Bald Eagle: Image of the Month, May 2017

01, May 1st, 2017 by Carl D
Bald eagle photo, Haines Alaska, Chilkat River.

Hey Folks,

Here’s an image from last fall. The Bald Eagles Photo Tour on the Chilkat River always provides something interesting. It’s a matter of patience, of letting the moments come. And they do. Always.

Space available this fall if you’d like to join us.

Fun fact: bald eagles aren’t really “bald“. The word “bald” comes from the old English “balde” which means “white“. Referencing, of course, the classic white head of the adult American Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus Ieucocephalus.

Cheers
Carl


Protect the Arctic

16, April 16th, 2017 by Carl D
Rafting down Canning River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge rating trips, ANWR, Alaska.
Jule guides a rafting down the Canning River last summer.

Hey folks,

A nice short video of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from We Are The Arctic a grassroots coalition whose mission is to raise awareness for and protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Excellent cinematography that highlights the beauty and the wildness of this special place.

It’s always a treat to return to the refuge. Our 2017 trips to ANWR are full but we’re open to helping you plan a custom trip or scheduling a trip for 2018.

Cheers
Carl


Favorite Week Long Hiking Trips in Alaska

14, April 14th, 2017 by Carl D
A favorite hiking trip, Goat Trail, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska
Hiking up to Hole in the Wall, on the Goat Trail, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.

Hey Folks,

But what’s a weeklong hike?

Hiking trips in Alaska are a little bit different to hiking elsewhere. Alaska itself is a little bit different.

It’s bigger. Wilder. Harder.

Hiking in Alaska is harder than what you’re used to. Most correctly, I’d suggest that hiking in Alaska is substantially harder than what you’re used to.

That is the ultimate caveat to this question. What are the best weeklong hikes in Alaska?

Well, best for who? My buddy Todd did a weeklong hike last year in the Alaska Range and he covered 185 miles. So a weeklong hike for a ridiculously fit, ultra light speed freak is probably not going to be the best weeklong hike for you. Or for me.

We’ll look at 5 days hiking time. There’s every possibility you’re going to need at least a day travel either side of the hike getting to and from your AK destination to your trail head. And if your hiking trip involves a bush flight, or two, that could easily be more.

So here are a few of the best hikes or hiking areas for a week long hiking trip in Alaska. Continue reading…


Welcome to the new Website

07, April 7th, 2017 by Carl D
Gates of the Arctic National Park Alaska.

Backpacking trip to Arrigetch Peaks in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.

Hey Folks,

How about that? All shiny and new updated with code from this century and looking a whole lot better. Don’t you agree?

It’s been a while in coming, but I FINALLY got the website redone, from start to finish.

Design

I needed a responsive design for the site. Previously I had been using a separate website for the mobile version, which meant trying to update and maintain info and schedules and details on 2 separate sites. A recipe for disaster. It also meant visitors would often see two different versions of a page or pages and that doesn’t go over so well.

A responsive design means this one single version of the website adapts to screen size and operating devices. It’s pretty fiddly. It means images don’t always nest as I’d like them to, or display as sharply as I’d like them, or might be cropped and so on. But it makes things a lot easier to read on the phone all the way up to a larger 30 inch monitor.

It also means I went big. Wider, larger images look a whole lot nicer. I wish I could set it up so it’s only viewed on a 24″ or larger monitor. I’ve checked the site on my 15″ laptop, my iPad, my phone, and my desktop computer as well. The desktop wins. By far. Continue reading…


Northern lights Photo, Image of the Month, April 2017

05, April 5th, 2017 by Carl D

Alaska northern lights photo, aurora borealis photo tours, Alaska.
Northern lights over the White Mountains

Hey Folks

After a couple of weeks doing little but shooting northern lights and enjoying the company of some wonderful guests I suppose it’s appropriate that I post a northern lights photo for this month’s Image of the Month.

So here it is.

This one was one of the final images taken on one of the most incredible nights of aurora I’ve seen. The peak of the activity just prior to this was absolutely incredible. I shot this with my 14-24mm lens on my D750. I’d been shooting with my D4s and 24mm f1.4 lens beforehand, and really wanted the wider view. So as the lights wound down I took a minute to grab my other setup and take a few images. Glad I did. Continue reading…


Gear Review – Rain Gear

05, April 5th, 2017 by Carl D
Backpacking rain gear Wrangell Mountains Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

This isn’t your typical gear review. It’s more my commentary on rain gear and the failings of waterproof breathable rain gear.

I’ve bought and worn dozens of rain jackets over the years. Literally, dozens of them. Right now on the rack beside me as I type this I can count 11 rain jackets. Eleven.

It’s a bit ridiculous. I have everything from my old Aussie Dryzabone to my most recent Outdoor Research Goretex jacket I bought last year. Whatever your jacket, chances are good I’ve owned at least one of those.

And none of them, I mean none of them, work like I want them to. In fact, it’s fair to say none of them work like they did when I first bought them.

It’s been my experience that the magic of waterproof breathable technology is in the DWR (durable water repellent) coating. I don’t know what kind of black magic voodoo those manufacturers employ, but that stuff is astonishingly good. Continue reading…


How big is a polar bear?

07, March 7th, 2017 by Carl D
Large adult male polar bears can weigh over 1400lbs. Polar bear, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Large adult male polar bears can weigh over 1400lbs.

Seriously? How big?

We’ve all heard polar bears are the largest terrestrial carnivore, right? We’ll side-step the rather silly idea of labelling Ursus maritimus (Sea bear), a marine mammal, as a “land-based carnivore ” for the moment. Instead consider the point behind it. Polar bears are the largest predator on land. This begs the question “just how big are polar bears?”

That’s a tough question to answer, for a number of reasons.

What does “big” mean? How tall? How heavy? What’s the volume?

Generally animals are measured by weight. Largely because weight can be such a good indicator of health and particularly population health. So we’ll consider the question (for now) of “How heavy is a polar bear?”. Continue reading…


Wrangell Mountains: Image of the Month, March 2017

01, March 1st, 2017 by Carl D
Wrangell Mountains in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Wrangell Mountains in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey folks,

Welcome to March, 2017!

A photo of my favorite view. And a view I’ve seen many, many times this winter. The Wrangell Mountains. Left to right, you’re looking at Mt Drum, Mt. Sanford, Mt Zanetti (the little “cone” shaped peak the looks like a ski-jump on the side of Mt Wrangell (the broadest mountain on the far right that looks like an egg on its side – a big egg).

To give you a perspective on this mountain range …. Mt. Zanetti, the tiny little cone .. is the same volume mountain as Mt. St. Helens, in Oregon. The one that went “Boom” all those years ago.

The Wrangells Rock.

Cheers

Carl


Image of the Month, Feb 2017: Bald eagle

09, February 9th, 2017 by Carl D
Bald eagle grabbing a fish Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Grabbing a fish. Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another image from last summer. I spent some time in Prince William Sound scouting for a new trip. While we had some good opportunities the trip potential wasn’t quite what we were hoping for.

But with patience and persistence and a whole lotta good fortune we were all able to make something work. Continue reading…


Alaska polar bear cub playing on ice

30, January 30th, 2017 by Carl D
Playful young polar bear cub rolling on snow and ice. ANWR, Alaska.
Playful young polar bear cub rolling on snow and ice. As the Beaufort Sea begins to freeze up in the fall the bears get antsy, looking forward to returning to their hunting grounds on the frozen ocean. Ursus maritimus, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska. Click the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Few things are as cute as polar bear cub playing on the snow and ice. This young fella, and his siblings, were having a ball on this particular day. They’d just had a few days of harsh steady high winds and nobody likes that.

The snow fell and after the winds died down everybody was keen to enjoy it. The bears played, the photographers fired away and and it couldn’t have been better. Continue reading…


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