2012 – A Year in Alaska in 8 minutes

December 15th, 2012 by

An Expeditions Alaska Video Review

…. Read the rest of this entry » »

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Happy Holidays – from Expeditions Alaska

December 15th, 2012 by
Evening light on a winter Black spruce tree in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Evening light on a winter Black spruce tree in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

 

Hey Folks,

Just a quick hello, and best wishes to everyone out there for a wonderful holiday season; all the best for a great new year. Enjoy your loved ones.

Be well,

Cheers

Carl

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Image of the Month, Dec 2012: Bald Eagle Take-off

December 10th, 2012 by
A bald eagle takes flight along the Chilkat River,  Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Alaska.

A bald eagle takes flight along the Chilkat River, Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Welcome back! I’ve just returned from a photo trip to Haines, Alaska, photographing bald eagles along the Chilkat River, in the famed Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Had an awesome, awesome trip, met a lot of cool people, and got some nice images. Anyone wanna join me there next year? The bald eagles are a real spectacle, to watch and to photograph.

All the best,

Cheers

Carl

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Polar Bear Photo Tour Announcement

November 5th, 2012 by
Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Beaufort Sea, Alaska.

A large adult male polar bear, on the edge of the Beaufort Sea, arctic Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Bookings are now being taken for a week long polar bear photo tour in arctic Alaska for 2013. This tour is limited to 4 myself plus photographers only; a smaller group than any other polar bear photo tour I’ve seen advertised. For one week in October it’ll be our group and as many as 50 or more polar bears; this fall there were nearly 80 bears on the island at one time.

I won’t ramble on about it here; the details are all on the site on the Polar Bear Photo Tour page (naturally enough). In short, the dates are set for oct 7-14th, 2013, and we’ll be shooting polar bears each and every day that weather permits (this is arctic Alaska, afterall). We have a chance of catching northern lights as well, but this tour is really about the polar bears; though we’ll take any opportunities we can at the aurora as well, I’m sure.

We’ll charter a small boat with a local native Inupiaq guide to take us out each day, we’ll have great accommodations (including all food) and a rental vehicle as well. Everything’s taken care of once you arrive in town.

Also, you might be interested in the polar bear photos page on the gallery section of the site. We had a great shoot this year, and we were all more than happy with the images we brought home with us. The polar bears are really so different to photograph than grizzly or brown bears.

This male above, was one of the larger boars we saw, that we were close to; and they’re an impressive creature, some of these big boys weighing up to 1200lbs and more. We also saw young first year cubs, playful and cute, and bears of all sizes in between. There were so many bears on shore this year that the hardest part of photographing them was not getting a bunch of ‘stray’ bears in the background. Talk about first world problems!

Anyway, if you’re interested in the tour, drop me a line, as space is most definitely limited.

Cheers

Carl

PS: Oh, I’ll whack this short little promo video on here as well. Hope you like it (and I know, I know, I mispelled “terrestrial”, damnit).

 

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Image of the Month: Polar bear of the Arctic

November 1st, 2012 by
A polar bear surfaces from the Beaufort Sea, and shakes water from his head. Arctic Ocean, Alaska.

A young and curious polar bear surfaces from the Beaufort Sea, and shakes water from his head. Arctic Ocean, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a curious young polar bear from our recent trip to the arctic. This young bear surfaced and stood in the shallow water, and shook like a dog; a 400 lb dog, but a dog nonetheless. Fortunately, the light was happening at the time, and I happened to have a camera in my hand.

I’ll be leading a small photo tour back here in 2013. Should be awesome!

Cheers

Carl

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Polar Bears Playing on the Ice

October 30th, 2012 by

Hey Folks,

A week in arctic Alaska, photographing Nanuq, the magnificent polar bear? An awesome, awesome trip. I took 3 people up earlier this month for a fantastic week, where we were so lucky to get to spend time up close and personal with polar bears; literally, dozens and dozens of polar bears. US F&WS estimates there were nearly 80 bears in the area in sept/oct.

These 2 youngsters were an absolute treat to watch, as they tussled and wrestled and ran and frolicked on the ice. With a great local Alaska native (Inupiaq) guide, we were able to watch these bears for several hours; everyone came home with thousands of great polar bear photos. I grabbed this quick video when I had to stop shooting and change memory cards in one of my SLR cameras. The bears were so much fun to watch.

Next year, 2013, I’ll be back for another round, leading a small photo tour for a week in the arctic, photographing the polar bears. Space is limited; I’ll keep the group to a maximum of 4 photographers and myself. I’ll have full details online this week, but the dates are scheduled for Oct 7-14, 2013. Drop me a note if this is something you’re interested in, as this trip will very likely fill quickly.

Cheers

Carl

PS: Oh, someone asked about the music track; it’s a little R&B groove I recorded (on guitar) with my friend Steve F on bass years and years ago. I found a copy of it and thought it’d be a cool track for this video. Steve sounds great on bass, as always. It sounds better L-O-U-D, so turn your speakers up to 11.

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Grizzly Bear by Moonlight

October 19th, 2012 by
A brown bear walking by the edge of a lake under a moonlit sky.

A brown bear walking by the edge of a lake under a moonlit sky. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Slowly catching up on image processing and whatnot after a full season of adventure. This year I ran a few new trips, which I’m looking forward to continue to explore over the coming years, but also enjoyed returning to some of the old favorite haunts. This image if from the Grizzly Bears in the Fall tour, a favorite of mine and popular tour every year.

Shooting these “animals in the landscape” style of photo is always difficult, as there are so many elements to combine. They also tend to work much better when shooting solo, as it’s difficult to get a group of people, even a small group, all in exactly that optimal spot for such a composition. As such, I tend to shoot more of the tighter “portrait” style shots on photo tours, and fewer of the animal in a greater landscape.

That said, I tend to really enjoy the wider image; my preference for wildlife photography is either to go extremely tight on framing the subject, or very wide. One of the folks on the trip shot this frame with about 16mm (I was at 28mm), and I really like this version; very sparse. …. Read the rest of this entry » »

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Image of the Month: October 2012

October 6th, 2012 by
A large adult male brown bear, standing upright, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

A large adult male brown bear, boar, stands and looks around the river, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

Just returned from 2 weeks in Katmai National Park, photographing the great grizzly bears there. This adult boar, who we call ‘Ted’, is a an old favorite of mine to photograph. Beautiful bear, and this year was the first year I’d seen him standing upright. Ted’s a big ole bear!

Heading out in the morning for a trip north, so I’ll follow up with more bear photos later.

Cheers

Carl

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Camping on the Malaspina Glacier

September 19th, 2012 by
Camping on the Malaspina Glacier

Our kitchen setup on the Malaspina Glacier, one gorgeous evening. Last night on the ice before we crossed the moraine and left the ice. The night after this we were camped on the beach. For a larger version of this photo, click the image above.

Hey Folks

This past August, we just did an EPIC traverse across the Malaspina Glacier. Our original plan had been to fly from Yakutat to the Samovar Hills, and hike south. Due to the insane amount of snow in the area last winter (Yakutat got 350-360 inches), we weren’t able to land at the strip we’d hoped to fly into. A last minute change of plan meant flying to Kageet Point, Icy Bay, and hiking east from there, before picking up the original route, and following it south to the coastline, then east again to our intended pickup spot. This added about 35-40 miles to our route, but with an adventurous and experienced group of folks, it was worth it.

We spent 5 of the 9 nights on the ice of the Malaspina Glacier; the Malaspina is the size of Rhode Island, over 40 miles and nearly 30 miles long. Contrary to what wikipedia might tell you about the glacier, it DOES reach the coast, and so should rightfully be called a tidewater glacier, not a piedmont glacier. We packrafted around the lagoon the ice calves into on the beach, and it’s most definitely coastal.

Camping on ice has its challenges. Finding a nice flat spot can be tough, but especially finding a nice flat spot with enough rocks around to use for holding the tent/tarp in place. Sometimes we’d find wonderful, long flat stretches of ice, perfect for tentsites, but not a rock in sight. You can’t drive tent stakes into ice (unless you carry ice screws, of course -major overkill for a tent). But usually it didn’t take too long to find a good spot.

Secondly, insulation. A regular sleeping pad just doesn’t cut it. I used an Exped Downmat 7 UL, and it was great. Warm, comfortable, and not too heavy. Other choices include using 2 pads, one hard-cell foam pad like a z-rest or similar underneath an inflatable Neo Air or thermarest pad. Sergei used the Exped Downmat 9, which was easily the best (most comfortable and warm) choice. A deflated packraft under the tent all offered some protection from the ice underneath.

Overall, it was a grand trip. The weather wasn’t too bad at all, which made a great difference. Camping on an expanse of ice like that for a week, with no real wind or rain to deal with, made the trip a lot of fun. A great group of folks, 4 of which have now done 4 or more different backpacking trips with me, and some world class adventure. Good, good times.

Cheers

Carl

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Image of the Month: Aug/Sept 2012 – Mt. St. Elias

September 12th, 2012 by
Mt. St. Elias, viewed through the door of my tent, camped on the Malaspina Glacier, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Mt. St. Elias, viewed through the door of my tent, camped on the Malaspina Glacier, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Apologies for missing a few posts here over the summer. It’s been a busy one, and I haven’t had much time keep up with the blog. So here’s a view from my summerhome. The Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 2.1, camped on the Malaspina Glacier, looking through the door at Mt. St. Elias.

From our recent exploratory hike, from Icy Bay to the Malaspina Forelands, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. Awesome walk.

Cheers

Carl

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Owner and guide Carl Donohue.

 

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