Northern Lights 300 Sled Dog Race & Aurora Photography Workshop Tour 2018-01-05T13:16:40+00:00

Northern Lights 300 Sled Dog Race & Aurora Photography Workshop Tour  January 25-30, 2018 [shortened trip available] 

Experience an epic winter adventure on the Northern Lights 300 Sled Dog Race and Aurora Photography Workshop Tour. This race precedes and is a qualifier for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The route travels over a portion of the same trail, and this remote location also provides night-sky and aurora photography workshop tour opportunities. You’ll be guided by one of Alaska’s most published professionals, Jeff Schultz, official photographer of the Iditarod. After photographing the excitement of race start, you’ll chase the race via bush plane and land along the trail for more dog mushing photo ops before continuing on to the turn-around point at the most prestigious lodge on the Iditarod Trail, award-winning Winterlake Lodge. Nestled in the foothills of the Alaska Range, this property provides unparalleled hospitality and cuisine in one of the most stunning locations on earth. This will be your accommodations for the remainder of the trip. Upon arrival, there will be opportunity to photograph dog teams for many hours as they arrive, rest and depart again from the Finger Lake area, which is surrounded by pristine mountain peaks. During dark hours, weather permitting, you’ll have a chance to photograph the night sky and possibly aurora displays. Throughout the workshop, Jeff will provide teaching sessions, photographic support and area expertise to ensure you get your Alaska dream shot.


Intermediate to advanced photographers [maximum 5] 


January 26-31, 2017 [can be shortened to January 26-29, 2017]


Anchorage, Big Lake, and Winterlake Lodge, Alaska


  • Guided by one of Alaska most published and respected professional photographers in Alaska
  • Pre-Workshop classroom instruction
  • Photograph an authentic sled dog race
  • Snowmobile to photo locations
  • Bush plane air taxi to the lodge, with opportunity for aerial photography and landing along trail for a variety of perspectives
  • 5-star cuisine and accommodations at Winterlake Lodge
  • Dog sled rides at the lodge
  • Potential to photograph the northern lights & night-sky photos

What Will I Learn?

At each of the workshop classroom sessions, Jeff will discuss his methods and answer questions pertaining to shooting compelling dog mushing images, winter landscape and night-sky photography. During daily outings, Jeff will talk through his methods for making the best image at the current location with the subject at hand. He is NOT there to photograph his own images, his mission is to help you take your photography to the next level. Jeff will also cover the following:

  • 10 Tips to making better images no matter where you are
  • Compositional do’s, don’ts, and new ideas
  • What makes a compelling image
  • Use of various types of filters
  • Combining shutter speeds and f-stops… and the effects of each
  • Equipment: what you really need, would like, and don’t need at all

Camera Gear – What shall I bring?

Besides shooting with two Canon camera bodies, Jeff brings lenses from 14mm-400mm and flash with off-camera capabilities, tripod, polarizer and split-neutral density filters. 


At the very least, please bring:

  • A DSLR or MLIC camera with one lens
  • Several back up batteries & chargers
  • Extra media cards for your camera

Ideally, if possible, please also bring:

  • Extra camera body
  • Lenses ranging from 17mm-400mm [If you’d like to rent equipment while you are visiting Alaska, we recommend our friends at Stewart’s Photo Shop in downtown Anchorage].
  • Tripod – A necessity for night-sky photography
  • Polarizing Filter – Jeff uses and recommends Singh-Ray
  • Graduated Neutral Density Filters:  Jeff carries a 2 and a 3 stop “soft” and “hard” Galen Rowell graduated filters by Singh-Ray
  • Flash and off-camera cord
  • Lens shades & cable release
  • Non abrasive cloth
  • Laptop computer with image editing/processing software – Jeff uses and recommends BreezeBrowser & Lightroom
  • Backpack type of carrying case – Jeff uses and recommends Kiboko
  • Any other easily transported photography gear you like to use


A complete list will be provided prior to the workshop.

  • Dress in layers with synthetic material, not cotton [cold weather winter gear is mandatory, if needed, rentals are available at 6th Avenue Outfitters in Anchorage
  • Headlamp [ideally with a red lens or red cellophane to put over the light]
  • Cold-weather boots

Transportation, Lodging and Meals

Anchorage accommodations is at a 4-star hotel located on Lake Hood, near the airport.

Winterlake Lodge is an award-winning property described as “Rustic Luxury.” You will have your own comfortable guest cabin with a small sitting room, dresser, desk with chairs, rocking chairs, luggage rack, couch, robes, drinking water dispenser and a private deck with a view. The lodge provides daily housekeeping service. The beds are fitted with high-quality linens, down duvet covers, and oversized pillows, and personal care amenities are by L’Occitane. There is a hot tub on the deck and a sauna (don’t forget your bathing-suit). Meals are prepared by talented chefs and a select, curated “menus of the day” are paired with wines from favorite vineyards.  

This tour is inclusive of transportation [from Anchorage], accommodations and most meals [see itinerary for details].

 Not Included:

  • Travel to and from Alaska
  • Personal expenses
  • Photography equipment
  • Gratuities for lodge crew and guides

Safety, Confidence and Being Prepared

Your safety is our primary concern. We work with some of the best Alaskan pilots, and each carries the necessary full insurance as required.  The lodge carries complete insurance and is qualified for Alaska backcountry guiding.

  • Physical Requirements: better than average to excellent condition
  • Degree of Difficulty: moderate to difficult
  • Agility: very good [for getting into and out of small aircraft and traveling on uneven terrain]
  • Weather Conditions: moderate to extreme [January temperatures range from 30° F (-1° C) to -20° F (-29° C), may experience snow, wind or sun.]
  • Mental Requirements: a flexible and positive attitude
  • Photographic Skill Level: intermediate to professional
  • Clients are required to inform us of health problems, allergies, and any physical limitations at time of booking due to the extremely remote location and physical activities involved. All clients are required to sign a liability release waiver prior to the trip



Thu Jan 25 [4:00 pm – 8:30 pm]

  • Evening presentation in Anchorage, highlighting dog mushing photography, accompanied by appetizers and wine.  
  • Thursday night at an Anchorage hotel for out of town guests

Fri Jan 26

  • Breakfast at hotel [included]
  • Early morning drive to Big Lake area prior to start of Northern Lights 300 sled dog race
  • Photograph dogs at the kennel of Iditarod Champion Martin Buser
  • Photograph race start at noon [various opportunities to shoot in start chute and along trail via snowmobile and on foot]
  • Transfer to Big Lake airport for bush plane flights [3-4 people per plane]
  • Photograph teams from the air and land along race route [weather and landing conditions permitting]
  • Arrive at Winterlake Lodge late afternoon
  • Early evening appetizer hour and dinner at the lodge
  • Evening presentation on photographing the night sky and the northern lights
  • Potential northern lights and/or star photography in late night, early morning hours [weather permitting]

Sat Jan 27

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the lodge
  • Photographing dog teams arriving, resting and leaving from Winterlake Lodge from early morning and throughout the day. Traveling to location via snowmobile, walking and/or snowshoeing.
  • Evening slide show of participant’s images and critique
  • Potential northern lights and/or star photography in late night, early morning hours [weather permitting]

Sun Jan 28

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the lodge
  • Dog sled rides and photography provided by the lodge’s dog team from morning, and throughout the day
  • For those on a shortened trip, a late afternoon return to Anchorage

Continued Itinerary for Standard Trip

  • Additional instruction on night photography and light painting early Sunday evening
  • Potential northern lights and/or star photography in late night, early morning hours [weather permitting]

Mon Jan 29

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner at lodge
  • Variety of lodge activities and photography including dog mushing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing throughout the day
  • Slide show featuring Jeff’s best Alaska images and how they were created
  • Participant images peer review and critique. Adobe Lightroom image processing demo
  • Potential northern lights and light painting, early morning hours [weather permitting]

Tue Jan 30

  • Breakfast and lunch at the lodge
  • Variety of lodge activities
  • Depart early afternoon for Anchorage return


Cost is inclusive of all meals, transportation, transfers, guides, and lodging from Anchorage.

  • Standard Trip [5 days/5 nights] Thursday night presentation and Anchorage hotel plus 4-nights at Winterlake Lodge through Tuesday afternoon, January 31. $4495 
  • Shortened Trip [3 night/3 day]  Thursday night presentation and Anchorage hotel plus 2-nights at Winterlake Lodge through Sunday afternoon, January 29. $2995
  • Alaska residents or those with local accommodations, subtract $150 from the above rates.

Important Booking Information & What’s Next

Deposits & Payment:   50% Payment is required after confirmation of space. The balance is due 90 days in advance of trip. 

Cancellation and Refund Policy: Refunds for cancellations are not guaranteed. If we can fill your space, then we will refund the deposits [minus a 10% charge]. For this reason, as well as other unforeseen trip disruptions, we strongly recommend trip insurance. We suggest one of these two options for trip insurance:

AIG Travel Guard

CSA Travel Protection

Reserve your place by clicking the “Book Now” button below. Jeff will contact you with payment and confirmation information. Read Booking Policies and Liability Waivers.

After booking what’s next?   

  • After the deposit payment is received, Jeff will send detailed information on the first day’s itinerary so that you can plan your arrival day and time.

Several months before the workshop, Jeff will e-mail you the following:

  • A list of any other essential personal gear & any specialized photography gear I feel will enhance your experience.
  • Supplemental information on the itinerary.

If at any time, you have any questions about the workshop, please e-mail Jeff Schultz directly at

Book now!