The Northern Lights, or Aurora borealis, is one of the most magical and awe-inspiring subjects of the night sky. The excitement of photographing the flickering curtains of lights dancing across the sky cannot be compared to any other type of shoot, day or night. The vivid colors of greens, yellows, blues, purples, and reds moving through the sky are seen in the far northern latitudes, and during this workshop, we will be in the interior of Alaska, the location of choice for shooting Aurora because of the high percentage of clear days through the year.
Beth Ruggiero-York, instructor and author of Fun in the Dark: A Guide to Successful Night Photography, has visited Alaska many times and will give participants practical, hands-on assistance in the best techniques for photographing the Northern Lights. Participants will also learn essential techniques for night shooting and composing.
Beginning in Fairbanks we will get our bearings for shooting the Aurora in sub-zero temperatures and learn the best techniques for capturing this magical display of lights in her opening presentation. After getting acclimated, the group will travel to Chena Hot Springs resort for three days of fun in the snow and capturing the Northern Lights at one of the best locations in the world. The resort has several winter activities available to fill any free time you have when you are not catching up on sleep after being up very late or into the early morning to shoot the Aurora. One night we will take snow coaches to the top of a mountain to take in the Aurora.
After three days and nights at Chena Hot Springs we will return to Fairbanks to photograph the Northern Lights above the Alaskan pipeline.
Check off this bucket list trip and take home amazing images of the Aurora Borealis.
- Six nights lodging based on single occupancy.*
- Roundtrip transportation from Fairbanks
- Water, snacks and a group dinner.
- Entrance fees and tours.
- Photographic instruction
- Pre-workshop webinar
- Post-workshop critique
*Companions traveling together who wish to have double occupancy, a discount will be provided.
Here’s what attendees are saying about this workshop!
“Seeing the Northern Lights has always been on my “bucket list”… Beth made sure I had the knowledge and know-how on capturing those wonderful lights on photos that will last a lifetime!” — Lynn M.
“Seeing and photographing the aurora is a must do trip! Beth is an outstanding instructor and it’s a tremendous benefit to see the northern lights with Beth and Arizona Highways Photoscapes to get the most out of it.” — Sharon P.
Please be aware that shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change depending on Aurora activity. Viewing and photographing the Aurora requires clear night skies so while we will do our best to stick to the itinerary outlined below we may make modifications in order to provide you with the best photographic opportunities.
Day 1 – Saturday, November 25, 2023
- Participants arrive in Fairbanks and check in to the hotel.
- Pending your arrival time, you will have time on your own to explore.
- We will hold an informal dinner gathering at the hotel restaurant at 6:30 pm for a meet and greet.
- Aurora skies permitting, the group may join an optional evening shoot to get their camera and body acclimated to shooting at night in cold temperatures.
Day 2 – Sunday, November 26, 2023
- Participants will meet at the hotel for orientation, instruction on photographing Aurora, and a workshop overview.
- After lunch, the group will depart (in 4×4 SUVs) for Chena Hot Springs Resort.
- Late afternoon we will arrive at Chena Hot Springs and check into the resort.
- After dinner, the group will meet to get their camera settings in place for shooting at night. Depending on the activity of the Aurora we will either photograph from the resort grounds or drive to a nearby location.
Day 3 – Monday, November 27, 2023
- Sleep in this morning to catch up from the late night. This is your day to explore the resort and its many winter activities from dog sledding, snow machine rides, their extensive greenhouse business, thermal energy production plant, the Ice Museum, and of course the famous Chena Hot Springs and Bath House.
- Tonight, the group heads out on a snow coach ride to the top of a mountain to photograph the Aurora. A yurt (warming hut) with hot drinks and a heat stove is located at the top for those who need to warm up from the night temperatures.
- We will spend the next several hours photographing the spectacular light show of the Aurora. (approx. 10pm – 2am).
Day 4 – Tuesday, November 28, 2023
- Again you can sleep in catching up from last night’s Aurora fest.
- Midday we will hold a classroom session to critique the images you have captured over the past few days and provide additional information and pointers for the nights to come.
- Again this evening/night, we are out chasing Aurora’s dancing lights.
Day 5 – Wednesday, November 29, 2023
- After a late wake-up call and breakfast, we will pack up and head back to Fairbanks.
- Upon arrival, we’ll check into our hotel late afternoon.
- After dinner, we will head out to photograph the Aurora over the Alaska Pipeline.
Day 6 – Thursday, November 30, 2023
- After sleeping in late, we will have breakfast and time to download, process, and hold an image critique.
- Participants will have some free time to enjoy a walkabout in downtown Fairbanks.
- In the evening we will relax and enjoy a farewell dinner in Fairbanks.
Day 7 – Friday, December 1, 2023
- Depart Fairbanks for home at your own schedule.
Strenuous Rating: Moderately Difficult.
The weather during this workshop is what accounts for the higher physical rating. Dress for cold temps anywhere from -35F to + 25F. Our walking will mostly be on packed ice and snow.
Clothing: Layers for cold weather, especially during the night. Warm parka, insulated boots, warm hat, gloves plus chemical hand and foot warmers.
Gear: We recommend two camera bodies (one as a backup), a wide fast lens (e.g., 14-24mm, f/1.4-2.8) for night shooting, medium telephoto (e.g., 24-120mm) for other daytime shooting, a sturdy tripod, camera “jacket” – such as a rain jacket – to protect your camera from the elements, two wired cable releases (one as a backup) and a lens muff.
Lodging During the Workshop:
575 1st Avenue
Phone: (907) 451-6552
The workshop begins at the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Fairbanks. Our first, fifth, and sixth nights will be at this hotel (25, and are included in your workshop fee based on single occupancy. Should you be traveling with a companion and wish to share accommodations, a double occupancy deduction will be applied. There is a courtesy block in place for the evening of November 24, under Arizona Highways PhotoScapes. This is not included in your workshop fee. If interested, please call the hotel directly to book your reservation no later than October 15, 2023.
Chena Hot Springs Resort
Phone: (907) 451-8104 x 2
During the workshop, we will stay three nights at the Chena Hot Springs Resort. These accommodations are included in your workshop fee based on single occupancy. Should you be traveling with a companion and wish to share accommodations, a double occupancy deduction will be applied.
TRAVEL INSURANCE IS RECOMMENDED
There are a number of reputable companies that provide Travel Insurance. For a listing of providers, you can visit www.insuremytrip.com. AHPS has worked with TravelEx Insurance Services over the years and has found them to be reputable and offer comprehensive plans at competitive prices. For more information visit www.travelexinsurance.com or contact them at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147. Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20
- If you must cancel your reservation 120 days or more before your trip, you must notify us in writing. After we receive your written cancelation at firstname.lastname@example.org, you will be refunded any amount you have paid less the non-refundable $250 processing fee.
- If your cancelation occurs between 90-119 days before your workshop departure, Arizona Highways PhotoScapes will issue a credit voucher for the fees paid that can be used toward a future workshop within 18 months of cancelation.
- Should you cancel less than 90 days prior to your trip, no refunds will be made and you will forfeit any funds paid to Arizona Highways PhotoScapes.*
* If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less a $250 processing fee.
This cancelation policy applies in every situation and there will be no exceptions made for any reason. We will not issue refunds for cancelations due to illness or late arrivals due to travel delays.
Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel or change any workshop if our minimum enrollment is not met or if situations beyond our control arise that may create unsafe or undesirable travel conditions. Any cancelation or postponement as a result of situations beyond our control, AHPS does not promise any refunds or credits. If and when feasible, we will attempt to reschedule the workshop at a later date. Alternatively, we may decide to issue you credit for a future workshop, or issue a refund, less any non-refundable deposits we have paid to workshop providers on your behalf.
Please note that AHPS is not liable for any additional participant expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations, or any other components booked outside of the workshop.
PAYMENT TERMS: A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space. Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit. Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure. Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due. If final payments are not received by 70 days prior to your workshop, your registration is subject to forfeiture including all fees paid to date.
If registering within 90 days of your workshop, full payment is due at the time of registration.