Photo Tours Main Page - kevinmcneal

Upcoming Photo Tours 2017-2018

South Carolina, Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

March 22 - 26, 2018

The South Carolina workshop is going to be an experience you don't want to miss. Join Kevin McNeal and Tina Arnold on a photo adventure that takes the slow road through the low country of South Carolina and features the a history-soaked beauty of Charleston, South Carolina. In Charleston, explore the beauty of historical antebellum homes with hidden garden courtyards. Stroll along a garden path at Magnolia Gardens, voted America’s most romantic garden. Wake up early to enjoy a private sunrise cruise to Boneyard Beach, which boasts a forest stranded in the surf and is described as a living Dali painting. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the “Edge of America” at Folly Beach fishing pier. Just south of Charleston, a drive through the low country includes a quick sojourn to one of the most appealing cities in the south; Beaufort, South Carolina. At sunset the Sheldon Church ruins boast a dramatic backdrop of magnificent stone pillars frame by dramatic oak trees while into the evening the view from inside the church looking up brings dramatic views of the night sky and unique light-painting opportunities.

The South Carolina, Charleston workshop is part of Northern Straits Photo Tours for more info or to register you can click on the link below

Aurora and Aspens - Banff/Kananaskis Alberta 2017

September 16th  - September 20th 

Experience... the majesty of the Canadian Rockies in Autumn... The Canadian Rockies in autumn is a photographer’s paradise—there is no shortage of dazzling scenic vistas. Picturesque emerald green lakes laced with red, yellow and gold shrubs reflect glistening glaciers and snow-capped peaks. Groves of Larch and Aspen create checkerboard patterns of green and gold that add colour to the granite mountain slopes. Scenic meadows of deep gold, red and burgundy frame the meandering Bow River Valley and it’s abundant wildlife. The “Autumn in Banff and Kananaskis” workshop takes you to the best that the Canadian Rockies has to offer; early morning sunrises featuring azure blue lakes framed by golden larch trees, the deep-red alpenglow lighting the sky at sunset, the astro night sky over the mountains back-lit by the Northern Lights. Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, Banff became Kevin' McNeal's backyard playground. He has photographed extensively in the Banff and Kananaskis areas and will guide workshop participants to majestic locations that will inspire even the most discerning photographer.

 Banff/Kananaskis workshop is part of Northern Straits Photo Tours for more info or to register you can click on the link below

Yosemite In Autumn

Photo Slideshow

October 29th - November 4th 2017

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Kevin Mcneal's 2016 Yosemite Trip Report

No other photo location in North America can generate as powerful an image of soaring granite monoliths and spectacular glacially-carved valleys than Yosemite National Park. More than any other landscape, Yosemite is the setting that defines the Sierra Nevada and, in a broader context, stands as a geographical icon for the American West. Within the park, the names of its prominent features—El Capitan and Half Dome—not only immediately evoke the legendary presence of John Muir and Ansel Adams, but also embody the quintessential symbols of the American wilderness. Autumn in Yosemite is a season of welcome transition. Summer crowds diminish, returning clouds add drama to crisp blue skies, and the mad rush of waterfalls and cascades has stilled, now in wait for early winter rains. The sunlight, harsh in summer, lies at a lower angle, painting the park’s iconic formations with a softer, mellower light. Temperatures are generally mild with sunny days and cold nights, yet in this season anything is possible—dramatic storm clouds gathering for a sudden rain, rolling low-lying tendrils of morning fog, a layer of frost on the fall-cured grasses of Yosemite’s great meadows, or an early snowfall to highlight autumn leaves. The fall is the best time of year for creating “reflectionscapes.” The Merced River flows at a gentler pace and autumn-hued foliage and granite monoliths are framed in the mirror-like waters. Cottonwoods flash a golden stroke of color along river banks. Leaf color in Yosemite has a subdued palette and is at the whim of moisture, light and weather. The rose reds of dogwoods and the yellow hues of black oak and bigleaf maple can highlight dark green groves of conifers or soaring gray walls. Our daily schedule revolves around the light, weather and color. We are out early to catch the fingers of swirling mist in the valley—conditions that can promise a spectacular image. The quiet waters and the always photogenic grand vistas of Yosemite Valley keep us busy until golden sunset light falls on El Capitan. We have time to compose diverse images from wide-angle landscapes with fall color to intimate scenes in still corners. Abstract compositions of rock, leaf and grasses present unique possibilities as textures and colors spring to life in the low light. By the end of the week the waxing moon culminates in a full moon, an especially magical event in Yosemite. At moonrise, a luminous silvery light washes over the granite peaks to transform the valley—and the image of a full moon rising over Half Dome is a good possibility. The towering rock walls that form the bones of Yosemite’s spectacular valley are at their finest in warm autumn light. The swiftly changeable fall weather adds an element of potential dramatic photography as clouds, mist and a possible early snowfall offer options for new photographic subjects and locations. From grand vistas to quiet reflections, from colossal crags to the delicate reds of dogwood leaves, and from expansive meadows to a moonlit nighttime sky, Yosemite in autumn is a never-ending source of inspiration.

Aurora Borealis, Fairbanks, Alaska

March 10, 2018 - March 17, 2018

Leaders: Kevin McNeal  &  Eric Rock

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Check out Kevin McNeal and Stuart Westmorland's trip report from our 2016 aurora borealis photo tour


Photograph the awesome aurora borealis from Fairbanks, Alaska’s famous Chena Hot Springs Resort—one of the world’s top aurora viewing locations Trip timed for peak aurora activity Shoot spectacular colorfully-lit ice sculptures during the World Ice Art Championships Outstanding action photography at the Limited North American Championship Sled Dog Races

   They are nature’s light show. The northern lights rank at the very top of the night sky’s most awe-inspiring phenomena that can easily be observed with the “naked eye.” And, in 2016, the flickering curtains of dancing light known as aurora borealis continue to be the most vibrant and spectacular since the 1950s! As the sun sustains its strong cycle of sunspots and solar flares, the Earth will be hit with extraordinary levels of magnetic energy from huge solar storms. And March is predicted to be a peak month for aurora activity. These magical lights are just one feature of the surprising week of photography we’ve planned in Fairbanks, Alaska. "The trip to Alaska for the northern lights, the ice sculptures and the dog sled races was excellent. We got some really nice images. The logistics on this trip were prefect—it was well organized and we had fun. An additional benefit of these trips is meeting some good people and making new and lasting friendships." - L. Cooper The diverse photography of this adventure “focuses” not only on Alaska’s spectacular and colorful night sky, but also the exciting daytime activities that coincide with the dates of the tour—the action-packed Limited North American Championship Sled Dog Races and the World Ice Art Championships that engross Fairbanks in March. The aurora borealis has both fascinated and terrified humans for millennia. The aurora is probably the progenitor of dragon mythology in China and Europe, a supernatural omen prophesying war, doom and destruction as the heavens “turned red with blood.” For northern peoples living under the “aurora belt,” the northern lights have been incorporated into their stories and legends of creation, death, and even celestial sports. In the past, photography of aurora borealis was a difficult proposition. Exposure calculations of light intensity, and lengthy shutter speeds using film, were usually hit-or-miss—and a night of shooting could have been lost by a simple mistake. Now, in the digital age, with relative ease we can take a few test shots to check exposure and set our ISO, aperture and shutter speed accordingly. And the results can be spectacular! Shoots in Fairbanks correspond with the winter sled dog races and ice sculpture championships. During the day we allocate time along the dog team racecourse, capturing action images of the teams, sleds and “mushers” as they run through photogenic birch and aspen woodlands during 8-dog, 6-dog and 4-dog competitions. In the evening we head out to photograph the intricate large-scale ice sculptures created during the famous Fairbanks World Ice Art Championships. Just at dark and thereafter, the numerous carvings are lit with a variety of colored lights that radiate a photogenic internal glow. Then, as the sky fully darkens, with a clear sky, we concentrate on photographing the aurora. We travel 60 miles from Fairbanks to the acclaimed Chena Hot Springs Resort. Chena Hot Springs is world renowned as one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights. The resort is located directly under one of the world’s most active regions of magnetic fields producing aurora borealis. It is away from the light pollution of cities, and the skies over Chena are clear more often than those over Fairbanks. As we approach the vernal equinox auroras are typically the strongest. Prior to the nighttime aurora shoots, we spend a portion of our days photographing iconic snowy winter landscapes or relaxing at the resort before our late night photography sessions. Join us in Fairbanks in March! This exciting winter photo shoot will produce a wonderful variety of unusual images to please just about any outdoor photographer!