Top 30 Alaska Photography Subjects by Season
Ever wondered when’s the best time to photograph brown bear snatching salmon from a cascading falls… alpine meadows carpeted with wildflowers… northern lights whipping across the night sky… or tail slapping whales in a coastal fjord? Alaska provides scenes like these and so much more, but they’re seasonal – so knowing where to be and when is key to success. Consulting the Top 30 Alaska Photography Subjects by Season is a good place to start.
Among the unique attributes of the subarctic, early spring is still essentially winter. Between winter and spring is a sub-season locals like to call “breakup,” during which time temperatures and precipitation can fluctuate wildly. It’s a gray and gritty time of year, but following one warm day in May, the landscape suddenly erupts in bright spring green. Newborn moose calves can be spotted tottering after their mothers soon after. Streams begin filling with spawning salmon around the same time, and wildflowers peak in early July. By late August, summer is already making way for fall and the first auroras of the season might be seen dancing through the night. Like a grand finale, autumn is short and explosive, with alpine tundra awash in golden crimson and snow-dusted mountain peaks. Alaska is a vast state ranging from 51°N [Adak] to 71°N [Utqiagvik] so this list is far from complete, but it will give you a general idea of what can be seen and photographed during each month throughout most of Southcentral Alaska; including Homer, Soldotna, Kenai, Seward, Girdwood, Anchorage, Palmer, Wasilla and Talkeetna.
* Peak months are noted in bold caps.
Spring tide in Turnagain Arm at sunset.
|1. Aerials (fixed wing)||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
|2. Alaska State Fair||AUG||Sep|
|3. Anchorage Fur Rondy Winter Festival||FEB||Mar|
|4. Anchorage skyline at twilight||Jan||Feb||Mar||APR||OCT||Nov||Dec|
|6. Auroras (northern lights)||Jan||Feb||MAR||Apr||Aug||SEP||Oct||Nov||Dec|
|7. Autumn colors||Aug||SEP||Oct|
|8. Bald eagles||Apr||MAY||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep|
|11. Brown bears (Chinitna Bay)||May||JUN||JUL||AUG||Sep|
|Brown bears (Denali National Park)||Jun||Aug||Aug||Sep|
|Brown bears (Katmai National Park)||JUL|
|Brown bears (Lake Clark National Park)||Jul||AUG||SEP|
|12. Coastal scenes||Jan||Feb||MAR||APR||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
|13. Dall sheep (Turnagain Arm)||Jan||Feb||Mar||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||Nov||Dec|
|14 First snow (mountain summits)||Aug||SEP||Oct|
|First snow (sea level)||Sep||Oct||NOV|
|15. Glaciers (hiking)||JAN||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||NOV||DEC|
|Glaciers (by air)||JAN||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||NOV||DEC|
|Glaciers (by boat)||Apr||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||Oct|
|16. Historic mines||May||JUN||JUL||AUG||Sep|
|17. Ice flows on Cook Inlet & Turnagain Arm||JAN||FEB||MAR||Dec|
|18. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race||MAR|
|20. Migratory birds||Apr||MAY||JUN||JUL|
|21. Moonrise (Hunter moon)||OCT|
|23. Moose calves (newborn)||MAY||JUN|
|Moose in rut||SEP||OCT||NOV|
|24. Mountain scenes||Jan||Feb||Mar||APR||MAY||JUN||Jul||Aug||SEP||OCT||NOV||Dec|
|26. Seabird rookeries||May||JUN||JUL||Aug|
|27. Snowy taiga||JAN||FEB||MAR||Dec|