Summary : To stand beneath the northern lights as they flicker and swirl across the night sky is a dream most nature travelers yearn to realize. The allure of capturing that phenomenon in imagery holds special appeal for photographers. Your photography-focused version of the Northern Lights & Arctic Cultures adventure is designed to help you get outstanding pictures of one of the planet's most amazing and beautiful natural events. Churchill has one of the most active auroral displays in the world, making it an ideal destination for northern lights photography. Your Expedition Leader is both a naturalist and expert photographer, interpreting Arctic nature and culture while constantly at your side to help you achieve the shots you aspire to. Photograph the night sky in total comfort from an innovative Aurora Pod® with glass top and sides, and from heated Aurora Domes...then step outside to capture more wondrous images of the dancing lights!
Activities : Culture, Photography
$6,395 to $6,595
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.
This morning board your flight to Churchill. On arrival, transfer to your hotel and take a brief tour of this historic settlement that was once a remote fur-trading post on Hudson Bay. As night falls, head out 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. The aurora is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth’s magnetic field, and 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.
On these dark, frigid nights in the Canadian North, you are 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 vantage point on the night sky where you'll be able to witness the phenomenon in warmth and comfort of a new custom-designed Aurora Pod® featuring 360-degree views of the sky, courtesy of its exclusive geometric glass construction including clear half-walls and a glass ceiling. Look for the lights from Plexiglass Aurora Domes. Relax on the sofas below, climb the ladder to the upper level for an unimpeded circular view, or head outside for a totally clear vista of the shimmering skies. You'll have a chance to practice your photography skills at every turn, guided and inspired by presentations and workshops as well as personalized tips from your Expedition Leader, who is an expert instructor.
While your nights are devoted to capturing images of the aurora, daylight excursions focus on the austere beauty of our tundra environs. Keep your eye out for hardy northern wildlife such as Arctic hare and Arctic fox, both artfully camouflaged by their winter-white fur coats. The town of Churchill is also full of photo opportunities, with historic buildings, interesting local people and roving sled dogs. Though the Hudson’s Bay Company established a fort here in 1717 as part of its fur-trading network across the Canadian North, indigenous cultures had already been flourishing in the harsh climate for thousands of years. 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, Dene, and Metis peoples,
The morning is free to wander Churchill’s main street, where several locally owned shops sell authentic local handicrafts, from traditional mukluks to sculptures made of caribou hair. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Winnipeg. This evening gather one last time for a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Departure dates and itinerary subject to change. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets. Since the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, they are never guaranteed, but Churchill has some of the most frequent and intense auroral activity on the planet—meaning odds are very good. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Physical Requirements: Moderate
This adventure does not require a significant degree of physical fitness. However, you will be exposed to extremely cold weather, often experiencing temperatures well below freezing, which in itself can be physically challenging. You may also have to walk in deep snow. Most nights you will stay up past midnight to look for the northern lights, which typically appear late at night. It is necessary to climb 10 steps up a ladder in order to access the upper level of the Aurora Domes, for the best view of the sky from this facility. Travelers must be able to walk up and down stairs. All of the activities are optional.
Roundtrip flights between Winnipeg/Churchill; airport transfers; accommodations and meals as per itinerary; gear on loan (parka, fleece buff, fleece jacket, waterproof pants, mittens and boots); professional expedition leaders and assistants; most gratuities; permits and entrance fees; taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; optional activities; items of a personal nature; optional travel insurance.
Photos: © Alexander de Vries, © Brad Josephs, © Eric Rock, © Megan Emmett