2022 Alaska Photo Tour
Brown Bears & highlights of Alaska
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 most photogenic landmarks of the 49th state, 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 25th to August 4th, during the best time of year to photograph the coastal brown bears and the landscapes of Alaska.
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 the coastal brown bears catching the spawning salmon, one of the most impressive natural sights on earth. On this Alaska 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 the highest mountain in the United States, Mt. Denali. We will also take some scenic flights to photograph snow-capped volcanoes like Mt. Redoubt and Iliamna, along with some hidden lakes and majestic landscapes, from the air.
The trip will include a visit to different national parks, including Kenai Fjords, Lake Clark, and Denali.
I will personally help you capture the best possible images during our photography expedition to Alaska. I will show you the best techniques to shoot any type of subject from aerial landscapes to wildlife in action.
Alaska Photo TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
- Photo tour from July 25th– August 4th, 2022
- Reduced group size: 5 participants + 1 instructor
- Main topics: Highlights of Alaska – Landscapes & Wildlife
- Main areas: Kenai and Katmai Peninsulas, Valdez, Denali National Park
- Best time of year to photograph the Alaskan brown bear
- Accommodation included in hotels close to the best locations
- Transportation included in a comfortable passenger van
- Aerial photography tours
- Exclusive boat, glacier, and brown bear photo tours
2022 Alaska PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP ITINERARY
The weather in Alaska is unpredictable year-round, so our Alaska photography workshop itinerary is flexible, and it 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 Alaska 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 from the early morning until the blue hour at night.
DAY 1: Alaska Photo Tour – July 25th
Our Alaska photo tour begins at the Aspen Suites Hotel in Anchorage at 14:00 PM. This hotel is well located in the downtown area, close to restaurants and shops. It will be our accommodation during our stay in the city.
After a meet and greet with the rest of the group and a welcome speech, we will take our first short trip outside Anchorage to capture our first images. There are different marshy areas where we will start to see the first signs of wildlife like moose, bald eagles, or even Dall sheep and black bears.
We will photograph the sunset and try to catch some reflections in the marshes before taking a rest in order to recharge our batteries for the tour.
DAY 2: Alaska Photo tour – July 26th
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 4 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 in the lower elevations. We will take a short hike to photograph Virgin Creek Falls, which is surrounded by lush vegetation like Spanish moss. If time allows, we will visit the town of Whittier to have lunch with a splendid view of the Portage Glacier.
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.
Once in Seward, we will check into our new accommodation and photograph the sunset from the bay.
DAY 3: Alaska Photo tour – July 27th
DAY 4: Brown bear Alaska photo tour – July 28th
The fourth day will mark the start of our Alaska brown bear photo tours where 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 is a remote turquoise lake 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 landing 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.
DAY 5: Alaska bear photography tour – July 29th
On the fifth day, we will have our second Alaska brown bear photo workshop in a different location. We will take a scenic flight from Anchorage to Chinitna Bay in 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 on the southern end of Lake Clark National Park where the coastal brown bears live during the summer. We will take a brown bear photo tour with a local naturalist, who will drive us in a 4WD vehicle to find and photograph the bears along the coast.
During the low tide, you can capture the Alaskan bears digging up clams on the beach. Clams are one of the bear’s 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 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.
DAY 6: Alaska photography tour – July 30th
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 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.
DAY 7: Alaska Photo Tour – July 31st
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 rugged beautiful 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 have 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, we will leave Valdez and head back, stopping at the village of Copper Center to spend the night. This is a remote village where you’ll experience the true Alaskan way of life. It will be the perfect rest stop on our way west.
DAY 8: Alaska Photo Tour – Aug. 1st
In the morning, we will photograph the sunrise from the Copper River with the impressive Mt. Drum and the Wrangell St. Elias Range in the background.
After that, we’ll drive west and do some photography stops until we reach the Matanuska Glacier. Here, 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 northwest towards Denali National Park, where we’ll spend the following day.
DAY 9: Denali Photo Tour – Aug. 2nd
On the 9th day of our Alaska photo tour, we’ll visit one of the most renowned gems of the last frontier: Denali National Park.
With 6+ million acres of wild and protected land, Denali is one of the few places where you can find pure and unspoiled wilderness that is the same as it was centuries ago. Denali was one of the first official national parks in the country, and here, you’ll find a wide variety of wildlife, landscapes full of contrasts, and, of course, the highest mountain in North America, Mt. Denali.
You can’t take your own car into Denali NP, so we’ll visit the park by taking a tour bus in the early morning. This tour will be one of the most exciting experiences of the whole trip; we’ll make several stops to photograph the most interesting landscapes in Denali, such as painted-colored mountains, massive rivers, and vast landscapes. The bus will also stop for us to spot and capture wildlife, such as grizzly bears, moose, lynx, caribou, Dall Sheep, and more.
We’ll take a longer break at the bus’s last stop, Wonder Lake Campground, where we’ll photograph (if we get lucky with the weather conditions), the imposing Mt. Denali reflected in different lakes. This area offers some of the most pristine and photogenic landscapes in Alaska, so we’ll spend some time here waiting for the best conditions.
Once we finish, we’ll take the bus back to the start of the road and stop again for landscape and wildlife photo opportunities. We will spend the night in the same accommodation outside Denali National Park as the previous night.
DAY 10: Alaska Photo Tour – Aug. 3rd
On this morning, we will photograph the sunrise from Moose Lake. The way to Moose Lake is an easy and accessible hike that starts at the entrance of Denali National Park, and we’ll have the chance to see and photograph the sunrise over some nice reflections, as well as some chances to see wildlife like moose or beavers.
After our morning shoot, we’ll start driving south towards Anchorage, stop for breaks, and shoot braided rivers, mountains, and, hopefully, Mt. Denali from different viewpoints.
We’ll spend the last night of our Alaska photo tour in Anchorage at the same hotel where we stayed the first night.
DAY 11: Alaska Photo Tour – Aug. 4th
On the last day of our Alaska photo adventure, we’ll have a final breakfast in the hotel and conclude the tour by flying out from Anchorage International Airport.
PRICE: $7,900 USD
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 25th, 2022. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.
A 100% refund is guaranteed if we have to cancel the tour because of COVID-19.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
- Accommodation in shared double rooms with private bathroom.
- Transportation in a comfortable passenger van with plenty of space.
- 11 days of photo guide services by professional photographer Dan Zafra.
- Travel and instruction in an exclusive group of 5 participants.
- Kenai Fjords National Park boat tour
- Two aerial photography tours in the Katmai peninsula
- Brown bear photo tour in Lake Clark National Park on a riverboat with naturalist
- Brown bear photo tour in Chinitna Bay with 4WD transportation and naturalist
- Columbia Glacier kayaking photo tour
- Matanuska Glacier hiking tour with all the equipment included.
- Denali National Park bus tour.
- 100% refund if the workshop is canceled because of COVID-19.
- Health/travel insurance (We can help you purchase the best travel insurance according to your needs).
- Personal expenses, tips, and any other service not mentioned in the “INCLUDED” section.
*Note: All participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to join any Capture the Atlas workshop or photo tour.
What will I learn during this Alaska photo workshop?
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:
- Getting comfortable shooting different types of landscapes and wildlife in manual mode.
- Adjusting to the best camera settings in each situation.
- Familiarizing yourself with the basics of shooting action.
- Learning the basics of aerial photography from a plane.
- Enhancing your composition with the best techniques.
- Designing your own shooting workflow to be more efficient in the field.
- Basics of drone photography.
- Creating powerful compositions that tell a story and engage the viewer.
- Building a connection between your photography and your vision.
- Becoming a master of light: learn how to enhance it and keep it under control.
- Advanced landscape techniques like bracketing, focus stacking, or focal length blending.
- Advanced wildlife settings and shooting techniques
- Advanced drone photography like aerial panoramas, vertoramas, and bracketing.
Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with are:
- Basics of Lightroom and Photoshop
- Preparing your images in Lightroom/Adobe Camera Raw.
- Stitching of panoramas using different software like Lightroom or PTGui Pro.
- Reducing the noise in your images with Denoise AI.
- Sharpening your wildlife photos with Sharpen AI.
- All types of Blendings (exposure, focal length, focus, etc.).
- Light shaping and Dodge & Burn in your landscape & wildlife images.
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 is 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…
WHAT TO BRING TO an Alaska Photography tour
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:
- A mirrorless or DSLR camera.
- A sturdy tripod and a remote shutter.
- A wide-angle lens, such as 14-24 mm.
- A medium zoom lens, such as 24-70 mm.
- A telephoto lens, ranging from 100 to 600 mm
- A camera bag to transport all your equipment.
- Drone (optional)
- Laptop for post-processing (optional)
*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:
- A system of layers to wear (base layer, fleece, windproof layer, shell).
- A good pair of breathable boots to keep your feet warm and protect your ankles while walking over rocks and uneven terrain
- A light hat and gloves in case it gets cold.
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.
WHAT EXPENSES SHOULD YOU CONSIDER FOR THIS Alaska Photo Tour?
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, except in Denali National Park, where we will take the park bus to travel throughout the park.
Meals are not included. 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 shooting conditions, and some days, we might not make it to any of the local restaurants for lunch/dinner.
The Denali National Park Pass costs $15 and is valid for a week. You can get your pass in person at the Denali Visitor Center or online through the official website here.
If you plan to visit more national parks within the following year after the workshop, we recommend getting the “America The Beautiful” annual pass, which gives you unlimited access to all national parks and some state parks in the country for $80.
WHAT MAKES THIS ALASKA PHOTO TOUR UNIQUE?
Frequent Questions about our Alaska Photo Tours
Whether you are experienced or just starting out in photography, you are welcome, and I am convinced that 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 Columbia Glacier, where we will have to paddle a short distance in calm waters.
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.
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!
Our Happy Students!
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.