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.
The “Box of Chocolates” Alaska Photo Tour
The Sunset Photo Safari, delivers a surprise every time…
So we like to think of it as our “box of chocolates” photo tour.” The tour follows a general route and a list of possible subjects, but too many variables such as weather, wildlife, and natural events make it impossible to predict what each evening will be like. Take a recent Saturday night for example. The day began with a low ceiling and flat gray light. Clouds broke in late afternoon and by early evening, the color temperature was golden and promising.
Our first stop was a favorite location on a bluff near the end of the Anchorage International Airport, where depending on wind direction, jets are taking off or landing. We like when they’re landing because the path brings them low over scenic Cook Inlet and our position on the bluff. It’s a fun scene for aviation enthusiasts. But this particular night, air traffic was sparse and going the wrong direction.
Oh well… on to the next stop just 2 minutes down the road. At Point Woronzof, there is a picturesque reflective pond that is a favorite moose browse location. Just a week or so earlier, we’d photographed a cow placidly munching on water plants while her calf attacked the pond like a kid at a summertime pool party. But not a moose was in sight. Next stop, Lake Hood, the busiest floatplane base in the world. Throughout summer, you can almost always count on at least a little floatplane action. Or if conditions are right, nice portraits of colorful bush planes parked at lakeside slips. But the light had gone flat again and wind was picking up, ruffling the water and killing any chance of capturing reflections.
We decided to continue our search for moose at Kincaid Park. This stop yielded a few captures of red berries and turning leaves, but no moose sightings. The sky was becoming even more sullen as we headed to one of our most reliable destinations, McHugh Creek. Nestled in a mountainside ravine, this picturesque creek almost always provides a low light situation that allows for slow shutter speeds even without an ND filter; best to portray water softly cascading over mossy rocks. We spent a little extra time at McHugh because sunset didn’t look like it was going to be special. So with less than 15 minutes before sundown, we spun northward on Turnagain Arm with intent to make Glen Alps by twilight.
That’s when it happened. Rounding a curve just south of Potter Marsh, the clouds split, throwing pink and golden beams across glistening mudflats, bathing Cook Inlet and Sleeping Lady in luxurious warm light. The best view was in a place we don’t normally stop, but being the photographers we are, it was an impossible scene to pass up. So descending to the flats and setting up tripods as quickly as possible, we spent the remainder of the day happily savoring the best chocolate of the day.