Alaska Photo Treks offers sunset tours year round. Sunset Photo Safari operates May- September. Twilight Photo Tour runs September-April. Departure times for both tours are dependent on sunset, which at this latitude changes dramatically throughout the year. The times for each week are posted on the respective pages for each tour. Winter months also include the northern lights viewing adventure, Anchorage Aurora Quest. Explore Alaska Photo Treks to learn more about these excellent, instructional day tours and multi-day tours and workshops.
Autumn Aerial Photography in Alaska
While growing up in Alaska, I spent a good bit of time with my nose in period novels, and I subsequently felt cheated out of seeing places where humans had left deep footprints. What I didn’t appreciate then, at least not yet, was the vast, undeveloped reaches of Alaska. Time, travel, and maturity have opened my eyes to a new perspective. Now I jump at every chance I get to explore the wilderness; the more remote the better. I had two great opportunities come my way recently, in fixed wing plane and helicopter. With so little road in a state that’s more than double the size of Texas, flying is unquestionably the best way to access the back country. Of course, my camera came with me on both trips.
Aerial photography is fun and not difficult, but there are a few things to consider when choosing your settings. First, with all the motor vibration and aircraft movement it will be impossible to hold your camera perfectly still. Choose a shutter speed that’s at least 1/500 second (or faster with a longer focal length). Also, I don’t recommend an extra big zoom. Wide angle will do a better job of capturing the expansive landscape. Go with a smaller f-stop for a crisper image and choose ISO accordingly. Unless you’re up near dusk or dawn, or visibility extremely poor (which is unlikely or shouldn’t be flying), you’ll be able to get adequate shutter speeds with lower ISOs.
Unless your lucky enough to have a door-off tour, you’ll need to consider how to shoot well through a window. Get as close as you can to the glass but take care not to touch it, especially in a helicopter. Heli glass scratches easily. Nothing beats door-off tours for serious shooting, but I’ve gotten some decent shots through a window. The main thing to watch out for is glare, which is usually easily eliminated by tilting the camera a bit one way or the other. Don’t worry too much if the the plane’s tie down ropes or other parts get in the frame. Compose the shot to get the subject without obstructions, and then crop or clone out unwanted parts in around the edge of the frame in post processing. Finally, don’t expect your images to look spectacular straight out of camera. They will most likely be flat, until you bump up the blacks in editing. Also play around with vibrancy and the dehazer, and prepare to be amazed!
Another nice thing about flightseeing is it’s a year-round activity, and winter landscapes can be stunning. There are a number of local flightseeing services to accoommodate your aerial ambitions, or check with us for a custom photography tour.