Wilderness Untamed – The Yukon’s Peel Watershed

Where: The Peel Watershed, Yukon, Canada.   See the Peel on a map here. 

 

Do you want to:

1) Explore a part of Canada’s vast, remote and wild northern lands you likely never will have the opportunity to visit again ?

2) Fly by float plane over breathtaking mountain ranges to a remote base camp in the middle of a pristine wilderness?

3) Hike and explore a spectacularly rugged, beautiful and wild mountain landscape where very few humans have set foot?

4) Capture the aurora over landscapes that rarely have been photographed?

5) And at the same time help protect one of Canada’s last great northern wildernesses?

If your answer to these question is yes, then this is the expedition for you!

 

 

Your Destination:

The Peel River Watershed is one of Canada’s most striking and pristine mountain river watersheds– a region of mountains, deep canyons, plateaus, wetlands and rolling hills, laced by rivers. Sprawling over 68,000 square kilometres, it dwarfs more famous landscapes, such as Banff and Yellowstone national parks–in size, unspoiled splendor and ecological integrity. The experience that awaits you almost defies description. After a 1 hour flight by float plane over the most pristine, vast and wild mountain landscape you have ever seen, we land in a high altitude lake, in the middle of a land deeply contorted and churned by geological forces –  unique, strange and utterly beautiful.  You will find yourself hiking down the middle of a V shaped,  gently sloping tundra  plain, bordered on the one side by towering mountains, with elevation gains of as much as 1000 m and on the other side by  gothic, black mountain outcrops, rising abruptly out of steep mountain sides, permeated by rushing rivers and waterfalls. Wherever you go, something new awaits and you will feel an intense urge to explore. Wander along the valley and reach a plateau from where you see a rushing stream tumble over several waterfalls as it makes its way down a deep canyon and continues its journey, meandering at the base of steep mountain sides covered in colourful autumn tundra. Hike up towards the black gothic mountain outcrops and discover new mountain lakes, perched precariously on a ledge overlooking the tundra valley where our campsite, now so small that it is barely visible, is based. And at night capture the booming aurora over majestic mountain peaks as it is reflected in the calm waters of lakes and the many small ponds and tarns which dot the landscape. This is a land that asks to be explored, discovered and captured and you will be one of the first serious photographers to do so! There are many parts we have not explored yet and we will be sure to do so during this second tour and expedition of this part of the Peel Watershed!

 

 

Photography Skills:  Beginner to Advanced.

When: August 20 – 30, 2016   – 6 full days in the wilderness!

Maximum Class Size:  6  – A minimum of 5 participants is required for this tour to go ahead.

Cost:  4890 Canadian Dollars

Includes:  

1) Return transport from Whitehorse, Yukon to Mayo, where our plane departs from.

2) Return flight by chartered float plane of more than 1 hour duration into the wilderness of the Peel Watershed (~ $5500 for flight).

3) All your food at our campsite in the Peel Watershed.

4) Safety gear and a wilderness guide, who will also cook our meals.

5) 6 full days, and 2 shoulder half days,  of expeditionary hiking and photography in pristine, breathtaking wilderness!

6) 7 days of in field photography instruction and tuition. We have an additional 9 th day to allow for the possibility of a delayed return flight due to bad weather. 

Does not include:  

1) Accommodation and food in Whitehorse.     

2) Flight to and back from Whitehorse, Yukon. 

3) Full emergency evacuation travel insurance, which is MANDATORY.

Deposit:  1450 Canadian Dollars

Registration: To register, or for more information, please E-mail me, Christoph, at cgfischer@hotmail.com

 Revelation

 

Our Schedule is as follows:

Day 0, August 20: We meet in the afternoon in Whitehorse, Yukon, where I will brief you in detail on any updates, check that your gear is in order and give you a presentation on how to best capture the incredible natural scenery that awaits you! This is also where we can get to know one another over dinner and drinks. 🙂 

Day 1, August 21: Our big day! Up early and excited we take in a hearty breakfast before we are picked up by our wilderness guide. We drive together to to Mayo, the small town where our float plane is located. Weather permitting, that same day we board our float plane and we are off! The flight will take approximately 1 hour over spectacular autumn tundra covered river valleys and vast mountain ranges. We set up camp near to the lake where we have landed, and if it is not dark yet, we explore some nearby locations, in anticipation of our first morning shoot.

 
Breathless-II-workshop

 

Days 2 – 7, August 22 – 27: We will spend 6 full days hiking and exploring the surrounding valleys, rivers and mountain ranges for landscape and wildlife photographic opportunities. We will visit all those locations that are particularly promising for compelling images, and which I have identified during our 2015 photography expedition into this area. However, there is much that still remains discovered, which makes this tour all the more exciting! Besides my knowledge of this area, we will be guided by maps, sun/moon time and location calculators, but at the end of the day it really comes down to us exploring and scouting it all by foot. Our guide may accompany us on most or all our excursions, in order to help us with navigating difficult terrain such as scrambling up certain mountains and hills, or exploring canyons and river beds. When the weather is good, which is something you can’t take for granted in the mountains, we will make maximum use of the day and cover and photograph as many locations as possible. The beauty of these mountains is that the light can be very dramatic, even in the middle of the day, and you will be able to take advantage of photographic opportunities throughout our hikes. The aurora and night sky will feature prominently in our efforts. This is true wilderness and many a time you will set foot where few people been before. You will be surrounded by tundra covered valleys threaded by snaking rivers and framed by imposing mountain ranges, which we will visit at a time when the tundra autumn colors are expected to peak.

A typical day would proceed as follows:

1) Photograph sunrise from a location I have identified previously for compelling  photography or which we have identified during our exploratory hikes in the previous days.

2) Return to camp for a delicious breakfast cooked for us by our guide.

3) Discuss the locations we want to scout/photograph during the remainder of the day and embark on our day long hike.

4) Photograph sunset from a location I have identified previously for compelling photography or which we have identified during our exploratory hikes in the previous days.

5) Return to camp to a delicious meal cooked by our wilderness guide.

Day 8, August 28: We go out for one last morning shoot, return to camp for breakfast, and then break camp for our 1 hour flight over dramatic mountain ranges and autumn tundra back to Mayo. We then leave Mayo for our ride back to Whitehorse, take some warm, much needed showers and go out for a celebratory dinner and drinks!

Day 9, August 29: We have planned this day as a cushion in the case our flight back from the Peel Watershed has been delayed due to bad weather, so that you don’t miss your flights home. If things go according to plan, we have a full day in Whitehorse, during which I give you a series of presentation on the artistic and technical aspects of photography, as well as highly effective processing methods. I will also be available to review your images with you, on a one to one basis as well as in a group setting. At the end of the day we enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner together with newly found friends, enriched with an incredible, once in a lifetime experience and a collection of spectacular images!

Day 10, August 30: This is the day of our departure and we will catch our flights back home at different times of the day. Those of us who do not leave in the morning will enjoy breakfast together and I will be available to assist you with your images before my departure.

 
Towering

 

Your Learning Experience:

My goal is for you to come away with great images which portray the beauty and unique nature of this incredible wilderness. I will take you to all the locations I have identified as the most promising for rewarding photography. As you photograph I will give you dedicated in the field instruction on all aspects of photography, ranging from the technical to the creative.  

Unfortunately, in such a remote location, where the potentially inclement weather and rough conditions make bringing a laptop and projector inadvisable, I will not be able to give you the artistic and technical presentations I usually do during the course of my workshops. I will send you the presentations ahead of our tour and  I will go through them with you, partly on August 20th, the day we meet, and extensively on August 29th, when we are scheduled to have a full day in Whitehorse, unless our return flight from the Peel is delayed by a day due to bad weather.

The presentations will cover aspects such as composition and the post processing work flow. The topics will include, amongst others:

• Getting the technicals right to capture the full beauty of light interacting with the landscape:

1. Exposure and exposure bracketing

2. Focus, Depth of Field and Sharpness

3. Use of filters

• Previsualization and Composition for the mountain landscape

• Developing an artistic vision

 • The digital darkroom: Highly effective postprocessing skills

What to bring: Upon your expression of  interest, I will provide you with a detailed list of photographic equipment, clothing and camping gear to bring. 

Required Fitness Level This is a true wilderness camping and hiking experience. There are no trails here and no ablution facilities.  Since we will be hiking long distances over varying terrain, you should have some hiking experience and a good fitness level. You don’t have to be an athlete, but you should not have problems hiking up to 10 km a day. The mountain weather is highly changeable and can vary from sunny, pleasant days, to snow storms!

Registration: To register, or for more information, please E-mail me at cgfischer@hotmail.com