Bald Eagle Photography Tour
Bald Eagle Winter Photography Tour Yukon and Alaska
Join us along the St. Elias Mountains (the second highest coastal mountain range in the world) to Haines/Alaska to the Chilkat River. Each year, in winter, the northern waters of Canada and Alaska freeze. Only in this one remote valley, under the influence of the warm coastal climate, are there thousands of eagles living in North America passing through to the south, having one last chance to feed on the spawning salmon in the river. It is the world’s largest gathering of eagles. An absolutely unique natural phenomenon, coupled with the most spectacular and colourful activity time of the northern lights. The brilliant, incomparable and magical impressions are unforgettable and will enchant you.
During the trip and the specific training photo workshops you will be supported by professional photographer Beat Glanzmann and his business partner Eva Riedwyl. Beat and Eva have lived in their log cabins in the Yukon in a wilderness setting only two hours from the Alaska bald eagle preserve since 1995 and are known to be open-minded, welcoming hosts. They both like to share their enthusiasm for nature and their local knowledge. Beat’s photography work is published worldwide. He is one of the most experienced photographers in the field of animal and landscape photography in the north and has been photographing the eagles for over 20 years. You have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of the long-time wilderness guides and the professional experience in eagle photography. You will certainly head home with hundreds of spectacular eagle, landscape and northern lights pictures!
All eagles are photographed in their natural habitat and are not fed.
Whether a beginner or professional, Beat Glanzmann supports participants with his experience and detailed instructions to perfect the pictures. The timing of the eagle tours is aligned with the spawning process of the salmon. Beat has been leading these eagle photo trips for over 20 years and takes guests to his selected places to take the most spectacular photos.
He knows the exact light conditions at all the individual locations and can help you to create the most unique images. You will observe and photograph hundreds of bald eagles in trees, on sandbanks, during their majestic flight and in aerial fights.
On top of that, the Eagle Photo Tour offers excellent opportunities to shoot landscape and northern lights pictures. The photo trip is complemented by several informative photo workshops (see itinerary). The size of the group is a maximum of 9 people and enables the largest possible space for individual choice of subject and placement in the wide area.
Requirements for participants
The tour does not require a high level of fitness. However, you should be in good physical condition and be able to hike for about 1½ hours at a comfortable pace and on a good path.
- Observe and photograph the world’s largest gathering of bald eagles with up to 3500 animals
- Improve your photography skills in our photo workshops on the following topics: Flight and action shots of eagles, northern lights and stars, winter landscapes…
- Northern light magic in peaceful wilderness silence
- Log cabin romance with crackling wood stove fire and sauna.
- Observe and photograph wild Dall sheep
- Small winter walks along frozen lakes, ice structures and formations ideal for photography
Photographic highlights you can await:
- In flight with salmon in their claws
- Take high-speed shots of aerial and prey flights
- Resting on trees and sandbanks
- Portraits and close-ups
- Eagles feeding on salmon in the Chilkat River Delta
- Acrobatic flying in Alaska’ s majestic mountain scenery
- Northern lights (no interfering light on night sky)
- Unique mountain, ice and lake landscapes in and around Kluane National Park – beautiful sceneries.
- Crystal clear sky for star / milky-way shots
- Take pictures of wild dall sheep
Individual arrival in Whitehorse, Yukon / Canada
Day 1: Welcome to the north! Check-in to the hotel in Whitehorse that we booked for you.
Day 2: We will meet and greet you at 11 AM at the hotel. A short city tour with shopping facilities will follow before we leave the city. On the famous Alaska highway, we will drive 3 hours north to Haines Junction. On the way we will stop to take pictures of landscapes and with some luck we will see the wild Takhini River elk herd. We will enter Kluane country and get to the border of its National Park, to our log cabins (35km south of Haines Junction) / or hotel* in the village of Haines Junction. You will be greeted by our sled dogs with a howl and move into a preheated, comfortable log cabin.
Day 3: A 10-minute drive takes us to Kathleen Lake in Kluane National Park. Along the shore of the lake, exciting photo motifs await us due to the advancing freezing of the water surface. Capturing pictures of moving water and ice with gray filters, creates fascinating long-time exposures. In the evening, a preliminary photo workshop on the subject of “Eagle Photography” is on the agenda. An optional sauna session awaits you before dinner and offers the opportunity for some relaxing freshness.
Over the next few nights additional photographic highlights and workshops are:
- Northern lights: a photographic highlight that is usually particularly visible at this time of year;
- Night photography: moon and stars without any light pollution; Beat shows you how log cabins can be illuminated from inside and outside and integrated into the star image in a natural way.
Day 4: Today we start the 3-hour drive over the Haines Pass to the “Valley of the Eagles” in Alaska. This spectacular scenery offers impressive views and photography shooting locations of snow-covered mountain passes, wide mountain ranges, high plateaus and ice-covered mountain lakes. The route with the glaciated mountains of the “St. Elias Range” is considered one of the most beautiful in the north. The closer we get to the protected area of the eagles, the more surprised we are about the changing landscape. Haines, lies on the waters of the Pacific , also called the “Inside Passage” and is surrounded by coastal forests and mountains”. We stop to take the first pictures of the gathering eagles on the Chilkat River. The great spectacle of nature awaits you here with it’s hundreds of eagles!
Day 5 – 7: Breakfasts are in the coffee shop or the hotel. We spend the following days at the Chilkat River. There are often up to 20 eagles sitting in a tree above the river bank. The valley is filled with the wild calls of a few hundred bald eagles that are feeding on the spawning salmon. The eagles fly, fight or dive for the fish, and offer spectacular plunges and high-altitude flights to be captured on camera. They eat on the sandbanks, on the edge of the river or sit in the trees in front of the majestic mountain scenery. We will photograph the eagles during our visit in 4-time stages to make the best use of the different lighting and weather conditions. We approach carefully so that it is possible to photograph the majestic and impressive flying acrobats at close range (up to approx. 5 meters) without disturbing them. It is your choice whether you are taking pictures in a group or individually looking for motifs. At dusk we drive back to Haines to the best and most comfortable hotel in the romantic fishing village by the sea and enjoy a dinner in the restaurant.
The daily photo-seminars and workshops that take place at the hotel in the evening are optional. They offer you the opportunity to improve your photographic techniques and creative aspects, regardless of your experience and skills. You will be amazed how much these workshops have a positive effect on the quality of your pictures! Every evening, some of the images taken are projected onto a screen, then evaluated and analysed. Beat critically explains the most proven techniques for action and portrait shots of eagles. Other topics include exposure, image composition and image planning for post-production. You have the opportunity to present your best pictures of the day, and we discuss in a relaxed atmosphere why good pictures are “good” or what about them can be improved.
Day 8: Today we will visit the neighbouring valley of the Chilkat valley. The trip takes us alongside the beautiful fjord to the mystical Chilkoot Lake. A great scenic contrast awaits us. The eagles are also present here and as a highlight we can, with a bit of luck, still observe the big coastal brown bears in November. Here we have a green, dreamlike rainforest landscape with moss to photograph. The return journey carries us again along the open Chilkat valley, where we will photograph the eagles until the afternoon. Returning on the pass road, we will drive past the coastal forests to large trees laden with snow and finally climb up to the pass summit (1300 metres). Here in the open tundra plateau we look out for moose, foxes and ptarmigans. In the evening we will reach the Glanzmann Lodge.
Day 9: 1½ hours north of our base at Kluane Lake is the world’s largest collection of Dall sheep on Sheep Mountain. They are in mating season exactly during this period. Here in the protected area of the national park the animals feel safe and are not shy of people. With a bit of luck, it is possible to approach the fighting ram to take good photographs. It is impressive to witness how the competitors hit their heads together in full force.
Day 10: On this last day we have in Kluane Country we will take a leisurely hike, equipped with our cameras along Quill Creek. At this time most parts of this mountain stream are frozen. It is a winter wonderland: frosted trees, turquoise ice patches with newly formed ice crystals ideal for macro photography, as well as landscapes. The day will be finished off with a photo workshop and a course on the subject of editing photos. The sauna steams one last time. We enjoy a cosy farewell dinner in the large main log cabin. Once again we relish the star-flooded Yukon sky in the wilderness and the enchanting silence.
(Of course, a day of rest may be taken at any time. We leave the participation in the day tours to you and grant you your time off!)
Day 11: After Breakfast we drive back to Whitehorse. The Tour ends in the afternoon, your guides wish you good-bye. Check-in to the hotel that we booked for you.
Day 12: The individual departure follows.
All routes and times described in the tour program may vary depending on weather conditions.
Log cabin romance in the Glanzmann-Lodge base, in the middle of the silence of the wilderness. More details and pictures of the accommodation can be found on our website under „Cabin Yukon“.
Optional: If you would prefer to stay in a comfortable hotel with WiFi, telephone service and electricity during your stay at Kluane National Park, you can book this as an additional service. We will provide a daily Shuttlebus for transportation back and forth to the hotel / Haines Junction (35 km away).
*Price for the hotel and shuttle– available upon request
The self-constructed, cosy guest cabins are heated with wood. For lighting in the cabins there are LED lanterns and candlelights, which create a very cosy atmosphere alongside the crackling wood stove. You will be supplied with the best drinking water from our own spring. Each log cabin has its own cooking facilities, sink, water canister and kitchen utensils. There is an external toilet near each cabin.
Couples can have their own cabin or a double room in the Montana cabin. 2-3(max.) single travelers will share a cabin.
A sauna in a self-constructed log cabin invites you to relax! There is a shower in the main house.
It is possible to recharge batteries for cameras, tablets and mobile phones during the day at the Glanzmann Tours base at the solar power supply.
For a communal meal (breakfast and dinner) all participants will meet in the main house of the lodge. Breakfast and dinner are inclusive during the log cabin nights. Participants prepare breakfast for themselves. The food is provided by us. We will cook dinner for you and the entire group will help wash the dishes.
Breakfast and dinner in restaurants are not included during our stays in Whitehorse and Haines/Alaska.
- All trips according to the itinerary from/to Whitehorse
- Transport to the respective photo locations
- Photographer and guide Beat Glanzmann for the supervision of the shooting technique and image editing workshops
- Experienced, licensed, English/German speaking guide
- 6 nights hotels (Whitehorse & Haines, double room)
- 5 nights in our log cabins
- 5 x half board (breakfast and dinner);
- Value added tax
Not included in the tour price
- Arrival and return journey to/from Whitehorse
- Breakfast and dinner in restaurants during stays in Whitehorse and Haines
- Snacks (can be bought in Whitehorse and Haines)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Personal equipment (see equipment list)
- Hotel shuttles or taxi Whitehorse airport to hotel
- ETA Electronic Travel Authorization for Canada
- Cancellation and international health insurance
- Single room surcharge (6 hotel nights in Whitehorse & Haines CA$ 490.00)
Clothing and personal material
- 2-3 pairs of gloves (2x thin finger gloves and warm mittens)
- 1 pair of winter shoes (preferably with removable inner shoe, can be rented by appointment)
- 1 pair of warm slippers and/or bivouac shoes (only for accommodation in log cabins)
- Warm winter jacket and trousers, warm sweaters
- Long thermal underwear
- Warm cap with ear protection
- Cold face mask / balaclava
- Very warm winter socks
- 2 towels for the sauna
- Ski goggles and sunglasses
- Ear plugs
- Glasses and spare glasses / contact lenses
- Headlamp (including spare batteries)
- Thermos bottle (min. 750ml)
- Pocket knife (for flights in main baggage)
- Small daypack
- Personal medication (for flights in hand luggage)
- Lunch/Snacks can be bought on site
- Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the date of return)
- Electronic travel authorization (eta) for Canada. Recently, an electronic authorization (eta) is mandatory to fly into Canada (arrival by ship or by land does not require eta). This affects nationalities that do not normally need a tourist visa for Canada. This includes Swiss and EU citizens. Permission must be obtained online before entry. It costs about 7 ca$. (please also note the current entry regulations if you are travelling to or from the US.
- Address of your accident, rescue and health insurance, as well as travel cancellation and liability insurance
- Flight tickets
- Credit card
- Vaccination certificate or copy
- Cash approx. 100 ca$
(recommended) Camera equipment:
- Power-adapter for 110 volt (adapter north America)
- Camera, memory cards
- Batteries, rechargeable batteries, charger
- Cable release / remote release
- Various filters (if available)
- Camera/lens pockets
- General photo tips
- We strongly recommend several batteries/battery packs. It is possible to recharge the batteries at the Glanzmann tours base at the solar power supply (every 2nd day).
What can be rented additionally:
- Baffin or Sorel winter boots (guaranteed warm during cold days) ca$ 40.00 per week (please reserve in advance)