Cook Inlet Photo Safari with Alaska Photo Treks

It all started a couple of years ago when I got the chance to visit Alaska in wintertime. If you haven’t been on our website before, let me tell you that Alaska has a special place in my heart. Last night I was watching Into the Wild for the 100th time and I still had to cry at the end of the movie. So anyway … during this winter trip I met Jody Overstreet from Visit Anchorage, whom had invited me to come and experience Alaka during wintertime. While on this trip, she took the below amazing picture of me and I knew straight away she’s a talented photographer. Over the course of the years we kept in touch via Facebook and when I was back in Alaska last summer, we decided to meet up for a quick coffee to catch up. She told me all about photographing Alaska and possible adventures.
During our coffees, she started telling me about her company called Alaska Photo Treks and although I knew she had her own business, I didn’t really look into it earlier on because as always, I was too busy. She told me the story about how she had been playing with the idea to follow her passion and start her own company and eventually decided to go for it, together with two more talented Alaskan photographers. Although we12travel doesn’t compare to what she did (I still got my office job, while Jody eventually left Visit Anchorage) I could totally feel her passion for what she is doing and how she loves teaching people how to take better pictures. People who follow their hearts to do what they really want to do really inspire me and Jody is definitely one of these people.
Our meeting was only short as we had to run to onward meetings but she proposed for me to come along on her Cook Inlet Photo Safari that evening. Unfortunately, I had just swapped cameras around with my travelpartner, so he got the big fancy one (Nikon D5000) for his glacier flightseeing and dogsled ride, while I just brought our tiny Lumix that we merely use for snapshots during our adventures. I was going to do some outdoor activities later on that week and didn’t really feel like carrying that heavy camera all the way up to Harding Icefield with me. As we weren’t traveling together fulltime on this trip I arranged to swap around cameras once again the next morning so I could join the photo safari the next evening.
The next evening I made sure I was on at the meeting point in downtown Anchorage on time, stuffing a quick reindeer hotdog into my mouth because I didn’t have time to eat earlier on. Jody picked me and some other photographers up in the city and together with the rest of the group, we took off to explore Anchorage at night, the best moment for shooting.
Our first stop was at Earthquake Park where we tried to capture a bit of the sun shining through the trees here. Even though I signed up for an online photography course a while ago (on the cheap!) I never really got any further than the first 5 lessons so I was kind of worried that I would suck but with the help of Jody on how to set my camera into the right mode, I finally managed to make somewhat of a picture that has a star inside the woods in it.
From here, we drove down to Lake Hood, one of my favorite places in Anchorage. You can just put me here all day and I’d be happy, as it’s the biggest floatplane base in the world and they have take-offs and landings all the time. If you are going to Alaska, you just can’t miss a flight with a floatplane, funny fact though is that although I did various of them, I never left from Lake Hood. Anyway, the planes floating on the watersurface are an excellent subject for photography. There was so much to see and explore, that eventually I never even got the shot I was looking for (a plane taking off or departing) but I find myself in the lucky position I get to travel to Alaska every now and then so I’m sure that shot will be there some day!

Next up was a visit to McHugh Creek just outside of Anchorage at Cook Inlet. Here, we were going to learn how to shoot a waterfall with long exposure. We took our tripods (provided by Alaska Photo Treks) and had to do a little walking before we got to the creek. I was hoping we’d run into a bear, but generally bears tend to stay away from me, which I think is something to be rather happy about, and so unfortunately we didn’t see any. However, I did get some good shots of the creek and when I saw them on my screen I was like “no way, can my camera do that?” Ofcourse I knew my camera could do that, however I just never really bothered to find out how. I noted it all down though so for our upcoming trip to Tasmania, I already made a selection of waterfalls I want to see and practise my exposure shots on.
After McHugh Creek we moved on to Flattop Mountain, the famous mountain in Anchorage with has *drumrolls* a flat top. Just below the top there’s a lookout point and it’s great for capturing sunsets. Apart from the fact that it’s an awesome place to be at during sunset (beware of the mosquitos though!) it was a good place for photos and playing with the settings of your camera a bit. The sun wouldn’t really come out but we practised some silhouette shots as you can see below.
Last stop for the night was once again at Earthquake Park to see the Anchorage skyline by night. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my settings right (I forgot to mention there was a filter on the lens) so I won’t share the pics I made here but it was a great location to end the evening, very inspiring to see Anchorage this way.
If you are ever visiting Alaska and want to make stunning pictures, then definitely consider taking an evening photo safari with Alaska Photo Treks. Here are five reasons why:
– Their guides have excellent backgrounds in the photography field. Jody is the only one I’ve met in person but she proved to have a lot of knowledge about photography and various cameras.
– You will enjoy this tour, whether you are a beginner or more advanced photographer. Beginners will have plenty of time to ask questions and get guidance on how to get the settings right for a particular scenery, the more advanced photographers will enjoy the benefits of being able to visit some of the best spots in Anchorage at the perfect time for shooting.
– This tour left at night, making it possible to still do something during the day. I would totally recommend to do this trip at the beginning of your trip in Alaska so you can benefit from all you have learned throughout your trip.
– You can also join this trip if you are not a photographer, so husbands/wives/familymembers who don’t shoot can still come along and have a really good time. The places visited are stunning enough just to sit down and observe and in all honesty, most of these places you wouldn’t have visited if you would’ve been all by yourself.
– It makes you think about photography. At least, it made me think. I never cared much for shooting in aperture or exposure because I never got the result I wanted anyway but now that I saw what I can do with some minor changes in settings, I totally got the taste for it. It even made me decide to buy another lens for our camera for our upcoming trip to Nepal to be able to capture the mountains better.
For more information on Alaska Photo Treks, itineraries and costs just visit their website. I also recommend you follow them on Instagram, I find their pictures a great inspiration and they keep my craving to visit Alaska over and over again alive.
[Please note: I was not asked to write this post nor do I see it as a sponsored one. Only after the trip I decided to write about it as I wanted to do Jody the favor of spreading the rumor about her company. All given opinions are my own, but I guess that returning visitors know that by now…]  
Want to read more about Alaska? Then you may enjoy these posts:
Solo hiking as a female in bear country Alaska
“Happiness only real when shared?” Visiting the land of Into the Wild!
Travelmemories: Alone in Alaska
Thanks to Jody for taking me out and thank you visitors for sharing!


  • Stefan

    Ahhhh that Into The Wild has a lot to answer for eh? I’ve also the same intrigue to visit. But your photos make it look less cold / snowy then I’d imagined – very green and with waterfalls etc. Stupid thing to say, but you get that blanket of snow impression of the place from the movies no?

    • anto

      Totally, it’s an amazing movie, in my humble opinion. In summer it’s actually quite warm, well in the twenties (celcius) and I wore my shorts all the time. Indeed I really imagined it to be different when I was there the first time, but it’s not nearly as cold in summer as the tv shows and movies make us want to believe!

  • Kathrin

    First, I cried so much when watching Into The Wild 😀

    Second, the Alaska Photo Treks tour sounds really cool. I would love to work on my photography skills (as I currently have none ^^). And Alaska is also a place I really want to visit some day.

  • Lesley

    I didn’t know that Lake Hood is the biggest floatplane base in the world. We loved Anchorage but I didn’t go on a floatplane while I was there.

  • jen

    I would absolutely love going on a photo safari – and what an amazing place to do it. Even though you didn’t see a bear, you did get some great shots. Nicely done!

  • Economical Excursionists

    I’m not too big on souvenirs and much prefer photography of where I went as reminders. If you are anything like me, you have some AMAZING memories to look back on forever now! I can’t wait until I can get up to Alaska (during ANY season!)

    • anto

      I’m right with you, I barely ever get souvenirs, most of them are in my head and on my external hard drive. I hope you can make it to Alaska one day, it’s awesome and I’m sure you’d love it!

  • Jenna

    What a fun experience! It’s always so nice to see people follow their passions–glad you got to connect again and go along on the photo tour! I love that they help and teach people on the photo tours–I feel like some places just tell you what to take photos of with no guidance. You got some really awesome photos! I especially love the one of the float plane!

  • Jen Joslin

    Aircraft have right of way on roads…what does that even mean?? haha. You got some beautiful shots! I have only done one photo tour, but those pictures are some of the best I’ve ever taken. It also gave me a big confidence boost for using different settings on my camera and for taking portraits. Will have to do another one!

    • anto

      Well, the small ones can land on most of the roads, and from what I heard, it happens occasionally. Never seen it though, but since there are more aircraft than cars in Alaska, I’m sure I’ll witness it one day!

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