a passion that is infectious in both field work and post processing. Dave keeps a very tight instructor/participant ratio. Will definitely take another workshop!

-Ken, California

My wife and I took the Death Valley photo tour, and I got some of my best photos ever. David spent a lot of time looking at weather forecasts and models in order to get our group to the best places at the right times to do our photography. Their classroom sessions even managed to get a few things through my thick skull, and I learned a lot. My thanks to David and Kevin for really going the extra mile for us, and I recommend this tour highly.

-Mike, Texas

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