Independent travel to Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) in Anchorage. You should arrive in Anchorage no later than 3 pm on 16 August, 2017. From the airport, the hotel’s free shuttle service will deliver you to your accommodation with the minimum of fuss.
Later in the afternoon, you will meet the other tour participants, your photography guide, Jeff Schultz, and a further guide from Amazing Views. Jeff will give you an introduction to wildlife and landscape photography and the details on your upcoming trip. Then we all head off for dinner together. To help you get over the jetlag, it is advisable to arrive a day early.
After breakfast, we take a quick shuttle to the Lake Hood seaplane base near the hotel. This is the busiest take-off and landing point for seaplanes in the world. A typical Alaskan float plane takes us directly to our lodge in Lake Clark National Park.
After a flight of just under an hour, we land on the sandy beach next to the lodge where we will spend the next two nights. Each guest cabin and lodge room is unique, modern, spacious and very comfortable with a combination of queen and twin beds, full baths, sitting areas, individual heat sources, and electricity. The fully furnished cabins have one, two or three bedrooms and all have private decks with views of the tidal flats and Cook Inlet.
Upon arrival, we will head to look for bears, accompanied by two highly trained guides who are responsible for your safety. To allow us to move through the area rapidly, transport from one location to the next will make use of ATVs/quad bikes.
With any luck, we’ll capture our first images of the impressive bears. After a break for dinner, we will set out to look for bears again, taking the time to observe them and take photos as long as the light permits.
We spend the whole day in the Lake Clark National Park, following bear tracks, and with plenty of time to observe and take photos. In this region, it is common to see bears digging up mussels on the beach or catching salmon in the rivers and streams that flow to the sea. We will return to the lodge for lunch and breaks.
After breakfast, we have more time for bear watching and photography. Around noon, we are picked up by bush plane for the return journey to Anchorage.
Our own private minibus then takes us on north to the quaint village of Talkeetna. Refreshments will be provided in the form of a delicious picnic lunch. Along the way there are countless fantastic photo opportunities.
After arriving at the hotel, you are free to do whatever you wish. Talkeetna is known for its wonderful views towards the mountains. Towards evening, when the light is particularly beautiful, we meet up again to take some photos of the stunning landscapes. After dinner, you can choose between taking some more photos, participating in a tutorial from Jeff about landscape photography, or simply enjoying the evening.
Before breakfast, early birds can capture some images of the beautiful scenery in the dawn light. During the morning, you will have the option of flying over the Denali National Park (weather permitting). This is a unique experience, and offers fantastic opportunities to take some birds’ eye view photos.
Afterwards, we drive along the idyllic Parks Highway in the direction of the Denali National Park. The scenery is amazing, and offers great photo opportunities. We spend the night in a luxury lodge near the entrance to the park.
Denali National Park is one of North America’s absolute scenic highlights, and is ideal for both landscape and wildlife photography. In the morning, we explore the area around the park entrance and have time to enjoy the Visitor Center to help orient yourself to the massive Denali National Park. Shortly after noon, we drive in a specially made bus to our next lodge at Camp Denali, located in the heart of the park approximately six hours’ drive away. The route is extremely beautiful, and with any luck we will see wildlife such as bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep and much more and stop to photograph them from the bus. Naturally, we will stop off at several points of interest and take time to capture some photos. We will enjoy a picnic dinner on the way in at a scenic rest stop.
We spend the next 4 nights at this amazing Camp Denali lodge in the heart of the Denali National Park, far from the crowds at the park’s entrance. Spending the nights here is a privilege afforded to very few people. If we are lucky with the weather, you will also enjoy unobstructed views of the highest mountain in North America, Mount Denali. The location of the lodge, surrounded by nature and tranquillity, is balm for the heart and soul.
Visits to the park are strictly regulated. Only the first few miles of the park road is open to private vehicles. Beyond this point, the only form of transportation are shuttle buses with fixed routes and stops. Most visitors are obliged to leave the park when evening falls. This means that only a few people get the chance to take photos in the park at the best times, in the best locations, and with the best light. On this trip, we are privileged to stay in one of the few lodges in the heart of the park. The location is idyllic, offering direct views of Mount Denali. For our Alaskan photo tour, we will have exclusive use of a minibus, which we can use to move around the park as we wish. This exclusive access is granted to very few visitors, and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We will spend three full days at Camp Denali in the Denali National Park, with ample time for landscape and wildlife photography. We will travel to interesting locations in our private minibus and hunt out great photo opportunities. To reach the best spots, there is usually a short hike involved. One morning, we will head to Wonder Lake before sunrise, and with a bit of luck we will be able to shoot Mount Denali reflected in the lake’s surface.
Due to the group’s reduced size and the support provided by two photo guides, there is plenty time to respond to the individual needs and wishes of all participants. Our photo guide, Jeff, is available for individual coaching. Throughout the whole trip, we will be offering short, hands-on tutorials on relevant photographic topics.
Non-photographers can also make the most of the lodge’s activity program, including guided nature and wildlife hikes, slide shows by natural scientists, mountain bike excursions, canoeing, angling etc.
Camp Denali is not for everyone– lodge accommodations are in well-spaced cabins, appointed with traditional cabin amenities including hand-sewn quilts made by our staff, wood stoves and propane lights. Drinking water comes from a spigot by your door, and may be heated in your cabin for a quiet cup of coffee, tea or for washing up. Camp Denali’s meticulously maintained outhouses offer private, convenient facilities, and each guest cabin enjoys clear views of Denali when it’s out. The dining hall, lodge, natural history resource collection and a modern bath and shower facility are a three to seven-minute walk from your cabin. This style of lodge makes your visit to Denali Park Camp a much more serene experience.
After three eventful days in the heart of the Denali National Park, our minibus returns us to the park’s entrance around noon. At this point our private tour van takes us back to Talkeetna. You then have the late afternoon and evening free to do whatever you wish including the opportunity for a participant slide show and critique.
After breakfast, we leave Talkeetna and head over the beautifully scenic Hatcher Pass and Talkeetna Mountains into the Matanuska Valley.
The afternoon is reserved for another highlight of the itinerary: a helicopter flight over a glacier to the shores of a stunning glacial lake. The lake, the icebergs, the glacier and the mountain range in the background offer truly unique scenery. If the weather allows, the doors of the helicopter will be removed. This will enable you to get the best birds’ eye view pictures. After landing, the helicopter flies off and you will spend time with Jeff and our second guide, photographing the glacier, lake, icebergs, wildflowers and much more. Towards the evening, the helicopter will return to pick us up.
We spend the night in a beautiful lodge on the banks of the Knik River, where we have a 3-course Alaskan dinner and where you can while away the evening reviewing the day’s adventures.
The day starts with breakfast and a drive south on the scenic Seward Highway with many stops along the way for photography. We travel along Turnagain Arm and through parts of the Kenai Peninsula, to the seaside town of Seward, which we reach by late afternoon.
After the landscapes in Denali and the Matanuska Valley and the bears in the Lake Clark National Park, today we will experience Alaska from another perspective. We will explore the world of the Kenai Fjords National Park from a boat chartered exclusively for our group. We have a very high chance of capturing a variety of marine wildlife and several species of bird on camera: whales, orcas, otters, seals, sea lions, puffins, fish eagles and many more to make the experience even more impressive, the backdrop includes glaciers leading to the sea, rugged mountain peaks and forests.
Today is the end of our fascinating Photo Alaska trip. After enjoying breakfast together, we take a leisurely trip in our minibus back to Anchorage in time for your late-afternoon flight or follow-up itinerary.