This Winter Aurora Journey is dedicated to those who want to have the best chances to see and photograph the northern lights. You should arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska, by the afternoon of March 18. Plan to take a courtesy shuttle to the lodging we have secured for you in Fairbanks. We will meet for dinner at 7:00 p.m., followed by a presentation about the science of the aurora borealis and an overview of how to photograph the aurora. Conditions permitting, we will head out for our first session on aurora borealis photography. The moon will be down all night.
We will want to get an early start on the day to enjoy some good light on our drive up the Dalton Highway to Wiseman, which is approximately six hours to the north of Fairbanks. Meet me in the hotel lobby at 7:00 a.m. so we can have breakfast, load up, and head north. We will make stops along the way to capture some classic scenery and get a start on discussing our gear and technique. Lunch will be taken at the Yukon River Camp. Sunrise is at 7:54 a.m.
We will check into the Boreal Lodging in the afternoon and settle in to our rooms. We will then have an early dinner so we can head out to capture a couple of hours of evening light before sunset at 8:13 p.m. If the skies are clear, we will set up for a “Twilight Snack” and wait for darkness and the aurora. The moon will be down all night.
Day Three and Four
Each day, we will transit to various locations in the Dalton Highway corridor north and south of Wiseman, depending on the weather. Sunrise is around 8:00 a.m. and sunset is around 8:20 p.m. Between night and morning twilight, we will have about 8 hours of nighttime shooting to work on aurora and other night sky techniques. Most instruction will be in the field. We will be experiencing a waning crescent moon during the trip, but it will be down all night each night.
During daytime breaks, we will conduct an early photo review session to go over composition, exposure and focus. This review should be conducted on our first full day in Wiseman to catch anything that needs to be improved. We will have an additional classroom session later to highlight photo processing essentials in Lightroom.
We will also be talking a guided, narrated historical walk of Wiseman with longtime local resident Jack Reakoff. Jack will show us around and describe the history of the town, tell stories about cabins and past residents, and then take us back to his home to talk about what it is like to live a subsistence lifestyle off the grid in the Alaskan Arctic.
Most of our field photography will occur between evening light and after sunrise. Depending on conditions, success, and the interest of the group, we may be out in the field all night for some nights, and other nights get some sleep. On some evenings, we may even take dinner out in the field to save the time necessary to return to the lodge for meals. However, plan to get most of your sleep during the day between breakfast and dinner. This sort of schedule is necessary to take advantage of the mountain landscapes and the aurora. And staying out all night is the very sort of schedule that aurora chasers have to endure!
We will depart the Boreal Lodge in Wiseman no later than 10:00 a.m. for our return drive to Fairbanks. We will take lunch again at the Yukon River Camp. We should arrive back in Fairbanks by approximately 5:00 p.m. We will take a brief break, then meet for dinner at 7:00 p.m. After dinner, we head to the Last Frontier Mushing Co-Op for a nighttime dog mushing tour with aurora borealis viewing and photography. Plan to work on nighttime techniques for the aurora and dog teams.
We meet for breakfast at 8:00 a.m. for our final gathering, sharing stories and revisiting what we have learned and experienced. After breakfast, we head our own way back home. With this Winter Aurora Journey completed, you will be full of memories of the beauty of the Alaskan arctic in the winter.
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.