Carl Johnson – Alaska Photography Tour Guide

Born and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Carl Johnson started his photography career while serving in the U.S. Navy, where he was a ship’s photographer for two commands and trained in a documentary and photojournalistic style. Early photographic successes included photographing the launch of a Tomahawk missile using a single-shot film camera. His later work as a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota, along with his exposure to the writings of Sigurd Olson and the images of Jim Brandenburg, inspired his passion for nature photography. They also informed his belief in using photography to promote conservation. Carl’s greatest photographic passion lies in coming to fully understand a particular location, photographing all of its wonders, from small plants to vast landscapes, and increasingly the people who live with the land and call it home.

 Carl has served as the artist-in- residence for Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Badlands National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park. He was the “Environmental Issues” winner for the Windland Smith Rice International Awards in 2010. In 2017, Carl was awarded the Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award for Excellence in Still Photography, Film, or Video by the Alaska Conservation Foundation. He has worked as a guest lecturer and instructor for Tony Robbins, Princess Cruise Lines, and several remote lodges in Alaska.

Carl’s first book, Where Water is Gold, was published by Braided River in June 2016. Recognized by Jim Brandenburg as a “masterpiece and a visual delight,” and PDN Magazine as “a love letter to a place,” Where Water is Gold explores the amazing ecosystem and way of life in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. Carl owns and operates the only fine art nature photo gallery in the city of Anchorage, the Arctic Light Gallery. He is an Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Carl is also a member of Professional Photographers of America, Nikon Professional Services, the North American Nature Photography Association, and the Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers. He lives in Anchorage with his wife, Michelle, who is a co-owner of Alaska Photo Treks. You can view his photography and learn more about his gallery at


Carl is the owner of Alaska Photo Treks and primary guide for all tours. Carl is also the primary workshop leader for Alaska Photo Treks.