Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

Alaska National Parks, photos and blogs about various parks in Alaska, including wildlife refuges, monuments, forests, places.

Sea kayaking Icy Bay Video

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Screen shot of Icy Bay sea kayaking.

Icy Bay sea kayaking.

Hey Folks

How glassy is “glassy”? Here’s a short clip I put together of clips I made playing with a new GoPro last summer. It’s so different to shooting with a regular camera or video camera, there’s a lot to learn. But kinda fun, all the same.

Icy Bay isn’t always this glassy, but it’s unusual either. And it’s an absolutely amazing experience to go out on the water, among these countless icebergs, and just drift along on a kayak, or paddle gently up the fjords. Really, really great fun.

The tune I used here is “Dear Ellen”, by Shane Theriot, from his album, “Highway 90”. I met Shane years ago, when I was in college studying guitar. Shane was teaching there at the ripe young age of 21. He’s awesome. He left the school shortly after my studies ended, and has been playing and writing and producing music since then. He’s currently the guitar player for Hall & Oates, and just last week won a Grammy award. How awesome is that! If you’re interested, you can buy Highway 90 on iTunes. (more…)

The Lost Coast Hike

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
The Lost Coast in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, with Mt Cook and the Saint Elias Range rising in the background.

The Lost Coast in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, with Mt Cook and the Saint Elias Range rising in the background. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

Now that summer and fall has wound down some, I’ve got a little time to catch up on image processing and maybe blogging as well! We’ll see how far we get with that.

One of the trips I was really looking forward to this summer was a hike along the coast, the southern reaches of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. I’d hiked part of this area previously, some of it a couple of times, but I’d never hiked the eastern section, below the Malaspina Forelands. So it was a great experience to finally get down to this area and walk the coastline, completing what is really a cool walk.

We did the hike as an exploratory trek this year, and took a bit longer for the the hike than I normally might, as we wanted to explore a few things along the way, look for the best campsites, and so on.

Packrafts are a necessity along this route; some of the rivers that have to be crossed would be foolish to cross without a packraft, unless at super low water. (more…)

Brown bear and a Sockeye salmon: Image of the Month, Nov 2014

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014
A mature male Alaska brown bear carries a bright red Sockeye Salmon by the dorsal fin, in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A mature male Alaska brown bear carries a bright red male Sockeye Salmon by the dorsal fin, in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Meet Little Otis, one of the most beautiful brown bears I’ve had the good fortune to see and to photograph. I’ve shot this guy for a number of years now, as he’s grown from a cute young cub to a cautious young subadult bear to a nearly full grown adult male brown bear; Little Otis is no longer quite so “little”, but always  treat to photograph. He’s definitely one of the most photogenic brown bears I’ve photographed.

Nearly full grown, he’s just as magnificent as ever, with a beautiful light brown coat, blond highlights and markings, and a playful, easy character. I’ve watched him play and wrestle with other young male bears, and never once seen him show aggression toward another bear. He pretty much (typically) goes about his day looking for salmon. He also has this rather curious technique of carrying salmon by their dorsal fin; he’ll often catch a fish in the stream, then grab it’s dorsal fin and carry it ward shallower water, where he’ll eat it. I’ve not seen a lot of other bears carry the fish this way, particularly big male bears and certainly not so predictably.

Little Otis is an awesome bear.

Cheers

Carl

Hiking poles and Alaska backpacking

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
A hiker backpacking up Harry's Gulch in the eastern Chugach mountains of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A hiker backpacking up Harry’s Gulch in the eastern Chugach mountains of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Hiking poles, or trekking poles, can be considered an integral part of the setup for a trek like this one from Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes.

Hey Folks,

 

So one question I’m frequently asked about pertains to hiking poles, or trekking poles, and how important or useful they are for backpacking here in Alaska. In short, I’d suggest they’re more than useful, almost mandatory. Of course, few things in the mountains are ever so objective; the mountains are a subjective place, and so we shouldn’t look for objective answers like this. What’s right for me mightn’t be right for you, and what’s right on August 15 mightn’t be right on August 16 (or even 3 hours later on August 15), and so on. But as a general rule, I’d urge anyone coming to Alaska to backpack, and particularly someone on their first ever trip here, to count on using your hiking poles.

Jon, pictured above here, is a great hiker; in super shape, he’s athletic, well-balanced and a very good walker; safe to say he’s a much better hiker than the average backpacker. Much better. He cruised the Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes route with virtually no trouble at all, and that’s a tough walk, by almost anyone’s metrics. Even Jon mentioned how useful and helpful the hiking poles were for him on this trip. This image, taken as we walked westward up Harry’s Gulch, shows one of the most strenuous parts of hiking in the mountains around here; (more…)

Brown Bear in Katmai National Park: Image of the Month, Sept 2014

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Brown bear (Ursus arctos), and a reflection in a lake, sunset, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos), and a reflection in a lake, sunset, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Sorry for the delay again, I’ve been in the field, and still catching up with everything here since getting out; And part of that catching up involves packing for the next trip, where I’ll be leading 2 sold out photo tours to Katmai National Park for the Grizzlies in the Fall trip. Definitely a favorite trip of mine, and one I look forward to getting back to every year.

Hopefully this year we get some light and scenes like this one to make a few images. Fingers crossed!!!!

Cheers

Carl

Chugach Mountains Campsite; Image of the Month, August 2014

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Campsite in eastern Chugach mountains, near Iceberg Lake, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Campsite in eastern Chugach mountains, near Iceberg Lake, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

A quick post from the eastern edge of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, near Iceberg lake in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Camping in a place like this is a real treat, even more so when the weather is this superb. Awesome place.

Cheers

Carl

Packrafting Malaspina Lake – Image of the Month, July 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Chuck takes a swig of water from his Nalgene bottle while we're out paddling around in our packrafts on Malaspina Lake, in southern Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Chuck takes a swig of water from his Nalgene bottle while we’re out paddling around in our packrafts on Malaspina Lake, in southern Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

What an awesome area; Malaspina Lake, near Malaspina Glacier and Icy Bay. We spent nearly 2 weeks down here, hiking and packrafting and sea kayaking along the Lost Coast and Icy Bay. This day was a memorable one, spending the afternoon paddling around Malaspina Lake in our Packrafts. Had a bit of a mission of a hike to get to the shore of the lake, but it was all so worthwhile when we arrived.

Cheers

Carl

Image of the Month: Wrangell St. Elias in Winter

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Winter in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park.

A bluebird day in the lowlands of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Wonderful winter weather! Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

We’ve had some stupendous weather here in Alaska this last few weeks, and I was lucky enough to get out and about for some photography. Here’s a shot from my favorite park, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve one gorgeous bluebird day. It just doesn’t get much better than this!

Hopefully this weather will hold through March for the northern lights photo tours. So far the auroras have been pretty rockin’ in 2014, and I’m really looking forward to shooting them some more this coming month.

Hope you enjoy it,

Cheers

Carl

Northern lights and Wrangell Mountains

Monday, February 10th, 2014
The northern lights fill the sky over the Wrangel Mountains and Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

The northern lights fill the sky over the Wrangell Mountains and Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Winter in Alaska is a fun time; it’s a hard time for a photographer because we have to choose between shooting during the day time, and waiting out the nights for the northern lights. And then switching schedules back and forth as the weather and the northern lights predictions change.

So the last few nights I’ve spent mostly sitting around at night hoping to be in the right place at the right time. For the most part, instead I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Shooting the northern lights is harder than most folks expect; shooting the northern lights with very specific compositions and scenes is even harder, because everything has to be just right. There are a few areas I have in mind for some northern lights images over the Wrangell Mountains, and so far, I’ve not gotten close. Every night the potential has been there, I’ve ventured out, only to be skunked. And few places can really skunk a photographer like Alaska can. (more…)

Image of the Month, Feb 2014; Backlit Brown bear at dawn

Friday, February 7th, 2014
A backlit brown bear on the shores of a Lake,  at dawn. Brown bear (Ursus arctos) Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A backlit brown bear on the shores of a cool Alaska lake, at dawn. Brown bear (Ursus arctos) Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A few days late, sorry. Here’s the February “Image of the Month”, a brown bear at dawn, backlit by the soft warm light of the morning, with a light mist over the water. Sometimes, I swear, the bears seem to enjoy a pretty morning as much as we do.

As I do every winter, I’m looking forward to getting back to Katmai this coming fall for some great bear photography.

Cheers

Carl

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Owner and guide Carl Donohue.

 

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