Image of the Month – Breeding Brown Bears

July 2nd, 2012 by
Brown bears (Ursus arctos) breeding (or mating) at Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) breeding (or mating) at Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. To view a larger version of this photo, click on the image above.

Hey Folks,

Image of the month for 2012 is this photo of a breeding brown bear pair at Hallo Bay, katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, on the coastal brown bear photo tour last week. It was an amazing trip, with some great photo opportunities, perhaps the highlight of which was this breeding pair we found at Hallo Bay.

Twice we were able to watch and photograph this behavior, which was definitely a rare opportunity.

Females will often breed with more than one male during the short (2 month) breeding or mating season. We watched minutes earlier as this sow rejected the advances of another, much larger male, who then chased this male away, then himself walked off up the bay. This smaller male returned, and bred with the sow for 15-20 minutes.

The larger male then returned, and this guy left. The larger male hung around the sow for another hour or so, but didn’t have the good fortune of this guy, that we saw.

Cheers

Carl

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Brown bear photo – Hallo Bay

June 29th, 2012 by
An adult brown bear (Ursus arctos) resting on driftwood near the beach at Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

An adult brown bear (Ursus arctos) resting on driftwood near the beach at Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Just returned from a trip over to Katmai National Park, where we photographed brown bears at Hallo Bay and Kukak Bay; we were super lucky to get some great light, great bears, and some really cool photo opportunities. This young bear was hanging around a pile of driftwood in Hallo Bay, and the rich greens of the sedge grasses beyond made a nice soft background.

It took a little bit of work to scramble around over these logs and whatnot, carrying over 20lbs of camera gear, to get in a good position for photography, but I think it was well worth it.

Oftentimes making the effort to move and get in position is the real difference between making a photo, and making the photo you want. It could be the direction of light, the background, the angle of view, proximity to the subject, or a combination of countless other variables that really makes the difference.

It’s far too easy to hike a bit, set up a tripod, point the camera at a subject, then try to zoom in or out, without moving and improving the image. The best advice I might offer is to continually be looking for ways to improve the image you see through the viewfinder.

Sometimes it’s simply not possible or practical to change it much; safety or disturbing the subject, or  other photographers in the area all might restrict where we set up and how much we move. But keep your eyes posted around you, and look for ways to improve your image simply by moving your position. You’ll be glad you did.

Cheers

Carl

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Fat Babies Have No Pride

June 18th, 2012 by

“Fat Babies Have No Pride .. and that’s OK, who needs pride?” … Lyric by Lyle Lovett.

Hey Folks,

Heading out in a day or 2 for a week of photography, so I thought I’d post this one of a porky little grizzly bear cub, fat and ready for hibernation. I’m a big fan of Lyle Lovett, and this photo seemed like the perfect match for such a great lyric.

Have a good week, everyone, back in July.

Cheers

Carl

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Image of the Month: Alaska northern lights photo

May 31st, 2012 by
Alaska northern lights photo, or aurora borealis.

Alaska northern lights photo, or aurora borealis.

Hey Folks,

From a trip up north in March. I thought the power pole was a nice silhouette against the northern lights, and waited for the brake lights of a car that drove by to add some drama to the foreground. The northern lights came on particularly bright here, briefly, and the only way to add any detail in the foreground was light it up. I liked the drama of the red.

I wanted to get a little tighter on the pole, but the moment only lasted a couple of seconds and it was over.

How’s this work for you?

Cheers

Carl

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Hiking Gates Of The Arctic National Park

May 15th, 2012 by
Camping in the boreal forest in the Brooks Range, near the Arrigetch peaks. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Camping in the boreal forest in the Brooks Range, near the Arrigetch peaks. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Well, it’s well and truly spring here in Alaska, and the summer/fall hiking season right around the corner. So for anyone heading north this summer, this page might be of interest to you. Gates of the Arctic National Park is one of the less visited national parks in the state, which makes it a great place to explore and “get away”. Miles upon miles of mountain wilderness, boreal forest and alpine tundra make it a diverse and fascinating hiking region.

At the same time, it’s also a challenging expedition. Logistics for getting there, getting ‘in’ to the park, hiking across muskeg, dealing with mosquitoes, bears, rivers, and trailess terrain can be intimidating. So let’s look at a few options you might want to consider.

Getting to Gates of the Arctic

You’re options for hiking in Gates of the Arctic National Park, for most folks, start with Fairbanks. You want to head north, either up the Dalton highway (Haul Rd), or fly. If you fly, my recommendation is to fly directly to Bettles; you can catch a regularly scheduled charter flight, so it’s not super-expensive like a charter flight can be. If you take the Dalton, either ride up to Coldfoot/Wiseman, or stop at Prospect Creek (maybe 75 miles south of Coldfoot). You can fly from Prospect Creek landing strip in to Bettles (schedule with your air taxi well before leaving Fairbanks, you can’t schedule this on arrival,as there is no one there). If you go all the way up to Coldfoot, you can  hook up with an air taxi service there and fly in to the backcountry.

There is a Park Service Visitor Center there in Coldfoot where you can get some more information; but don’t expect to get a lot of trail beta there. Gather that well before you start your trip. Typically, the folks in the VC aren’t going to be able to offer you a lot of hiking information for Gates of the Arctic National Park. You’ll need to check in though, and either pick up or show them your Bear Resistant Food Canister (BRFCs are requisite for hiking/backpacking in Gates of the Arctic National Park). …. Read the rest of this entry » »

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Image of the Month – Alaska Aurora borealis photo

May 3rd, 2012 by
Aurora borealis, or northern lights, winter Alaska.

Aurora borealis, or northern lights, winter Alaska.

Hey Folks

Image of the Month for May (sheesh, is it May already?), 2012 is an Aurora borealis photo from one of the norther lights photo tours earlier this year. We were treated to some great lights, and had a blast watching and photographing the aurora. Good times, and I’m already taking bookings for these trips next year.

Aurora borealis photography is more difficult than most folks expect it to be. it’s challenging, but also an amazing experience. Great fun and what a blast to see this kind of activity!

Cheers

Carl

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Winter Trip Wrap-up

April 17th, 2012 by

Hey Folks,

A few shots from this past winter. Good times.

2011/2012 Winter Photos

2011/2012 Winter Photos.

 

For a look at some of the aurora borealis photos from this winter, have a look at this page.

Cheers

Carl

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Image of the Month: Dawn in the Wrangell Mountains

April 7th, 2012 by
The Wrangell Mountains dawn, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

The Wrangell mountains, near Nabesna, catch the first rays of the day. Sunrise near Jack Creek, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Welcome to Expeditions Alaska, the new name for my business, previously Alaskan Alpine Treks. I’ve thought for a long time now about changing the name, so here it is. I’ve still got a few things to tweak over the coming weeks, so if you run across any glitches, please let me know.

This image was taken early one morning on the recent snowshoe/photography trip we took to Wrangell  – St. Elias National Park. The folks who were drawn for the trip, Paul, Doug, Ryan and Jim were great fun, and it was really nice to have such a good troop of folks along.

We were treated to some awesome weather the whole time, which made the trip an easy time, for sure. Sunny skies and very little wind can make March a good time in Alaska.

We snowshoed, no skiing, as the group preferred to hike and photograph rather than ski around. I’ll try to post some more images from the trip soon enough. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this one from one  great morning out near Nabesna.

Oh yes, one more thing to add; I’ll throw up this photo in honor of Anchorage breaking its own record for most snow in a winter. Happened today – Wax ’em up!

Cheers

Carl

Expeditions Alaska

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Wrangell – St. Elias Winter Trip

March 17th, 2012 by
Dave and Bob enjoying the afternoon view of the Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Dave and Bob enjoying the afternoon view of the Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Just had 2 great trips, with friends Dave and Bob , followed by an aurora borealis photo tour as well. I’m packing now for a week long trip over to ‘the park’ with Ryan, Doug, Jim and Paul, for the free trip we put together over the winter. It should be a blast, and hopefully we get some days like this one here.

Cheers

Carl

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Image of the Month: March Madness

March 1st, 2012 by
Mount Sanford and the Copper River Basin, seen from the Mentasta Mountains, winter, boreal forest, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Mount Sanford and the Copper River Basin, seen from the Mentasta Mountains, winter, boreal forest, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

It’s here already; March Madness has arrived. a week in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, a week in central and northern Alaska for the aurora borealis, a week back in Wrangell – St. Elias, and another week touring around skiing. Should be a big one.

Much like Mt. Sanford here. They don’t come too much grander than this mountain. I’ll continue to be offline a bit . then .. I have some HUGE news. See ya in April

Cheers

Carl

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Owner and guide Carl Donohue.

 

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99507

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