Alaska Photo Tour – Spencer Glacier Adventure

WHEN: July 31, 2018

WHERE: Girdwood, AK

Meet at Ascending Path's yurt at the base of the Alyeska Tram. Address: 1000 Arlberg Rd Girdwood, AK 99587

FEE: $550 (deposit $200)



Active Intermediate and Advanced photographers

* What is this?

Alaska Photo Tours  – Spencer Glacier Landscape Adventure

Alaska Photography Tours  – Spencer Glacier Photo Adventure

Alaska Photo Tours  – kayaking at Spencer Glacier

Alaska Photography Tours  – glacier hiking at Spencer Glacier

Alaska Photo Tours  – landscape view of Spencer Glacier

Alaska Photography Workshops - Spencer Glacier landscape


  • A beautiful iceberg, lake, glacier, wildflower and mountain setting only accessible by railroad.
  • Up close and personal on glacier landscapes with possible ice caves.
  • Approach and return by very scenic Alaska Railroad ride to the off highway Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop.
  • Exclusive (for our group only) outfitted and guided kayak and glacier hike by Ascending Path
  • Expert photography guidance by long time pro and successful Alaska photographer



This is a uniquely Alaskan landscape photo adventure at a remote but accessible glacier landscape for active photographers. We team up with Ascending Path for a guided glacier hike with a sea kayak approach across Spencer Lake which is usually filled with icebergs.

This is a 12-hour+ photo-driven adventure tour (with lunch provided) with plenty of time to shoot landscapes with wildflowers and icebergs before and possibly after our guided kayak & glacier hike adventure.

We arrive on location via a very scenic ride on the Alaska Railroad to the remote Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. From our remote stop off the highway, we travel 2 miles by van to Ascending Path’s base camp along the shores of Spencer Lake where the landscape is usually dominated by wildflowers and icebergs with the glacier and surrounding Chugach Mountains as our backdrop.

Next, we 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 a high likelihood of ice caves (conditions permitting).

We return on the 8:15pm train returning to Girdwood. There will be an option to leave on an earlier approximately 4:30 pm. Ascending Path has Weatherport shelters at their basecamp if needed to get out of the rain. (Please see special considerations below.)

Perfect for intermediate and advanced photographers with a sense of adventure who want a unique, off-the-beaten-path location to capture images.


PHOTO TOUR: All-day, on-location adventures designed to maximize time in pursuit of creating images in target rich landscapes. Tour leader has years of experience photographing at that location and provides creative suggestions while assisting participants with light and technique to capture the best possible images. Laptop computers are not needed on photo tours.


You will learn simple but effective ways to create beautiful and inspiring imagery with confidence and consistency.

  • Camera configuration optimized for landscape photography
  • Mastering Manual and Aperture Priority Exposure modes
  • Exposing for max dynamic range and capturing the most sensor information
  • Understanding and capturing the best light
  • How to choose subject matter for the given lighting conditions
  • Using lenses for creative effect
  • Strengthening composition and design for maximum impact
  • Maximizing depth of field
  • Using polarizers and graduated neutral density filters



  • Round trip fare on Alaska Railroad from Girdwood to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop
  • Group transportation via van to Spencer Lake
  • Outfitted and guided sea kayak approach to Spencer Glacier
  • Outfitted and guided hike on Spencer Glacier
  • Deli boxed lunch, bottled water, and snacks
  • Photo guidance, suggestions and tips


  • Meals, lodging, transportation to and from Girdwood
  • Tips and gratuities

Participants should be comfortable getting in and out of a stable tandem sea kayak, paddling 2 miles, and hiking up to 3 miles on a glacier with crampons (provided).

Must be between 13-70 years of age, minimum of 90 lbs, maximum of 250 lbs, and no taller than 6' 7"

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.

SPENCER GLACIER: Glaciers are dynamic and ever changing. Spencer Lake usually has lots of icebergs that calve from the glacier, many grounded in shallow water and safe to approach and photograph. Ascending Path has been finding approachable ice caves and tubes on the glacier. The prolific river beauty (dwarf fireweed) are usually in bloom in late July. Traveling across the lake by tandem kayak allows unique photo ops from the low angle of the kayak. However, depending on where photogenic ice caves may be found on the glacier, we may hike around the lake to reach these unique and photogenic glacial features.

CAMERA PROTECTION: The sea kayak approach to Spencer Glacier is only a mile 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.

You will receive a Confirmation notice of your registration once you complete the process. Additional information - including lodging suggestions, meeting location, and more detailed itinerary - will be delivered to you within 30 days of workshop start date.



7:15 AM - Meet by Ascending Path Yurt by Alyeska Resort

8:05 AM - Board Alaska Railroad train to Spencer Glacier Whistlestop

8:00 PM - Board Alaska Railroad train to return to Girdwood

9:00 PM - Back in Girdwood

Photography Mentor, Coach, and Photo Workshop Instructor Michael DeYoung
© Makayla Crist

A former Air Force meteorologist, Alaska photography authority and guide, Michael DeYoung, specializes in landscape, tourism, and adventure sports imagery. DeYoung’s Alaskan image photo credits are numerous and widespread across a broad spectrum of magazines, calendars, catalogs, brochures, and websites.

It all started in 1988 when he arrived to the Great Land as a newlywed and a young Air Force weather forecaster. He began cutting his teeth as a photographer in 1992 when he separated from active duty and has not slowed down since. He remained with the military part-time until 2001, serving in the Alaska Air National Guard as a photographer for Public Affairs. The early days were lean and full of hard lessons, spending most of his time photographing landscapes and wildlife and visiting several of Alaska’s well known wildlife photography locations.

DeYoung served as president for 2 years for the Alaska Society of Outdoor and Nature Photographers. Since then, he taught several workshops for the club, on his own ranging from landscape intensives to the use of flash for outdoor photographers in Alaska and Zion National Park, Utah as well as working with Rocky Mountain School of Photography and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.

Michael and Lauri, his wife, business partner and adventure companion, have traveled statewide, weaving photography with extended wilderness journeys and even just day hikes. In addition to having hiked many of the trails in Chugach State Park, they have done extensive self supported long distance river trips in the Brooks Range, as well as the Canadian Arctic in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

In addition to shooting assignments for clients in the outdoor industry, they have shot many campaigns for clients promoting Alaska tourism state-wide. Denali national park is one of their favorite and most thoroughly worked places. They photographed Denali National Park under a professional photographer’s permit for 20 years and produced many of the images that appear at the Eielson Visitor Center.

Though the DeYoung’s reside in northern New Mexico where more sun and less oxygen feed their winter skiing addiction, they continue to return to Alaska for photography, workshops, backcountry adventures, and seeing their friends and clients.

You can leave Alaska but Alaska never leaves you!


Alaska Photo Tours - Spencer Glacier Adventure