Northern Lights Photography Tour
Our photography-focused version of our Northern Lights & Arctic Cultures adventure is designed to help you get outstanding images of this stunning natural event. Churchill has one of the most active auroral displays in the world, making it an ideal destination for northern lights photography. Our Expedition Leader is both a naturalist and expert photographer, helping you achieve the shots you aspire to. Photograph the aurora in total comfort from our new Aurora Pod with glass top and sides, our heated Aurora Domes, and the famous Tundra Lodge...then step outside to capture more wondrous images of the dancing lights!
Location of Adventure: Churchill, Manitoba
Day 1: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to the distinguished Fort Garry Hotel. Built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in the style of a French chateau, it remains the grande dame of Winnipeg hospitality. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner with your Expedition Leader and fellow travelers.
Day 2: Winnipeg to Churchill
This morning we board our flight to Churchill. On arrival we transfer to our hotel and take a brief tour of this historic settlement that was once a remote fur-trading post on Hudson Bay. As night falls, we drive onto the tundra in heated Polar Rovers in hopes of a first chance to see the spectacle of the aurora borealis. The display often begins as a pale glow low in the northern sky that slowly begins to shift and undulate. Wavy patterns evolve, colors appear and change, until the lights look like shimmering curtains of green, or sometimes yellow or red. For centuries, the phenomenon of the northern lights was a mystery, inspiring a host of mythical explanations. While we know now that the aurora is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field, more poetic stories of their origin linger, including the Hudson Bay Inuit’s belief that the lights are the magical display of their ancestors’ souls dancing in the sky.
Days 3-5: Churchill & Environs
On these dark, frigid nights in the Canadian North, we place you in optimal photography locations away from the lights of town where views of the aurora are best. Yet you won't have to stand outside in the cold while you wait for the lights to show up: Each evening will include a unique vantage points on the night sky where you'll be able to wait for – and witness – the phenomenon of the lights in warmth and comfort. We'll look for the lights from Plexiglass Aurora Domes positioned outside town in complete darkness. Relax on the sofas below, step up to the upper level for an unimpeded circular view, or head outside for a totally clear vista of the shimmering skies. We also spend an evening at the Tundra Lodge, situated on the edge of the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. This unique "rolling hotel" offers warm, comfortable environs for dinner, with a chance to look for the aurora through panoramic windows, then head outside to capture photos from the open observation platforms. We'll have a chance to practice our photography skills at every turn, guided and inspired by presentations and workshops as well as personalized tips from our Expedition Leader.
While our nights are devoted to capturing images of the aurora, daylight excursions focus on the austere beauty of our tundra environs. We'll hope to photograph some hardy northern wildlife, such as Arctic hare and Arctic fox, both artfully camouflaged by their white fur coats. The town of Churchill is also full of photo opportunities, with historic buildings and colorful locals. The Hudson’s Bay Company established a fort here in 1717 as part of its fur-trading network across the Canadian North, but indigenous cultures had already been flourishing in the harsh climate for thousands of years. We explore their heritage on a dog sled ride through the boreal forest, during a visit to the Eskimo Museum, and via cultural programs featuring the arts and traditions of the Inuit and Dene peoples.
Day 6: Churchill / Winnipeg
The morning is free to wander Churchill’s main street, where several locally owned shops sell authentic Native handicrafts, from traditional mukluks to sculptures made of caribou hair. We then transfer to the airport for our return flight to Winnipeg. This evening we gather one last time for a farewell dinner at the Fort Garry Hotel.
Day 7: Winnipeg / Home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Please note: All of our activities in Churchill are flexible to accommodate varying weather conditions.
Physical Rating: Moderate
Departure and Return Dates for 2016
Feb 05 - Feb 11
Feb 13- Feb 19
Feb 20 - Feb 26 (Full Moon on Feb 22nd)
Mar 03 - Mar 09
Mar 12- Mar 18
Dates & Pricing Notes
Prices from $5,895
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and are given in US Dollars. Dates for 2016 are tentative and will be allocated to guests on a first-come first-served basis. 2016 fees may change slightly. Guests who reserve their space prior to final pricing confirmation will receive the lowest rate within the range offered.
Group Size Limit Approximately 10 Travellers
Smaller groups are the best context in which to experience nature, and this is especially true for our photographic adventures. With no more than 10 travelers, you’re assured plenty of space and personalized attention when you need it. As a small group, we maintain the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions in a way that maximizes photo opportunities. Our Expedition Leader, an expert naturalist and accomplished photographer, is always available to answer your questions, provide tips and techniques, and to help you better understand and photograph the amazing natural phenomenon of the aurora borealis, as well as the Arctic landscape and wildlife.
Winnipeg & Churchill Hotels
Location: Manitoba, Canada
In Winnipeg, we stay at the Fort Garry Hotel, one of Canada's lavish railway hotels built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1913 and long a symbol of the prairie city's importance as a transportation and commerce hub. Located downtown one block from Union Station, this historic landmark and gracious accommodation built in French chateau style is Winnipeg's finest hotel, exuding an atmosphere of the opulence that prevailed during the glory days of the development of the Canadian West. Relax in the lounge, enjoy a drink in the antique bar, or indulge in a sumptuous treatment at Ten Spa, an authentic Turkish-style bath and spa located on the top floor of the hotel.
In the Arctic frontier outpost of Churchill, hotels are small and simple. While they would certainly not be considered fancy by any means, they are clean, comfortable and conveniently located in the center of town. Every room has its own private bathroom with a shower. Please be aware that hotel space in Churchill is scarce, and to accommodate demand we must use a variety of local properties. Room size, amenities, and range of services may vary among hotels despite comparable pricing.