2019 Northern Canada Aurora and Fall Colours

The most jaw dropping and memorable thing you will ever photograph in nature is the northern lights. The ribbons of green, magenta, and sometimes white and red curl in the skies above in such an ethereal manner that it will leave you speechless… but will fill your memory cards with images that you will be proud to share with friends and family at home.

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Details of the Workshop

Dates: September 19-24, 2019

Location: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada (airport code: YZF)

Price of Workshop: $3495USD. A deposit of $750 will secure your spot with the balance due 90 days before we travel

Number of Attendees: (sold out... to go on the waiting list, click here)

Instructor: Kevin Pepper

Arrivals: Schedule your arrivals on September 19. You can grab a shuttle that will take you to our hotel. A group dinner will be set up for 7:30 for us to all meet and discuss our time together. 

Departures: Schedule your departures any time after 12pm on September 24

Moon Phase during workshop: We will have a third quarter moon with the new moon being on September 19. So the skies will not be bright. I have chosen the darkest skies of the month

Sunrise and Sunset: The sun sets at 8pm and rises at 7am. The dark skies for aurora will start around 9 or 10pm and it will be dark until 5am. That gives us 7 hours of possible aurora activity.

Average temperatures in September: The average day time highs are between 49F and 54F and the night time lows will average between 40F to 43F

Hiking and exertion: While the most tiring part of this trip will most likely be staying up late to photograph auroras, we do have a few short hikes planned. The longest is probably the hike to Cameron Falls. This isn't a strenuous hike for anyone in average shape, but it does have some elevation gain and it does traverse some open rock areas that, while not too steep, may challenge those with balance or leg strength issues. There are stairs in some areas, making the hike a bit easier. It's 1.2 km each way (about .75 miles)

Suggested Gear List: Camera body, wide angle lens in the range of 14mm to 24mm with aperture of a 1.4 to 2.8, medium telephoto lens in the range of 24-105mm, longer telephoto in the range of 70-200mm, sturdy tripod, remote shutter release, ND and polarizer filters

What's included: Lodging during our workshop in two bedroom suites with private bedrooms, shared bathroom and shared kitchen and living rooms. Continental breakfast every day. Welcome dinner, dinner on last night, Snacks and water during our daily and nightly outings. Transportation in our rental van during the tour. Instruction and assistance from a professional photo instructor. Unlimited Fun.

What's not included: Alcoholic beverages, dinners that are not listed as included, travel insurance, airfare, items of personal nature, nights required before or after workshop.

Overview of our Workshop

Our destination is Yellowknife. Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories and is one of the best places in North America to see and photograph them. Not just because of the proximity to the aurora oval, but for the foreground interest that we can incorporate into our images. 

Yellowknife sits right beneath the aurora oval and is known as a place that has one of the world's highest percentage of aurora sightings. Its geographic location also means a high percentage of clear nights. In the Yellowknife, you can see the aurora an average of approximately 240 nights a year.

Not only will you see the aurora, but the Milky Way and the Big Dipper nearly pop out of the sky adding a beautiful backdrop to the aurora experience. I promise, once you see the aurora at this location, you will agree, the aurora images you capture here will rival any location in the world.

Our aurora viewing each night will consist of areas that I know along the highways north and north east of Yellowknife, an area where the dark skies will rival some of the darkest you have experienced.

The best aurora viewing seasons in Yellowknife are from mid-August to the end of September and mid-November to mid-April. I like to choose to visit in September. The advantages to visiting in September are (1) the temperatures are more comfortable for you to be outside and (2) the fall colours that we will experience during the day on our small hikes.  

You will see aspens, birch, and possibly larch (Tamarak) as well as willow and wild rose. This can make for a color palette ranging from bright yellow, to orange, and vibrant red.

While this workshop is mainly about photographing the auroras, we'll always find more to see and do. There are parks with spectacular fall color. There are a couple of nice waterfalls to photograph as well as lake shores and nature trails. If we're lucky we'll encounter some wildlife too. (fox, black bear, caribou, wolves, birds of prey)

It's hard to describe a typical day since we may be up photographing auroras past 2am to 3am. Most days we will have a late breakfast and then a trip out to photograph fall color. After returning to our hotel we'll take a break. Let you rest and recharge, then after dinner we'll head out to an aurora site that I have picked.

Some nights we might just grab some boxed dinners and snacks and head out for a sunset location where we'll also wait for the aurora. These can be long nights but we'll be close to our vans for those needing to warm up.

I have scouted a variety of locations you will be able to photograph the northern lights. Some of these are near forests, from elevated locations over valleys, some around waterfalls, and some on lake sides so you'll be able to photograph reflections of the auroras.

I will be there to help you capture those magical auroras. Even before the tour begins I'll be sending you information and tips on aurora and night photography so that you'll be as prepared as possible before you get there. Preparation like aurora camera settings, how to find true infinity on the lenses you will be bringing to ensure your images are sharp, composition techniques and more... 

I will make recommendations for clothing, headlamps, and other gadgets to think about bringing to make your time more enjoyable.

Our itinerary will include different areas such as Prosperous Lake, Prelude Lake Park, Cameron River and Cameron Falls, fall colour along the Ingraham Trail highway, the Great Slave Lake area, Old Town Yellowknife, and more.

As this is a workshop, we will have any formal classroom teaching and field teaching. I will also spend some time with each of you discussing composition and critiquing your images.

Are you ready to see one of the most memorable things you will ever photograph like this?

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Click on the Contact Us button below and we will see you in Yellowknife.