"Aurora brilliantalis with Mr Bill " So if you want to have a once in a lifetime experience with a heavenly celestial being -that’s just meeting Mr Bill..... what a friendly, charming, conscientious, down to earth photographer extraordinaire chap (don’t always get that with the photography glitterati) ...... add in an extensive knowledge of finding the best spots to view the aurora, keeping you warm with tasty hot drinks and then portraiting you under the dancing lights.... then not a single dollar will be wasted on this trip - it’s spectacular. Mr Bill also switched dates for us to maximize our viewing potential because the weather wasn’t going to be our friend on our planned tour so he is the epitome of putting the customer first..... there are a lot of odds and percentages when you come to Fairbanks to see the Northern lights, Mr Bill not only pitches the odds in your favour but also helps you get the perfect shot ..... an absolute pleasure and a “must-do”...... it’s not a question if you can afford to do it, it’s more a question if you can afford not to!!! Thank you for a night we will never forget. Fiona
"Aurora Photography Workshop and beyond!!!"
I scheduled this photography workshop hoping to learn a little about my camera and take a few pictures of the Aurora. The experience I received was so much more. Mr. Bill is so personable and a real joy to be around. He is an expert on taking photography and had a wide variety of knowledge and skills. He was an excellent teacher, able to meet you where you are at with your camera. We had 4 people in our personal group and we were all on different levels with our cameras. Each person in our group got plenty of 1-on-1 time with Mr. Bill. The level of service he provides is amazing. At one point, I had to come in from the cold to thaw out. I left my camera outside. When I went back out for it, he had quietly taken my camera in for me so my battery wouldn’t die. What service! If you have no experience or a ton of experience, Mr. Bill is your guy. If you’ve ever dreamed of having your OWN pictures of the Aurora (not just that post card), Mr. Bill is your guy!!! You will not regret this experience! Also, he has equipment rentals available if you don’t have what you need and still want to go out. So, don’t let that old camera and under-performing lens be an excuse to not live your dream. A few tips: 1. Set up your workshop through Mr. Bill’s website or by calling him directly. (I used another website, next time I will call him) 2. Be flexible. Listen to Mr. Bill’s suggestions on which night is best. (He knows the Aurora and it’s forecast better than us) 3. Allow yourself several days of opportunity during your trip. (We were there for 1 week and allowed him to choose which night was best, based on Aurora activity and weather)
Bill took my family out on an experience of a lifetime. My husband and I planned our trip to Alaska with the Aurora on top of our list. We had no luck during the first two nights due to poor weather and we didn't want to leave without seeing it. That's where SkyFire In Focus Tours came in. After reading rave reviews online, I called Bill and asked if he could accommodate us. He had a busy schedule but found a way to squeeze us in. We were so grateful he did. Bill is: *Knowledgeable - He's incredibly smart and one of those guys who knows everything about everything. He spoke about topics ranging from photography, science, hunting, business, and his previous career working on the Alaska Pipeline. He knew all of the best viewing spots that weren't saturated with other Aurora chasers. *Outgoing/Conversationalist - He has a warm, inviting personality. During those moments when you're just waiting for "the painter to paint" (as he explained it), he has some very interesting stories to share. We shared a lot of laughs and it felt as if we were sitting around a campfire all night. *Personal - It didn't feel like one of those tours where you get packed in a bus and are just a number for a company/business. Being out with Bill was a personal experience that felt like we were hanging out with an old friend. He listened to what we wanted out of the tour, customized it to our needs, and delivered to our satisfaction. *A professional, A+ photographer - Great photos were important to us as we wanted to capture the moments forever. Bill is no amateur with years of photography experience and he is passionate about teaching others how to take exceptional photos. I highly recommend SkyFire In Focus Tours. If you want to experience the Aurora, you have to do it with Bill! His service is second to none and the overall night is unforgettable.
I did a tour with Bill in March and had a fantastic time. The Auroras weren’t super cooperative that night, but we were still able to get some great shots thanks to Bill setting us up for success. When the lights did appear, we were able to snap away knowing we had our cameras at their best settings. I have some nice lenses but not a wide angle, so Bill let me give his a try. The pictures I took with that lens were the best by far. I came home and bought the Nikon version of that lens right away and I’m looking forward to doing some night shooting back home in Washington. This was a bucket list item for me and I'm so glad I chose Bill's tour to fulfill it. I usually visit family in Fairbanks during the summer, and next time I’m up there I’ll be signing up for the Denali photography tour.
First of all, the procedures (booking, transportation, confirmation etc) were simple. Bill, the tour guide, was flexible enough to change the schedule to a different night (as long as your schedule allows) to maximize the chance of seeing the Aurora, and changes can be easily made and communicated thru text or a simple phone call. As for the tour, Bill brought us (3 of us + Bill) to a spot where there aren't many, if any other people so that you can focus and enjoy taking your photos of the gorgeous northern light. Our night was supposed to be cloudy, and it was, plus kind of windy and cold in late March, but after 1am it cleared out a bit and we were fortunate enough to witness and see some of the good ones. I truly learned a lot from Bill about photographing the lights and other photography experience and tips. We had a lot of fun that night sharing some experiences and jokes as well. I rent the equipment from Bill and the pictures taken from it make me looks like a pro :), and I know close to nothing about photography. I strongly recommend this tour even if you are not a photographer, as you not only can see the light but you can see it from a photographer's view. Chong
Here is only one tour you need to take in Fairbanks and it is this one! Mr Bill is a photography expert and excellent teacher! I traveled solo for the sole purpose of seeing and photographing the Northern Lights and did I ever get lucky - with both the lights and this amazing tour. He will provide you with guidance for taking the best pictures in uncrowded locations and help you understand how to really maximize your camera. While you are taking pictures, he educates you on Fairbanks and the surrounding area. Highly experienced. You just HAVE to go on this tour!
I think and hope you understood we felt you offered a highly ethical and tremendously rewarding trip up AK Hwy 2 out away from lights and other people with the stars, Big Dipper and North Star, frozen pond and winter wonderland. And then the dancing interaction of solar wind electrons, earth's magnetic field and activation of O2 and N2 with photon emission in form of Northern Lights. I had never seen before and was my 76th birthday wish. Certainly we would consider this a 5 star experience and we appreciate all you did to make it so. While nothing with respect to AK weather and aurora are certain, we understand, we appreciate all the effort and thought you expended to make it happen and record it for us.
Columbia, SC November, 2017
Professional photographer with specialized hot chocolate. I booked the Aurora trip one day before I left Fairbanks, it was my last chance and the weather for that week was not good, it was cloudy and rainy. I booked an aurora viewing lodge earlier and I couldn't see anything that's how I realized you have to chase after the aurora borealis in order to see it, and waiting at a lodge could greatly reduce the chance of seeing it. I booked with Mr. Bill, he was a really nice, helpful and talkative person. That night was freezing and I couldn't feel my fingers and toes, however Mr. Bill has been helping me to put lens on my camera and adjust everything for me, as I'm only a amateur photographer. There were four other people at the trip, we all from different countries, it was a pleasure to meet everyone. Overall I just want to say, if you want to see the aurora borealis, you should choose to stay with Mr. Bill because he will for sure try his best to bring you to the most beautiful scene. He has amazing hot chocolate, too. Thank you for everything Mr. Bill. :)
Review by Aurora Snow
Mind Blown!!! So glad I booked this tour! I did my research, compared the many Aurora/Photo tour companies in Fairbanks, and booked with Mr. Bill for 3 consecutive nights. Best Decision Ever! Here’s why… 1. I had lots of questions prior to traveling to Alaska, and Bill personally responded to my emails within a few hours. 2. Over the 3 nights, he took us to 5 different shooting locations. Each spot was secluded, quiet, and provided a different perspective. 3. I really wanted pictures of me and my hubby in front of the lights, and Mr. Bill made sure I got all the shots I wanted – he even used his own gear (far superior than mine!) and emailed me the pictures the next morning. 4. He knew my camera better than I did! He made sure I had sharp pictures and could quickly adjust my settings when Aurora got really active. 5. Our groups were SMALL – 4 to 6 people. 6. Homemade hot chocolate. Seriously the best I’ve ever had! 7. Comfy van -- roomy seats, cozy warm – a welcome refuge when I needed a break from the cold. 8. Night #2 I damaged my tripod and he had the tools to fix it for me! 9. Night #3 I accidentally broke my tripod (yes, I’m a klutz). He lent me his tripod for the rest of the night at No Charge. You’re my hero Mr Bill! 10. MY PHOTOS ARE INCREDIBLE!!! Great location, excellent instructor, and a bit of luck from lady Aurora. I'm doing the happy dance!! I am beyond thrilled with the entire experience – it was worth every penny, and I would like to come back in the summer to do the Denali photo tour with SkyFire in Focus next. Woohoo!!