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Arctic Aurora Photography Tours and Workshops

Aurora over the Brooks Range, a twenty minute drive from our lodging in Wiseman.

 

TRIP ANNOUNCEMENTS!

SOLD OUT! , 17-21 March 2018.

AVAILABLE: 1-5 April 2018. 2 Spots remaining (and going fast!). Get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

 

If you are serious about the northern lights, then you’ll want to dedicate more than day to it. This trip carries you away from Fairbanks to the historic village of Wiseman in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska. In the quiet of the northern wilderness, where there are few distractions, we have the time dedicate ourselves entirely to photography. We will stay in a log cabin where we will cook and eat our meals communally. During the daylight hours we can examine the historic cabins, and gold-rush era mining equipment of Wiseman, walk the snowy trails or the frozen river, admire the rugged mountain scenery, or head out in the vehicle to look for wildlife and new views of the Brooks Range in the winter. There is no better trip to find and photograph the aurora, Alaska’s winter landscape, and northern wildlife. Transportation from Fairbanks, all meals, and photography instruction are provided. For a detailed itinerary or more information, contact me using the form at the bottom of the page. (Advance booking at least 6 months in advance is strongly recommended.)

Trip Overview

Wiseman, Alaska lies in the southern Brooks Range, approximately 250 road miles north of Fairbanks, and 70 miles north of the
Arctic Circle. The wild, rugged landscape would be photographer’s playground even if the area wasn’t home to some of the most consistent and dramatic northern lights displays in the world.

The weeks surrounding the fall and spring equinoxes are ideal times for photography in the Brooks Range. The days have long hours of sweet light with opportunities to photograph wildlife, landscapes, and the historic community of Wiseman, while coinciding with the peak of auroral activity. You will rarely have time for boredom, as we explore the Brooks Range by vehicle, on foot, snowshoes, or by simply wandering with our cameras.

Though I will work with you to find an itinerary that fits your budget, I recommend allocating at least five days (four nights) for a trip to the Brooks Range, and five or six nights is even better. The more time you can spend, the better your odds of successfully catching a display of the aurora borealis on a clear night.

Sukakpak Mountain in March.

First Day

It’s a six hour drive from Fairbanks to Wiseman, so we will get an early start from Fairbanks. Though a hefty day on the road, we will stop often when photography opportunities present themselves, and to have lunch on the shore of the mighty Yukon River.

Historic log cabin in Wiseman, Alaska.

Along the way, the Dalton Highway (or “Haul Road” as the locals know it), winds through the boreal forest and up and down steep hills as we approach the mountains of the Brooks Range. Several times we rise above the tree line opening up sweeping views of the Yukon River basin and mountains to the north. An hour south of the outpost of Coldfoot (home to the only gas station between the Yukon River and the Arctic Ocean), we will cross the Arctic Circle, and enter true Arctic Alaska.

In Wiseman, which lies another 12 miles north of Coldfoot, we will settle into our cabins and relax until our first night of chasing northern lights.

Arctic Days and Nights (4 or more nights recommended)

Daylight hours will be dedicated to whatever you and your group would like to do, from exploring along the road, to hiking, snowshoeing, searching for wildlife, and photographing the dramatic mountains of the central Brooks Range. One day, we will certainly drive up the road at least as far as Atigun Pass, and perhaps down onto the Arctic Coastal Plain.

We will head out from our warm cabin around 10pm, or earlier if the lights look promising and the weather clear, for four or five hours of searching for the aurora. When it’s clear in the Brooks Range, most nights some kind of northern lights can usually be seen. Sometimes that may be a subtle curtain of green aurora, or it may be a booming, sky-filling display. We never know until we go out and look.

Return

Departing Wiseman mid-morning, will repeat our drive back down the Haul Road toward Fairbanks. We’ll stop for lunch along the way, arriving in Fairbanks around dinner.

What’s Included?

From Fairbanks, all transportation, lodging, food, guide services, and photography instruction.

How Much?

Price varies by the number of people in your party. A typical private, 5 day/4 night trip for a group of 4 will cost approximately $2250/person. Open sign-up trips cost approximately $2,500/person. I can accommodate groups from 1-6 people, or more with special arrangement.

Transportation Options

If the long drive to or from the Brooks Range doesn’t appeal to you, I can arrange flights between Fairbanks and Coldfoot (additional cost).

More Information

Check out a sample Itinerary (pdf)

Recommended Gear List

Images and Trip Report from March 2017 Tour

How to Take Care of Your Camera Gear in Cold Weather

A Brief Guide to Photographing the Aurora Borealis by David W. Shaw 

Interested in finding out more? Send me your question or inquiry here: