Photo Tours Workshops North America

Alaska Northern Lights Photo Tour

Aurora_Northern_Lights_photo_Tour__MG_0618Join us on a Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) Alaska photo tour. This tour is led by World Re-Known Professional Astro-Photographer John Chumack and Professional Nature Photographer John Slonina. The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, has mystified people down through the ages, scientists, poets, and lay persons alike. Written records of so-called “Great Auroral Displays” date back more than two thousand years. The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights are one of the most spectacular natural displays on the planet.

Try to imagine the most colorful, textured sunset you’ve ever seen, then send it swirling and pulsing across an otherwise clear and starry sky. Maybe add some faint outlines of mountains on the horizon and a hooting owl or a howling wolf for ambience.

Greater Fairbanks is one of the best places on earth for experiencing the beautiful and mysterious northern lights. Bright, energetic curtains of yellow, green, red or even purple light brighten our night skies regularly. Fairbanks is situated within a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the Aurora Oval. This location provides a terrific balance of occurrence, frequency and activity. Plus, our continental climate offers many more clear nights than you would find in a coastal area.

John Chumack watches the sunspots almost everyday year round so he has experience looking for unusual vs normal activity. This is a huge aid in predicting activity.

March is predicted to be a peak month for aurora activity. These magical lights are just one of the many things we have planned on this trip. This trip is scheduled to coincide with the new moon. This is one of the darkest nights of the month. The will enhancing the strength of the aurora which makes for some breathtaking images. While no one can ever say with certainty exactly when and where the aurora borealis display might occur we are at one of the best spots in the world at one of the best time of year

Fairbanks has been an aurora destination for decades,” said Luke Hopkins, Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor, “With a high degree of successful sightings, visitors from all over the world come to Fairbanks each and every year to see spectacular northern lights displays. Our clear, dark nights and global position under the ‘Auroral Oval’ make this one of the best places on earth to see the aurora borealis.”

We will drive to different locations to view the northern lights outside of the city lights. It is also very nice to have many different backgrounds to add variety to your pictures.

The northern lights are the main focus bet we have other subjects we plan on photographing. We will be photographing several beautiful Alaskan Landscapes. We will also keep a look out to photograph local wildlife.

Our schedule will be determined by the aurora borealis and the weather. We will shoot sunset followed by dinner then wait to see what happens. We will have the latest forecasts and predictions but it is honestly a wait and see approach. We will be flexible and ready to go.

We will both be doing some presentations on photography. Photography of the Night Sky will be the first lecture, using wide field camera lenses to capture constellations and the Milky Way, using just a Camera & tripod! We will discuss more advanced portable tracking options as well. We also will be doing presentation on outdoor landscape and wildlife photography.

World Ice Sculpture Carving Championship. In the evening we head out to photograph the ice sculptures created during the famous Fairbanks World Ice Art Championships. Just at dark and thereafter, the numerous carvings are lit with a variety of colored lights that radiate a photogenic internal glow.

In the following days we travel 60 miles to the acclaimed Chena Hot Springs Resort. Chena Hot Springs is world renowned for being one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights. The resort is located under one of the most active regions of magnetic fields producing aurora borealis. It is away from the light pollution of city lights, and the skies over Chena are clear more often than those over Fairbanks. We will be there near the vernal equinox when auroras are typically the strongest, as well as during the new moon when the night sky is also the darkest!

The resort has a large heated mineral indoor pool, the outdoor rock lake and numerous hot tubs are providing a great opportunity to soak, swim or rejuvenate until the Northern Lights are appearing in the evening. Included is the visit of the famous AuroraIceMuseum and Stoli Ice Bar.

After dinner it is time to view the aurora. We can either take a 10-minute walk to a prow fronted heated cabin or join the spectacular snow coach tour to see the aurora. You may even see the northern lights just outside the door of your room. From the resort you travel 30 minutes to the top of a hill where no city lights interfere the aurora. After arriving on top you can step inside the heated Mongolian Yurt to warm up and enjoy a hot beverage. For the next few hours enjoy spectacular 360-degree Aurora displays. Return to the resort at around 2 AM or later if the lights are active.

When: March

This Includes hotel, instruction, snow coach fees and admissions.



Day 1

Our group meets in the lobby of our Fairbanks hotel, Alaska, for an orientation session followed by dinner at a local restaurant. There is a shuttle to the hotel from the airport

Days 2–3

We will photograph local landscapes and wildlife. We will also photograph ice sculptures at the World Ice Art Championships. Later that night we will search for the northern lights.

Day 4

We will drive to Chena Hot Springs Resort, photographing landscapes and any wildlife we may see on the way. After dinner we will head out later that night. A 30-minute snow coach ride takes us to a nearby mountain top for unobstructed views of the northern lights. A large yurt and hot beverages provide warmth as we photograph until early morning.

Day 5 and 6

We will photograph winter wonderland landscapes. We will visit a world famous local ice museum and photograph ice carvings etc. It will be fun to try the famous apple martini which is served on a glass made of ice! Chena Hot Springs Resort is world renowned for exceptional indoor and outdoor hot springs. We take some time during the day for relaxing as we shoot late into the night if the aurora activity is good. Also don’t forget your bathing suit if you want to swim in the hot springs.

We also will use our vans in search of local snowy landscapes. Following an afternoon nap and dinner we head out by snow coach to shoot the aurora.

Day 7

Following breakfast we load our vans and head back to Fairbanks, photographing along the way. Later, we return to the site of the World Ice Art Championships and, if the sky is clear, have our last session with the aurora borealis.

Day 8

Depart for home

About Us:

John Chumack: Astronomer & Astrophotographer, Director of The Chumack Observatories

Featured on the Front Cover of “Time” Magazine and With over 500 of his images published in such notable periodicals as National Geographic, Science, Astronomy, Discover, Smithsonian Air & Space, and Newsweek, John has taken astrophotography to the realm of an art form.

While you will find his work in Fine Art Exhibitions, you’ll also find John busy as a serious astronomer–contributing to the MinorPlanetCenter and studying lunar transient phenomena as well as periodically working on Comet Projects (Ulysses & Deep Impact) for NASA.

John’s work is also published regularly by NASA and with The Chumack Observatories located in both Dayton and Yellow Springs, Ohio and a slew of remote telescopes in New Mexico he is always imaging objects and capturing Current events in the Night sky! John also specializes in Solar Imaging, and thus monitors Sunspots & Aurora activity regularly and has captured dozens of Aurora events on film & digital over the last 25 years!

John is an active member of the Miami Valley Astronomical Society & AAVSO, and helps to fund some of his research through images sales at

John Slonina: is a professional nature photographer who has been photographing the nature for over 25 years. He has been published in multiple books, magazines, and calendars. He has a love of natural history as well. You will receive education not just in photo technique, but also in the natural world. Understanding the natural world not only increases your appreciation of nature but also helps you become a better nature photographer.

For more info:

Phone: (508) 736-1167