Photographer Profile: Carl Johnson

Photographer Profile: Carl Johnson

Jökulsárlón, Iceland. A long-term project capturing the Arctic landscape in all circumpolar countries. It was late morning light in mid-summer, so I used a Polarizing filter to reduce the harshness of the light. There were some technical challenges in capturing a steady shot, as the image was captured from a boat transiting back to shore. Nikon D800E, Nikkor 24-70 AFS lens, handheld.

Photographer: Carl Johnson

Studio Name: Arctic Light Gallery & Excursions

Part-Time Professional Photographer

Photographic Specialties:

  • Landscape
  • Wildlife
  • Travel
  • Macro


Carl Johnson started his photography career in the U.S. Navy. He has served as artist-in-residence for Gates of the Arctic National Park, Badlands National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. He was the “Environmental Issues” winner for the 2010 Windland Smith Rice International Awards. He has worked as an instructor/lecturer for Tony Robbins, Princess Cruise Lines, and remote lodges in Alaska. Carl’s book, Where Water is Gold (Braided River 2016), has earned a Gold Medal in the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards and a Silver Medal in the 2016 Nautilus Book Awards.



Photographer Profile: Carl Johnson

Kaktovik Lagoon, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. The main challenge is the physical challenge of photographing handheld with a long lens from a boat. I make the process easier by using a custom-made rifle stock mount for my lens, which makes holding for long periods of time and creating stable images much easier. Nikon D700, Nikkor 200-400 f/4 VR lens, handheld. Exposure: ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1000.

Photographer Profile: Carl Johnson

Brooks Range, Dalton Highway, Alaska. The photo was taken during one of my Brooks Range Aurora and Autumn Landscape photo workshops. Photographing the aurora can be challenging, especially when it is active. You need to keep adjusting your settings in order to match the brightness and movement of the aurora. Nikon D800E, Nikkor 24-70 AFS lens, Gitzo 6x tripod, Arca Swiss ballhead. Exposure: ISO 1600, f.2.8, 4 seconds.

Photographer Profile: Carl Johnson

Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska. Project: Exploring the Bristol Bay region of Alaska which culminated in the book, “Where Water is Gold: Life and Livelihood in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.” This is the cover photo for the book. No real technical challenges. Aerial photography is relatively straightforward. The main challenges that arise are dirty or concave windows in fixed-wing aircraft and the sometimes bumpy conditions that sometimes make aerial photography challenging. Nikon D800E, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 AFS lens, handheld. ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1250.

Photographer Profile: Carl Johnson

Chugach State Park, Anchorage, Alaska. The photo was taken while I was guiding a client, Doug Gardner, for his PBS show, “Wild Photo Adventures.” It took eleven years to capture this photo. I had been photographing moose in this area of the hillside above Anchorage for over a decade, and I early envisioned capturing an image of a large bull moose in the foreground with the Anchorage downtown skyline in the background. I was finally in the right place at the right time. ISO 400, f/16, 1/40.

Photographer Profile: Carl Johnson

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, Alaska. Long-term project documenting the Brooks Range of Alaska. The key challenges were logistical, as the only way to access this location in the wintertime is by plane. In this case, I used a plane to get to our base camp and then a dog team to get to this location. Nikon D300, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 AFS lens, handheld. ISO 400, f/16, 1/250.