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Alaska Aurora & Wilderness Adventure

Led by Carl Johnson

March 15-21, 2025
Alaska Aurora & Wilderness Adventure


Explore the best that Alaska has to offer in the winter with this photographic adventure that combines landscape and aurora photography with outdoor adventure photography. This itinerary includes two nights in Talkeetna and four nights at a remote wilderness lodge in the Alaskan Range. Photo subjects will include mountain landscapes, aurora borealis, and dog mushing.

Meet in Anchorage at the Alaska Photo Treks office by 3:00 p.m. for our Talkeetna departure.  Along the way, we will divert to explore different photographic subjects. We will arrive at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge in time for dinner and to photograph evening light on Denali, Mt. Hunter and Mt. Foraker from the lodge (sunset at 8:03 p.m.). Clear conditions permitting, we will stay up late to photograph the aurora borealis. The moon will be nearly-full, so moonlit landscapes will also be a photo opportunity.

After breakfast we will do a photo review of what we shot the evening before. We will take a 1.5-hour flightseeing tour that will fly entirely around Denali and provide great aerial landscape photo opportunities. Depending on the timing of the flight, we will proceed to Broad Pass to photograph the sprawling majesty of the Alaska Range near Denali National Park & Preserve. After dinner, we wait for darkness and more night sky photo opportunities around Talkeetna.

Breakfast at 8:00 a.m., then departure for Cantwell, where we will have an 11:00 a.m. pickup in a Chevy Suburban snow coach to travel to the Susitna Adventure Lodge. Driving time to the lodge is approximately 2.5 hours, not including stops along the way for photography. After lunch, we will have our first dog mushing outing. Half of the group will drive dog teams, while the other half goes out on snowmachine to photograph the teams in action. At a halfway point, we will trade places so that each group has the chance to drive a dog team and photograph dog mushing in the landscape. After dinner prepared by our own private chef, we will photograph evening light (sunset at 7:58 p.m.) and wait for darkness. The moon will not rise until 1:38 a.m. as an 85.51% waning gibbous.

Our daily routine will vary on weather conditions. We will start the day with breakfast at the lodge, then head out for a morning dog mushing trip, much like the one on the first afternoon at the lodge. We may stay out all day or return to the lodge for lunch, and then go back out in the afternoon. Trips will be designed to provide exposure to different landscapes for photo compositions and experiences.


Weather permitting and if the group is interested, there will be an opportunity for an extended overnight dog mushing expedition. This would involve dog mushing to a more remote wilderness location and sleeping in Arctic Oven tents equipped with either woodburning or propane stoves. This will provide the unique opportunity for a truly wilderness experience and nighttime photography involving the resting dog teams and tent camp site.

After breakfast, we return to Cantwell via the snow coach and make our way back to Anchorage, stopping in Talkeetna for lunch. Return to Anchorage by 5:00 p.m. at the latest.


This winter photography workshop involves moderate activity that involves walking short distances on uneven, snowy terrain, and handling a dog team and snowmachine with guidance and instruction. Weather conditions may range from range from clear and sunny to cloudy and snowy. Temperatures can range from daily highs of 20F (-7C) to lows of -30F (-34C).

What’s Included

Guiding and instruction (both classroom and field)
Hand warmers and toe warmers
All meals and snacks from meeting time to conclusion
Transportation between Anchorage and workshop locations
Lodging for six nights at the two workshop locations
Flightseeing tour
Heavy winter gear – including parkas and boots

What To Bring

Recommended Photography Gear
Camera with manual settings
Wide angle lens wide aperture (something in 24-70mm f/2.8 range will work well, but the wider the better)
Charged batteries and charger
Multiple memory cards
Zoom lens, recommended 70-600mm
Remote shutter release
Camera with manual settings
Wide angle lens wide aperture (something in 24-70mm f/2.8 range will work well, but the wider the better)
Charged batteries and charger
Multiple memory cards
Zoom lens, recommended 70-600mm
Remote shutter release
Clothing and Personal Gear
Parka or down winter jacket
Warm hat and gloves
Insulated pants or bibs
Head lamp with red light mode
Thermal long sleeve layers
Warm, thick sweater
Wool socks
Comfortable walking or hiking shoes with good traction, good insulation, and water resistance


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