2020 Alaska Explorer photo tour/workshop including bears, marine wildlife, glaciers & landscapes

Exclusive photo tour/workshop with Alaska photographer Jeff Schultz

8 days/7 nights– JULY 4-11, 2020

This trip will take you on a one-week tour to some of the most spectacular regions of Alaska. You will experience & photograph Alaskan brown bears up-close, imposing mountain scenery, giant glaciers & ice bergs, and walk on a glacier. We will fly to a remote lodge to photograph the mighty Alaskan brown bears with their spring cubs and overnight there. During a full-day boat trip, enjoy photographing seals, sea otters, eagles, perhaps whales and glaciers in Prince William Sound. We will take time to land the boat and photograph beached ice bergs. We will travel via luxury van into the Chugach & Talkeetna Mountains, away from the tourist crowds to photograph cascading rivers and wild flowers. We will fly into the mighty Alaska Range and photograph snow-capped granite spires and massive glacier-filled valleys and with any luck on the weather, we will photograph the grand Denali massif.

This exclusive photo tour combines many of the top features of Alaska. We take you to unique locations, far from the tourist crowds. Your photo guide, professional photographer Jeff Schultz, has lived in Alaska for over 40 years and has been the official photographer of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race since 1982.

Partners who are not engaged in photography, will also enjoy this unique natural experience of the unparalleled beauty and tranquilly of Alaska as well as the ability to observe bears and other wildlife in their natural environment.

While in the field and in the several classroom instruction sessions, Jeff will teach you methods he’s learned in his 35+ years as a professional photographer to help you take your landscape and wildlife photography to the next level. Jeff is not there to make his own photographs…he is there to ensure you get to make your Alaskan dream shots and to create a memorable adventure.

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Who

Beginning to advanced photographers (maximum 6 participants) This Alaskan photo tour is perfect for both beginners, intermediate and advanced photographers. Due to the group’s reduced size the individual needs of each participant will be given proper attention.

When

JULY 4-11, 2020  8 days / 7nights from Anchorage, Alaska

Where

Arrive Anchorage, Alaska and travel to locations including; Lake Clark National Park, Prince William Sound, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Talkeetna, Denali National Park (fly-over) and return to Anchorage

Highlights

  • Superb food and accommodations
  • Alaska during summer with beautiful wild flowers and exuberant green foliage
  • Photograph the Alaskan brown bears (singles and with cubs) up-close in the famous Lake Clark National Park.
  • Exclusive boat tour (for our group only) in Prince William Sound with great photo opportunities: vast glaciers, picturesque mountain landscapes, bald eagles, sea otters, seals, sea lions, puffins and the potential for whales & orcas
  • Nearly 20 hours of daylight. Sunrise: 4:30 am Sunset: 11:30 pm / 23:30
  • Typical, rustic Alaskan lodges - some of which are very remote, and thus close to photographic highlights
  • Flight-seeing tour with glacier landing from Talkeetna to view Denali in the Alaska Range (Weather Permitting).
  • Helicopter flight with doors off over glaciers and landing at ice berg filled lake.
  • Your guide and instructor is one of Alaska’s most published and respected professional photographers.
  • Daily classroom instruction and critique sessions

Cost

Standard Trip:   $6775.00   per person, based on double occupancy*.  Includes all 7 nights’ accommodations and meals from arrival day dinner through last day lunch.

* Single Supplement Cost:  $775   (without Lake Clark Lodge)

*Single rooms: strictly limited and availability must be checked. Because of the limited number of cabins and short season at our lodge in Lake Clark, it is necessary for participants to share a cabin there for the one night. (twin beds)

During this trip the daylight is approximately 20 hours with Sunrise: 4:30 am  Sunset: 11:30 pm / 23:30

DAY 1: (Saturday July 4, 2020) Arrival to Anchorage. 

For those traveling from a far time zone, we highly recommend arriving a day or two earlier to acclimatize to the time change.  We are happy to reserve a room at our starting hotel for any previous days you’d like or recommend other options.

Arrive on your own to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) Anchorage, AK.  Please arrive no later than 3 pm.  Transfer on a short, 5-minute ride, free shuttle to our hotel as you arrive.  At 4:30 pm/ 16:30 we meet at our hotel for a meet and greet of guests plus a 2-hour pre-workshop classroom instruction on wildlife and landscape photography and orientation for the trip.  This will be followed by dinner at the hotel.  Overnight at this Anchorage hotel located on Lake Hood in Anchorage.

DAY 2: (Sunday July 5, 2020) BEAR DAY.  

After breakfast on your own at the hotel, we take a quick 5-minute 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 bush plane takes us directly to our lodge in Lake Clark National Park.

After a scenic flight of just over an hour, we land on the sandy ocean beach near the lodge where we will spend the rest of this day and one night. 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 decks with views of the tidal flats and Cook Inlet.

In this region, it is common to see bears digging up mussels on the ocean beach, eating sedge grass, interacting with each other in the water or in the grassy areas off the beach, or catching salmon in the creek that flows to the sea.

Upon arrival, we will get into our cabins and head out quickly to look for our first bear sightings, accompanied by a highly trained guide who is responsible for your safety.

To allow us to move through the area rapidly, we will be transported from one location to the next with the use of ATVs/4-wheeler/quad bikes.  Our guide will drive us as we sit in a trailer behind. Once we get somewhat close to the bears, we will walk closer to them with our guide.

We’ll capture our first images of the impressive bears and then come back for a lunch break. After a break for lunch, we will set out on another trip to the bears, taking the time to observe them and take photos until dinner time.  After dinner, for those who wish to, can go out again for bears in the evening light and we are typically back to the cabins by 10 pm.

DAY 3   (Monday July 6, 2020) ANCHORAGE TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND  

We will go afield again early in the morning before breakfast to photograph our bears.  After breakfast, we will be picked up on the beach by the air taxi around 10 am for the return journey to Anchorage.  We expect to arrive in Anchorage by noon. We will board our private 13 passenger luxury van for a leisurely drive south along the Turnagain Arm body of salt water.

This is a custom day, therefore on this one-hour drive to the port town of Whittier we will stop several places for photography as the weather, landscapes and wildlife dictate.  Depending on conditions we can expect to photograph a glacier and mountains reflected in a lake, mossy covered creek and waterfall inside a rain forest area, Dall Sheep on cliffs, moose, bald eagles and more. We will also make a short stop in the tiny hamlet of Girdwood.

Based on the weather and what we find to photograph we will arrive at our hotel in Whittier in time for a 7 pm Dinner.  We overnight in Whittier

Day 4 (Tuesday July 7, 2020) A DAY ON THE WATER IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND 

After breakfast we board our exclusive boat for a custom photo tour in the magnificent and pristine Prince William Sound.  We will enjoy a full-day trip, photographing eagles, icebergs, glaciers, seals, sea otters, sea lions, sea birds and perhaps whales or an orca or two.  We will expect to take at least one shore excursion to photograph land-locked ice bergs on shore. The massive landscape and the giant glaciers will fascinate you.

We will return to idyllic Whittier in the early evening and take a scenic drive of 1 ½ hours to the small town of Palmer, Alaska surrounded by the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains.  We will stop several places to photograph on our way there.

We will overnight in Palmer, Alaska and likely do sunset landscape photography here as we search for moose.

Day 5 (Wednesday July 8, 2020) HELICOPTER TO ICE BERG GLACIER LAKE

After breakfast we take off in helicopters for a 15 minute flight directly over and in front of the face of a massive 25 mile/ 40km long & 5 mile/8km wide Glacier. We then fly onward up, over and around an ice-berg choked lake where a second glacier terminates into this lake. If conditions permit, the doors of the helicopter will be off for the flight in for better aerial images.

After landing at the ice berg strewn lakeside, the helicopters will depart and we have the area to ourselves for 4-5 hours of Glacier, wildflower, lake and iceberg landscape photography. The combination of lake, icebergs, wildflowers, glacier and the mountain range in the background offer truly unique scenery and unlimited options for various compositions. We have a picnic lunch here and are picked up in the early afternoon.

After arriving back to the heliport area, we continue in our luxury van for a one-hour drive into the mountains and valleys of the Chugach and Talkeetna mountain ranges stopping in several locations for landscape photography and hopefully moose photography. We overnight at our Alaskan lodge snuggled up into the mountains where we will spend two nights.

DAY 6:  (Thursday July 9, 2020) DAY IN THE MOUNTAINS AND WALK ON A GLACIER. 

We will be up early for a sunrise landscape shoot at a lakeside, then back to our lodge for Breakfast. After breakfast we will drive a short way where we will spend several hours walking on a glacier. This glacier walk will involve moderate activity where we will wear ice-cleats/crampons on our personal hiking boots. This activity is not mandatory and those who wish can photograph the glacier & wildflowers from the overviews nearby.  After our glacier walk, we stay in the local area photographing the tall mountains and landscapes. We once again overnight at our lodge between the Chugach and Talkeetna mountain ranges.    

DAY 7    (Friday July 10, 2020): HATCHER PASS TO TALKEETNA

After breakfast we drive into the scenic area of Hatcher Pass area where we will spend the day photographing small creeks, wildflowers, rushing rivers and an abandoned gold mine. We drive into the Talkeetna Mountains and over Hatcher Pass to the idyllic community of Talkeetna, the gateway for mountaineers to climb Denali.

Here, weather permitting, we will take a custom, private (for our group only) evening flight seeing trip over Denali National Park and into the Alaska Range. This jaw-dropping scenery is world-class. We will fly over intense-blue meltwater ponds, above and next to giant granite spires, massive rock masses and into the Don Sheldon Amphitheater. We will see seven glaciers including 45 mile/72 km long Kahiltna Glacier, the longest in Denali National Park.  Conditions permitting, we will land on a glacier and be able to photograph the enormous vertical mountain masses from this glacier floor. If the weather is not flyable this evening, we have a backup plan for the following morning.

We will overnight in Talkeetna where there is sure to be some live music and other entertainment.

DAY 8:   (Saturday July 11, 2020) FINAL DAY --  If the weather was not conducive to completing our flight-seeing trip last night, we will attempt for another flight early this morning.  We will then work our way back to Anchorage where you may fly back home or extend your stay in Alaska expecting to arrive no later than 1 pm.  This will conclude the tour/workshop.

At each of the workshop classroom sessions, Jeff will discuss his methods for shooting stellar wildlife and landscape images as is appropriate for the group. During each days’ outings, Jeff will also talk through his methods for making the best image at the current location with the subject at hand. He is NOT there to photograph his own images; he is there to help you take your photography to the next level. Jeff will also cover the following:

  • 10 Tips to making better images no matter where you are
  • Composition: Do’s, Don’ts, and New Ideas
  • What makes a compelling image
  • Use of various types of filters
  • Combining shutter speeds and f-stops… and the effects of each
  • Equipment: What You Really Need, Would Like, & Don’t Need at All

Besides two Canon camera bodies, Jeff brings lenses from 14mm-400mm and flash with off-camera capabilities, tripod, polarizer and split-neutral density filters.  A complete list of what to bring will be sent after registration.

ESSENTIAL PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT:

*At the very least, please bring:

  • 1. A DSLR camera with two lenses such as a 24-105mm and a 100-400mm would be ideal.
  • 2. Several back up batteries & charger
  • 3. Extra media cards for your camera
  • 4. Tripod

Ideally, if possible, please also bring:

  • Extra camera body
  • Lenses ranging from 17mm-400mm

(If you’d like to rent equipment while you are visiting Alaska, we recommend our friends at Stewart’s Photo Shop in downtown Anchorage.  Visit them online at: http://stewartsphoto.com/rentals/

  • Polarizing Filter - Jeff uses and recommends Singh-Ray & Breakthrough
  • Graduated Neutral Density Filters:

Jeff carries a 2 and a 3 stop “soft” and "hard" Galen Rowell graduated filters by Singh-Ray and also from Breakthrough. Ask Jeff for a discount code to purchase these in advance if you like.

  • Flash and off-camera cord
  • Lens shades & cable release
  • Non abrasive, absorbent cloth
  • Laptop computer with image editing/processing software - Jeff uses and recommends BreezeBrowser & Lightroom
  • Backpack type of carrying case - Jeff uses and recommends Mindshift & ThinkTank
  • Any other easily transported photography gear you like to use
  • Dress in layers with synthetic type material, not cotton
  • Bring sturdy hiking boots and rain boots--- rain boots can be rented here in Anchorage.
  • Bring rain gear.
  • headlamp with red lens for night-time vision

A complete list of necessary clothing will be sent closer to the workshop date

Ground Transportation is provided in a 13-passenger luxury van.

The price includes:

  • All aspects of the photography workshop/tour
  • Round trip ground transportation from Anchorage to the Matanuska Valley and back to Anchorage.
  • Helicopter flight* to Colony Glacier
  • Bush Plane to Lake Clark lodge
  • All 7 nights accommodations
  • All meals from the first night dinner, through the last day lunch.
  • * All flying & boating is done “weather permitting”. Jeff Schultz and our lodge vendor, air taxis and boat taxis are not responsible for flights that are cancelled due to weather and/or weather delays.  Refunds for any of these cancelled trips vary by vendor.

What’s not Included:

  • Air transportation from your home to and from Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Any personal gear. You must bring your own photography gear, clothing, toiletries and outerwear. There are weight restrictions on gear for the flights. A list of recommended clothing and camera gear as well as weight information will be sent after registration.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Alcoholic beverages at dinner meals are paid by the guest at the time of purchase.
  • Any visa and/or airport fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities for guides and pilots. It is customary to tip the guides on these trips commensurate with the service received.

Your safety is ultimately the primary concern.

Physical Requirements: Good to excellent condition

  • Degree of Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Weather Conditions: Moderate to extreme. July temperatures range from 40° F (4° C) to 60° F (15° C). May experience rain, wind or sun
  • Agility: Good to excellent (ability to climb steps into small planes, up and downhill short hiking and traveling on uneven, rocky terrain and spongy tundra)
  • Mental Requirements: A flexible and positive attitude is essential
  • Activities: boating, flying, hiking to photographic opportunities on uneven tundra and terrain
  • Photographic Skill Level: Intermediate to advanced

Deposit and Cancellation Policy;

Deposits:

Due to Alaska’s short season as well as the high demand for, and limited number of places on this Alaskan photo tour, the following payment conditions apply:

A $1000 non-refundable deposit is required at time of booking. The deposit can be made online with a credit card.

The balance of the tour price is due March 1, 2020 via check or wire transfer. Sorry, but a 3% surcharge must be added for credit card payments for the balance.  An invoice for the balance will be sent 30 days prior to that time. Payments can be made prior to this date as well.     

Cancellation & Refund Policy: 

All cancellation requests must be received in writing. Excluding the $1000 non-refundable portion of the deposit, the deposits are refundable ONLY if we can fill your space(s) with another booking. We typically have a waiting list for these trips, but cannot guarantee one will be available should you choose or need to cancel.

Except for the $1000 non-refundable deposit, 80% of any deposits forfeited can be applied to a future Jeff Schultz Photography photo tour.

We are sorry but we cannot offer refunds for delays or cancellations because of weather, flights, or other unforeseen reasons before arriving, during or after the photo tour. We highly recommend arriving in Anchorage 1-2 full days before the trip. Jeff Schultz Photography Inc. is not responsible for additional costs which may be incurred by such delays.

We have the right to cancel this photo tour for lack of registrants up to 60 days prior to the photo tour date. In the case that we cancel the photo tour, 100% of your deposit and payments will be returned. However, Jeff Schultz Photography Inc. does not assume responsibility for any other costs incurred by our client because of our cancellation of the trip.

We are sorry, but due to our short season here in Alaska, we are unable to make exceptions, for any reason, to our cancellation policy including medical or family emergencies.

For these reasons, and for medical emergencies, we strongly recommend trip insurance.
Here are a few options for insurance. Review the companies and choose the best policy for your needs:

BOOK YOUR TRIP NOW

Contact us directly if you have questions about the workshop/tour or would like to book directly.

After booking What’s Next? Upon booking we will contact you to confirm your space and see if you have any specific questions we can answer at that time. Then, several months before the workshop, we will e-mail you a list of other essential personal gear, any specialized photography gear we feel will enhance your experience, and more detailed information on where and when to meet for the first day. We will also ask for emergency contact information and medical information.

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