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Alaska Denali Country Tundra Fall Colors and Northern Lights

Image of Northern Lights swirling above Alaska Range and reflecting in lake

Jump start your fall color photography season on this unique and intimate photo tour created and led by one of Alaska’s most experienced travel and adventure photography teams. Our tour is timed to capture a narrow window where the nights are long enough for aurora displays and the air is warm enough to allow for aurora and mountain reflections on small bodies of open water. When the auroras are not dancing across the night sky we will focus our cameras on a pure visual delight of reds, oranges and golds that make up the fall tundra. If we are fortunate, dustings of snow will add visual interest to the already stunning landscapes of Denali country.

WHEN: Aug 30 – Sep 4, 2021

WHERE: Starts & Ends in Fairbanks, AK

FEE: $2,895 (deposit $500)

GROUP LIMIT: 5 Maximum

WHO: Advanced beginner and above



Fall comes early to the Alaska tundra and so do the northern lights! The aurora borealis defines the very essence of a far north photo experience with multi colored lights dancing across the sub arctic sky. Interior Alaska with its accessibility and infrastructure along with the rugged peaks of the Alaska Range and numerous ponds is one of the best places to capture the aurora and fall colors.


Group limited to 5 to maximize personal attention and mobility.

Lodging in rustic remote lodge and transportation included.

Wide open night skies, lake and mountain foregrounds, zero light pollution.

Pristine wilderness landscapes: glaciers, rivers, lakes, rugged peaks.

Potential to capture aurora and reflections on calm lakes.

Potential views of Denali, North America’s highest mountain.

Outfitted wilderness camp via river jet boat with big views of glaciers, mountains, and tundra.

Guided by one of Alaska’s most experienced commercial photographers, workshop and adventure photo tour leaders with over 30 years photographing Alaska.


Alaska is still an undiscovered and fantastic fall color landscape destination without the crowds seen elsewhere. The auroras can be just as active in the fall as they are in winter but without the frozen landscape and bitter cold. To add a little spice, our tour will include chances to view and photograph North America’s highest peak, Denali at 20,320’, from the east and south.

Included in this adventure is a boat ride up a river to a remote camp site for a spectacular close-up view of the mountains and the opportunity to capture more unique, off-the-beaten path images.

We focus on helping participants develop their creativity and photographic vision, provide technical advice on camera operation in order to achieve that goal, and help you capture memorable images.


Michael and Lauri as your guides and instructors.

All transportation provided to and from lodging in Fairbanks.

5 nights of lodging.

Constructive image critique sessions with post processing instruction and guidance.



Personal expenses

Transportation to and from your home to Fairbanks, AK



PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is a guideline as weather conditions and northern light forecasts will affect the itinerary.


Plan to arrive in Fairbanks no later than 3PM. (A free shuttle service from the airport is available by the hotel.) Our group meets at 5PM for introductions and group dinner to go over the details of our adventure.

Alaska is 4 hours earlier than the East Coast. To help you adjust to the difference in time zones, you may wish to arrive a day or two earlier to acclimate. We will be happy to assist you with booking additional lodging in Fairbanks.


We depart Fairbanks after breakfast and photograph mountain scenics along the way to the Denali Highway, where we will spend the next several days. After checking into our rustic cabins, we will hop in the van and travel to one of several lakes to capture the fall colored tundra vegetation and nearby mountains reflecting in the lakes at last light. After dinner, if the forecast is favorable and participants are willing, we will head out to photograph the Northern Lights.


We start the morning with a sunrise landscape shoot and return to the lodge for breakfast. We can spend time photographing around the lodge or meet up for an informal image critique session and/or answer any technical or creative technique questions individuals may have. In the afternoon, we head back onto the Denali Highway for more fall color landscapes and sunset photographic opportunities.After dinner, if the forecast is favorable and participants are willing, we will head out to photograph the Northern Lights.


If we are not out too late the previous night shooting Northern Lights, we’ll start the morning with a sunrise landscape shoot and return to the lodge for breakfast. We’ll check out of our cabins, gather our gear, and be transported to a remote camp via a river jet boat at around 1PM. Once settled in at camp, we will explore and photograph the majestic landscapes from this area. And, since we are overnighting here, we hope to capture the legendary Alaska sunset and sunrise on the landscape. After dinner, we will practice photographing the night sky and, if the forecast is favorable, catch some auroras dancing across the skies.


After being picked up in the morning from our remote camp, we head back to the main lodge and grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Afterwards, we continue west on the Denali Highway for more landscapes. After our fill of Denali Highway vistas, we travel to our night’s lodging along the Parks Highway near Denali National Park entrance.


We head out early, weather permitting, for some sunrise views of Denali before heading back to Fairbanks to say our goodbyes and treasure the experience we all just shared.


The official group meeting location will be at 6:00PM at the Clarion Hotel & Suites (95 10th Ave, Fairbanks, AK 99701). Alaska is 4 hours earlier than Eastern Standard Time and 1 hour earlier than Pacific Standard Time so you may want to consider arriving a day or two before to allow yourself time to adjust. If you need help in making additional lodging arrangements, we’d be happy to assist.

The Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) is a large, visitor-friendly airport with several flights a day. Some of the major airlines that service to Fairbanks include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • United

Sun Country Airlines and JetBlue has service to only Ted Steven’s International Airport in Anchorage – not to Fairbanks. However, check the above airlines for a connecting flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks.

There is a shuttle service from the airport to the first night’s accommodations (at the Clarion Hotel) that you can arrange for pickup through the telephone information board in the baggage claim areas.

Clarion Hotel & Suites s is approximately 6 miles away (as the roads go) to Fairbanks International Airport.


PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: A reasonably fit photographer capable of hiking on uneven tundra, muddy, or rocky trails, and who can get in and out of canoe (one day only). Participants may have to carry a camera body, tripod, 1-2 lenses, filters, and other gear in a backpack for up to a 1 mile round trip hike.

WEATHER: While many of us want warm sunny conditions with direct light for our photography day, Mother Nature does not always provide us those conditions. Please do not get discouraged that great images are not possible in cloudy conditions. Our tour is timed to take place during peak fall with maximum red and gold colors in the tundra. With careful and creative techniques, which you will learn, it is still possible to get colorful and beautiful landscape images in cloudy and even light rain. Remember, often times, bad weather can equate to great photos. Participants may be in remote locations with no restroom facilities for up to 2 hours.


A more detailed list of gear to consider will be provided to registered participants.


  • At least one camera body (second camera body highly recommended)
  • Wide angle lens 24mm or wider with a maximum aperture of 2.8 or faster.
  • Fixed or prime wide angle lenses recommended for aurora and night sky photography.
  • Medium telephoto lens such as 70-200mm
  • 300mm lens or longer for wildlife
  • Good, sturdy tripod and ball head (arca-swiss style clamp, camera body plates, and lens plates recommended)
  • Filters: Circular polarizer, ND (6 stop), and graduated ND (soft or hard step, 2 and/or 3 stop)
  • Extra memory cards
  • Extra batteries for camera and flash
  • Rain protection for camera (plastic bags or umbrella)
  • Daypack capable of carrying camera gear, extra clothes, snacks, water, and tripod. (We recommend a pack designed for hiking and not necessarily a photo pack.
  • OPTIONAL: Macro lens or extension tubes (100 macro or 25mm extension tube for a regular 100-200 range)
  • OPTIONAL: Waterproof camera cases and/or soft dry bags. (Recommended Hard Cases: Pelican and Otter Box; Dry Bags: Watershed or Sagebrush Dry Bags.)


  • Laptop plus power cord
  • Card reader
  • External hard drive (to back up images)
  • Comfortable, sturdy hiking shoes with good ankle support
  • Water shoes (or an extra pair of shoes that can get wet and muddy) or knee-high waterproof boots (preferable)
  • Small pad for kneeling on possibly wet ground
  • Rain pants/rain jacket with hood
  • Insulating jacket
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Hat
  • Non-cotton layers – base and insulating
  • Soap and shampoo for remote lodge

    PAYMENT TERMS: A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space. Required deposit amount is $500. Final payments, which can be made in installments, are due 60 days prior to tour start date.


    When a participant cancels a reserved spot in a regularly scheduled (i.e., non-custom) photo tour, it takes time and effort to fill the vacancy. Please be sure to check your personal schedule well ahead of the dates of the trip to make sure there are no conflicts. If you discover that you will not be able to attend we would very much appreciate knowing this as soon as possible.

    The following fee schedule applies:

    • If your cancellation is received more than 60 days prior to the beginning of a tour, we will refund your registration fee less a 5% cancellation fee. Any fees paid up to this point can be applied to another scheduled tour or converted to a private photo tour or private photography instruction session.
    • As other vendors we book with have limited refund policies, if your cancellation is received less than 60 days prior to the beginning of a tour, we will retain the entire balance paid to date unless you are able to locate someone who will fill your position.

    No refund of any fees will be made for cancellations after the tour begins.

    In the event that a tour must be cancelled due to inadequate enrollment, all registration fees received by us will be refunded in full or, if you prefer, your registration fees paid up to this point can be applied to another scheduled tour or converted to a private photo tour or private photography instruction session.

    We are not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets or lodging arrangements you made in the event of a tour cancellation. Please do not make any travel arrangements until you have received notification that the tour has met its minimal participant requirement which will be known at least 60 days prior to the start date OR consider the purchase of trip insurance.

    We highly suggest TravelGuard® or similar travel insurance policies to assist you in case of last minute plan changes and emergencies.




    “Michael and Lauri ran a great Alaska photo tour experience. We saw the aurora, animals and some amazing sunsets and sunrises. Their knowledge of Alaska and the great places to shoot was exceptional. I truly enjoyed the experience.”

    – George Raney (Santa Fe, NM)


    Have a Question About This Tour? Send us an email.



    Alaska Denali Country Tundra Fall Colors and Northern Lights

    DeYoung Photo Workshops, LLC

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