Almost no picture or words can accurately describe the feeling one receives when witnessing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) for the first time.
As the lights swoon across the dark, cold, night sky of Alaska, chills run down spines, hairs on arms seemingly stand at attention almost as if they, too, are desirous of a quick look. In a world that sometimes seems devoid of wonderment, the Aurora will make you believe again that magic does exist.
Various cultures, across time, have passed down legends that help explain the Lights. Cave paintings in France – thought to date back 30,000 years – have illustrations of the event. In medieval times, the occurrences of auroral displays were seen as harbingers of war or famine. The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin believed the Lights marked the location of manabai’wok -or giants – who were the spirits of great hunters and fishermen. The Inuit of Alaska believed the Lights to be the spirits of the animals they hunted: the seals, salmon, deer, and beluga whales.
Today, those lucky spectators who make the conscious decision to go and to see, the Lights create difficult-to-describe emotions and experiences that will never be forgotten. For photographers like us, the Lights additionally provide unique and thrilling compositions – images of a lifetime to mark a moment of a lifetime.
Being able to photograph the Aurora is a unique and highly sought after experience. Because of this Backcountry Journeys for years has offered our Ultimate Northern Lights tour as a pilgrimage to photograph the Northern Lights near Fairbanks, Alaska. We travel in March, September, and October in order to take advantage of the BEST time of year to see the Aurora (although predicting the Aurora is fickle at best, statistically, September, October, and March are the best months).
Whether you are a novice or an ‘old hat’ with night photography, this instruction-intense guided photography workshop will be for you. Your BCJ Photo Guide will take you step-by-step through the process needed to capture the Lights, including all of the camera settings necessary and behind-the-scenes ‘secrets of the pros’ to make the process easier, ensuring that you’ll leave Alaska with new skills, as well as keepsake images of which to be proud.
Our Northern Lights tours will take you to dynamic, hand-chosen locations, such as a lake-front cabin, from which to shoot the Lights, also incorporating “chases” as we navigate, in our warm vehicle, dark Alaskan highway systems while utilizing multiple data sources, to determine the best Aurora watching location based on Aurora activity and weather conditions.
Backcountry Journeys now offers two amazing Northern Lights trip choices from which to choose. We take care of the transportation (flights to Alaska not included), lodging, food (including snacks and warm treats while shooting, and most meals), and photography instruction. All you need to do is pick the tour style or dates that work best for you.
Our signature Ultimate Northern Lights tour is our full-length tour, featuring six full-nights of photography. Choose from tour dates in October and in March. Spending a full week in Fairbanks offers you the best chance to see and photograph the lights.
Meanwhile, our Alaskan Northern Lights tour dates are designed as extensions to our Brown Bears of Katmai, and/or Polar Bears of the Alaskan Arctic tour offerings so that if you join us on one of those exciting wildlife tours, you can extend your stay in Alaska by adding dates to photograph the Lights, a prime bucket list item. These dates are also bookable as stand-alone tours and can be combined to create an even longer stay, as well.
Clear skies, dark nights, and prime location make Fairbanks, Alaska one of the best places in the world to view the Northern Lights. Join Backcountry Journeys and come to bear witness. Come to photograph the display. Come to feel for yourself the electricity and wonderment that the Northern Lights provide.
Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Fairbanks, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.