This photo workshop begins in Fairbanks, Alaska, where, weather permitting, we head out to view and photograph the aurora borealis on our first night. The next morning, we drive up the Dalton Highway to the remote community of Wiseman, nestled in the heart of the Brooks Range above the Arctic Circle. Over four nights and four days, we will explore this region of Alaska’s northernmost mountain range chasing the light during the day and the dancing lights at night. Cost includes lodging and meals in Fairbanks, Alaska, the first night, all meals and lodging in Wiseman, transportation to and from Wiseman, and photo instruction.
This photo workshop combines abundant opportunities to photograph the amazing aurora borealis and time to explore Alaska’s most dramatic mountain range, the Brooks Range. The workshop starts in Fairbanks, Alaska, where we spend a night getting oriented to photographing the aurora borealis. We then drive to the remote community of Wiseman, deep in the heart of the Brooks Range in a valley created by intersecting rivers. Photographic opportunity and instruction will focus on various aspects of landscape photography, tailored to meet specific needs of workshop participants. Daily photo review will also be a part of the routine. Fee includes all meals and lodging, as well as transportation from Fairbanks to Wiseman. For more details on the itinerary, visit our workshop page for this event.
This photo workshop combines technique in photographing the aurora borealis with the opportunity to capture images of polar bears from relatively close distances. After a night of photographing the aurora borealis in Fairbanks, Alaska, we will fly to the remote Inupiat village of Kaktovik within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There, we will spend a total of 24 hours over four days on boats observing and photographing polar bears that gather in the area as they wait for the winter sea ice to arrive. While in Kaktovik, we will take one night (weather permitting) to go out and photograph the aurora borealis in this farthest corner of the Arctic. All lodging and meals included. For more details on the itinerary, visit the workshop page on our website.
Images and Text by Gordon and Cathy Illg
It’s not that one or two things or even a hundred things are beautiful – every single aspect of the natural world is beautiful, even the very air around us. Using high-energy particles from the sun as brushes and electrons orbiting atoms in our upper atmosphere as a canvas, impossible abstracts are painted across the night sky in neon colors. Of all the astral phenomena that draw our eyes to the heavens, the aurora is the most spectacular. And, it requires no special equipment to view it, only a willingness to stay out when most people are asleep (and to endure some cold temperatures).
The Cree called it the “Dance of the Spirits,” and in the Middle Ages it was regarded as a sign from God. Today we call it aurora borealis after the Roman goddess of the dawn and the Greek name for the north wind. Its most basic form is a static green band, usually stretching across the northern horizon. As it becomes more active, pink, red and even violet are added to the palette. These colors can fall down in curtains or dance across the heavens in twisting waves, as if responding to music we cannot hear. A photographer could point a lens at the same spot all night, taking one photo after another, and never repeat an image. Continue reading