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…
Still here in the arctic. And it’s very arctic indeed . we’ve had some crazy weather the last week, but things settled today and we were able to get out and shoot some images. This young cub approached us over the slush ice and snow at the edge of the barrier island, and I used a 28-70mm lens for the wide view. How cute is cute?
Sorry for the delay again, I’ve been in the field, and still catching up with everything here since getting out; And part of that catching up involves packing for the next trip, where I’ll be leading 2 sold out photo tours to Katmai National Park for the Grizzlies in the Fall trip. Definitely a favorite trip of mine, and one I look forward to getting back to every year.
Hopefully this year we get some light and scenes like this one to make a few images. Fingers crossed!!!!
A quick post from the eastern edge of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, near Iceberg lake in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Camping in a place like this is a real treat, even more so when the weather is this superb. Awesome place.
What an awesome area; Malaspina Lake, near Malaspina Glacier and Icy Bay. We spent nearly 2 weeks down here, hiking and packrafting and sea kayaking along the Lost Coast and Icy Bay. This day was a memorable one, spending the afternoon paddling around Malaspina Lake in our Packrafts. Had a bit of a mission of a hike to get to the shore of the lake, but it was all so worthwhile when we arrived.
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.
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.
Here’s a shot from the recent aurora borealis photo tours in March; I set up the tent for the shot, it was merely a prop. It took a few times to get the balance right with the headlamp for the exposure. Trial and error is really the only way to make this work.
Foregrounds matter when shooting the northern lights, as they do when shooting just about anything. Adding anything of interest to the foreground can really help balance the colors and dynamism of the northern lights overhead.