Yukon's Photography Festival

Exhibition, photo contest, live streaming workshops and a photo walk.
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FLIF 2021

The Air North First Light Image Festival is back for 2021. This year’s main event will be an all-digital collection of workshops, and a keynote speech from one very special guest. This live-streaming event will be taking place on April 17th, followed by a photo walk on the 18th.

Event Sponsors


We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our incredible sponsors, without whom this festival would not be possible. Despite the challenging global situation, all of these companies continue to share the same passions that we do. We are immensely grateful for their continued participation in Yukon’s photography festival.

Keynote Speaker


We’re excited to announce that this year’s keynote will be delivered by National Geographic photographer, Kiliii Yuyan.

View his work at kiliii.com



Photographer Kiliii Yuyan uncovers the hidden stories of polar regions, wildlands and Indigenous communities. Informed by ancestry that is both Nanai (Siberian Native) and Chinese-American, he explores the the human relationship to the natural world from different cultural perspectives. Kiliii is an award-winning feature contributor to National Geographic Magazine and other publications.
Michelle Valberg

Michelle Valberg

Ottawa, ON

Michelle Valberg is a Nikon Ambassador and an award-winning wildlife photographer who has been telling stories with her camera for more than 30 years.


Simon Blakesley

Simon Blakesley

Whitehorse, YT

Simon Blakesley is an award-winning aviation photographer and former RCAF member from Whitehorse, Yukon.


Jay Gough

Jay Gough

Vancouver, BC

Jay Gough is a photography educator and former Nikon Professional Services Manager from Vancouver. 

Cathie Archbould

Cathie Archbould

Whitehorse, YT

For thirty years, Cathie Archbould has captured every angle of the North on assignment for commercial and editorial clients from all over Canada.


Schedule for Live Stream Event


For 2021 our workshops and keynotes will be live-streamed between 10 am and 5:30 pm on April 17th. For those who are able to attend this virtual session, several live Q&As have been built into the schedule where you will be able to put your questions to our guests. For those unable to attend the live session on the 17th, recordings of the workshops and keynotes will be available to ticket holders for 2 months after the event.

Event Times are Yukon Standard Time

April 17th – Morning Program


10:00am – 10:05am

Opening Statements

By Event Organizers


10:05am – 10:50am

For the Love of Wildlife

By Nikon Ambassador Michelle Valberg – Ottawa, ON

Tune in to hear from Canadian Nikon Ambassador Michelle Valberg as she talks through some of her favourites wildlife images, while offering you tips to improve yours.


11:05am – 11:35am

The Gift of Photography

By Simon Blakesley – Whitehorse, YT

Yukon based aviation photographer Simon Blakesley has a special story to share about his path into photography. After this story, Simon will be available for a live Q&A session while he walks us through some of his recent favourite aviation images.


11:45am – 1:00pm

Lunch Break

April 17th – Afternoon Program


1:00pm – 1:50pm

Pitching Photographic Stories & Projects: From Ideas to Publication

By National Geographic Photographer Kiliii Yüyan – Seattle, WA

The dream for many photographers is to be published in a major magazine. But we all begin mystified by the process of pitching. Learn how to transform an idea into a story, how to find the right people, and how to create pitches so compelling that editors will come back to you over and over to commission new work. 


2:00pm – 2:45pm

Single Light Portraiture

By Cathie Archbould – Whitehorse, YT

Whitehorse portrait photographer Cathie Archbould will stun you with what she’s able to do with a single off-camera flash. After her demonstration, Cathie will be available for a live Q&A to talk about portrait lighting.


2:50pm – 3:35pm

The Photography of Moving Things

By Jay Gough – Vancouver, BC

Sports? Wildlife? Fast-moving kids? Photographing things that move can be tough.  Vancouver-based photographer Jay Gough has some tips for masterings the basics and getting sharp photos.


4:05pm – 4:50pm

The Photographer’s Way – Creating Stunning Bodies of Work through Process and Approach

By National Geographic Photographer Kiliii Yüyan – Seattle WA

Photography begins with making single opportunistic images- a moment of good light or an interesting event. But breaking through to the next level requires more than just luck- you need process to create a powerful body of work. Learn new approaches that expand how you work, how you see, and how to unlock your artistic vision. 



Prize Draw for Ticket Holders + Closing Remarks

By Event Organizers

Every person who buys a ticket for this event on the 17th will be entered into a draw to win an Air North Flight Pass. A series of other prizes will also be drawn throughout the day.

Schedule sound good? Get your ticket below!

2021 Air North First Light Image Festival

– Ticket Options

Draw Prizes

Everyone who purchases a day pass for the April 17th streaming event will be entered into a draw for a chance to win a host of amazing prizes from our sponsors.

Prizes will be drawn throughout the day on the live stream, although it is not mandatory for you to be present on the stream. Winners will be emailed on April 18th.

Draw Prize List

  • Air North Flight Pass – One return ticket to any Air North destination in Yukon, British Columbia or Alberta.
  • Think Tank Retrospective 20 camera bag – Kindly provided by The Camera Store.
  • 2x Winterlong Brewing Co. swag bags.
  • 2x Yukon Built T-Shirts

Can’t Make the Live Stream Event?

Ticket holders will have online streaming access to the workshops and keynotes from April 19th to June 30th. A password-protected link will be sent to all ticket holders on the 19th to give you access to our on-demand video platform.

Day Pass: Workshops + Keynotes (online streaming or download)


Live stream: April 17th 2021 10am – 5:30pm MST

Replay: Available online for 2 months*


This ticket gives you complete access to our day of online streaming events on April 17th 2021.

Prior to the event, ticket holders will receive a private link via email to join the livestream using the meeting/conference platform, ZOOM.

If you can’t make it on the day, all workshops and keynotes will be available online for 2 months. Links to watch the videos online will be emailed to ticket holders on April 19th.

YAC Photo Walk With Mark Kelly


April 18th 2021 – 11am to 1pm MST

Maximum of 8 people


The Seeking Spring photo walk is kindly sponsored by the Yukon Arts Centre. Participants should meet host, Mark Kelly, at the S.S Klondike Historical Site at 11am on April 18th. The walk will conclude at Shipyards Park at 1pm.

Pan Northern Photo Exhibition


Yukon Arts Centre

April 14th-30th 2021 – 9am to 5pm MST


This year we are proud to be partnering with the Far North Photo Festival from Yellowknife, to bring the curated photography exhibit from their 2020 event, over to Whitehorse for display at the Yukon Arts Centre.

The exhibit features documentary photographers from each of the circumpolar nations, as well as photographers from Canada’s northern territories of NWT, Yukon, and Nunavut.

View the exhibition, for free, at the Yukon Arts Centre, April 14th to 31st.

* The live Q&A sessions that are taking place with some of our speakers will only be available to those who are watching and participating in the live stream and live chat.

Photo Contest – $6000 In Prizes!

The annual FLIF Photo Contest is back for 2021, and our prize bucket is full of incredible things from our fantastic sponsors. For your chance to win an Air North Flight Pass, a Nikon Z50 camera kit, a Pansonic G9 camera kit and much more, click the button below for all the details.

We are immensely proud of the prize packages for this contest. They easily stack up against the biggest photo contests in the world!

Meet The Organizers

This festival would not be possible without the volunteers who make up the Writing With Light Society’s board of directors.

Dan Carr

Dan Carr

Dan is an outdoor and adventure photography specialist based in Whitehorse. His commercial work has been used by brands such as Apple, Nike, Adobe, Canon and Red Bull. Dan is the current President of the Writing With Light Society.

Find Dan’s work at https://dancarrpphotography.com and his blog at https://shuttermuse.com

Mark Kelly

Mark Kelly

Mark Kelly is an award-winning photographer based in Whitehorse. He received a Kodak Instamatic 110 camera on his 8th birthday and has not stopped clicking since. His passion for photography has led him around the world to photograph inspiring people and places.

Find Mark’s work at https://www.depthoffield.ca/

Atsushi Sugimoto

Atsushi Sugimoto

Atsushi was born and raised in Japan, has always been fascinated by the North since early, started traveling to the northern places with camera, then moved to the Yukon in 2011, won the grand prize of First Light Image Festival Photo Contest in 2019.

Find Atsushi’s Work at https://www.apl-as.com

Jason Wolsky

Jason Wolsky

With a background in emergency response and technical rescue instructor, Jason is drawn to capture people in industrial or work environments. With a commercial pilots licence, he is also currently working towards getting an advanced drone licence.

Find Jason’s work at https://jasonwolsky.com/

Alistair Maitland

Alistair Maitland

Alistair is a photographer/videographer based in Whitehorse, Yukon. A photojournalist at heart, he prefers creating visual stories for his corporate, government and private clients in the North.

Find Alistair’s work at https://www.alistairmaitland.com/