Arctic Landscapes and Wildlife
Sept 26-30 & Oct 5-9, 2022
Designed to accompany our Polar Bear or Alaska Fall Workshop, this 4-day adventure will take you deep into the remote Arctic Environment where we'll photograph wildlife, fall colors, Northern Lights, and stunning mountain landscapes! The trip is limited to 6 participants and 2 instructors and is rated Moderate for physical intensity. The workshop fee includes all transportation, hotels, food, and photo guiding.
- Venture high above the Arctic Circle on this 4-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, and much more!
- Immerse yourself in the grandeaur of the mighty Brooks Range, surrounded by high mountain peaks.
- We hope to find everything from 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 is designed to accompany our Polar Bear or Alaska Fall Workshop and is all-inclusive with lodging, meals, and transportation included. The trip is rated Moderate for physical difficulty.
- With only 6 participants and 2 instructors, we'll ensure everyone gets individual attention, a window seat, and easy access to their gear.
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: We meet together early in the morning in Fairbanks, Alaska to begin our long journey to the north. We load up the vehicles and 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 some nice viewpoints. At sunset, we photograph the ice floes along an impressive river and then check into our cabins for the night. With cloudy conditions, we do some post-processing training together in the cabin.
- Day 2: After a hearty breakfast from our gracious host, we set out early 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 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. We are having so much fun we don't hardly even feel the cold temperatures!
- Day 4: Today we decide to sleep in since we were out so late the night before. We load up the vehicles after breakfast and finish the long journey back to Fairbanks with many more wildlife and landscape photo ops along the way! Once in Fairbanks, we enjoy our final group dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town and reminisce on the wonderful experiences we shared together.
- Day 5: Transfer to Polar Bear Workshop or return home.
What to Expect
Expert wildlife and landscape photographer David Swindler has spent a lot of time photographing the Arctic and knows how to get you the best shots! Due to climate change, 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 as per the conditions. Temperatures can range from 5°F to as high as 40°F.
The 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, grizzly bear, dall sheep, otters, swans, snowy owls, ptarmigan, etc can occasionally be seen. We will be stopping along the way for wildlife and landscape shots. Having 2 camera bodies will keep you from having to change lenses all the time.
With 2 vehicles and 2 instructors, every participant will have a window seat and quick access to their 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!
This trip is designed as an extension to our Polar Bear or Alaska Fall Workshop and you must be booked for either the Polar Bear Workshop or Alaska Fall in order to sign up for one of the extensions. We will be departing sometime after 8AM from Fairbanks, AK on Day 1 and specific information will be provided on where to meet after booking. 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.
Accommodations in the Arctic are in short supply and very expensive. For the first and third nights of our trip, we will be sharing large cabins with some private rooms. The bathrooms will be shared among 4 people. A couple of the beds will be in the main living area of the cabins. For the 2nd night of the trip, everyone will have their own private room and bathroom/shower. We are including the final night's hotel in Fairbanks and single occupancy is assumed. If you would like double occupancy, we can give you a discount.
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. Check them out here: https://www.squaremouth.com/. If you choose not to purchase travel insurance, we will require you sign a consent form.
For meals, we will be stopping at restaurants and dining areas whenever possible. But many of the areas we visit will be so remote that no such facilities exist. In those cases, we will have food available in the vehicles for us to eat. When we are in the cabins, we may be cooking dinner for everyone depending on the day's itinerary.
$3195/person + Tax
- 1 Night Single-Occupancy Lodging in Fairbanks, AK.
- 2 Nights Semi-Private Lodging in Wiseman, AK.
- 1 Night Private Lodging in Deadhorse, AK.
- All Meals and Snacks.
- All Ground Transportation in comfortable SUVs. Every participant gets a door and a window.
- 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 additional nights in the arctic due to inclement weather.
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.
David Swindler is a National Geographic award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer. He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. Back in 2014 he quit his day job to follow his true passion. He has traveled to many locations around the world and has extensive experience photographing a wide variety of subjects and conditions. He finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT. David is an expert in night photography and loves to get out and shoot the starry night skies. Catch a glimpse of David's work in the slideshow, and follow the links below to see more!
David has been leading guided photo tours for many years. He is very familiar with many different types of cameras and how to capture the best photos. And most importantly, his clients are the top priority while out in the field. Just read what others are saying here: Trip Advisor.
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
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.
“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.