Photograph Grizzlies, Landscapes, and the Amazing Northern Lights
Prepare yourself for a truly memorable adventure as we photograph our way through Canada’s Untamed Yukon Wilderness from Whitehorse, Yukon to the Arctic Circle and back. Along the way we will witness the exotic arctic tundra changing into its dramatic fall colors right before our eyes. Traveling up the famed, graveled Dempster Highway, we will undoubtedly have opportunities to photograph trophy species such as grizzly bears, beaver, fox, and caribou. The luscious reds and yellows of the tundra light up the mountains and valleys during the day, making for incomparable landscape images.
Our goal of capturing the perfect light means sunrises and sunsets spent behind our cameras. But the best light of all may very well be at night, as we mount our cameras on tripods to photograph the exquisite and magical Northern Lights.
I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to participate in Les’s tour of the Yukon Territories in Canada. Only by being there can you truly appreciate what you have prepared for. You can’t appreciate the strength, speed and power of a grizzly bear until you are close enough to realize you are probably too close. There is no way you can appreciate the beauty of the tundra changing into its autumn colors or the Northern Lights dancing through the sky. Les was able to anticipate this and helped put us in the right place at the right time. His knowledge of plant and animal behavior were invaluable in helping us capture images of a lifetime. The Yukon remains isolated but, like many other places, it is quickly succumbing to increased tourism, so go now, and go with Les for an experience of a lifetime. Gary Kohn, Maryland
En route, we will also spend time in Dawson City, epicenter of the historic Klondike Gold Rush. This quaint and historic town, with gravel roads, wood sidewalks, aboriginal culture and historic buildings, is tailor made for photography.
Lester Picker www.lesterpickerphoto.com, has more than 650 credits in major publications such as National Geographic books and magazines, Forbes, Better Homes & Gardens, Time, Inc. publications and dozens of others. Les was given Canada’s highest photography honor, the Northern Lights Award for Best Travel Photographer, a peer-juried competition. Les’ blog is widely followed and often quoted by media.
I thought my favorite photographic vacation ever, was to the Amazon, Galapagos and Machu Picchu with Les Picker. There were photographic opportunities at every turn as well as expert instruction/advice. Then I went to the Yukon Territory on another adventure with him. The beauty of that area is beyond description! It was a photographic explosion of colors, and with his assistance, many of my images are near professional quality.Norm Arnold, New Mexico
Please Note: medical/evacuation insurance is required for this trip. Les will provide suggestions for vendors upon registration.
Fragments From Previous Yukon Adventures
Watch a few highlights and hear what participants say about previous Yukon adventures.
All participants will be greeted at the airport and transported to the lodging (included in trip fee).
After an early breakfast, we load up and take off for Dawson City, site of the Klondike Gold Rush. Dawson City is a gold mine (excuse the pun) for photography. The town itself has many national historic buildings and vestiges of the gold rush are everywhere. The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in aboriginal culture is evident both in exhibits within their cultural center and in their living culture in Dawson City and the surrounding countryside. Later that night, conditions permitting, we will awaken you for our first opportunity to photograph the incomparable Northern Lights.
Today we will wander the streets and alleyways of Dawson City, photographing its historic attractions and its people. We will drive to some of the major attractions from the Klondike’s Gold Rush past. At night, once again we will try to photograph the Northern Lights.
The Yukon was the trip of a lifetime. We went from mountain vistas to the Arctic Circle. There are no words or photos that we took that can adequately describe the view at the Arctic Circle. It is a vast open area with incredible landscapes. You have never heard silence like you will there.
During our travels we saw mule deer, grizzly bear with cub, moose, an arctic fox hunting for its lunch, coyotes, red fox and brown bears fishing for salmon with their cubs and eagles. We even visited Ft. Selkirk, a historic sight and only accessible by boat.
We traveled from Whitehorse to Dawson to Eagle Plains with several side trips. They were all incredible. This is a trip I could do all over again. Jim Leary, Massachusetts
We leave Dawson City and cross the mighty Yukon River to explore the views along the spectacular Top of the World Highway… and our first opportunity to see caribou. Tonight is also our first portfolio review, where you will have an opportunity to share your best images, ask for critiques or just participate in helping the others improve their photographic skills. If Mother Nature cooperates, we have another chance to photograph the Northern Lights.
It’s up and out before sunrise, as we drive up the rugged Dempster Highway, Yukon’s only passage to the Arctic Circle. We eat breakfast while on the road and stop frequently to take advantage of the amazing scenery as it changes from forest to tundra. The mountains and valleys of the tundra cannot be described, except in photographs. En route we will have opportunities to see beaver, fox, black bears, grizzlies, moose and caribou. This is truly a landscape and wildlife photographer’s dream.
After a night spent in Eagle Plains, we wake up before dawn for an Arctic Circle sunrise. We will spend the day photographing north and south of the Circle, capped off by sunset images.
We travel back to Dawson City, once again photographing the landscape and wildlife as we go. We arrive in Dawson City for a late dinner. Northern Lights again, anyone? How about occasional grizzlies?
After an early breakfast we head back to Whitehorse. Depending on weather, we either head west to Kluane National Park or to Haines, Alaska.
A day in Kluane National Park or Haines, Alaska, followed by dinner and a workshop wrap-up. This is an opportunity to share images and ask for critique.
Traveling on a photography-led tour as a non-photographer spouse can be difficult. On Les Picker’s Yukon Photo Adventure, we were a total of four travelers, and I was the only one with a point-and-shoot.
What made this expedition so satisfying was Les’s love for the Yukon territory. His years of traveling the region have enabled him not only to collect a huge list of off-the-beaten path photo opportunities, but to acquire thorough knowledge of tundra and wildlife, and natural and human history. Throughout our ten days together, I was comfortable asking questions about it all. Amidst endless wilderness landscapes, Les added stories about artists, gold miners, and even bears he has gotten to know over the years. When possible, he introduced us to some of these people (and animals).
During the photo shoots, I soaked up what mattered to me. As the rest of the group experienced Yukon through their camera, I was encouraged to see it from my own perspective. No where was this more true than the night we watched the northern lights for three hours. Laying on a blanket, I lost myself to the sky’s incredible magic, barely aware of the nearby photographers with their tripods, whispering about camera settings.
I recently read a nature-inspired definition of awe that described it as a response to things we perceive as vast and which transcend the way we understand the world. I immediately thought of the Yukon and how Les engaged me, as well as the photographers, to see it as a very special and sacred place. Susan Newell, Pennsylvania
Trip to Skagway, Alaska.
Depending on flight schedules, we meet for breakfast and say farewells… for now. Transportation provided to the airport.
The cost of the Yukon workshop is $9,925 USD per person, single occupancy. This bespoke adventure is limited to only 3 photographers. A $3,000 deposit is due at sign up ($500 through this website and $2,500 due by check after Les contacts you). Please register below.
Deposits are refundable as follows: 100% by November 30,2022; 50% by January 31, 2023; 25% by March 15, 2023. A reminder will be sent to participants. If three people do not sign up, the trip will be cancelled and 100% of all funds returned.
All trip fees are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
You Will Learn
We will spend each day (and nights in the case of Northern Lights) photographing landscapes and wildlife with individualized instruction from Les. You will learn about the sub-Arctic and Arctic landscape, geology, geography, natural history and culture of the Yukon. You will learn beginning, intermediate and advanced techniques for photographing landscapes and wildlife.
What To Bring
You will be provided with a detailed list of what to bring. Medium format cameras are welcome, as Les is also an experienced Hasselblad and Fuji Medium Format digital photographer.
What is Provided
The fee includes almost everything once you arrive in Whitehorse, Yukon, such as airport transfers, all ground transportation, all meals, snacks, water, lodging (single person occupancy), insect repellent, bear spray, etc.* I also carry a GPS with an emergency rescue beacon. Your friends and relatives will be able to track you on a web-based map in near-real time as we progress.
Once registered, I will provide you with a very detailed list of what to bring, what to expect and more.
*Costs exclude transportation to and from Whitehorse, Yukon, vaccinations, passport fees, tips, alcoholic beverages and incidental expenses.
I emphasize that this is truly an adventure. Yukon is huge (20% larger land mass than California) with only 35,000 people (compared with California’s 35 million)!! That means we will be doing a lot of driving between Whitehorse, Dawson City and the Arctic Circle. It will also mean eating lunch from a cooler between shoots on some days. We will be using a rugged SUV, but things like flat tires are common. Weather is, of course, unpredictable and the sample itinerary above may need to be altered. Please note that cell phones do not work in most of the Yukon. Both men and women are welcome on this workshop.
Please do not book your air flights until we advise you to do so. You must also have traveler’s health and accident insurance.
Strictly limited to three clients.
Once you register, you will receive an email with detailed information on what gear to bring, what to wear, and other information.
Thank you in advance for signing up. Adventure awaits!
- Saturday, Aug 26, 2023 08:00
- Wednesday, Sep 6, 2023 08:00
- Total Price
- Prepare yourself for a truly memorable adventure as we photograph our way through Canada’s Untamed Yukon Wilderness from Whitehorse, Yukon to the Arctic Circle and back. No refunds after February 28, 2023.