CHILKAT BALD EAGLE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP | HAINES, ALASKA

Grab your best camera, warmest coat and join me for a photography workshop in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve!  What has been reported to be the largest gathering of bald eagles anywhere in the world, this is arguably the best place on the planet to capture outstanding photographs of the species and an incredible place for a photography tour.  Located near the gorgeous town of Haines, Alaska, the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is sandwiched between snow-capped mountains which can provide some of the most awe-inspiring views in the United States.  The action at this location is truly unique.  During the month of November, the bald eagles within the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve become increasingly aggressive toward each other, often fighting over salmon.  This makes for incredible photographic opportunities.  In addition, some of the best flight and portrait photography of bald eagles has been shot within the borders of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.  Join us for a tour and see why National Geographic and BBC have chosen Haines for many of their bald eagle documentaries.

THE CHILKAT EXPERIENCE

The State of Alaska created the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in 1982 in order to protect the largest concentration of bald eagles in North America.  For close to 40 years, the preserve has provided an incredible opportunity to view and photograph bald eagles in their natural setting.  The rare convergence of circumstances that happen at this location make this setting unique in many ways, especially when it comes to bald eagle photography.  There are many places to see bald eagles, but the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve might just be the best in the world.

The Perfect Storm

As winter moves in, freezing rivers and covering fields with snow, bald eagles are forced to relocate to open water.  While they are not migratory in the traditional sense, this journey brings an estimated 3,500 to the preserve.  Due to a phenomenon called an alluvial fan reservoir, warm water is pushed into the Chilkat and neighboring tributaries.  This causes a five mile stretch of water to remain open, providing the perfect feeding ground for bald eagles.

The third component makes this location a truly rare opportunity.  Beginning in the summer months, five species of salmon return to the area to spawn.  Unable to fight the current, they begin to drift toward the open water of the Chilkat river, where bald eagles await their next meal.  The size of the salmon is also an important factor.  A bald eagle can typically lift 30-35% of their body weight, but the salmon are simply too heavy for them to carry, forcing them to eat as much as they can before being attacked by an approaching foe.  This is the action that makes this location one of the best in the world and inspires so many photographers to make the trip to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.

Our workshops in Haines are timed to coincide with the salmon run, providing the best opportunity for photographers to capture awe-inspiring images.  Often reported as the largest congregation of bald eagles in the world, the Chilkat will provide an unforgettable experience for anyone who appreciates bald eagles.  Whether you’re looking to capture flight shots or fight shots, the area around Haines is incredible for bald eagle photography.

the shot list

Nobody comes to Alaska in November for the weather.  You want to capture some great photographs.  I can help.

BALD EAGLES FIGHTING

A constant fight for survival pits one against another, creating a scene that has been covered by news outlets such as BBC and National Geographic.  Alaska’s Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is the best location in the world to capture this action!

Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
Bald eagle in flight, dark background. Chilkat River, Alaska.

EAGLES IN FLIGHT

The background of the Chilkat River Valley changes regularly.  One minute you’ll have a blue haze to provide a unique mood to your images.  The next could be a snow filled scene that captures the true spirit of Alaska.

BALD EAGLE PORTRAITS

Many inhabitants of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve are fearless.  Unlike the lower 48, you’ll likely have several opportunities to capture tight, frame filling portraits for your portfolio.

Bald Eagle Portrait
Bald eagle sitting on a branch in front of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

LANDSCAPES

Alaska’s Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is surrounded by some of the most picturesque snow covered mountains you’ll ever witness.  Making the eagle part of the landscape helps to provide scale and adding depth to the scene.

CAPTURE BREATHTAKING PHOTOS.
IMPROVE YOUR TECHNIQUE.
HAVE A GREAT TIME.
REPEAT!

While our main focus for this tour is to send you home with dynamite images of bald eagles for your portfolio, we have other goals in mind for each client.  Sending you home with great photos might not improve your ability to capture them in the future unless we deliver the information in a way that helps you retain the information.  During my 20+ years as a corporate trainer and director, I was fortunate to learn several techniques to make this happen.  Whether you’re a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, we will take advantage of each learning style to ensure that you take home more than just great photos.  

The third goal is the easiest.  In most cases, our clients have traded their hard earned vacation time to make the trip to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.  We simply want you to enjoy yourself.  While we are heavily focused on getting each client into a position to capture outstanding images, balancing this agenda with a little relaxation is essential.  Thankfully, Alaska is a great place to accomplish both.

I traded in my corporate life to combine what I had learned with what I have loved.  Watching another photographer glow with the anticipation of getting a fantastic shot is a tremendously rewarding.  Seeing that light bulb moment when we are able to simplify a complex concept is more gratifying than anything I had accomplished in my previous life.  We understand that this is a once in a lifetime trip for many, and will do whatever it takes to make it fun!

Bald eagle chilkat alaska
the curriculum

Did you ever think you could get so close to an eagle that you could hear the sound of it’s wings flap?  Have you ever wanted to get such a crystal clear photo of a bald eagle that you could see it’s eyelashes?  Experience this and more by joining me for a photography workshop at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, Alaska!

We will have a relaxed, informal classroom discussion about key topics. Special attention will be paid to sharing best practices and problem solving. Whether you are new to the concepts of shutter speed, aperture and ISO or have a deep understanding of the exposure triangle, we will cater to the needs of each photographer.

CAMERA SETTINGS

Understanding shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focus settings can be daunting and has caused many to put down their cameras for good. We will cover each of these items in detail and continually review camera settings throughout the week. This will be a constant source of discussion, starting in the classroom and into the field. Putting these concepts into practice is the best way for it to stick.

BALD EAGLE BEHAVIOR

Wild animals are wild and unpredictable for the most part. What if you could tell when a bald eagle spotted a foe? What if there was a tell tale sign that they were about to take off? What if you could predict which direction they would fly? We will discuss all of these behaviors and more.

COMPOSITION

What impact can the tried and true "rules" for landscape photography have on wildlife photography? What role does wing placement, head position and perspective have on your outcome? Great shots often sit unnoticed on hard drives until we "see" them with a fresh perspective. We will discuss the image assessment process as it relates to bald eagle photography and judge our own images by a set of criteria.

BIRDS IN FLIGHT

The right body movements, position and other nuances are critical for improving your chance of success. This workshop will cover all of the above and more.

IN THE FIELD

Our main focus is to get you into position to capture great photographs of bald eagles. While classroom discussion is extremely valuable, you won't take a wall worthy photo from a comfortable chair. That said, involvement is absolutely critical to learning, and putting your new knowledge into practice is essential for retention. We want you to take stellar photos, whether it's at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve or after you return home.

THE ROLE OF LIGHT

Weather isn't the only challenge in Alaska. Light is minimal and the direction can be downright brutal unless the right steps are taken. There are methods to managing this challenge and we will continually analyze and discuss it in detail. Special attention will be paid to establishing your Window of Opportunity as the conditions change, as they often do in Alaska.

PHOTO EDITING MADE EASY

As Benjamin Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If we learn the right shutter speed, aperture and focus settings, the need for photo editing should be drastically reduced. That said, there are simple ways to enhance your photos without completely ruining authentic spirit of the image. We will discuss non-destructive editing technique along with the tools to prevent you from having to sit in front of your computer for longer than you already do.

VIDEO TIPS & TRICKS

Capturing video of a moving subject is a challenge for even the best photographers with the most sophisticated cameras. We will discuss several tips and tricks that have the potential to take your cinematic ability to the next level.

PRICING

$ 1
PER PHOTOGRAPHER

Lodging is included.  Based on single occupancy.  Please see discounts below for double occupancy.  

DISCOUNTS

-$ 1
double occupancy discount

Traveling with a sidekick?  Each photographer receives a $375 discount for double occupancy.

-$ 1
repeat customer discount

Attend a workshop with us before?  You can take another $200 off of this one!

ABOUT YOUR GUIDE

AJ Harrison has spent close to 30 years working on his photographic technique.  His award-winning work has been recognized by publications such as National Geographic, Popular Photography, Forbes Magazine and The National Wildlife Federation.  One of his photographs went viral in 2016 with over 8 million views.  To date, he has captured over 500,000 photos of bald eagles in the wild.

After spending well over a decade as a corporate trainer and director for one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the United States, AJ is able to combine his experience in public speaking and training to provide instruction to other photographers in a workshop setting. 

In 2017, AJ published his first book, titled The Bald Eagle Book for Kids, which he created to be as visually appealing to adults as it is educational for children.  He is currently working on two additional books that are scheduled to be published in 2019. 

While bald eagle photography is his specialty, AJ has also been recognized for other subjects.  He was named as a National Geographic Top Shot Award Winner in 2016 for one of his brown bear photographs.  All of his photos are captured in the wild. 
AJ Harrison
Photographer

QUESTIONs?

If you have questions about the workshop or planning your trip to Haines, don’t hesitate to contact us directly with the information below.

Say Hi!

Call us

(319) 400 7929

Contact us

AJ@AJHARRISONPHOTO.COM

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