Photo Workshop in Alaska
Spending time ashore in remote areas is one of the best things about our trips. On our Landscape Photography workshop with Matt Meisenheimer last year, we wandered along the side of a large waterfall at North Dawes, which is a beautiful anchorage just off Endicott Arm in Alaska’s Tracy Arm /Fords Terror Wilderness. There were numerous side streams and wildflowers like this river beauty. Even though it was pouring rain, Matt helped us set up shots and create photographs. He answered questions and guided us among boulders. It was a pretty awesome day. Our photo workshops are really fun and creative. It’s also nice knowing that on cold wet days, the David B has a wood-fired cookstove with warm galley and hot soup waiting for our return.
John D’onofrio and Al Sanders are two northwest photographers with a long history and friendship. They also conduct photography workshops aboard the David B. This week on our Northwest Navigation podcast we talk to John and Al about their philosophies in photography, wilderness, and being in the moment. For more information on our workshops with John and Al visit our Glacier Bay Photography Workshop and Fjords and Bears Photography Workshop pages.
Marie Duckworth came on our Bears and Glaciers photography workshop in 2018. Here’s the photo that they described in their conversation.
Photography with Matt Meisenheimer
Here’s a chance to get to know Matt, one of our photography instructors. To learn more or book this trip. Visit our Southeast Alaska Fjords with Matt Meisenheimer webpage.
By Matt Meisenheimer
Adventure-oriented landscape photographer
Photography in Alaska
Alaska is one of the most rugged wilderness areas left on our planet. Containing nearly 65.5 million acres of land, 28.8 million acres of freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds, 6,640 linear miles of coastline, and 4 out of 10 of the highest peaks in North America, it is ‘The Last Frontier’. Everything is on a different scale in Alaska; the mountains are bigger, the glaciers are bigger, the wildlife are bigger, and ultimately, the landscape is bigger. Change is ever present and each season offers something different. Fall brings vibrant color to the forests and tundra, while wildlife anxiously prepare for the approaching winter. Winter is dark, cold, and long, but if you gaze up in the sky during an Alaskan winter night, you just might see the Northern Lights dancing above you. Spring is a season of growth, the mountainsides are stripped of snow, wildlife awakens, and plants awaken for the summer sun. And then there’s summer, one of my favorite times in Alaska. Summer is full of energy. All living things, flora and fauna, are making the most of the long summer days and the short growing season. Wildflowers grip to every surface possible of supporting life, ice melts revealing the deep fjords and glaciers, and the high alpine of Alaska awakens. For a photographer, there is no better place in the world in my opinion.
That’s why I’m so excited to lead the Southeast Alaska Fjords Photography Workshop this summer. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and it
will be an absolutely fantastic trip. I’ve spent time shooting in quite a few different Alaska biomes. I worked and photographed in Denali National Park, I’ve camped with coastal brown bears in Lake Clark National Park, and I’ve come face to face with massive glaciers in the southeast fjords of Alaska. My favorite area of Alaska continues to be the fjords that line the southeast coast from the Prince William Sound all the way down to Glacier Bay National Park. And there’s no better way to experience and photograph this area than by taking a small ship into the glacial fjords.
As an adventure-oriented landscape photographer, my passion lies in creating innovative, unique compositions and capturing spectacular displays of light and atmosphere. Alaska is a great place for both of those things and that’s another good reason Alaska is such a special place to me. Many photographers travel across the US to many different national parks, but many consistently take the same photos at the same locations. That’s why we see thousands of pictures of Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park, Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, and The Watchman in Zion National Park. Those shots are great and they are fun to capture, but they don’t allow you to challenge yourself or expand your horizons as a landscape photographer. Well in Alaska, the perspective is totally different.
There aren’t many iconic shots here, especially in the southeast fjords. You’re often left to fend for yourself and create your own art, which can be extremely enriching. Especially when the canvas and elements you’re given to work with include jagged mountains, unfathomably large glaciers, epic wildflower blooms, huge icebergs, brown bears, and orca whales. That’s why this workshop represents such an exclusive experience. We’re going to be on a small ship together for 8 days and venture into some places where very few people go. We’re going to see some things that no other photographers see. We’re going to chase unique compositions and come away with jaw-dropping imagery. Sure, we might have to endure some rain and wind along the way, but the constant flux of storm systems in Alaska makes for some of the greatest atmospheric conditions you could ever ask for. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my journey in photography, it’s that the importance of great atmosphere in the creation of a defining image cannot be understated. Like I said, I’m ecstatic to run this workshop. Alaska is my favorite place in the world and this is an incredibly special trip. Nowhere else can you get excellent photographic instruction, incredible cooking, and the hominess of a small ship that you get to share with other like-minded photographers. If you’re considering this trip, get in contact with us, this is one you don’t want to miss out on.
I thought I’d share some personal information about myself as well. I live in Madison, Wisconsin and run photo workshops throughout the year. I usually run 1-2 workshops each month to places like Alaska, Olympic National Park, Glacier National Park, Zion National Park, and Yosemite National Park, to name a few. I am a huge advocate for workshops. No, not because I lead my own, but because I got my own start in landscape photography by attending a workshop. When I was just a beginner, I was really inspired by the work of a certain photographer so I saved up my money and invested in a workshop with him. I was just out of college, I didn’t have much money, and I second guessed myself from the instant I submitted my deposit for the workshop to the time the workshop started. Well, that all changed the moment the workshop began. It lasted only 5 days, but I learned more in 5 days than I had in the previous two years of photography. It completely changed my life and I can wholeheartedly say that if I hadn’t taken that workshop I wouldn’t be instructing workshops myself and I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much as I have in photography. Thus, because of my own experience, I take teaching very seriously. And beyond that, I want to help people create images that they are excited about and that they want to go home and share with friends or family. On this workshop in Alaska, I’ll help you with the basics, but I’ll also show you things that push the boundaries, and I’ll give you tips that you can use on every future photo trip you go on. I’m all about delivering value and empowering my students with the technical and creative skills they need to capture dream images of their own. Join me this summer and we will do just that!
Trip Number 340 – Limited to 8 Students
Dates: July 10 – 17, 2019
Boards/Disembarks: Juneau – Intermediate Vessel Float
Rate: $7000 per person
For more information on this workshop visit our Southeast Alaska Fjords with Matt Meisenheimer page.