I had been saying for quite some time that I would probably like to lead a photography tour/workshop to the North. Having spent much of my childhood there, I am passionate about Canadian northern culture and its vast landscape. I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator preferring to have every single thing figured out before I take any action. Having just moved back to Ottawa last October I didn’t really think it would be possible to coordinate a tour by the following March. However, one very cold night in December, Eddie and I ran into a lovely couple on Parliament Hill who had been following my Instagram posts and were quite excited about travelling to Yellowknife in March! I still didn’t think it was going to work out but they sounded so disappointed I agreed to it. Somehow in under four weeks I managed to put together an itenerary and reserve some hotel rooms which was the tricky part. March is high season in Yellowknife. Tourists from mostly Asian countries flock to Yellowknife at this time of year to see the Aurora borealis and experience the month long festivities of the Snowcastle.
Mary Anne and Marty are both avid travellers and were wanting to upgrade their camera for the trip. Mary Anne settled on a Fujifilm XT2 with the 18-55mm lens. She really liked the the compactness of the camera, its weather sealing and the dials on the body. Photography instruction would be included. We set out a couple of days before leaving for Yellowknife to do a test run. It would be far easier to learn how to do long exposures in Ottawa spring like temperatures of 0 degrees celsius with not much happening rather than -30C with Aurora dancing overhead!
We left for Yellowknife via Air North on the Friday and returned on Monday. It was a whirlwind jam packed weekend of exploring Old Town, having dinner at Bullock’s Bistro, witnessing the opening of the XXIII Snowcastle, Ice fishing the traditional way on Great Slave Lake followed by a fish fry and then out the Ingraham Trail for a night of Aurora watching.
The Aurora did appear that eveningbut it was very brief lasting only a few minutes. The lights did dance overhead a wee bit and Mary Anne and I were able to get a few shots. The following day we would go dog sledding and followed by dinner and another night of Aurora watching at Aurora Village. We were hopeful.
Our final day we visited the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and the Prince of Wales Heritage Museum. All in all it was a great trip but I think next time we will need to stay a bit longer just to ensure the best possible odds of seeing the Northern Lights.
Yellowknife which is located above the 60th parallel is truly a unique place - sometimes even magical.
I’ve put together a slide show with some of the highlights. I hope you enjoy it. Of course all images were shot with Fujifilm XT2 and the following lenses: XF35F2, XF16mm, XF23F2, XF16-55 and the XF10-24.
Original Post March 11, 2018
I am going to plan another trip for September of 2018. If you are interested, please get in touch with me as soon as my groups will be limited to six persons so that I can ensure personalized one-on-one photography coaching and feedback.
We are still exhilarated from our Yellowknife tour with Dyanne. Every aspect of the trip met or exceeded our expectations.
Dyanne is a well organized and lovely woman with an amazing talent for photography. We took this tour because we wanted to experience Yellowknife with someone who knew the city inside out. Because Dyanne lived there for two years she has many contacts and a wealth of knowledge that we were able to benefit from. We prefer a small group local experience when we travel, so this trip absolutely met that criteria. It was great to not have to organize a thing.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Snow Castle opening, walking around Old Town, Bullocks Bistro, going out ice fishing in a vintage bombardier and then eating the catch, dog sledding and sliding at Aurora Village, aurora viewing at a private cabin on a lake and tours of the Legislature Assembly Building and Prince of Wales Museum.
The complimentary Aurora Heat sheared beaver hand warmers were a nice souvenir and helped to keep us toasty warm.
Dyanne’s patience and expertise with photography helped me achieve amazing photos that I could not have shot on my own. I learnt so much about photography and feel much more comfortable using manual settings on my camera thanks to Dyanne.
We travel considerably and this trip rates up there as one of the best!
Mary Anne and Marty