Backpacking and Trekking Poles

January 10th, 2016 by
trekking poles for use hiking on on steep terrain Arrigetch Peaks, gates of the arctic National park Alaska

You can see why hiking poles are so handy on this terrain in Alaska. Often no to very little trail, and it can be steep, slippery, rocky, wet, or all of the above.

Hey Folks,

I’ve written on the topic of trekking poles a few times in the past. Here also. Every year I receive a lot of questions about the use of trekking poles in Alaska. Nothing’s changed. Use them.

The image above illustrates how useful they can be. Backpacking up or down steep terrain like this, often on very little or no trail, with a heavy pack on your back is challenging. Surprisingly, harder still, for most folks, is hiking across the side of a hill like this. Having that pole on your side to lean in to the hill is a big help.

A lot of folks hiking in the lower 48 don’t use them, and I understand that, for sure. The trail systems there are (generally) so good that I don’t think trekking poles hold quite the same benefit there, even though still useful. Up here, however, it’s a different matter (so I now provide trekking poles for all backcountry trips if you don’t have them or don’t want to deal with packing yours up here). …. Read the rest of this entry » »

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Have a great new years’, folks!

December 31st, 2015 by
A large male polar bear walks across the ice of the frozen Beaufort Sea in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

A large male polar bear walks across the ice of the frozen Beaufort Sea, silhouetted against a deep red sunrise in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Hey All

From here in Alaska, Expeditions Alaska is wishing you a wonderful evening for New Years’ Eve and all the very best for the coming year!

Cheers

Carl

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Favorite photos for 2015

December 21st, 2015 by

Hey Folks,

So, for my participation in Jim Goldstein’s annual photos of the year presentation, I thought I’d roll along with some of my personal favorites.

The northern lights were fantastic all year, and we had some great opportunities on our trips. Way too much fun shooting these all night long. The great grizzly bears or brown bears of Katmai never ease to amaze, and we had some excellent trips there. Polar bears are always a treat to photograph, as were the bald eagles of Haines and the backcountry trips to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park are always special.

And this year, I came closer than ever to photographing a wolverine. Way, way way too close! Maybe next year. :)

So, without further ado, here are some images from this year …. Read the rest of this entry » »

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Image of the Month, Dec 2015; Bald Eagle on Chilkat River

December 1st, 2015 by
A mature bald eagle flies right by the camera, wings spread wide as he focuses on the fish in front of him.

A mature bald eagle flies right by the camera, wings spread wide as he focuses on the fish in front of him. Click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s the final Image of the Month for 2015. a bald eagle from the Chilkat River, near Haines last week. Fun times down there, with a mix of weather, but some good shooting opportunities along the way. The eagles were a little farther out than we’d like them to be, but with a little patience, we’d get a nice photo opp come our way. This is one of my favorites from the trip.

Enjoy!

Cheers

Carl

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Brown Bears of the Alaska Coast

November 10th, 2015 by
A brown bear sow nurses her year old cub (one of 2) on the sedge grass flats at Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

A brown bear sow nurses her year old cub (one of 2) on the sedge grass flats at Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s an image taken this past summer at Hallo Bay, in Katmai National Park. The sow has 2 cubs, and this one was just finishing nursing from her when I made this photo. The other sibling, a male, had taken his fill already and wandered over to a nearby wood pile to explore and climb around on. There’s always plenty of action at Hallo Bay.

Brown bears will nurse for as long as 2 years, and some even longer. It’s an amazing experience to be so close to, and hear the growling and purring and moaning and all the little noises they make. I once watched 4 cubs nurse at once from their mother, and it was a symphony of different sounds coming from a tangled mess of fur. Pretty cute.

I can’t think of an animal I enjoy photographing as much as bears, be they brown, black, white or other. The grizzlies of interior Alaska, the polar bears of the arctic, the black bears of the forest and lush coastal areas, are just an amazing animal to photograph. They’re often super tolerant of us, and all our frenetic clicking and gasps of excitement over what to them is, I’m sure, often very benign daily behaviors.

Next year I’ll be at Hallo Bay in early August, running the Alaska Brown Bears and Coastal Wildlife Tour in conjunction with Greg Downing and his awesome photography instruction company, Naturescapes. Greg’s an incredible photographer, and I’m really looking forward to working with him once again.

In case you didn’t see it, here’s a video of some incredible action from the year’s tour.

 

If you’re interested in coming out next summer, hit me or Greg up and have a chat. Katmai’s always a blast and you’re never quite sure what surprises it holds.

Cheers

Carl

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Images of the month Fall, 2015

November 2nd, 2015 by

hey Folks,

Whoops sorry about this. I haven’t posted in a while. Things were pretty hectic since July, and I’ve now got a little bit of down time so I’ll try to make up for that. Instead of posting an Image of the Month for November, I’ll upload a handful of photos, one for August – Nov. So, without further adieu

Image of the Month August 2015 – Chitistone Canyon, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park

Part of the Goat Trail hike, the view down Chitistone Canyon, in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Part of the Goat Trail hike, the view down Chitistone Canyon, in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click the image above to view the full size version of this photo.

…. Read the rest of this entry » »

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Image of the Month, July 2015 – brown bear on whale carcass

July 19th, 2015 by
An adult brown bear feeds on top of a floating whale carcass off the coast of Katmai National Park, Alaska.

An adult brown bear feeds on top of a floating whale carcass off the coast of Katmai National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks

Just back from a great brown bear photo tour to Katmai National Park with some fun folks, where we got to witness some fantastic brown bear viewing and photography opportunities. Absolutely awesome!

This one is from our 2nd last day, where we found a brown bear (or group of brown bears) feeding on a whale carcass. Here, at high tide, the carcass was floating in the bay, and the bears would swim out one at a time (typically) to feed. Often crawling up on top of the carcass made for some fun photo opportunities, which we all made the most of. Good times!

I have the following days set for this tour

  1. 2016; July 31 – Aug 6
  2. 2017: Aug 1 – 7

Let me know if you are interesting in a trip next year

Cheers

Carl

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Backpacking season is here again

June 13th, 2015 by
Backpackers traversing a snow-covered alpine pass in Alaska.

Guess where this was taken, the route and the valley, and win yourself a cap. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Just a quick one to say “Let the Games begin!”.

Backpacking season is upon us again, so soon. I’m definitely looking forward to time in these mountains again, it’s always a blast.

And just to liven things up; anyone who knows where this photo was taken, post your answer below, or on the Facebook page, and the first 3 people to post correct answers will snare themselves an awesome Expeditions Alaska cap. The caveats are

  • a) You can’t be one of the 3 people in the photo, or their friends/family (no cheating)
  • b) You need to be specific. The answer “Alaska” doesn’t cut it. Nor does the park name itself. We need some details
  • c) If you already HAVE an Expeditions Alaska cap, you can’t win another one. :)

I’ll give you a hint; the chances are pretty good you’ve never been there.

Partial credit for creative, clever and well-constructed answers.

Cheers

Carl

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Image of the Month, June 2015 – Icy Bay

June 1st, 2015 by
A photo of a young woman balancing a sea kayak paddle on her head, while sea kayaking in Icy Bay. Paddling under the world's highest coastal mountain, the person is sea kayaking in Taan Fjord. Sea kayaking in Icy Bay, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A photo of a young woman balancing a sea kayak paddle on her head, while sea kayaking in Icy Bay. Paddling under the world’s highest coastal mountain, the person is sea kayaking in Taan Fjord. Sea kayaking in Icy Bay, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

No prizes for guessing where I’m headed for the start of the summer season! The beach, of course, at Icy Bay, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. Funnest place ever! Mt. St. Elias towering above us all in the background!

Cheers

Carl

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A Favorite Polar Bear Photo

May 31st, 2015 by
A younger polar bear sits on his iceberg and watches  the developing icepack on the soon to be frozen Beaufort Sea, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

A younger polar bear sits on his iceberg and watches the developing icepack on the soon to be frozen Beaufort Sea, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Been a while since I posted a polar bear photo. I can’t wait to get back to the arctic this fall and see these amazing animals.

This image is one of my favorite polar bears I’ve taken so far. Hope you like it.

And, if you’re looking for a great polar bear photo tour, I’m filling up for 2016, so you might want to touch base and get your name in before this one is full.

Cheers

Carl

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