Puffins and More Adventure with Greg Downing at St. Paul Island, Alaska - August 2012

Puffins and More Adventure

St. Paul Island, Alaska

*NOTE: These dates are for 2018 and are subject to change by a day or two. We will confirm exact dates no less than 12 months before the trip.

This exciting adventure takes us to the tiny remote island of St. Paul in Alaska's Pribilofs. Situated in the Bering Sea, St. Paul Island attracts hundreds of thousands of seabirds to nest in its vertical cliffs, and the majority of the world's population of Northern Fur Seals to bear and raise young on its shores.

Parakeet, Crested and least Auklets will be brooding young while Tufted and Horned puffins deliver fish to offspring waiting is their nest cavities – sometimes flying and landing within close range! Our timing on the island will coincide with puffins feeding their young and the best chance at capturing images of adults bringing in fish.

Tufted Puffin by Alan Murphy

Among the Auklets and Puffins are thousands of other seabirds including Northern Fulmar, Red-legged and Black-legged Kittiwake, Glaucous-winged Gull and Thick-billed and Common Murre.

Murre and Crested Auklet by Greg Downing

Ruddy Turnstone, Rock Sandpiper, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting and Winter Wren all nest on the Island as well as the St. Paul race of the Grey-crowned Rosy Finch. It’s always a treat to see – much larger than the mainland races.

Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch by Alan Murphy

During our week on the Island will have exclusive use of our own bus and professional guide. This will afford the freedom to call the shots and take advantage of every opportunity.

The focus will be on photography and flexibility in the field! Photographic opportunities range from capturing perching seabirds, set up shots with some of the songbirds and shore birds (Alan's specialty!) to free access to the seal blind to safely witness and capture images of the seals raising their young.

Horned Puffin Flight by Greg Downing

There is also a growing colony of Arctic Fox (blue phase) living on the island. On St. Paul Island, during our workshops in 2010, an active multi-family fox den provided lots of opportunities at the base of Zapadne. With no predators on the island, and little fear of humans, they are often easy to photograph from a safe distance out in the open.

Fox Kit by Greg Downing

A rare but very possible treat is one of St. Paul's herds of wild reindeer.

Wild Reindeer by Greg Downing

Why travel to St. Paul Island with Alan and Greg rather than a regular tour through St. Paul Island Tours or with another tour leader?

Alan and Greg are both expert birders and photographers and each offer their own style and unique skills when it comes to not only teaching the nuances of bird photographing but also working with people in a small group setting.

Greg and Alan will cater to your needs in a non-ego driven and approachable friendly style. They will work with you individually and as a small group to ensure you receive not only the instruction you need, but the images you desire as well.

Greg has been visiting St. Paul for over 15 years and he knows the island intimately. He and Alan can be sure your time is not wasted finding the best spots under the varying weather conditions you will encounter.

We will have EXCLUSIVE use of a bus, even though there will only be a handful of participants. If you were to try and travel to the island alone or as a smaller group you will be stuck on a bus with birders and tourists and will not be able to focus on photography.

We will have professional guide who will also be there solely for our group. This means we can go anywhere we want on the island and concentrate on photography when the light is right.

When the weather turns bad we have comfortable and casual space to download, work on images, learn about post processing from Greg and Alan or just relax.

Lapland Longspur by Alan Murphy

The island environment offers exciting challenges for even seasoned photographers to meet! The climate of St. Paul is typically cloudy with fog and strong winds, although some blue skies and sunshine are also possible.

Rock Sandpiper by Alan Murphy

Photographers of all levels willing to meet the challenges at St. Paul are encouraged to participate in this workshop for the experience and images of a lifetime!

Pricing Information

  • Price includes all instruction, round-trip air transportation from Anchorage, all ground transportation at destination, private guide and sightseeing services, and shared accommodations on the island. The lodging is very basic dormitory style and clean with a shared his and hers baths at the end of a long hall (each with 3 or 4 showers, sinks, toilets etc.) and has WiFi (when it works).  There is one general store on the island where you can get just about anything.
  • Meals and gratuities not included. Meals are roughly $50 per dayand are served cafeteria style. Suggested gratuity for local private guide is $10–$15 per day per person.
  • *Single supplements can be arranged at an additional $470 for those wanting a single room, but spots are limited.
  • *Cost for non-photographers is $4,995 and requires a separate registration and deposit.
  • ***Non-photographers require a separate registration and deposit. Please indicate “non-photographer” next to your name in the registration form.

*NOTE: These dates are for 2018 and are subject to change by a day or two. We will confirm exact dates no less than 12 months before the trip.

If you have any questions about this workshop, please contact us. Thank you for viewing this workshop.

If you would like to register for this workshop please fill out our registration form. A non-refundable deposit (listed above) is required to reserve your spot. Please refer to our workshop information section for our cancellation and refund policies.

Workshop Information
  • Dates: July 15-20, 2018 (11 openings)
                July 22-27, 2018 (9 openings)
  • Cost: $5,995
  • Deposit: $1,000
  • Participants: 12
Sign up for both workshops and save: $750
Non-photographer discount: $1000
Single Supplement: $470
The single supplement fee reflects our actual cost and is subject to availability. If you are a single traveler and we are unable to place you with a roommate, you will be placed in a single room and charged the single supplement fee.

Greg Downing

Greg Downing

Greg has been traveling the world teaching professional and amateur photographers for more than 15 years hosting his instructional workshops and seminars. Instructing photographers of all experience levels Greg has earned a reputation for his gracious and generous teaching style.

Greg’s images are known for their unique style, exacting composition and strict attention to detail. Continue reading »

Alan Murphy

Alan Murphy

Alan Murphy, an award winning photographer, grew up in England and is an avid birder. Upon immigrating to the States Alan picked up a camera and began pursuing his vision of how birds should be photographed. Alan has developed a style that is very recognizable with stunning portraits of birds on beautiful perches. Alan turned a full time professional bird photographer a few years ago and is now in demand to speak at festivals, conferences and photography clubs around the nation. Continue reading »

I cannot begin to explain what a wonderful field experience you (Greg and Alan) provided on St. Paul Island. You compliment each other very well and made the trip not just a good trip but a great trip. I know from experience each group/class takes on its own personality. You adjusted to our collective and unique needs very well. I really appreciate all of your help both in the field and with post processing. I learned a lot from you and from others in the group. I hold you both in high regards for you knowledge, willingness to share and your thoughtfulness. Thank you for great experience!
Ken Blye
Puffins and More Adventure - St. Paul Island, Alaska