From breathtaking mountains and ancient glaciers to sprawling tundra and magnificent wildlife, Alaska offers the adventure of a lifetime. Join us for an Alaska Photo Tour where we’ll capture the 49th state’s most photogenic features, from the impressive wildlife, including the Alaskan brown bear, to some of the most spectacular landscapes of “The Last Frontier”.
We are running this tour from July 23rd to July 31st, during the best time of year to photograph the coastal brown bears and Alaskan landscapes.
During this Alaska photo workshop, we will mainly focus on shooting landscapes and wildlife.
In terms of wildlife, Alaska is a paradise during the summer. We will photograph plenty of animals, including mammals, such as the mighty Alaskan brown bear, grizzly bears, moose, and lynx; birds, such as bald eagles and puffins; and sea animals, such as whales, porpoises, otters, etc. Summer is also the best time of year to photograph coastal brown bears catching spawning salmon, one of the most impressive natural sights on earth. On this Alaskan brown bear photo tour, we will photograph the bears in some of the best locations.
In terms of landscapes, everything in Alaska is on a different scale. We will shoot a great variety of landscapes, ranging from seascapes and calving glaciers to lush rainforests, waterfalls, rugged peaks, and some of the highest mountains in the United States. We will also take some scenic flights to the Katmai Peninsula, where we’ll see snow-capped volcanoes like Mt. Redoubt and Iliamna, along with hidden lakes and majestic landscapes, from the air.
The trip will include a visit to different national parks, including Kenai Fjords and Lake Clark.
We will personally help you capture the best possible images during our photography expedition to Alaska. We will show you the best techniques to shoot any type of subject, from aerial landscapes to wildlife in action.
2023 Alaska PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP ITINERARY
The weather in Alaska is unpredictable year-round, so our Alaska photography workshop itinerary is flexibleand will be adjusted according to the weather conditions so you can make the most of this trip.
Our trip will take place at the best time of year to capture the Alaskan brown bear fishing salmon in the lakes and streams, so a big part of the trip will be focused on shooting this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Days are long in Alaska during the summer, so we will have plenty of light to photograph throughout the day.
Our Alaska photo tour begins at the Hyatt House in Anchorage at 16:00 PM. This hotel is well located close to the airport and local restaurants, and it will be our accommodation during our stay in the city.
There, we’ll organize a meet and greet with the rest of the group and a welcome speech. We’ll also discuss your photography experience and your goals, and get your camera gear ready for the trip. We’ll also provide some general recommendations for capturing the best possible images.
After this, we will go for a group dinner in a local restaurant that’s close to the hotel before taking a rest in order to recharge our batteries for the tour.
On the second day of our Alaska photography workshop, we will make our way to Seward in the Kenai Peninsula. This area in Alaska is one of the richest in terms of landscapes and wildlife, and we will explore it in depth over the following four days.
Our first stop on our way south will be Turnagain Arm, a scenic road surrounded by tidal flats where we will make several stops to shoot both landscapes and wildlife. We will try to get a shot of the elusive beluga from the iconic Beluga Point, look for Dall sheep in the steep cliffs across the road, and capture our first view of the snowy Kenai mountains over this waterway.
After a short drive, we will arrive at our next shooting destination in the Girdwood rain forest. This area is full of snowy mountains, glaciers, and lush rainforests, with waterfalls at a lower elevation. Here, we will photograph the Virgin Creek Falls, a series of waterfalls surrounded by lush vegetation like Spanish moss. The next stop will be a short hike to see and photograph the first glacier of the trip, Byron Glacier, before having lunch with a superb view of the majestic Portage Lake.
In the late afternoon, we will continue driving towards Seward and make several stops along the way to photograph the Alaskan mountains and valleys surrounded by wildflowers as well as the rivers with the salmon spawning.
Once in Seward, we will check into our new accommodation and take a short hike to see Exit Glacier. This glacier has been receding at a very fast pace since the start of the century, and it’s very interesting to see the markers and how quickly the landscape is changing.
The fourth day will mark the start of our Alaskan brown bear photo tours. We will spend two days taking scenic flights and photographing the mighty coastal bear in its natural habitat.
On our first bear photo tour, we will take a floatplane from Kenai to Crescent Lake in Lake Clark National Park. This remote turquoise lake is located in the middle of the Katmai Peninsula and surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes where the brown bears spend their summer.
We will have very high chances of seeing bears throughout the entire trip, sometimes even before we land, as they play or fish on the beach. Once we land on the lake, we will board a small, private skiff boat and cruise around the lake looking for the brown bears with a bear guide.
From mid-July, the spawning salmon start swimming up the rivers and streams leading towards Crescent Lake, and the bears feast on salmon all day long. This brown bear photo tour will offer us the chance to see bears fishing with their cubs and juveniles learning to fish, playing, and wrestling for food.
After a few hours of photographing the Alaskan bears, if conditions allow for it, we will take a scenic flight back to Kenai and fly over Redoubt Volcano, snowy mountains, glaciers, and other features that will give us great aerial photo opportunities.
On the fifth day, we will have our second Alaskan brown bear photo workshop in a different location. We will take a scenic flight from Anchorage to Chinitna Bay on the Katmai Peninsula.
As with the previous day, during the flight, we will see plenty of photogenic landscape views of the historic Cook Inlet, where you will catch a glimpse of some of the most impressive volcanoes and mountains in the Alaskan Range.
Our destination will be Chinitna Bay, an area located at the southern end of Lake Clark National Park where the coastal brown bears live during the summer. Once we land on the beach, we will take a brown bear photo tour with a local guide, with the goal of photographing the bears in different locations.
During low tide, you can capture the Alaskan bears digging up clams on the beach. Clams are one of the bears’ favorite breakfasts, and even though the numbers vary depending on conditions, this bay is usually crowded with dozens of bears clamming and moving on the beach.
After their breakfast, the bears move back inland to eat the sedge grass. There, we will have the chance to photograph the bears in green valleys surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes like Mt. Iliamna.
As the tide rises, the bears move closer to the streams to look for running salmon. We will find the best spots, sometimes just a few feet away from the bears, and with the safety of the group in mind and our guide’s help, patiently wait for some action when the bears plunge into the water to catch the salmon.
After our Alaska bear photo tour, we will take another scenic flight back to Anchorage.
On the sixth day of our Alaska photo workshop, we will drive to Valdez, a remote town founded by the Spanish in the eighteenth century, which is the gateway to some of the most spectacular Alaskan glaciers.
The drive from Anchorage takes about 5 hours, but we will make many photography stops on our way. The first stop will be Matanuska Glacier, where we’ll enjoy the highlight of the day: hiking on the glacier.
Matanuska Glacier is on privately-owned land, so we’ll take an official glacier tour hike where we’ll walk and photograph some photogenic ice formations. We’ll have a lunch break here after the tour, shoot details of the glacier from a distance with our telephoto lenses, and continue our drive towards Valdez.
The road section across Thompson Pass before Valdez is one of the most scenic in Alaska. Here, we will photograph turquoise braided rivers, glaciers, like the Worthington, and plenty of waterfalls around the Keystone Canyon, like Bridal Veil Falls and Horsetail Falls.
Once we are in Valdez and after checking into our hotel, we will take a short drive to the Hatchery, where we will photograph sea lions and look for black bears.
On this day, we will spend the day doing some of the most exciting activities on our Highlights of Alaska Photo Tour: photographing Columbia Glacier and taking a kayaking trip.
Our tour will depart in a small boat from the port of Valdez, and our destination will be one of the glacier tongues of the renowned Columbia Glacier. On our way, we will shoot beautiful rugged landscapes as well as marine wildlife, such as sea lions, bald eagles, porpoises, sea otters, seals, and possibly whales. As we approach the glacier, you’ll start seeing the first chunks of ice on the water.
Once we land on one of the beaches close to the glacier, the local team will prepare our double kayaks and we will paddle towards the glacier tongue. We will kayak along with a team of local guides, who will take us to an amphitheater surrounded by glaciers and position us in the best spots to photograph the ice with the glaciers in the background.
This will be an experience like no other; you’ll be given all the time you need to compose and photograph the glaciers from the best perspective and feel the thunder of the calving glaciers as giant chunks of ice fall off the glacier walls.
After an initial photoshoot, we will stop at one of the moraine beaches for lunch. Later, we will explore another section of the glaciers from our kayaks. From the kayak, you will also be able to spot some wildlife, such as seals and bald eagles.
Once we finish our Columbia Glacier trip and we recharge our batteries with a delicious dinner, we will drive outside town looking for wildlife like bald eagles, black bears, and moose.
Note: There will be an option B to take a standard boat tour from Valdez to Prince William Sound if you don’t want to take the kayak tour.
On day 8, we’ll make our way back to Anchorage. First, we’ll make many stops in the Keystone Canyon and along Thompson Pass to photograph waterfalls, landscapes, and wildlife with different lighting.
Around noon, we’ll make several photography stops at viewpoints overlooking the imposing Mt. Drum, one of the most majestic views in Alaska where you can see a wild landscape of this volcano and the largest national park in the US (Wrangell-St. Elias) in the background.
After having lunch in Copper Center, we’ll continue driving and doing different landscape and wildlife stops until Anchorage.
Once we check into our hotel, we’ll do a post-processing session where we’ll edit some of the landscape and wildlife images from the trip. Finally, we’ll have a last group dinner in one of the best restaurants in Anchorage to wrap up the adventure!
On the last day of our Alaska photo adventure, we’ll have a final breakfast and conclude the tour by flying out from Anchorage International Airport.
Deposit: $2,000 USD
A $2,000 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot for this workshop. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due on April 23rd, 2023. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.
This workshop is mainly focused on landscape & wildlife photography.
What you learn during the workshop will vary according to your goals and skills. Your instructor is a professional photographer with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level.
During the tour you’ll have the opportunity to learn:
Some of the photography basics you can learn during the workshop are:
Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with are:
Your instructor on this Alaska Photo Tour
Dan Zafra will be the tour leader throughout this Alaska Photo Tour, and he will make sure that you get the best photography results and experience from this tour. He will help you with composition, technique, and post-processing in your landscape, wildlife, & aerial images and use the best methods according to your skills.
He is based in California and has explored the higher latitudes of our planet over the years in places like Iceland, Northern Norway, Kamchatka, and Alaska. He has experience running photo tours in Alaska and he’s very knowledgeable not only about the best locations but also about the best time and lighting to photograph them.
Dan is a renowned travel photographer who enjoys educating other photographers with photo tours, workshops, and tutorials. His online photography courses have helped more than 400 photographers over the last few years. Joining him for this workshop will provide you with a great opportunity to learn how to best capture the highlights of Alaska.
You’ve probably seen Dan in…
Ascen will be the co-leader on this Alaska Photo Tour. She is a real expert on Alaska after taking many trips throughout the region over the last few years. She’s very knowledgeable about the most photogenic locations, the weather patterns, and the best techniques to capture breathtaking images.
Her main passion is wildlife photography, so she’ll provide the best settings and techniques to capture all the action of this tour!
Ascen loves traveling and helping others with their craft. She’s traveled extensively and led photo tours in other regions like Iceland and the Norwegian Lofoten Islands.
A complete list of everything that we recommend for this tour is sent to all participants upon sign-up. Below, you can find a summary of things you might need:
*Zoom telephoto lenses are recommended for capturing the best possible images during the Alaskan brown bear photo tours. Some of the best lenses in this range are:
– 70-200 mm (*X 1.4 extender recommended)
– 100-400 mm
– 150-600 mm
– 200-600 mm
– 400 mm f/2.8
– 600 mm f/4
*Some telephoto lenses can be very expensive, so we always recommend the option of renting a lens for the trip. We always rent our camera gear through Lensrentals. You can find more information on how Lensrentals works and get a discount here.
We will be visiting areas that are not far from the Arctic Circle, where the weather is very changeable throughout the year, even in the summer.
For this reason, we recommend bringing the following clothing:
If you are traveling from outside the US, you may need a specific travel visa or an electronic travel authorization (“ESTA”) depending on your country of origin. We can help you with this process.
You should book your flight to Anchorage International Airport.
Airline ticket prices will depend on the airport you are flying from. We recommend this article to find the best flights to Anchorage from your current location.
Transportation is included and all the driving will take place on easy, paved roads. We will drive two passenger vans with enough space to travel comfortably with all the luggage.
Our hotel in Anchorage (Hyatt House) is five minutes away from the airport and offers free airport shuttle.
Meals are not included except for breakfast in most of the hotels of the trip. We will visit some local restaurants to taste the delicious Alaskan food.
Anchorage and all the major towns in Alaska have grocery stores where you can buy any food, drinks, or snacks. We also recommend buying some groceries and snacks, since our schedule will completely depend on the tours and shooting conditions.
Whether you are experienced or just starting out in photography, you are welcome, and you will progress quickly. Together, we will send you home with a thorough knowledge of many photography areas, from the basics to multiple advanced techniques.
Once you sign up for the workshop, we will discuss your skills and goals for this tour, and I’ll organize a teaching plan so you can make the most of this experience.
Generally, we won’t do any long or strenuous hikes, since most locations are a relatively short walk from the parking lot.
A couple of exceptions are the Matanuska Glacier, where we’ll take a short hike on the ice using crampons, and the Columbia Glacier, where we will have to paddle a short distance in calm waters.
On the second bear tour in Chinitna Bay, we might have to walk up to 1-2 miles on beaches under low-tide and uneven terrain to get closer to the bears.
The tour is packed with Photoshoots and activities, so we do recommend being in good physical shape to enjoy the experience.
There is no age limit. This trip is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to photograph Alaska with us.
This trip is drone-friendly, and you can fly one in multiple spectacular locations.
Dan is an experienced drone pilot, and he can help you out with your aerial photography and footage.
Just bear in mind that you’re not allowed to fly drones in national parks and other places as established by the FAA.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last few years. Sharing and teaching photography is my passion, and I love doing this both online and in the field.
Alaska is one of those few places on earth where you can find wilderness at its best. This vast territory has been preserved for millennia, and even though it’d take months and years to visit all of its natural wonders, we’ve crafted this tour so you can see all the highlights in just a few days.
This adventure will make you feel like you’re in one of those Nat Geo documentaries where you can see magnificent landscapes and wildlife like brown bears just a few feet away from you in their natural habitat.
Discover the best of Alaska with us – this is a trip of a lifetime!