2023 ALASKA EXPLORER PHOTO TOUR/WORKSHOP including Bears, Marine Wildlife, Glaciers & Landscapes.

Exclusive photo tour/workshop with Alaska photographer Jeff Schultz

10 days & 11 nights– JULY 12-22, 2023

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This trip will immerse you into some of the most spectacularly beautiful, diverse and off the beaten path regions Alaska has to offer. This trip is specifically scheduled for a more relaxed pace in each of the locations to allow for appropriate time to photograph and appreciate the details of each area.

You will experience & photograph Alaskan brown bears up-close, imposing mountain scenery, a variety of giant glaciers (tidewater, hanging & landlocked), icebergs, and even walk on a glacier. We will fly to a remote lodge to photograph the mighty Alaskan brown bears with their spring cubs and spend two overnights. During a full-day, private boat trip, enjoy photographing seals, sea otters, eagles, many towering glaciers and perhaps whales 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 wildflowers. We use helicopters (with the doors off for better aerial images) in two locations to fly over and land next to glaciers and an iceberg filled lake. We will fly (weather permitting) via ski-plane into the mighty Alaska Range and photograph snow-capped granite spires and massive glacier-filled valleys, land on a 3,000-foot-thick glacier, and with any luck on the weather, we will photograph the grand Denali massif.

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 40+ 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

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

The trip is very conducive to non-photographer spouses/partners joining to enjoy the bountiful wildlife and spectacular nature scenes.

* We consider an advanced-beginner one who understands the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture & shutter) and shoots in other than full auto.

When

JULY 12-22, 2023 -- 10 days & 11 nights

Where

Arrive Anchorage, Alaska and travel to locations including; Kenai Pennisula, 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’s LONG daylight hours with beautiful wild flowers and exuberant green foliage. Nearly 20 hours of daylight. Sunrise: 4:30 am Sunset: 11:30 pm / 23:30
  • Road system travel via a 15-passenger luxury, high-top van for the 7 of us. Plenty of room for your camera bags next to you.
  • Two full days to photograph the Alaskan brown (grizzly) bears (singles and hopefully with cubs) up-close in the famous Lake Clark National Park.
  • Exclusive all-day 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
  • 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).
  • Two separate helicopter flights (with doors off for better aerials) on two separate days/locations, over glaciers and landing at an ice berg filled lake and on the glacier itself.
  • Your guide and instructor is one of Alaska’s most published and respected professional photographers.
  • Daily classroom, and on-site instruction and critique sessions

Cost

Standard Trip: $12,365.00 per person, based on double occupancy*. Includes all 11 nights’ accommodations and meals from arrival day dinner through last day dinner.

* Single Supplement Cost: $1450

**Even if choosing the single supplement, it is likely you’ll need to share a room or cabin at the Bear Lodge in Lake Clark due to less cabin availability. Separate beds of course.

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

DAY 1: (Wednesday July 12, 2023) 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 hotel options. We can provide of list of local photo and tour opportunities for those extra days.

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: (Thursday July 13, 2023) TURNAGAIN ARM AND KENAI PENNINSULA

We will awake early and begin our adventure in our 15-passenger luxury van with a drive along Turnagain Arm in search of Dall sheep, moose and bald eagles along with summer landscapes on our way to Kenai, Alaska.

This is a custom day.  Therefore during this normal three-hour drive to our hotel in Soldotna we will stop many places for photography as the weather, landscapes and wildlife dictate.  Depending on conditions and wildlife we may happen to encounter, we can expect to photograph a glacier and mountains reflected in a lake, moss-covered creek and waterfall inside a rain forest area, Dall sheep on cliffs, moose, bald eagles and more. We will also make a stop in the tiny hamlet of Girdwood.

Based on the weather and what we find to photograph, we will arrive at our hotel in Soldotna, AK  in time for relaxing and then a 6 pm/ 14:00  Dinner.  Overnight in Soldotna.

 

DAY 3 & 4:  (Friday July 14-15, 2023) ALASKA BROWN BEAR DAYS (two full days)

After an early breakfast on your own at the hotel, we take a quick 5-minute drive to the Soldotna Airport. From here, weather permitting, we take off in an Alaskan 7-passenger wheeled bush plane for our bear lodge in Lake Clark National Park.

After a scenic flight of just over 30 minutes, we land on the sandy ocean beach near the lodge. We make a quick trip the lodge to drop our main luggage, prepare our camera gear, have orientation and outfit for rubber boots. We are then off with our bear guides.

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. Depending on where the bears are, the walking can be anywhere from 20 feet to 200 yards over dirt, grass, sand and through water.

In this region, it is common to see bears digging for clams on the ocean beach during low tide, eating sedge grass, interacting with each other in the water or in the grassy areas off the beach. With any luck there will be mother bears with spring cubs.

We’ll capture our first images of the impressive bears and then go to the lodge for a home-cooked lunch break around 1 pm. Lunch is held in the main lodge with other lodge guests. After our break for lunch, we will set out on another trip to the bears, taking the time to observe them and take photos until 6:30 pm dinner time. The bears are constantly on the move, and we never know just where they are until we find them.

After dinner those who want to may go out again until our 10pm curfew where we’re back to the lodge in our 2-bedroom cabins.

Saturday the 15th --  We will have the same bear guide this day. Those who want to can go out early before breakfast to photograph more bears and/or the sunrise. Breakfast at 8 AM and then back out for more bears until lunchtime around 1 o’clock and dinner at 6:30. Lots of opportunity to photograph bears between these times using the ATV’s and our guide.

Day 5  (Sunday July 16, 2023) TRAVEL DAY FROM THE BEARS TO PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND 

After breakfast, (approx. 9 am) we leave Lake Clark in the same plane that brought us and we fly the 30 minutes back to the Soldotna airport. From there we drive 2 hours back the same highway towards Anchorage stopping for landscapes and wildlife along the way.  We arrive short of Anchorage in the evening for dinner and our hotel in Whittier, Alaska ---the gateway to Prince William Sound.   We overnight in a hotel just above the Whittier boat harbour.

Day 6  (Monday July 17, 2023) A DAY ON THE WATER IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND 

After an early 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 icebergs, glaciers, seals, sea otters, sea birds and perhaps whales or an orca or two.  We will expect to take at least one shore excursion to photograph land-locked icebergs 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 2-hour scenic drive back up Turnagain Arm and beyond Anchorage to a well-appointed, secluded B&B in Palmer, Alaska. We spend two nights at this B&B.  For those who wish, we will likely do sunset landscape photography while we search for moose or hit the sack early after a full day.

Day 7: (Tuesday July 18, 2023) HELICOPTER TO ICEBERG LAKE & LANDSCAPES IN THE MATANUSKA VALLEY

After breakfast at the B&B, we leave in our van at 6:30 am for a 35-minute drive where 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 iceberg 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 iceberg strewn lakeside, the helicopters will depart, and we have the area to ourselves for 3+  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. Additional landscape photography may be done in the afternoon and evening. We have dinner at a unique local restaurant in Palmer. We retreat for a relaxing second evening back at our B&B in Palmer.

DAY 8: (Wednesday July 19, 2023) DRIVE INTO THE CHUGACH & TALKEETNA MOUNTAINS

After breakfast at our B&B we continue Northeast bound in our van for a 90-minute drive into a valley flanked by the massive mountains of the Talkeetna and Chugach Mountain ranges. We stop along the way in many areas as we search for landscape and wildlife that may consist of Moose and Dall sheep.

We have dinner and overnight at a lodge at the base of these mountains. We will spend two nights here.  After some personal relaxing time in our cabins we will go out towards sunset time for tundra, glacier and lakeside landscapes.

DAY 9:  (Thursday July 20, 2023)  A DAY IN THE CHUGACH & TALKEETNA MOUNTAINS AND HELICOPTER ONTO 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 board a helicopter (with doors off again) for a short flight to a glacier. We will spend several hours walking on and photographing the glacier. This glacier walk will involve moderate activity where we will wear ice-cleats/crampons on our personal hiking boots. After our glacier walk, we stay in the local area photographing the tall mountains and landscapes. We spend a second night in this relaxed and remote environment.

Weather permitting, we will go out for sunset landscapes of mountains and water.    

DAY 10    (Friday July 21, 2023):  DRIVE TO TALKEETNA AND FLIGHT SEE DENALI

We will be up early for those who wish for a sunrise shoot at a nearby lake and back to our lodge for breakfast. In the late morning we will drive back south toward Palmer, Alaska and into the historic area of Hatcher Pass to spend plenty of time photographing streams, wildflowers and rivers. Always on the lookout for moose and sheep as we go.

After the 3-hour drive, we will arrive in the tiny hamlet of Talkeetna, Alaska in the late afternoon and check-in to our comfortable and well-appointed accommodations. Here, weather permitting, we will take an 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.

Cloud-cover permitting, we will see many glaciers including the 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 11:   (Saturday July 22, 2023) FINAL DAY --  TALKEETNA TO ANCHORAGE

Breakfast will be at our lodge.  If the weather was not conducive to completing our flight-seeing trip last night, we will attempt for another flight early this morning.

NOTE: If the weather prohibits us from doing our flight-seeing trip, you will be refunded $375 of your trip fee.

We will leave Talkeetna in the late morning and work our way back to Anchorage where will will spend some time photographing bird life and other opportunities along the way. We will check in to our arriving hotel in the early afternoon. We will have our final dinner and slide show of your work at Jeff’s house from 5:30 – 8pm.  This will conclude the tour/workshop and return you to the Anchorage hotel.

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 tripod, mon-pod, polarizer and split-neutral density filters.

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:

  • Additional camera body to allow you to have two different lenses available at once without the need to switch lenses. The 24-105mm and a 100-400mm make a great combination.
  • Wide Angle lens such as 16-35mm or equivalent.
    (If you’d like to rent equipment while you are visiting Alaska, we recommend our friends at Stewart’s Photo Shop in downtown Anchorage. Please tell them I sent you. Visit them online at: http://stewartsphoto.com/rentals/

    • Another good option for renting lenses and cameras is: LENSRENTALS.COM
  • Polarizing Filter - Jeff uses and recommends Breakthrough: http://breakthrough.photography?rfsn=1496441.1847a
  • Graduated Neutral Density Filters:

Jeff carries a 2 and a 3 stop “soft” and "hard" graduated filters by Breakthrough filters:  http://breakthrough.photography?rfsn=1496441.1847a

  • Lens shades & cable release
  • Mono-pod
  • Non abrasive, absorbent cloth
  • Laptop computer with image editing/processing software - Jeff uses and recommends BreezeBrowser OR Photo Mechanic & Lightroom
  • Backpack type of carrying case - Jeff uses and recommends Mindshift or Think Tank. Get free shipping and free gear using this link: http://www.mindshiftgear.com?rfsn=507780.a01562
  • Any other easily transported photography gear you like to use.

See a complete list of the gear Jeff uses at: https://www.schultzphoto.com/jeffs-gear-closet/

---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.

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

Ground Transportation is provided in a 15-passenger luxury van.

The price includes:

---All aspects of the photography workshop/tour
---Round trip ground transportation from Anchorage to all locations Matanuska Valley and back to Anchorage.

---Helicopter flight* to Ice-berg Glacier lake

---Helicopter flight* to Glacer

---Bush Plane* flight to/from Lake Clark lodge

---All 11 nights accommodations

---All meals from the first night dinner, through the last day dinner.

  • * 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.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not included. They are paid separately 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 boat captain and bear guides on these trips commensurate with the service received. BUT NOT AT ALL MANDATORY!

Your safety is ultimately the primary concern.

Physical Requirements: Average.  Nothing strenuous.

  • Degree of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
  • Weather Conditions: Moderate. July temperatures range from 45° F (7° C) to 70° F (21° C). We may experience rain, wind or sun which will make those temperatures warmer or much cooler than the ambient temps. (PLEASE CAREFULLY READ AND HEED AND BRING EVERYTHING ON OUR CLOTHING LIST.  Will be sent 5 months prior.)
  • Agility: Average to Good. (ability to climb steps into small plane and helicopter. Get in and out of trailer behind ATV/4-wheeler. Very short walking/hiking and traveling on uneven, rocky terrain and spongy tundra.  May have to walk up to several hundred yards (in moderately flat dirt, grass or sand) at the bear-viewing area.
  • Mental Requirements: A flexible and positive attitude is essential This is not a paved, Disneyland adventure. It’s the wilds of Alaska. Due to things beyond our control, our itinerary may not go exactly as planned.
  • Activities: boating, flying (fixed-wing and helicopter), riding in trailer behind ATV/4-wheeler on trail with bumps, walking/hiking to photographic opportunities on uneven tundra and terrain
  • Photographic Skill Level: Advanced beginner to advanced

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, 2023 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.

Attention: By reserving a Jeff Schultz photography workshop/tour, or private photo tour or class, you are agreeing to a Release of Liability. Click and read the link before completing your booking.

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