Aurora Borealis Photo Tour in Alaska’s Arctic

After nearly two decades of guiding photo tours in Alaska’s Arctic, I decided it was time to take a break and free up some time to focus on other projects, including my own professional photography pursuits. My longtime colleague and co-guide Hugh Rose is still offering the same trips.

Join professional photographer and guide, Hugh Rose on a photographic quest for the aurora borealis in the scenic Brooks Range mountains of Alaska’s Arctic. Learn all you need to know to capture your own photos of this amazing phenomenon.

For Dates and Pricing, see: Hugh’s Website

  • 8 days, 6 in the field

  • Group size: 6-8 people

  • Access by vehicle

  • For more information see Hugh’s Website

  • Dates: See Hugh’s Website
  • Length: 8 Days
  • Participants: Group size 6-8 people
  • Destination: Fairbanks – Brooks Range – Fairbanks
  • Physical Requirements: Good to excellent condition
  • Mental Requirements: A flexible and positive attitude
  • Degree of Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
  • Degree of Weather Difficulty: Moderate to Extreme
  • Agility: Good (traveling on uneven terrain in the dark)
  • Activities: Forays of walking/hiking in boots, fully clad in winter gear, on uneven terrain in dark, cold, snowy and possibly icy conditions.
  • Photography Skill Level: Beginner to Professional
  • Weather Conditions: Potentially extreme cold, snow, wind (-10 to -30 below at night, but a warm cabin or vehicle is always nearby for warm-up sessions.)
  • Transportation: Vehicle
  • Accommodations: Hotel in Fairbanks, rustic, but comfortable cabins in the Brooks Range with shared bathrooms.
  • Instruction: Introduction to aurora photography and photography in cold weather presentations. Extensive in-the-field instruction. Daytime workshop sessions on processing aurora photos in Lightroom, creative composition, long exposure technique, etc.

This trip is all inclusive, you land in Fairbanks and put your wallet away, save for personal gift items or an excursion option outside of the described itinerary. The tour focuses on photographing the northern lights in Alaska’s Arctic. Although there is no guarantee to see the aurora, all of the previous March aurora trips have had success. From both a weather and solar activity perspective, March is statistically the best month.

Itinerary Summary

  • day 1: Arrive Fairbanks, welcome dinner and orientation
  • day 2: Drive north to the Brooks Range
  • nights 2-6: Night Shift: Northern lights photography in the Brooks Range 9 p.m. to 4-5 a.m.
  • day 7: Return drive to Fairbanks and farewell dinner
  • day 8: Fly home

Skill sets vary among the participants ranging from beginners to professional photographers. Successful aurora photography requires both clear skies and solar activity. It is not reliably predictable. For this reason, a flexible and opportunistic attitude is essential. While an opportunistic approach is best, the goal is to be awake on a clear night and outside from approximately 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. (A warm vehicle or cabin will always be nearby for warm-up breaks whenever necessary). Afternoon instructional sessions will include lectures and presentations by Patrick on post-production work on RAW files, file management, creativity, nighttime photography, etc.

Accommodations

  • Fairbanks: Private single rooms at a Fairbanks Hotel for the first and last night of the trip.
  • Brooks Range: Clean and comfortable rooms in rustic and cozy log cabins, complete with a hot showers and tasty home cooked meals.

Gear and Equipment

Specific photography gear items and clothing recommended for this excursion will be discussed in detail in the trip literature following booking.

Instruction and Teaching

Extensive assistance throughout the trip covering all aspects of photography. Most of the learning happens in the field, but there will be afternoon workshops discussing digital file management, and more specifically, beginning and advanced sessions in Adobe Lightroom on how to best optimize RAW files of the northern lights.