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.
- 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!
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.
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!
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.
$4500/person + Tax
Save 10% by Joining our Loyalty Program
- 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.
- Thermos for hot beverages
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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