Brooks Range Auroras & Autumn Landscapes Photography Workshop 2017-09-12T01:30:01+00:00

Brooks Range Auroras & Autumn Landscapes with Carl Johnson | Aug 30 - Sep 4, 2017

Experience a workshop that will test your endurance and challenge you to add new photography skills to your repertoire! Clear skies will mean late night shooting, along with plenty to photograph during the day. Base camp for this workshop is Boreal Lodge in Wiseman, Alaska, nestled in a dramatic valley surrounding the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River, and directly beneath the auroral oval. Wiseman is a former mining town as described by Robert Marshall in Arctic Village. Today, it is home to 13 permanent residents living in the expansive wilderness of Brooks Range.

Day One

Travel on your own to Fairbanks, Alaska, and catch a courtesy shuttle to the tour hotel. There will be a dinner meeting in the evening, to discuss the itinerary and outline photo opportunities for the days ahead. If auroras light up, we will head out for an introductory session on northern lights photography after dinner.

Day Two

To catch the best morning light, you'll rise and meet in the hotel lobby at 7:00 am, before commencing a six-hour drive on the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Wiseman. Stops will be made along the way to photograph classic scenery, and begin discussing gear and technique. Lunch will be enjoyed en route.

Following an afternoon checkin at Boreal Lodge with time to settle into rooms, you'll have a short introductory workshop session and early dinner. Afterward, the group will head out to capture a few of hours of early evening light. If skies are clear, you'll be provisioned with a "Twilight Snack" to sustain you during the night watch for northern lights.

Day Three Through Five

A transit to various locations along the Dalton Highway corridor (north and south of Wiseman, depending on the weather) will be provided each day. Sunrise during this period is approximately 6:30 am, and sunset is around 9:30 pm. There will be approximately 6 hours available for shooting auroras and working on other night photography techniques before astronomical dawn. Most instruction during this time will be in the field. There will be a near full moon during the trip, which will provide additional elements and opportunities for nighttime landscape photography, provided the skies are clear.

Most field photography will occur during predawn and sunrise. Depending on weather and the group condition, there may be some all-nighters involved. There is an option to take dinner out in the field, which will allow for more shooting time when conditions are optimal. Daylight hours between breakfast and dinner are to be set aside for rest. This schedule is necessary to take advantage of the best light for autumn landscapes, along with the aurora borealis. You'll be living the life of a professional aurora chaser!

Day Six

Departure for return to Fairbanks will be no later than 10 am. Plan to arrive back in Fairbanks by 5 pm at the earliest.

Whenever possible we endeavor to follow our itineraries as written. However, trips will occasionally deviate from the written itinerary due to weather conditions, group preference, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances (collectively what some have called “The Alaska Factor.”) Therefore, we suggest that you approach any Alaska trip with an open mind and an adventurous spirit.

Whats Included

  • Transportation between Fairbanks and Wiseman, Alaska
  • Lodging
  • All meals and snacks
  • Wine in the evenings
  • Guiding and instruction

Recommended Photography Gear

  • Camera with manual settings
  • Wide angle lens
  • Zoom lens
  • Macro lens
  • Charged batteries and charger
  • Multiple memory cards
  • Sturdy Tripod
  • Remote shutter release

Photography equipment rental available at Stewart's Photo Shop


This is a moderate activity that involves walking short distances on uneven terrain. Weather conditions may range from rain, snow, wind, and sun, and temperatures from 20°F (-7°C) to 45°F (7°C).  Be prepared to stay out in colder temperatures for several hours.


  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes with good traction and moisture resistance
  • Warm socks
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Sweater
  • Fleece jacket
  • Water/windproof outer shell
  • Warm hat and gloves


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