In case you’re thinking otherwise, the Coastal Wildlife and Brown Bear photo tour is NOT all about the bears. Well, it’s definitely mostly about the bears. But we’ll also dedicate a good chunk of time to looking around for, and photographing, some other creatures as well. One of the primary ones we’ll see will be Harbor Seals. And, short of donning your scuba gear and swimming with the pinnipeds, there’s not many better opportunities than this one for some really, really cool Harbor seal images.
If you’re a subscriber to the newsletter, check out the trip special in the latest newsletter I just sent out. A pretty sweet deal for this trip, with limited space available.
If you’re not a subscriber to the newsletter, you probably should be. It’s legendary! Fill in the details in the form on the sidebar of the blog post, and you’re good to go.
International Polar Bear Day is right around the corner; Feb 27th. So I’ll make this Polar Bear Week. I’ll try to post a picture a day of these ridiculously awesome animals. Starting with this one. Tweet it with #polarbear
This curious young cub approached our group, and by carefully positioning where we were set up, we got nice clean backgrounds, a great low perspective to shoot from, and some really nice images.
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. Continue reading…
Here are few images from our sea kayaking trip to Icy Bay last summer. Awesome conditions, we had a blast. Icy Bay is one of the coolest areas for sea kayaking in Alaska; great camping, great beach hiking, spectacular scenery and absolutely unparalleled sea kayaking and paddling. Icebergs, glaciers, seals, dolphins, brown bears, bald eagles, falcon, murres and murrelets, and Mt. St. Elias towering above everything. It’s pretty tough to beat.
Hope you enjoy the photos below. I’ll try to get some video of the kayaking online soon; nothing quite like paddling through all those icebergs across that glassy water!! Continue reading…
Welcome to Feb, 2015! Here’s a grizzly bear, or brown bear, image from our Grizzlies in the Fall photo tour. I know it’s not really grizzly bear season right now, they’re hunkered down for the winter, but I haven’t been shooting much around Alaska lately as I’ve been gone a while. It’s great to be back!
Summer will be here before you know it, and this year I’ve a number of trips I’m looking forward to. Stay tuned for some fun stuff!
A quickie before I take off? I’m not really that kinda guy .. but here’s a photo from our recent trip to Haines, taken the last morning of the trip. I was pretty stoked to see this pop up on the viewfinder.
Heading down under to see my folks, so not sure how much I’ll be able to post over the next month, I’ll try to post something though. You all have a wonderful holiday season.
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. Continue reading…
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.
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; Continue reading…