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 International Ice Carving Festival and 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 double occupancy. Single rooms available for an additional fee.
- Roundtrip transportation from Fairbanks
- Water, snacks and a group dinner.
- Entrance fees and tours.
- Photographic instruction
- Pre-workshop webinar
- Post-workshop critique
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, March 14, 2020
- Participants arrive in Fairbanks and check in to 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 6:30pm 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, March 15, 2020
- Participants meet at the hotel for orientation, instruction on photographing Aurora, and workshop overview.
- After lunch the group will depart (in 4×4 SUV’s) for Chena Hot Springs Resort.
- Late afternoon arrive in Chena Hot Springs and check into 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, March 16, 2020
- 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 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, March 17, 2020
- Again you can sleep in catching up from last night’s Aurora fest.
- Midday we will have another 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 the Aurora’s dancing lights.
Day 5 – Wednesday, March 18, 2020
- 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’re on to the World Ice Art Festival, where sculptors from around the world meet every February and March to compete in the prestigious event. These sculptures are illuminated with hundreds of lights making them glow.
Day 6 – Thursday, March 19, 2020
- After sleeping in late, we will have breakfast and then depart mid-morning for the World Sled Dog Races in North Pole, AK. These races are short sprint-type races (not the Iditarod 1000-mile race) with teams varying from 2 to 8 to 20 sleds per team.
- We will return to the hotel late afternoon and hold our final critique.
- Afterwards, we will relax and enjoy a farewell dinner in Fairbanks.
Day 7 – Saturday, March 20, 2020
- 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), 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, sturdy tripod, camera “jacket” – such as a rain jacket – to protect 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 and are included in your workshop fee based on double occupancy. Should you wish a single room, you may select the single supplement during registration.
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 double occupancy.
Should you find it necessary to cancel your workshop, the following cancellation policy applies – NO EXCEPTIONS.
- 91 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
- 90 days full payment is due
- 61-90 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less $100 administrative fee. Voucher is good for 18 months.
- * 60 days or less until departure – No refund.
* If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less $100 administrative fee.
NOTE: Workshop bookings including, but not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging and more are requiring firm financial commitments at 90 days. Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can some time be unavoidable that is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged. Our past generosity and leniency unfortunately must come to an end. We appreciate your understanding.
Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel any workshop if our minimum student enrollment is not met. In the event AHPS cancels a workshop, participants will be given the option to reschedule to a later date or receive a full refund for the workshop components booked directly with AHPS. Please Note: we are not liable for the additional 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.