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“Superb Way to Experience the Auroras” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Aurora Chasers by Ronn & Marketa Murray

The Aurora Chasers by Ronn & Marketa Murray
Ranked #2 of 51 Tours in Fairbanks
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Witnessing Alaska's Northern Lights is an incredible and often once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make the most of it. Come along on an unforgettable journey with Alaska's Northern Lights Specialists, The Aurora Chasers™ as we teach you all you need to know about Alaska's Northern Lights and capturing their majestic beauty in your own captivating images. Do more than take a tour, take a life changing journey with the folks that live, breath and sleep the Northern Lights and come home with the amazing keepsake images that you'll treasure for a lifetime.
Vail, Colorado
Level Contributor
137 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“Superb Way to Experience the Auroras”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2014

This was one of the most fun and cool adventures I've ever done, and I've done some pretty epic adventures all over the world! For starters, it's intimate (max 8 people) and Ronn and Marketa are locals that will take you to their secret spots in the wilderness and avoid the popular viewing spots that the more commercial group tour places go.

If you are a budding photographer or just want to learn how to take decent pictures with that decent camera you bought for capturing memories, this is so much the way to go. They will help you with all the education you need to set your camera optimally for Auroras and the conditions of the night that you are out and you'll also learn basics that you can use in other applications. They also give a wonderful talk about the science of the Auroras that is really informative and interesting. Also you can very affordably rent any and all equipment from their referral camera shop and Ronn also rents tripods. If I go back, I will actually rent a high end camera and lens (I rented just an Aurora lens by Ronn's recommendation on this trip) and save myself the hassle of hauling my camera. Plus I'll be able to rent a much higher end camera than I own and the rental fees were extremely reasonable. I was pretty much a total newbie to a manual camera and thanks to Ronn I took away some amazing photos on both nights and now have a decent basic understanding of my camera and photography.

If you are not a photographer or are with friends who are, no worries. You can go hiking in the quiet Alaskan forest if you want (which is awesome!), or hang out in the warmth of the Mercedes Sprinter van while you wait for the Auroras to come out. I will definitely go out with them again if I go back to Fairbanks.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Nemophilist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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SF
Level Contributor
47 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Excellent Top of the Line Fairbanks Aurora Excursion Even if You Aren't a Photographer”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 April 2014

I added Ronn's aurora photography excursion as a fourth viewing trip to append to the end of an itinerary in Fairbanks arranged by First Alaska Tours. I am a novice photographer with an entry level Canon t4i, and I wanted to add a photography-centered excursion to the three other standard one-night Fairbanks excursions I had booked (at Chena Hot Springs, at Chandalar, and a dinner/viewing excursion at a dogsled musher's cabin). While each of these excursions were enjoyable, I think that Ronn's tour is a MUST if you are lugging your DSLR camera and tripod up to Fairbanks intent on capturing the aurora in photos. Having said that, my three travel companions for this trip came along on this tour, even though they weren't taking DSLR pictures, and they loved it as much as I did.

Ronn's tour has the following differences with other tours we went on in Fairbanks during our stay.

1. Ronn give the guests step by step instruction on how to set up your camera before you get out into the field to enable you to capture the best pictures of the aurora, including f-stop, ISO, exposure time, noise reduction, metering. All this is done with clear and concise descriptions and instructions tailored for the exact camera type and model of your camera (of which you inform Ronn before your arrival). They also suggest some principles of composition to help you create the best picture of the aurora. They check up on you constantly once you are set up and help you through it if you have any questions.

2. While waiting in the van for the aurora to start, Ronn and his wife Marketa also give a very easy to understand presentation on the science behind the aurora, and also show the tools and analysis they use to predict when the aurora will show up. Very interesting and not something I heard on other aurora tours.

3. Ronn takes the van to a spot that away from the crowds but with fantastic views. On our night, our group of 8 had a north facing meadow surrounded by trees above the valley floor all to ourselves. At other tours to lodges, etc. there are lots of folks taking pictures and standing around, making it difficult sometimes to get the picture composition you want easily.onn uses his knowledge of Fairbanks and experience as a photographer to find a fitting spot based on the customer's traits (eg. desires, mobility).

4. Ronn and Marketa are also photographers with an enthusiasm for photography and aurora watching. Their enthusiasm is infectious and when the aurora shows up, they are just as excited as the people on the tour. R

5. Ronn and Marketa take their own cameras on the trip and use their top notch cameras to capture a picture of you with the aurora in the background - a priceless keepsake reminder of your Alaska aurora vacation.

6. Ronn and Marketa are far from the robotic guides you sometimes may encounter on these type of day-trip tourist excursions. They are warm, friendly, enthusiastic and fun to be around. Great qualities for guides making sleep deprived tourists enjoy traipsing in the freezing dark night hoping to see and/or photograph a phenomenon that might not even show up! It is clear that they are concerned with the safety and comfort of their guests, love doing their job and creating beautiful photographs.

7. Ronn's van was top notch, much more spacious and comfortable than the other vans we had been in for prior excursions that week.

If you are new to DSLR cameras or unfamiliar with nightime/aurora photography, but want to take DSLR pictures of the aurora, and want to take full advantage of the features of the camera that you are lugging up with you to Alaska, do yourself a favor and make sure you spend at least one of your nights in Fairbanks on an aurora trip with Ronn. Even if you aren't a photographer but just want to get a more personal aurora tour, Ronn's tour will not disappoint! My three travel companions had a blast, described it as their best aurora tour experience on the trip, and none of them had a camera!

http://www.ronnmurrayphoto.com/NorthernLightsTours/TourOptions

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank CT94010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fairfield, Ohio
1 review
“Top choice for Northern Lights in Fairbanks”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 April 2014 via mobile

Went with several companies to photograph the Northern Lights during a week stay in Fairbanks at end of March and Ronn was the best.

After the daylight savings time change, the lights come one hour later than the rest of the season. Ronn's group was the only company to adjust for this, other groups insisted on going back at 2am, even as the lights were starting to dance, which was frustrating. Ronn is there for the photography, keep that in mind if that is your intent, will help you with the settings to get quality photos. Would also recommend him for those without a camera or a phone camera that won't be able to pick up the aurora, since he will take a couple of photos of you with the lights and email them to you. Look on his Facebook page if you want a preview of the kind of photo you would be getting.

Had a great experience with them both nights, would be my top choice of the companies in Fairbanks.

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Thank Danwarnold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Best way to see Northern Lights in Fairbanks”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2014

Emailed Ronn and arranged a trip to the dog Mushers cabin, a warm and comfortable place with a large window to see the skyline from inside. The toilet is an outhouse a short walk from the cabin. There is a real-time aurora cam there, so you can monitor the view from a computer to know when the aurora shows up and hurry outside. It's up a mountain, 2600 feet elevation or so, 45 minutes drive from Fairbanks where Ronn picks you up at your hotel in his comfortable van. There are a maximum of 8 clients who can fit in the van, so that's the max size of the group.

Upon arrival at the cabin, we were treated to some warm drinks and snacks. Ronn and Marketa gave a very informative and scientific presentation about the Northern Lights, including how and why they occur and all the methods people are using to track, monitor, and predict the aurora activity.

He also went through the camera operation and settings, when we had rented from Alaska Camera. Very thorough about focus, aperture, shutter speed. You need a DSLR with tripod, and not iphone, ipad, or point and shoot to take aurora pictures. We shot with 14 mm lens, aperature priority, f2.8, with a 2 second self timer (to eliminate camera movement).

When the aurora was visible we all headed outside. There are gloves, boots, and parkas and coats at the cabin to supplement your own clothes if necessary. Ronn and Marketa reviews our camera settings out in the field and helped to focus and tape the camera lens to ensure it wouldn't move.

While outside, Ronn set up his camera to take pictures of everyone with the aurora in the background. He does an excellent job, clicking the shutter, running off at an angle to click a flashlight flash, to produce a great picture to show off to your friends.

We also took many photos of the aurora ourselves. After about an hour, the aurora died down, and Ronn provided large zip lock bags, which you put your camera in, before bringing it inside to prevent condensation.

We left the cabin around 2:45 am and were dropped back off at our respective hotels. Would recommend you book multiple nights to see the aurora because it doesn't come out every night, some nights are better than others, and you'll want to increase your chances of seeing a big display.

An amazing journey for sure, and would recommend Ronn and Marketa for a very professional experience.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank IntrepidFeline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NSW
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Best way to see the aurora”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2014

I was given great instruction to take great photos (all of us on the tour did not know a lot about our DSLR's and it made no difference). They honestly cared about how my photos were turning out as well as taking portraits in front of the aurora. Their knowledge and passion really shine through.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank kateontheroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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