8-Day Ultimate Alaska Glacier Photo Adventure

Photographer taking pictures of icebergs on Spencer Lake

WHEN: July 27 - August 2, 2019

WHERE: Starts and ends in Anchorage, AK

FEE: $5,985 (deposit $1,500)

GROUP LIMIT: 5 Maximum

FORMAT: 8-Day/7 Night PHOTO TOUR

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:*
Active Intermediate and Advanced photographers

* What is this?

Join a small group of like-minded adventurous shooters as we explore the very best of Southcentral Alaska’s epic landscapes that include mountains, glaciers, fjords, wildflowers, forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife. Our light and mobile group will travel by trail, railroad, touring kayak, private tour boat, helicopter and a roomy passenger van as we explore unique and off the beaten path landscapes and opportunistic wildlife. This adventure is designed to stimulate creativity with maximum engagement in target rich locations with lots of personal instruction and guidance.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Small group, stimulating and relaxed environment with lots of personal photo guidance.
  • Led by one of Alaska’s most experienced commercial photographers and workshop leaders.
  • Active and participatory itinerary designed to maximize time on location at off the beaten path locations.
  • 7-nights of excellent accommodations in smaller, quainter lodges, inns or B&B’s.
  • Roomy passenger van transportation during tour to and from Anchorage
  • Unique and majestic coastal mountain landscapes - different from any other Continental US mountain location.
  • Travel off highway via Alaska Railroad to remote Spencer Glacier in peak wildflower season.
  • Guided and outfitted glacier hike at Spencer Glacier.
  • Guided and outfitted kayak tour on lake with icebergs.
  • Outfitted overnight camp in remote glacier and lake via helicopter fly in and out.
  • 2 private boat charters to marine waters with tidewater glaciers, big mountains and wildlife.

 

Alaska Landscape photograph of Bear Glacier Lake at sunset
Landscape photo of field of lupines at sunset along Turnagain Arm by Michael DeYoung
Alaska photo of helicopter landing at one of our remote glacier wilderness camps
Image of mother moose and her calf in a sea of green grass by Michael DeYoung
Photographers taking pictures on the other side of iceberg
Image of Alaska's Spencer Glacier and dwarf fireweed in foreground by landscape photographer Michael DeYoung
Photographer in a field of fireweed photographing the landscape
Close up landscape photo of fireweed soaked by recent rain shower by Michael DeYoung
Portrait of the camera display showing image captured by Michael DeYoung
Photograph of sea lions spotted during Alaska Glacier Photo Tour by Michael DeYoung
Alaska landscape photo of Exit Glacier from trail up to Harding Icefield by Alaska tourism photographer Michael DeYoung
View of massive iceberg by Michael DeYoung
Glowing sunset on Kenai Mountains reflecting in Kenai Fjords National Park by Michael DeYoung
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DESCRIPTION:

An experiential and instructional based photo tour for active and adventurous intermediate and advanced photographers. Join a small group of dedicated, like-minded photographers who value the active, light and mobile style of photography in a welcoming and invigorating environment designed to maximize engagement with the landscape. What makes coastal Alaska different from other mountain landscape locations is the abundance of water and reflections, steep, lush alpine peaks that rise from sea level, and a marine environment - not to mention glaciers.

Special emphasis will be on capturing imagery of our shrinking glaciers from a variety of perspectives, including panoramic views to touching icebergs to walking on a glacier and discovering glacier features. This tour includes landscape and marine wildlife opportunities in Southcentral Alaska, Prince William Sound, and the Kenai Peninsula. We will capitalize on mountains, lakes, rivers, reflections, fjords, glaciers, rainforests, waterfalls, tundra, and wildflowers - all within reach of modern amenities. We chose late July to coincide with peak fireweed and other wildflower blooms. The tour will consist of three flex days working the best of roadside available landscapes that include hiking to cool locations from road accessible trailheads. Four days, including an overnight wilderness camp, will be spent at off the highway locations, including two full-day boat tours and two full-day active tours that involve hiking and paddling in protected glacier lakes often choked with icebergs and hemmed in with stunning mountain scenery in verdant green landscapes.

Travel will be by van, private chartered boat, railroad, helicopter, stable touring kayaks and by boots-on-the-trail to seek out off the roadside locations for more unique and meaningful landscapes apart from what is available from the roadside. With small groups, we move faster spending more time on location. Our large passenger van will allow comfortable transport with ample room to spread out camera gear.

With a small group, participants get more one on one and private mentoring time too. Critiques will be more informal, more relaxed, with more time for meaningful and constructive advice and post processing sessions. We stay in quainter, quieter and more relaxed accommodations that are independently owned and we travel on smaller boats with our group only with a more flexible schedule to maximize photo time. Restaurant seating will be quicker and easier for group meals.

 
 

WHAT SETS THIS TOUR APART FROM OTHERS

Our goal has been to offer unique and world class custom photo tours our way that don’t conform to normal photo tours that have groups of 10+ with minimal physical activity. We favor the small group, embracing and mentoring a light and mobile approach to photography and adding a little adventure to reach photo worthy locations. Alaska still has great road side photo opportunities similar to national parks, but to offer a few more unique experience, we will be doing a few short hikes, that given the right conditions are worth the effort.

Be assured that safety, comfort and maximizing photo potential are the top priorities. This will NOT be about adventure and testing physical limits. We feel there are some locations that are simply worth the effort to reach that offer a more unique image opportunity than the frequently photographed roadside locations. Safety and comfort at remote locations will be facilitated by using competent, reputable guides and outfitters.

Drawing from our 30 years of experience photographing commercially and personally throughout Alaska, we realize that some of the best of what is up here is within arm’s reach of Anchorage. We know what kinds of excursions, locations and accommodations can foster creativity and growth as a visual artist. We feel photography and creativity is best done with small groups and individually and with a light and mobile approach to photography.

Alaska is expensive and the tour fees could be less if we simply worked the road system from rental vehicles, but we wanted to offer a top quality and unique experience and have done our best to restrain greed by limiting participation without sacrificing our sustainability.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Camera configuration optimized for landscape photography
  • Exposing for max dynamic range and capturing the most sensor information
  • Fine tuning our understanding of light for direct, diffuse and reflected light
  • How clouds and atmospheric conditions affect light and color
  • How to choose subject matter for the given lighting conditions
  • Using lenses for creative effect
  • Creative seeing and thinking techniques
  • Strengthening composition and design for maximum impact
  • Using polarizers and graduated neutral density filters

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • 7 night’s lodging: 1 night in Anchorage (first night), 3 nights in Seward, 3 nights in Girdwood.
  • Some meals on guided excursions.
  • Four guided and outfitted off-the-highway excursions via train, chartered boat and helicopter to very unique and scenic photo locations.
  • Outfitted overnight camp at a remote glacier and lake location.
  • Michael and Lauri as your expert photography guides and drivers.

 

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Most Meals
  • Tips and gratuities

 

Portrait of photographer hiking on Spencer Glacier with camera in tow

Photographer taking pictures of Spencer Glacier and dwarf fireweed from lake outlet

Photographer capturing close up pictures of stranded icebergs on planned beach landing

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN ANCHORAGE

Plan to arrive in Anchorage no later than 3PM on July 27, 2019. Our group meets at 4PM for introductions and 2-3 hour orientation about the details of our adventure. (A free shuttle service from the airport is available by the hotel.) Afterwards, we will break for dinner and go out for an evening shoot in the group’s executive van.

Alaska is 4 hours earlier than the East Coast. To help you adjust to the difference in time zones, you may wish to arrive a day or two earlier to acclimate. We will be happy to assist you with booking additional lodging in Anchorage.

DAY 2: FLEX DAY – TRAVEL TO SEWARD

We depart Anchorage after breakfast and photograph along the scenic Seward Highway to Seward, a scenic port city in Southcentral Alaska, where we will spend the next several days. Seward is the gateway town to Kenai Fjords National Park, home of many glaciers which flow from the Harding Icefield into coastal fjords. After checking into our quiet, family-owned, rustic Alaskan inn, we will explore the local surroundings for sunset photography after an early dinner in town.

DAY 3: ALL DAY PRIVATE BOAT CHARTER IN KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK

Our group will spend all day on a private boat charter in Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park photographing seals, sea lions, otters, and possibly humpback whales, orcas, puffins, as well as tidewater glaciers (glaciers that flow all the way down to the ocean) and other landscape and wildlife opportunities. We return to Seward around 5pm in time for a relaxing dinner and another sunset shoot.

DAY 4: BEAR GLACIER LAKE WILDERNESS CAMP

After checking out of our accommodations, we will photograph morning light on Exit Glacier with a possible hike up towards Harding Icefield. Later in the day, we fly to our wilderness camp located at Bear Glacier Lake via helicopter. From camp, landscape photo opportunities abound. We will travel the lake using sea kayaks provided by the outfitter to photograph icebergs and big mountain landscapes. Since we are overnighting here, we hope take capture the legendary Alaska sunset and sunrise on the landscape.

The wilderness camp comes complete with Weatherport tents with wood floors, cots, inflatable camp mattresses, sleeping bags (3 beds per room), and are heated for warmth. Please note: There is no option for single occupancy. Dinner and breakfast will be provided.

DAY 5: FLEX DAY – TRAVEL TO GIRDWOOD

After a sunrise shoot and breakfast at the wilderness camp, we fly back to Seward and depart for the small ski resort town of Girdwood, again taking the opportunity to photograph the scenery along the way. Once we settle in to our Girdwood accommodations, we head out into the local area exploring more landscapes and a possible hike. Sunset will find us photographing wildflower landscapes along nearby Turnagain Arm, a scenic waterway influenced by high tidal changes (second in the world).

DAY 6: SPENCER GLACIER KAYAKING & GLACIER HIKE

We meet our Ascending Path guides around 7:30AM at the Girdwood Railroad Depot where we will travel to the remote Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop via a very scenic ride on the Alaska Railroad. Our guides will drive us a short distance to the shores of Spencer Lake where we will spend time photographing the landscape that is usually dominated by wildflowers and icebergs with Spencer glacier and surrounding Chugach Mountains as our backdrop.

Next, we safely kayak across Spencer Lake amidst icebergs, paddle to the shore near the glacier, put on crampons, and explore the glacier landscapes up close with a professional glacier and kayak guide. See and photograph crevasses and other interesting glacier features.

We return via kayak to Ascending Path’s base camp in time for the 8:15pm train returning to Girdwood around 9PM. Plan for a late dinner or bringing dinner with us. Lunch will be provided by Ascending Path.

DAY 7: ALL DAY BOAT CHARTER IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND

We leave Girdwood at 6AM in the group’s van to the town of Whittier where we will board our privately chartered boat to go to Harriman Fjord, one of the most spectacular places in Prince William Sound, for a 10-hour boat and land tour. Here we will find 5 tidewater glaciers, icebergs, spectacular waterfalls, wildflowers and massive peaks of the Chugach Mountains thrusting 8,000 feet above the water.

There are two planned beach landings where we stand a good chance of taking close-up photos of icebergs with glaciers and mountains in the background. Along the way and once in Harriman Fjord, there will be ample opportunities to capture glaciers and mountain views as well as the possibility to photograph sea otters, birds, harbor seals, and other marine wildlife.

We return to Whittier approximately at 6:30PM and have dinner at a local Whittier restaurant. Lunch will be provided by Lazy Otter Charters.

DAY 8: FLEX MORNING & AFTERNOON BACK TO ANCHORAGE

After a late start, our group will have a final edit & critique session returning to Anchorage by 4PM for participants to either catch their return flight home or to the hotel they’ve reserved for their extended stay.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

A reasonably fit photographer capable of hiking on uneven, muddy, or rocky trails, who can get in and out of sea kayaks and trek on safe, low angle, glacier ice with mountaineering crampons (under an expert guide.) Participants may have to carry a camera body, tripod, 1-2 lenses, filters, and other gear in a backpack for up to a 3 mile round trip hike.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

WEATHER: While many of us want warm sunny conditions with direct light for our photography day, that unfortunately is the exception. Any place on earth (Prince William Sound is no exception) where coastal glaciers exist have predominantly cloudy and wet climates. That is why the glaciers are there. Please do not get discouraged that great images are not possible in cloudy conditions. Our tour is timed to take place during peak summer wildflower displays with maximum color, predominantly dwarf fireweed a.k.a. river beauty. The colors of the flowers, lush green mountain sides and the blue glacial ice are more saturated in cloudy weather. With careful and creative techniques which you will learn, it is still possible to get colorful and beautiful landscape images in cloudy and even light rain. Remember, often times, bad weather can equate to great photos.

CAMERA PROTECTION: The sea kayak approach to a couple of the glaciers is short (Spencer, for one, is one-mile long) but there are photo opportunities along the way. We recommend placing your camera in a soft dry bag and placed between your legs under the spray skirt. This will help keep your camera and lens dry and allow for quick access. We do not recommend hard cases as they are heavy and impractical for hike to photography.

REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS

You will receive a Confirmation notice of your registration once you complete the process. A comprehensive suggested gear list and guidance on how to travel in light and mobile mode will be given to registered participants. Additional information – including recommended gear to bring – will be delivered to you within 60 days of the photo tour start date.

Please be sure to read our PHOTO TOUR CANCELLATION POLICY

Photography instructor, coach, tour guide,  and Photo Workshop Instructor Michael DeYoung

Michael DeYoung is an award-winning outdoor photographer, weather guru, workshop leader, dog lover and 90% dark chocolate addict. The Taos, New Mexico-based veteran shooter lives and breathes adventure, lifestyle and landscape photography. He transformed his Air Force meteorological and weather forecasting training into mastery of outdoor lighting, with the presence of weather elements being a nearly constant thread throughout his wide-ranging library of work.

Clients have described his imagery as adventurous, tranquil and confident all at the same time. Clients also had this to say:

“I can easily say Michael is in an elite category of photographers who provide only the best quality work. His photography displays the highest level of technical ability and patience—capturing the perfect lighting and color that many photographers simply don't seem capable of.”

“I was immediately drawn to the high energy, bright and personable nature of Michael's work.”

The prolific shooter, along with his wife and business partner, Lauri, lived and worked in Alaska for many years where Michael still continues to shoot regularly. His lifestyle, adventure and landscape images have appeared in hundreds of national and international magazines, books, calendars, catalogs, brochures, websites and many other commercial products. The DeYoungs have done extensive assignment work in Alaska and beyond for the tourism industry.

On his own and for several notable institutions, Michael teaches and leads landscape, adventure and business related workshops, focusing on creativity, vision and mastery of light. He has been a featured breakout speaker at North American Nature Photography Summits and for several camera clubs, ranging from Florida to Alaska.

Notable awards: first place winner, Photo District News Great Outdoors Photo Contest; honored recipient, Highly Honored recipient, Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Photography Award, Smithsonian Institute; and Best of 2012 series winner, American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).

In his own words: "Being an Eagle Scout forged a lifelong love of wild places, wilderness exploration and muscle powered adventure sports. I have always been drawn to mountains and the mountain lifestyle. I like bold colors and simple graphic design. I can’t say I’m completely self-taught as I’ve attended countless workshops and seminars in addition to reading many photographic technique and business related books."

The DeYoungs spend much of their time on outdoor adventures, including long-distance backpacking trips and whitewater river journeys. Dedicated to sustainable living, they reside in a passive solar designed home and office run 100% by photovoltaic power in the upper Rio Grande Valley.

 
 

Active Photo Tours - Alaska Glacier Landscapes Photography Adventure