April 10-16, 2024 (one spot open)
March 29-April 4, 2025.
My favourite place in the world to shoot aurora is at home in the Canadian Rockies. Not only do we have jaw dropping landscapes, but the lower latitude means that you can capture the aurora alongside the galactic centre of the Milky Way!
Second, for some reason, there are more colours, especially reds, visible in the aurora at the mid latitude Canadian Rockies than there are at higher latitude locations such as Norway or Iceland.
And, the aurora season is extended in the Canadian Rockies because we have longer hours of darkness in the spring and summer months!
Peak on Peak on (Mountain) Peak!
Peak Aurora Time Annually
Spring is the best time of year to see the aurora! NASA researcher and solar physicist David Hathaway has demonstrated that spring is one of the most geomagnetically active periods of the year, due to the spring (vernal) equinox. During the vernal equinox, the angle of the earth in relation to the sun allows more solar winds to pass through the geomagnetic field: It is the interaction between the charged solar particles (carried by solar winds) and particles in the earth’s atmosphere that create the beautiful displays of dancing lights.
Peak Aurora Activity of a Solar Cycle
The sun follows an 11-year cycle of solar activity. The beginning of a solar cycle is a solar minimum, or when the Sun has the least number of sunspots. Over time, solar activity—and the number of sunspots—increases. The middle of the solar cycle is the solar maximum, or when the Sun has the most sunspots, before the activity wanes into the solar minimum and the start of a new solar cycle.
Aurora over the Peaks of the Rockies
I don’t even need to describe how majestic the mountain peaks of the Canadian Rockies are. I’ll just leave this here….
What to expect
We will shoot sunset, sunrise, and astro. Drivers require ample rest for safety and legal compliance. If there is an extended aurora session at night, we might skip sunrise the following day. If we have long nights of night shooting, we may skip sunrise for and sleep during the day. Even if we do not get to see the aurora every night, there will be plenty of opportunities to hone your night shooting skills!
There will be very little moonlight which means we will get to shoot bright starry skies. And, as we wait for the aurora, we can photograph the Milky Way!
Accommodations & Transportation
We will use the iconic Emerald Lake Lodge as our home base for the Great Aurora & Milky Way Chase Photography Workshop. This is my favourite ‘home away from home’ in the winter months. The staff are warm and accommodating, the food is delicious, and you can step outside of your cabin to get a world class photograph of the Canadian Rockies. Your lodging for six nights at the Emerald Lake Lodge is included. All rooms are single occupancy.
The Great Aurora Chase photography workshop includes transportation to all locations with pick up and return from the Calgary International Airport. I am a federally licensed carrier with Transport Canada. This 15-passenger Ford Transit, “The Starlight Express,” is our transportation for the week.
April is a unique time of year in the Canadian Rockies, as the mountain region slowly transforms into spring. The weather is typically mild with highs of 9 degrees Celsius and lows of -3 degrees Celsius. Some of the shallow lakes have openings for reflections, and soft blankets of snow cling to the peaks. Snow, ice, and open water are the perfect companions for aurora as they reflect the dancing green lights.
We have six nights and seven days to fill your memory cards! Dates available: April 10-16, 2024
My maximum group size is 10 participants.
The total cost of the workshop is $4595 USD. A $995 deposit is required to secure your spot.
*Deposits are non-refundable but can be credited toward another workshop if you cancel more than 30 days before the workshop start date.
I am a passionate learner and educator. As a learner, I am constantly seeking out new opportunities to expand my skills. I am a certified hiking guide, and Advanced Wildness Medic, commercially licensed driver, and I have taken courses in Avalanche Safety, Glacier Traverse, and Crevasse Rescue. I am also a registered carrier with Transport Canada. As an educator, it is my goal to ensure you leave this workshop with the skills and confidence to shoot in any low light situation.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!