Instructional Photo Tours and Workshops
Join professional nature photographer, John Slonina, for a photo tour or photo workshop to some of North America's most beautiful and wild places. We visit several national parks which include Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, Everglades, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Arches, Canyonlands, Big Cypress, Alaska, Katmai and Lake Clark. We lead moose and bear photography workshops, photo classes and photo safari's. We also teach Lightroom and Photoshop.
Our group size is small. All skill levels are welcome from beginner to professional.
Alaska Northern Lights Aurora Photo Tours and Workshops
Alaska Northern Lights Aurora Photo Tours and Workshops
Northern Lights (Aurora) Alaska Photography Tours and Workshops
Join us on a Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) Alaska photo tours and workshops. This tour is led by World Re-Known Professional Astro-Photographer John Chumack and Professional Nature Photographer John Slonina. This trip always sells out. It was covered by NASA, Spaceweather.com, Universe Today, Alaska News, Space.com, EScience other media.
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, has mystified people down through theages, 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. We will also be monitoring the latest reports and predictions on the weather and solar wind.
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
This time of year has several other advantages. It has the highest percentage of clear days. It is near the Spring Equinoxes when the tilt of the earth's magnetic field mixes with the Sun magnetic fields. The Aurora combined with the snow makes some incredible foregrounds and backgrounds. The snow reflects and ambient and Aurora Light. What more could you ask for.
Please note we can't guarantee you see the aurora but obviously the odds are as good as it can get with this area, time of year, and the new moon etc. We got really lucky as we have had the aurora every trip and almost every night. We actually had a several people on our photo workshop that went to different locations like Iceland and Churchill and were unsuccessful because of high cloud cover or the wrong 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. We also will be doing photo critiques.
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 Aurora Ice Museum 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.
Snow Coach: Some of the nights we will be taking a heated snow coach which will drive us for 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 3 AM or later if the lights are active. Please note the snow coach can be a bumpy ride which can be a problem for people with back or medical issues.
World Ice Championship: Fairbanks is home to one of the largest ice sculpting competitions and exhibitions on earth featuring more that 70 teams from around the world. 45,000 visitors come to the park to see these intricately carved masterpieces.
March 28- April 4, 2019 Sold Out Click here for wait-list
March 20-28, 2020 (Signup coming soon)
Included: hotel, instruction, snow coach fees, ice museum admission. The hotel is double occapancy and you can get your own room for a single supplement fee for $300
One of the hotels is World Famous Chena Hot Springs which is sold out for the next 3-4 years in the winter.
Transportation to and from hotel in Fairbanks. No need to rent a car.
Payment can be made by check to Slonina Photography.
We also accept credit cards thru our online shopping cart.
Your flight to Fairbanks is not covered.
Meals: We will join to local restaurants and each participant will run their own tab.
Dog Sledding: There is an option to go dog sledding for $60.at one of the hotels.
Our group meets in the lobby of our Fairbanks hotel, Alaska, for an orientation slide show. There is a shuttle to the hotel from the airport
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.
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.
Please be aware the snow coach (depending on conditions) can be a bumpy ride and may be uncomfortable for people with back problems.
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. During the day there are several things you can do at your own expense like snow mobiling and dog sledding etc.
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.
Following breakfast we load our vans and head back to Fairbanks, photographing along the way.
Depart for home.
Who should attend:
Anyone with a interest in photography from a beginner to professional photographer who has a love of being outdoors and nature.
Our groups are small in size and are limited to 12 people. This is a 6 to 1 instructor ratio which is excellent. This group size allows for flexibility in our plans if interesting and unexpected photo opportunities present themselves. Also it will allow us to work with each participate to provide complete, informative, helpful lessons.
The trip will meet in Fairbanks, Alaska.
If you cancel before 180 days of departure you will receive a full refund.
Within 180 days you will lose deposit.
Within 120 days you will lose the full amount.
If we are able to fill the spot you will receive a full refund.
We recommend you get travel insurance.
Please note there is no refunds for delays or cancellations because of flights, weather, or other reason before arriving or during this tour. John Chumack, John Slonina, Galactic Images or Slonina Photography is not responsible for additional costs that may be incurred by such delays. We recommend trip insurance.
We have the right to cancel this tour for lack of registrants up to 120 days prior to workshop date. In the case that we cancel the workshop your deposit and payments will be returned. However, we do not assume responsibility for any other costs incurred by customer as a result of the cancellation.
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 Minor Planet Center 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 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 photographer.