Yukon Photo Adventure

A Sampling of What Participants Have To Say

The Yukon offers a compelling setting for landscape and wildlife photography. We drove 2,100 miles in 10 days in this lovely, remote Canadian territory. The air is crisp and clean, and autumn colors were on full display during our late August trip. We were fortunate to experience good weather, and exciting images presented themselves around every bend in the Dempster and Top of the World highways. Photographing the Northern Lights at 2am in Dawson City or grizzly bears fishing for salmon in the Chilkoot River are among the highlights of this trip. Les Picker prepares his photo adventures carefully, scouting out opportunities and local contacts before his clients arrive. Thus opportunities to be able to photograph in the right places at the right times are maximized. He prioritizes our photography over his own, and continually serves as a helpful, professional resource, thereby enhancing everyone’s photographic outcomes. If you are looking for a fun, photographically satisfying wilderness experience, travel with Les to the Yukon. Chris Cluett, Yukon Photo Adventure, 2016

Having a lifetime of photography, I didn’t know how much I would benefit from the Yukon Photography Adventure. There were many things I learned on the trip to enhance my photo technique and understanding.

The experience of seeing the Northern Lights, traveling beyond the Arctic Circle and photographing our first grizzly bear and two cubs, the fabulous landscapes along the Dempster Highway, watching the beavers on their pond, and Haines, Alaska to photograph bald eagles and more grizzly bears made this experience quite extraordinary.

The four of us got along so remarkably well and the companionship, which I hope endures, made the expedition that much more enjoyable. It has taken two months of reflecting back on this experience and describing it to friends, family and patients to begin to fully appreciate how fortunate I was. Les, you did a great job of organizing and arranging for every possible photographic experience. We were on the move all the time so we could see as much of Yukon as possible.

As you know, I was in Acadia National Park five weeks after the Yukon workshop. I went on four personal photo shoots and found myself constantly thinking about and implementing so many of the things I learned with you. Thanks again. Leon Katz, DDS, Yukon Photo Adventure, 2016

If you are interested in photographing the Yukon, you will find Les Picker to be an excellent guide to the territory and superb photographic counselor. Les has visited the Yukon several times and experienced all seasons. He has invested the time to learn the geography, history, culture, and people. He has a roadmap in his mind that leads to the most promising photographic opportunities. As a photographic counselor, he provides guidance on “seeing the picture” as well as how to capture it with the equipment at hand. He brings a point of view, but encourages each person to develop their own perspective and priorities. The Yukon offers spectacular scenery, wildlife, and flora. It is “big” space so expect time traveling, but the rewards are there. Les always has a plan and a back-up plan in the quest to find dramatic photo opportunities. Tom Wilson, Yukon Photo Adventure, 2015

The Yukon is a huge area with with amazing variety. The population is less then small which leaves an unspoiled world of opportunities for wonderful photography. Traveling this area with Les Picker is a chance to truly see the Yukon through the eyes of someone that loves this area and wants to share that love with any willing group. There are lots of beautiful places in this world but the Yukon is an unspoiled uninhabited wonderland. Make sure it’s on your list! Norm Arnold, Yukon Photo Adventure, 2015

In late August and early September, 2015, I spent 10 days in the Yukon with photographer Lester Picker. It’s grand, expansive wilderness, legendary wildlife, and mythologized history from Klondike gold rush days have always intrigued me. Les has been there many times, and I jumped at the opportunity to gain from not only his deep photographic knowledge but also his intimate familiarity with the area. It was uncharacteristically cold (and snowy) which provided spectacular scenery as winter overlaid on the brilliant fall foliage. Top of the world Highway and Dempster Highway provided continuous photographic opportunities. Les was invaluable in helping me, a relatively new photographer, shoot some beautiful landscape scenes. The same was true for the wildlife, especially when we came upon a grizzly bear only a few feet away when we were headed to the Arctic circle. By changing aperture settings I came away with a spectacular shot.   We pressed on to the Arctic Circle, the cold weather lending a very satisfying aura to the experience. It also created challenges for photography which Les helped us problem solve so we have proof we made it! Except for the cars and buses, Dawson City seemed untouched from gold rush days. The old building facades and wooden sidewalks made excellent historical material for photographs, including the bank where Jack London worked. Traveling south through Haines Alaska provided another opportunity for grizzly photos, and plenty of them. We had one good night to try to catch the Northern Lights. Again Les gave expert instruction in long exposure settings, energizing us to make the effort at 2 A.M.   The great thing about Les is his patience with those of us learning the basics as well as fine tuning the approach of those more experienced. It was a fabulous trip in every way. Scott E. Brown, M.D., Chief, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, Yukon Photo Adventure, 2015

I had the extraordinary opportunity to travel and shoot photos with Les Picker on one of his photo adventures in The Yukon. Not only did I learn more in that week then I probably learned in the last year, but we had a ton of fun as well. Les is a talented photographer, a knowledgeable and patient teacher (which not all photographers are), and quite a jokester. He knew exactly where to take us for great shots – that weren’t all the trite spots where all the tourists collected. One morning we were up at dawn for yet another sunrise photo opportunity. I was tired and complaining, but knew it would be worth it. We trudged about a half mile through the woods to where we came upon a clearing by a lake that produced “The Shot” of the trip for me. I’m already planning my next trip with Les. Highly recommended! Bill Cates, Author and Business Consultant, Yukon Photo Adventure, 2014

As a budding amateur photographer I had the great pleasure of going to the Yukon with a terrific photographer/guide, Les Picker. It was very evident that he has a deep knowledge of the area and nature in general. The vistas were breathtaking and the wildlife amazing. I got shots of grizzly bears that I could of only have dreamed of. Les’ patient instruction in composition, the use of light and the technical aspects of photography were invaluable. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Sherif Osman, MD, Medical Director, Center for Wound Care, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, Yukon Photo Adventure, 2015

My favorite photographic vacation ever, was to the Amazon, Galapagos and Machu Picchu with Les Picker. There were photographic opportunities at every turn as well as expert instruction/advice. Then I went to the Yukon Territory on another adventure with him. The beauty of that area is beyond description! It was a photographic explosion of colors, and with his assistance, many of my images are near professional quality.

Each time I have traveled with a group Les has organized, the latest trip becomes my favorite. He arranges the best accommodations the area has to offer and his organizing ability is amazing, down to the tiniest detail.

Thank you, Les Picker for allowing me to experience not one, but TWO trips of a lifetime! Ruth B. Elkins, Sacramento CA

My friend and travel companion told me I had to take this trip with Les Picker to the Yukon. She told me it would be a trip like no other. It was 600 miles of dirt road going to the arctic circle - it was 35 miles down the Pelly River in an aluminum “fishing” boat to the confluence of the Pelly and Yukon Rivers - visiting Fort Selkirk - dating from the Klondike gold rush - abandoned in the 1950’s. It was either the boat or hiking how many miles? It was standing within 100 feet of grizzly bears fishing for spawning salmon - and them catching their limit every day. It was a trip like no other.

It was “billed” as a photographic journey through the Yukon. Les knew of almost every photo op along the way - my travel companion with her hi-end digital camera and lenses - me with my iPhone. Les was there with advice and instructional tips for both of us when we need it - thanks Les. Helping my travel companion with f-stop, aperture, exposure. Helping with framing and videography. Next time I’ll bring the big guns.

We had the best food available, the best accommodations available - and the biggest cinnamon roll extant. Would I travel with him again? See you in Africa… Ray Seamans, California

I thoroughly enjoyed the Yukon Territory photo tour with Les Picker.

Highlights: • Les has done this tour many times and knows the Yukon, its history, and its people very well. • The tour participants consisted of Les and three photographers. • Everything was well arranged and planned out. • Les is a very knowledgeable photographer and ready to give help and guidance. • The lodging accommodations were very comfortable. • The travel, though extensive, were quite comfortable. • We had an exclusive afternoon tour photographing the abandoned Fort Selkirk; only accessible via boat ride up the Yukon River. • I came home with lots of good pictures and a couple of great ones.

I highly recommend this tour. Kevin Duncan, Washington, D.C.