As late spring rolls toward summer solstice, picking up extra minutes of light with each passing day, our place on the planet provides an abundance of time to photograph a variety of scenes. Rather than one mere “golden hour,” there are around three hours in which to work magic with a camera – and then a whole night of twilight. By summer solstice around June 21, Anchorage sees 19 hours and 21 minutes of daylight before falling into civil twilight for a few short hours, and then then sunrise again. There is no night, but there is plenty of beautiful light and diverse subjects to see and photograph on a sunset photo tour.
On the inaugural Sunset Photo Safari this year, we started by photographing a stand of birch reflecting in still water at Earthquake Park. Just down the road, Point Woronzof offered magnificent views over Cook Inlet, while a cow moose placidly browsed on willow brush nearby. Heading south on the Seward Highway, we bypassed tempting stops at Potter Marsh and along the shore of Turnagain Arm in favor of picturesque McHugh Creek, which was already slipping fast into deep shadow. Even with the extra daylight, it’s easy to fall short on time with so many great scenes to choose from. The low light around McHugh allowed for slow shutter speeds without a ND filter, which smoothed the water nicely as it cascaded over mossy green rocks. Lastly, we arrived at Turnagain Overlook just in time to catch the last colorful rays of light slipping behind the looming forms of Mt. Denali, Hunter and Foraker. The midnight sun (sort of) sets on another Alaska day.
The compass at Glen Alps, looking out over Anchorage Bowl and Cook Inlet during sunset in May.
Nikon D800 | 24-70mm f/2.8
1/20 sec | f/4 | ISO 1000
Alaska Photo Treks offers photography 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. Cell phone photographers will enjoy the fun, fast-paced InstAlaska Smartphone Photography 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.