Brooks Range Aurora and Winter Landscapes
Our base camp for this workshop is Wiseman, Alaska. Nestled in a dramatic valley surrounding the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River, Wiseman is a former mining town as described by Robert Marshall in Arctic Village. Today, it is home to 13 permanent residents and is nestled in the heart of the Brooks Range and directly beneath the auroral oval. This workshop will test your endurance, as clear weather will mean late nights coupled with photography during the day. There should be snow on the ground at this time of year, allowing us to photograph a wintery landscape before it gets too cold!
You should arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska, no later than 4:00 p.m. on the first day. If you are flying in, provide us your flight information and we will make sure you are picked up at the airport. We will meet to have dinner at 5:30 p.m. and discuss the itinerary and photo opportunities for the days ahead. After dinner, we will head approximately 45 minutes north of Fairbanks for our first aurora session.
We will want to get an early start on the day to enjoy some good light on our drive up to Wiseman, which is approximately six hours to the north of Fairbanks. We will have an early (7:00 a.m.) breakfast so we can 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.
We will check into our lodging at the Boreal Lodge in the afternoon and settle in to our rooms. We will then have a short introductory workshop session and then head out to shoot the evening light. After sunset, we will return for dinner before heading out to photograph the aurora.
Day Three Through Five
Each day, we will transit to various locations in the Dalton Highway corridor north and south of Wiseman, depending on the weather. Sunrise is approximately 8:30 a.m. and sunset is around 7:30 p.m. After twilight and before dawn, we will have about 9 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 25% waning to new moon during this trip, which will make for dark, starry skies to photograph if it is clear.
The schedule will be balanced on the weather conditions. Clear nights will call for staying up late, whereas cloudy nights will have us to bed early. Just bear in mind that staying out all night is the very sort of schedule that aurora chasers have to endure! Most of the daytime photo locations are geared toward evening light, with at least one location best for morning light. A likely schedule, if the weather allows, will have us out in the afternoon and early evening in the field, back to the lodge for dinner, then back out again for aurora and nighttime photography. In the mornings, we will have breakfast followed by a combination of field sessions and classroom sessions with photo review.
We will depart Wiseman no later than 9:00 a.m. for our return drive to Fairbanks. Plan to arrive back in Fairbanks no earlier than 5:00 p.m.
- Transportation between Fairbanks and Wiseman
- Lodging the first night in Fairbanks and in Wiseman
- All meals and snacks in Wiseman
- Wine and beer in the evenings in Wiseman
- Guiding and instruction
*Whenever possible we endeavor to follow our itineraries as written. However, on occasion our trips 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 adventure in Alaska with an open mind.