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North to alaska photo tour 2021 Bears, Whales, Eagles, Puffins & More With Scott Bourne

COVID-19 Concerns? Scroll all the way to the bottom of this page for C-19 info. We will not run the trip if we think it is unsafe and you can get a refund on your deposit if C-19 stops us from conducting the workshop.

WHEN: June 5-12, 2021

WHERE: Departs from Anchorage, AK

WHAT: Group photo tour to Alaska limited to 10 participants plus leader

ACTIVITY LEVEL: Easy with some very light (optional) hiking

If you want portfolio-quality scenic and wildlife photos, and you want to get them in a place that is far-removed from the hand of man, there's no place better to do that than Alaska.

I've been to Alaska numerous times to photograph bears and eagles. I have been to many beautiful places in the state, but I do tend to work in the same places year after year. However, beginning in 2020, I am going to do something brand new.

Register by sending an email to scott@scottbourne.com - first come, first served. This tour will sell out way in advance. Please plan accordingly.

My new Alaska photo tour is very private, very exclusive and is full of incredibly captivating wildlife and scenic photo opportunities. It traverses National Parks, wildlife refuges, National forests, and a private bear camp that guarantees fantastic photos of Alaskan grizzly bears. Ten fortunate photographers will join me on the trip of a lifetime. This tour was originally scheduled for 2020 but pushed to 2021 due to C-19. I believe we will be able to safely conduct the tour next year and it is already half sold out. I hope you will consider joining us.

I have worked very hard to plan the ultimate Alaska photo safari. While bears and eagles are the main focus of this tour, there will be lots of chances at other wildlife including the possibility of otters, sea lions, whales, seals, moose, puffins, and other pelagic birds. And if you're into scenic landscapes, you won't be disappointed. We'll stand in front of some of the most beautiful scenery in North America, if not the world.

The tour is all inclusive. Once you get into our private coach in Anchorage and head over to the Kenai area, everything is taken care of for you including lodging, meals, guide service, local transportation, taxes and more. (See a complete list of what is and is not included below.)

I have personally set everything up and you can bet you will be well taken care of.

You'll fly into Anchorage and we'll meet up at our first stop (the suggested hotel name and address will be provided to you 90 days before the trip starts - this first night hotel lodging is at your own expense.) We'll have an orientation that describes what to expect from the trip. We'll retire to our hotel rooms to rest and recharge and the next morning we'll have an early breakfast together before embarking on the next leg of our journey by private coach to a secluded lodge near Sterling, AK.

Our lodge near Sterling, will be our base camp. When we're not photographing bears, this is where you will sleep. You'll stay at a riverside lodge where we'll enjoy private rooms with a view, private bath and access to evening fishing, hiking, kayaking and paddle boarding. For part of the trip, we will fly to a secluded and dedicated bear viewing camp for three days, finally returning to the lodge and then back to Anchorage on Saturday the 12th. You'll return home with memory cards full of magical images, plus lifetime worth of cool stories to share with your friends and family.

ACCOMODATIONS:

This North To Alaska Photo Tour features stays at a private bear camp and riverside lodge. The bear camp is a "glamping" style base camp with twin and king beds and linens, gas heat and light, "en suite" potties in the tents and composting toilets and showers in shared bathrooms. The lodge features river and mountain view rooms complete with individual decks. Each participant will have their own room at both the lodge and the bear camp. Both the lodge and the bear camp are prepaid and part of your Tour package.

ITINERARY:

Saturday - Fly to Anchorage and spend the night in a nearby hotel at your expense. You will receive a recommendation for the best place to stay if you want to be near the tour leader and the rest of the group. We will have an orientation slide show on the first evening so plan to fly in as early as you can or even an extra day before (you can take time to go sight-seeing in Anchorage.)

Sunday - We will eat breakfast early and be ready for pickup at 7:30 AM sharp. We will be chauffeured by knowledgeable guides who will be driving comfortable vans. Once you get in the van, you can keep your wallet in your pocket. All expenses are covered from this point on until we return to Anchorage on the last day of the trip.

Bear Camp

The drive to the Kenai Peninsula Borough takes us on Alaska’s most scenic highway, which crosses two mountain passes & brings you to our to the lodge in time for lunch. Following lunch and a quick bear camp orientation, you will drop off your main bag at the lodge, and board a small plane for the flight to our private, remote bear camp. Perched between the mountains and the sea it's a very beautiful and unique place. This location is special not only because of the bears, it just offers a great experience. Great meals, comfortable accommodations (high tech heated tent-cabins) and amazing guides that make it a one of a kind, truly Alaskan experience. (Timing is Weather dependent.)

Monday - Revel in a full day with the bears and true wilderness. Spend enough time to get those great shots of the amazing wildlife in their native habitat with majestic Mt. Illiamna in the background. We'll experience the bears on a raised (and safe) platform overlooking the Mt. Illiamna meadow and creek. At times, we'll hike a short distance to some ground level viewing spots to get a different perspective. Scott will be available at all times to help you get the best images and for any photography questions. Our bear guides will be available to answer questions about the area and the animals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served in the main dining tent. Overnight in tent-cabins.

Tuesday - We'll spend another full day at the bear camp. We may vary the areas we shoot from depending on the weather and bear behavior. We will work on refining our approach. We will soak in more authentic, Alaska wilderness in a place that few people ever get the privilege of visiting. We will overnight in the bear camp again. (As I write this I have goose bumps -I am so excited!)

Wednesday - One last morning with the staff and animal residents of bear camp. We will breath in some more true wilderness get in a morning shoot (weather permitting), then return from the camp to the lodge via bush plane (return flight from 10:00-1:00 typically). Then we will shuttle to our riverfront main lodge to check back into the river front cabins. After some down time to rest and organize your photos, we will have image critiques. The rest of the evening is on your own. Enjoy happy hour and dinner. Maybe try some fishing and S'mores at the "by the fire" staffed with a campfire-tending beach assistant. (If you decide to fish you will need to pay for a fishing license - available at the lodge - not included with your photo tour.)

Kenai Fjords Glacier/Wildlife Cruise

Thursday - today we embark on a scenic wildlife and glacier cruise in the incomparable Kenai Fjords National Park! The protected waters of Resurrection Bay and Aialik Bay are some of the most amazing regions on earth and are an absolutely bucket list worthy. We'll be on a 100 foot cruise boat. Along the short drive to Seward, we'll stretch our legs by walking to the face of a retreating Glacier and get close enough to nearly touch for a few "macro" shots of blue ice...then it's on to Seward to spend the rest of this day cruising and seeking calving Glaciers, Humpback whales and Orca, charming Sea Otters, peculiar puffins and endangered Stellar Sea Lions. We'll return to the lodge in time for happy hour, dinner and a healthy sleep after taking so many photos.

Bald Eagle Scenic Float Trip!

Friday - We'll schedule a little bit of a sleep in day and then we'll head upriver, into the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. We'll float through the aquamarine waters of the upper Kenai river. It's one of Alaska’s most prodigious salmon spawning grounds. This annual event brings bears and eagles in numbers to feast on salmon eggs and the carcasses of hundreds of thousands of dying salmon. This is one of Alaska’s classic and most impressive wildlife miracles. A shore side lunch served by your river guide will fuel the rest of your National Park photo trip through the beautiful Kenai Canyon under special permit through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Return to lodge for happy hour, dinner and overnight.

Turnagain Arm Photo Tour

Saturday - We'll check out after breakfast at the lodge, and head back to Anchorage...along the way we will traverse a mountain pass, cross countless rivers and hopefully see some Alaska wildlife. We'll take a short hike to a beautiful river canyon and then drop down to Turnagain Arm, an incredible fjord boasting the second largest tidal swing in the world. Finally, we'll take a tram to the top of a rugged mountain to get some final "big picture" shots before arriving back in Anchorage around 3:00. We will arrive back to Anchorage in time for some of you to take a return flight. Still others may be more comfortable spending the night in Anchorage and returning the next day. If you do decide to stay the night, your lodging is on your own.

DATES:

Saturday - June 5, 2021 - meet in Anchorage - Sunday - June 6, 2020 depart Anchorage for the lodges - Saturday - June 12, 2020 return to Anchorage. NOTE: We have no way to get you to the lodge if you miss our departure time so please carefully consider arriving one day early just to make sure you aren't delayed by weather, etc.

Why early June? Research! This workshop has been timed to happen at the peak time for wildlife and good weather.

PRICE:

$9,000 total package which includes everything you need once we pick you up for the trip to the lodge.

Deposits will be accepted up until Feb 5, 2021. After that only full payment will be accepted to hold a seat.

Prior to Feb 5, 2021, a deposit of $1,500 per person is required. Full payment of the balance of the trip fee is due March 5. There are no refunds EXCEPT FOR COVID-19 related issues - see disclaimer at the bottom of the page. If you do cancel, we must receive written notice of your cancellation. All fees (deposits and full trip payments) are non-refundable and travel insurance will have to take up the slack should you have a life emergency that precludes your attendance on the tour.

Additionally - please note that there are no partial refunds made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable. Tour seats are non transferable.

I know life is unpredictable so travel insurance is required. I recommend World Nomads (http://bit.ly/nomadstravel). Be sure to ask about CFAR (cancel for any reason) insurance.

WHATS INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE PRICE:

Orientation class at the hotel on night one. Hotel night in Anchorage NOT included. Complimentary van pickup in Anchorage on day two followed by sightseeing transfer to lodge. Once we get to the lodge, you will receive all accommodations, meals, nightly happy hour (Includes adult beverages) and appetizers. All discretionary evening activities like "by the fire," and kayaking/paddle boarding. All transportation from our hotel in Anchorage to the lodge and back is provided along with guide service, permits (except fishing) taxes, boat and seaplane rides, and photography instruction. Closing dinner in Anchorage on the 12th. Finally, all necessary equipment for your daily adventures is included in your package along with lodge concierge service.

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Gratuities, Alaska fishing license (optional) fish processing/shipping (optional) and hotel/meals in Anchorage are not included in the package price. Limited alcohol is available during happy hour at the lodge and is included in the package price. Any alcohol purchased outside the scope of the happy hour is not included in your package price.

CONCLUSION:

I spent months researching this trip. I talked with more than a dozen, seasoned guides. I spoke with the National Park Service and representatives from various wildlife organizations based in Alaska. I also drew on my own vast experience leading tours to the area to build out a great trip. A dream trip. A trip that I personally would want to take. I went about all of this in the most organic way I could think of. I created my own idea of a dream photography trip to Alaska. Having been there dozens of times, I know what to avoid and what to welcome. I could have designed this trip to be a little bit less expensive, but Alaska isn't a place to go cheap. Most tours require double occupancy. I am never comfortable under those circumstances so I assume you wouldn't be either. Hence, it's a little more expensive but we all have our own room at night. I could have also lined my pockets with more profit by allowing the usual tour group size (16) to come with me instead of the 10 seats I am currently selling. I decided that the photographic experience would be best with a small group in a secluded spot, away from all the usual tourist traps. I wanted the people traveling with me to have a great time without being constantly nickled and dimed. I wanted to work with seasoned guides who respect the environment. I wanted to make sure we would be able to safely photograph bears and a variety of other scenic and wildlife subjects. So this is what I came up with and I am 100% confident that this will be the trip of a lifetime. I cannot wait to share it with you all. Thanks for considering it and I really hope you will join me.

THE FINE PRINT:

In the extremely unlikely event that the tour cannot take place due to acts of God, war, terrorism, etc., your trip deposit and fee will be refunded. All sessions are conducted rain or shine. Weather will not be cause to cancel a tour. While this tour has been scheduled to run at a time when weather is typically very good in Alaska, the weather there is extremely unpredictable. We will photograph no matter what unless conditions are dangerous, i.e., if there is thunder or high surf, etc.

Failure to pay the final fee on time will result in forfeiture of your spot and deposit with no refunds. You can bring your spouse/significant other but they must pay for their seat whether or not they photograph the action. A registration form needs to be filled out for each person. Couples traveling together will not receive a discount for sharing a room. A single occupancy room is available for every participant and included in the tour package fee whether or not it is used.

WE DO NOT DISCRIMINATE! All persons, no matter their nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, creed, etc. are welcome. All tour participants are expected to treat everyone on the trip with respect.

This is a sustainable and environmentally responsible photo tour. There is such a thing as certified sustainable travel in Alaska. Our lodge and guides operate under a "leave no trace" policy for all remote camps, and have worked continuously to improve recycling, energy reduction and carbon impact. Operating with the environment rather than off of it, we respect the nature we encounter at all times.

F.A.Q.

1. Q. Is this workshop open to beginners?

A. Yes, but you are expected to know how to fully operate your camera, measure exposure, change lenses, etc. If you need basic camera instruction, it is suggested you find that first and then sign up for this tour.

2. Q. I am a smoker - can I come with you to Alaska?

A: Sorry but no. There is NO place at the lodge, in the bear camp or near these facilities where you may smoke. The non-smoking policy is very strictly applied and smoking on the tour is grounds for immediate removal without refund.

3. Q. Are there any exceptions at all to your non-refundable deposit policy?

A. Other than Covid-19-related issues, None whatsoever - It is recommended that you buy trip insurance so that any legitimate problem that impedes you from attending the workshop will be covered by a third party.

4. Q. I have a special medical diet - can I get the food I need?

A. Yes provided the diet is not so exclusive that our provider can't access the food items you need. Please make sure to let us know of any special dietary restrictions.

5. Q. Will the instructor be shooting alongside me?

A. This tour is about you getting your shots, not me getting mine. I am here to help you. That said, I will occasionally shoot, but if you want my spot - just ask - if I am in your way - just tell me. At all times, your shot comes first.

6. Q. What camera do you shoot with?

A. I shoot with Olympus. If you shoot with Olympus I can offer camera set up suggestions. Otherwise you are expected to know how to set up your own camera.

7. Q. At the end of the workshop, will you subject me to a high-pressure sales pitch asking me to sign up for future workshops or to promote you on social media?

A. Absolutely not. There will be no sales pitch of any kind and you will not be asked to promote anything or anyone on social media.

Registration Information

If you would like to register, please send an email to scott@scottbourne.com You will receive a registration form and further instructions.

COVID-19 CONCERNS

The two most important questions you have are probably: Will it be safe and if Covid-19 causes a cancellation can I get my deposit back. As for question one we can say that we will not operate the trip if the lodge owner doesn't feel like he can give you the safest experience possible and I feel the same way. I am in a high-risk category where C-19 is concerned and you can bet I won't be taking any chances with my own life, so I wouldn't take chances with yours. We will only go forward if we believe that the trip can offer a safe experience. That said, we cannot and will not be responsible for C-19 infection spread. All we can do is take as many reasonable precautions as possible. The lodge is going to do a great job of sanitizing their spaces and due to the remote nature of the lodge, there is less risk for infection spread. It is a small place and doesn't experience high traffic which would increase the likelihood of disease.

AIR TRAVEL has been normalized thanks to high-capacity air purification and recirculation systems onboard all modern aircraft. Most airplanes are far safer than the environment at your local grocery store. Airplanes have large, medical-grade filtration systems and the airlines know that if there is wide-spread disease outbreak on their planes they will go out of business. I trust them to look out for their own interests in this regard which means I feel safe. At the time I write this they all require masks for the duration of any flight.

This is an ever-changing situation but for now, the precautions that I have decided to add to the trip are as follows...

All participants are expected to have had a Covid Vaccination. If the vaccine is not available to you, you must provide documentation as to why and you must provide documentation that you have a negative Covid test taken no more than three days before the trip starts.

  1. All participants will receive daily temperature checks and daily blood oxygen level tests. In the event of a possible problem medical personnel will be asked to evaluate the trip participant's fitness for travel.
  2. All participants will wear masks when in proximity to each other.
  3. All participants will have their own private room.
  4. At all times we will do our best to practice social distancing during the tour. There are some times when we will have no choice but to be in closer proximity to each other and during those times we will be masked.

If the lodge closes, or if the national or state government issues travel restrictions or other governmental edicts that prohibit us from conducting the workshop, YOU WILL GET YOUR MONEY BACK! Period. However, if you simply change your mind, or feel uncomfortable then you will not receive a refund. You should consider buying CFAR (Cancel for ANY reason travel insurance if this is a concern.)

I am fairly confident that by summer of next year we'll be able to proceed so that is why I rescheduled the workshop. If you have other concerns I have not addressed here, then please email me at scott@scottbourne.com and I will try to answer them.

Credits:

Copyright Scott Bourne 2019 - All Rights Reserved - www.picturemethods.com