Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Any issues related to wildlife photography such as environmental factors, land management agency concerns, technical issues with wildlife photography, and other wildlife notes. And of course, photos of bears, moose, caribou, wolves, birds, squirrels, and more.

Grizzly Bear Paw print

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
A footprint in the mud of a grizzly bear paw and a human footprint.

A footprint in the mud of a grizzly bear paw and a human footprint side by side. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

A recent trip to Malaspina Lake, and the Lost Coast and Icy Bay treated us to this set of prints, along the silty shores of Malaspina Lake.

So whoever saw a grizzly bear with one bear paw and one human foot? Amazing. The Malaspina Monster, evidence at least. The missing link? Who knows?

Cheers

Carl

Harbor Seals, Icy bay – Image of the Month; June 2014

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
A mother harbor seal and her pup rest on an iceberg in Icy Bay, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A mother harbor seal and her pup rest on an iceberg 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,

A tolerant female Harbor seal and her young pup watched us curiously from this iceberg. Paddling back to camp one afternoon, we snuck by her as we were weaving our way through a throng of icebergs. Quietly trying not to frighten the seal from her place of rest, we paddled by and headed back to camp. Fantastyic afternoon sea kayaking in Icy Bay.

Cheers

Carl

Image of the Month, May 2014: Male Polar Bear

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Male polar bear walking on snow, Alaska.

Male Polar bear walking across the snow, in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Please click on the image above the view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A few days late, of course. It’s May, and sunny and great weather, and I’ve been getting a few things done other than update the blog. April was really some great weather here, and that makes it hard to keep up the blog. So here’s a brief post for the Image of the Month, from last year’s Polar Bear Photo Tour. A beautiful young male polar bear walking across the snow-covered tundra of the frozen arctic, in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

This year I have 2 spaces available on the Week 1, Oct 3-9 polar bear photo tour, and have offered a great discount for that trip through the end of May. Take a look!

I love the head down, eyes closed, pose.

Cheers

Carl

International Polar Bear Day

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Polar Bear mother nursing cubs, Alaska.

A large adult female polar bear nurses her 2 cubs. Cubs will stay with their mother for 2-3 years, and nurse on and off during that time. Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Today is designated International Polar Bear Day; what a great day!

We were super fortunate to get this opportunity on our Polar Bear Photo Tour last fall, with the sow nursing her 2 cubs and facing us. Cameras went crazy and everyone got some really nice shots. And the cubs fed well. All in all, I think it worked out nicely for everyone involved!

This year we’ll be there 2 weeks, and I’m already looking forward to it. Few things are more fun than watching these great bears of the north in their natural habitat.

Cheers

Carl

Polar bear walking across the frozen Arctic Ocean

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
A curious young polar bear walks across the thin ice as the cold waters of the Beaufort Sea begin to freeze up in early Fall. Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

A curious young polar bear walks across the thin ice as the cold waters of the Beaufort Sea begin to freeze up in early Fall. Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

It’s probably a good time for another polar bear photo, don’t ya think?

This young fella was curious enough to venture out, albeit cautiously, over the think, newly formed ice of the Beaufort Sea, to come in for a closer look. I wanted to get a nice low angle, and give a sense of the expansive arctic setting behind him.

One tip I’ll offer wildlife photographers, and bear photographers in particular, is try as hard as you can to catch them with a front paw raised, and not the back paw. Most animals, and especially bears, just look awkward and clumsy with a back leg in the air. So rather than just keep my thumb on the hammer and fire away as a bear walks by or approaches, I tend to try to time a few short bursts to catch the pose I want.

This also helps with avoiding the dreaded “oh crap, I filled the buffer” problem as well. Just remember to shoot BEFORE you see that front paw come up – if you wait til the front paw is lifted, you’l be late. Anticipate and shoot. And practice.

Cheers

Carl

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

Polar Bear Cub Photo

Saturday, October 19th, 2013
A young polar bear cub in snow, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Ursus maritimus.

A young polar bear cub in snow, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Ursus maritimus. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I just got back from 10 days in the arctic, photographing polar bears. Amazing creatures to watch and be around. We were lucky to have a few opportunities with mothers and their cubs (mostly 2 year olds). This particular afternoon we found a young sow and her cubs of the year (born this past January) and they were about as cute as cute gets. Great fun and everyone had a blast watching them.

I’ve got about a thousand things to do right now, so I’ll try to get around to editing some images and posting something more over the weekend or early next week, but for now, hopefully you’ll enjoy this cute little polar bear cub.

Cheers

Carl

Image of the Month: Oct, 2013. Brown Bears Playing

Sunday, October 6th, 2013
2 male brown bears, adults, playing, wrestling and fighting in play. Brown bear males tend to be wary of one another, but can also be seen from time to time playing and wrestling with one another. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

2 male brown bears playing in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Told you there were bear photos to come!

Just in from a few weeks in Katmai National Park where we had an amazing time with the bears and a whole lot more. Some incredible situations.

This one we were lucky enough to have these 2 adult male brown bears decide to play and wrestle away the day .. for nearly 30 minutes we watched, photographed and videoed the action. Good times indeed!

I’m heading to the arctic for polar bears. Catch ya soon,

Cheers

Carl

Alaska Harbor Seal

Monday, September 16th, 2013
A harbor seal in Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A harbor seal in Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Just back in for a day or so between trips, and thought I’d post a photo from this last trip; the Coastal Brown Bear Photo Tour. So, of course, I’ll post a photo of a Harbor Seal, instead of a bear. We had a few great days with the bears, in Geographic Harbor, Kinak Bay and then went up Kukak Bay for the last day and a half, where we were able to find some super, uber tolerant Harbor Seals. It was a real blast seeing them up close and personal.

We also got to photograph some bald eagles, which was neat, as well as a couple of wary sea otters. Sea otters are ridiculously cute, but can be challenging to photograph. We saw a beautiful gray wolf in Geographic Harbor, and also saw whales on our flight over from Kodiak to the Katmai Coast. All in all, a really fun trip.

Bear photos to come.

Cheers

Carl

Sea Kayaking with Harbor Seals

Friday, September 6th, 2013
A slow, careful approach allowed us to get up close and personal with these Harbor Seals on our Sea Kayaking trip.

A slow, careful approach allowed us to get up close and personal with these Harbor Seals on our Sea Kayaking trip. Please click the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Another photo from our July sea kayaking trip to Icy Bay. After a great day paddling across the bay, hiking along the edge of the Karr Hills and taking a close look at the Yahtse Glacier, we paddled back toward camp and found Harbor seals .. lots of Habor Seals. There are an estimated 3500 harbor seals in Icy Bay, and we saw plenty this afternoon.

It seemed like every other ice floe had a small family of seals lazing upon it, resting on the ice in the sun. Though any of them are somewhat skittish, because they’re so NOT used to human visitors, we had our share of seals that allowed us a closer look.

One interesting aspect of the wildlife ecology here is the prevalence of Harbor seals yet complete absence of orcas, a major predator of the seals. I’ve never heard of anyone, ever, seeing an Orca in Icy Bay; for some reason they just don’t come into the area. As a result, the seals are abundant, and somewhat casual, less wary than they can be elsewhere.

I shot a few video clips of the seals on the icebergs, as well as a number of still photos, as well. It really helps to have such relatively calm waters to sea kayak in when photographing, and Icy Bay is great in that regard. Even though some times its windy here, generally the water is reasonably calm and protected; great sea kayaking.

Heading off for a Brown Bear Photo Tour soon; I’ll maybe catch some more harbor seal photos on that trip, as we’ll be along the Katmai Coast. Big fun!

Cheers

Carl

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Owner and guide Carl Donohue.

 

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