I recently held my first ever dog mushing and night sky photography workshop during the Northern Lights 300 sled dog race at Winterlake Lodge — the turnaround checkpoint of the race. Despite a one-day weather delay in flying out to the lodge, it was a great success. There were 3 participants of the maximum of 6 available spaces. The first night of the workshop was held the day before the race on Thursday, January 22nd at our home in Anchorage. After getting to know one another over dinner, I gave a 2 hour presentation on the basics of winter photography. The next day we drove 90 minutes to the race start in Big Lake, Alaska. We were able to photograph the sled dogs in Iditarod musher Martin Buser’s kennel, as that was the race starting place. We photographed a few teams leaving the start and then were taken by snowmachine (snowmobile) out on the trail where we stopped at a half-dozen or so places along the trail to photograph mushers and teams as they went by.
Due to poor weather, we could not fly out on the trail and on to the lodge as planned that day, but rather came back to Anchorage, went to a nice restaurant for dinner and went back to our home to review our images with a critique time. The next day we were able to fly to the lodge in sunny, blue-sky weather. We got to the lodge just 15 minutes before the first team, but were met with 15-20 mph winds which made being outside a bit cold. We were able to photograph nearly all the teams arriving to Winterlake Lodge and were able to manage being out of the wind for the most part.
The next 4 nights we spent at the lodge. I did a couple of instructional presentations as well as hands-on demonstrations of making night-sky images, winter landscapes, depth of field and use of filters. We were very fortunate and blessed to have the sky clear for star photos and that the Aurora came out 3 of the 4 nights.
During the day the participants were able to mush the dog team that the lodge has, as well as just ride in the sled basket and enjoy it. Likewise they were able to photograph the team in action. They participated in lodge activities including a cooking class, stretch class, and receive a massage and utilize the hot tub. As we say; “A good time was had by all”.
If you’re interested in participating in one of my upcoming workshops, head over to my website here.