Summary : To stand beneath the northern lights as they swirl across the night sky is a dream most nature travelers yearn to realize. The allure of capturing that phenomenon in images holds special appeal for photographers. This photo-focused adventure is designed to help you get outstanding images of this wondrous and beautiful natural event. Churchill has one of the most active auroral displays in the world, making it an optimal destination for northern lights photography. Your Expedition Leader is both a naturalist and expert photographer, interpreting Arctic nature and culture while constantly ready with tips 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 exhilarating images of the dancing lights!
Activities : Culture, Photography
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.
Board your flight to Churchill this morning and transfer to your hotel on arrival. Discover some of Churchill's colorful history on a short tour of this historic settlement that was originally a Hudson's Bay Company fur-trading post established in 1689. As night falls, head out in hopes of your first chance to see 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, and the lights most often emerge as shimmering curtains of green. Sometimes other colors appear, too: yellow, red or even purple. For centuries, the phenomenon of the northern lights was a mystery, inspiring a host of mythical explanations. While it is known that the aurora is caused by the interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field, more poetic stories of their origin include the Hudson Bay Inuit’s belief that the lights are the mystical display of their ancestors’ souls dancing in the sky.
On these dark, icy nights in the Canadian North, head to optimal photography locations away from the lights of town, where views of the aurora are best. Each evening includes a vantage point where you can witness the phenomenon in warmth and comfort via a custom-designed Aurora Pod® featureing 360-degree views of the night sky through clear glass ceiling and half-walls. You'll also look for the lights from circular Plexiglass Aurora Domes. Relax on the sofas below, climb the ladder to the upper level for an unimpeded view in the round, or head outside for a totally clear vista. 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 the nights are devoted to capturing images of the aurora, daytime excursions focus on the austere beauty of the tundra environs. Keep an eye out for photograph hardy northern wildlife such as Arctic hare and Arctic fox, 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 Itsanitaq 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. Then transfer to the airport for your return flight to Winnipeg, gathering one last time for a farewell dinner this evening.
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.
2/24/2020: Women's only trip
Physical Requirements: Moderate
This adventure does not require a high 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 later in the evening. 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.
Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 7; accommodations as per itinerary; gear on loan (parka, fleece neck buff, fleece jacket, waterproof pants, mittens, boots); meals from dinner on Day through breakfast on Day 7; most gratuities. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; alcoholic beverages; extensions; some gratuities; optional activities; items of a personal nature; travel insurance.
Photos ©: Alexander de Vries, Megan Emmett, Brad Josephs, Eric Rock