Alaska camping does not have to be a high adrenaline adventure. A base camp trips allow you to settle into this wilderness landscape. Enjoy bird watching, wilderness photography, or witness the incredible caribou migrations. But these Alaska wildlife photography and bird watching tours aren't just for professional photographers, Arctic Wild base camp trips are also great for family wilderness vacations or anyone wanting to experience true wilderness.

What to Expect on a Camping Adventure

We plan our base camp tours around wildlife migrations and activities. Our base camp trips offer unparalleled opportunities for wildlife photographers and naturalists to spend time with the arctic's fascinating animals.

Your Arctic Wild guide will set up a comfortable camp with abundant, good food and drink and lead daily hiking trips, offer suggestions and insight, or just let you relax in peace. Alaska bird watching can't be beat with seabirds and terrestrial birds (depending on location) including Asian migrants rarely seen in North America.

The Brooks Range and the untamed Alaska wilderness is your home for the week, enjoy!

Preparing for a Base Camp Trip.

Everyone from young children to octogenarians will enjoy our base camp trips, and no physical training is needed. We are happy to advise on specialized equipment needed for wilderness photography in the arctic. Our years of Alaska bird watching experience will help you prepare or decide which trip is offers the best arctic birding opportunities for your interests. A reading list can be provided for each trip tailored to your interest whether general natural history, wildlife photography, arctic bird watching, or northern cultures.

Gates of the Arctic Photography Workshop

This unique trip is a full scale immersion into the world of wilderness photography. Over the course of this 6 day base camp we will explore with our cameras the incredible and wild landscape of the central Brooks Range in Gates of the Arctic National Park.



August 20, 2017 - August 25, 2017


Gates of the Arctic National Park




Led by Arctic Wild guide and professional photographer David Shaw, this trip is both a quality photo tour and a world-class wilderness experience. Participants will receive guidance in all aspects of photography from technique, to camera settings and creative composition.

After our flights from Fairbanks we will set up a comfortable base camp on the shore of Agiak Lake in the headwaters of the John River. We’ll be just spitting distance from the continental divide. The mountains surrounding Agiak are dramatically lined with with glacial cirques dotted with smaller alpine lakes. The tundra in the broad valleys should be filled with the orange and red of autumn foliage and the sweet light of morning and evening lasts for hours during late August. In short, we’ll be in a playground for photography.

Days will be spent hiking through the varied landscape, discussing photography methods and composition, and making lots of images. If we decide to put the cameras down for a while, or if the sweet arctic light fades, there is great fishing for Arctic Grayling and Lake Trout in Agiak Lake, archaeological sites to examine, and many nearby peaks to ascend. Designed for photographers and wilderness enthusiasts with a desire to explore some of the wildest country in North America with their cameras, this trip offers an unparalleled opportunity to practice photography where few have before.

You need not be a professional adventurer or photographer to enjoy this trip. We will teach you what you need to know to enjoy both pursuits. Our sturdy base camp and excellent cooking leave you free to enjoy the wilderness and your photography.


What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

Aug 19:

We’ll have a pre-trip meeting at Arctic Wild Headquarters the afternoon before our departure where we’ll meet our travel companions, check gear, and discuss the next day’s logistics.

Aug 20:

You’ll be picked up early at your hotel in Fairbanks and shuttled to the airport where we’ll catch a charter flight to the bush village of Bettles in the southern foothills of the Brooks Range. From there we’ll load our gear into a small float plane for the hour-long flight across the mountains to Agiak Lake. Once there we’ll set up a comfortable camp on the tundra next to the lake before heading out to explore.

Aug 21 - 24:

Each day in the backcountry brings something different. Some days we will take day hikes to explore the glacial cirques, nearby alpine lakes, or wander the high ridges. Other days we may stick closer to camp, allowing the opportunity to fish, search for wildlife, photograph the nearby surroundings, and work on personal photographic projects.

Aug 25:

Weather permitting, we’ll say a final goodbye to Agiak Lake and the Brooks Range and make a few last images before boarding the float plane for the trip back to Bettles and on home to Fairbanks. If the weather cooperates and all goes as planned we’ll arrive back in Fairbanks in time for dinner and well-deserved showers.


Round-trip airfare from Fairbanks

Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Safety & repair gear

Professional guide service


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, camera equipment

Fishing gear, and fishing license

Gratuity for guide(s)

Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild. See full equipment list.


Temperatures vary from the 60’s to below freezing. Snow is possible; rain is likely. As summer turns to fall we can expect a wide variety of weather. With the warm weather behind us we don’t expect many bugs but bring a small bottle of DEET just in case.


The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, Galen Rowell; Within the Frame, David DuChemin; Ordinary Wolves, Seth Kantner; Alaska Wilderness, Robert Marshall; Last Light Breaking, Nick Jans; Arctic Wild, Lois Crisler. More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.