Friday, September 21, 2018

Best Place to Photograph Alaska Grizzly Bears


I love the location I have found for photographing grizzly bears in Alaska. In every respect it is the best for bear photography in so many ways. Here's why:

1. While the bears are completely wild, they are used to seeing humans and are not a threat.
2. Our lodge is very close to where the bears are, and we photograph bears every day.
3. No forced marches - we are transported on an ATV with all our gear to where the bears are.
4. See moms and cubs who are nursing, playing, eating, and close enough for great shots.
5. No super-long lenses needed.
6. Lovely lodge with comfortable rooms, private baths, great food, and charming hosts.
7. It is easy to get to - the lodge is a one-hour small plane flight from Anchorage (included in your tour fee)
8. I book the entire lodge, so everything runs on our schedule for the BEST bear photography.
9. I provide personalized instruction, and daily image reviews.
10. AND we have fun!

What more could you ask for? This is THE perfect trip for photographing bears. AND, weather permitting we will take a short boat ride one day to a breeding island to photograph puffins. This trip is a great combination of superb photography, wonderful surroundings, and Alaska ambience!

LIMITED TO ONLY 8 PHOTOGRAPHERS

July 15 - 21, 2019


Read more details at   

Call or email me with questions or to register


PHONE  757-773-0194 


TECH SPECS
1/1000 sec. at f/8, ISO 400.  Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with Canon 1.4x extender set at 560mm (top left), 330mm (top right and bottom). Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."  --Jawaharial Nehru

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Eagle Has Landed


I finally arrived home last night, now that Hurricane Florence has moved north. It was quite an adventure, and frankly not one I wish to repeat any time soon. Thankfully the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina was spared the brunt of the storm. Everything is fine and just how it was when I left a week ago.

The storm damage farther south and west is severe, and I feel for those who have suffered great loss. It will take months for those affected to recover. Pleas have been made for aid to those people - food, clothing, and so much more. If you are able, please give what you can to a reliable organization that is trying to help those folks. Many organizations will accept either a money donation, or goods and services.

This image was made this past summer in Alaska. It was a gray, misty day and we were in prime eagle territory. This beauty struck the perfect pose in the perfect place, with soft misty trees in the background.

When shooting birds in flight, a fast shutter speed is your best friend if you want sharp results. A shutter speed of at least 1/1250 sec. works well, and I prefer faster - 1/1600 or 1/2000 - if there is enough light. I prefer to set the ISO no higher than 800 in order to minimize the appearance of noise, but in low light conditions I will use ISO 1600 when necessary.

TECH SPECS
1/1250 sec. at f/8, ISO 800.  Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 318mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Eagles come in all shapes and sizes, but you will recognize them chiefly by their attitudes."  -- E.F. Schumacher  


Friday, September 14, 2018

Slowly Working My Way Home


Today's Hurricane Florence update:
I left western North Carolina to avoid the flash flooding predicted for this weekend, and am now safely in Richmond, Virginia at my friend Jane's house. I skirted around the storm to the west, and then to the north to arrive in Richmond.

Along the interstates I traversed today, I saw two large trailers marked "Disaster Unit," apparently ready to travel to the hardest hit areas. I also saw 3 separate convoys of electric company bucket trucks traveling toward the hurricane area. Very sobering sights to say the least. And how wonderful that in a disaster there are those who are ready and willing to pitch in, to put themselves in harm's way, and to leave their homes and families in an effort to help others.

Today's photo is me with my feet up, finally relaxing in complete safety in Richmond.

Miraculously, the northern Outer Banks sustained no damage, my house is intact, and I plan to return home in the next couple of days. But for now, I am so lucky to be in a safe place, comfortable and dry. I cannot begin to imagine how many lives have been terribly disrupted, how many homes have been destroyed, how many people are emotionally shattered as a result of this storm, and how many lives have been and will be lost. Let's do all we can to help those in need, whether it is emotional, financial, or simply with our prayers and healing thoughts.

TECH SPECS
Selfie shot with iPhone 6 camera.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "If a natural disaster strikes, reach out to friends, neighbors, and complete strangers. Lend a helping hand."  --Marsha Blackburn

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fleeing Hurricane Florence


Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been contacting me with concern about my welfare in light of Hurricane Florence. I was very touched by the outpouring of concern from so many clients and friends. As many of you know, I make my home at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and earlier in the week it appeared that we were going to be in the bull's-eye of this terrible storm.

Because of the unpredictability of weather patterns, in spite of all our technological advances in weather forecasting, the storm took an unexpected turn to the south and will deliver just a glancing blow to the Outer Banks. But before the authorities knew that, they issued a mandatory evacuation of all visitors and residents.

So I headed to western North Carolina in hopes of avoiding the worst of the storm's wrath. I revisited the Blue Ridge Parkway, shown in today's image. It is one of our country's most beautiful roadways through the mountains. The weather was great with no hint of the havoc being wrought on eastern North Carolina and South Carolina.

But now in light of the storm's new track, this part of the state will experience flash floods over the weekend. So I am now heading north and east to Richmond, VA which, at least for now, appears to be out of the line of fire. Quite a sojourn. I have chosen to look at it as an adventure, although not one I wish to repeat any time soon!

I think next time evacuations are ordered, I should just go as far away as possible, perhaps Tahiti!

TECH SPECS
1/2000 at f/13, ISO 1600.  Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 182mm, on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "In reality, you don't ever change the hurricane. You just learn how to stay out of its path.  --Jodi Picoult


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sense of Scale and Space


A female moose and her calf were walking briskly across the tundra in Denali National Park on a misty day. Even though she stands about 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs close to 1000 pounds, she looks tiny in this landscape.

Often we want much closer shots of wildlife, but sometimes it is good to show the surroundings to give a sense of scale. Denali is huge and distances are deceiving. The moose were several hundred yards away, and the mountains in the background were 3 to 5 miles away. Take a moment to wrap your head around those distances.

So if you do not have a long lens don't despair. You can still get great shots of wildlife by showing them in their environment, and giving the viewer a sense of scale.

TECH SPECS
1/320 sec. at f/8, ISO 400. Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens with Canon1.4x telextender for an effective focal length of 280mm, on Canon 7D Mark II.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "There are no rules for good photographs. There are only good photographs."  --Ansel Adams

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Beautiful Baby of Denali


This grizzly bear cub in Denali National Park was bulking up along with its mother in preparation for the upcoming winter. The seasons pass quickly in the far north, and autumn had already begun by mid-August. The fall colors had appeared and the temperatures were dropping.

This cub and its mother were working their way along the creek seen in the background, eating all the blueberries and soap berries they could find. Amazingly they came closer and closer to our vehicle and eventually walked right behind us. FYI, in Denali for your personal safety, you want to maintain a minimum distance of at least 300 yards from bears unless you are in a vehicle. And possibly even more distance when there is a mother with cubs.

For that reason, we stayed safely in our vehicle as the bears came closer to us. We were able to shoot through the open windows and everyone got great images. What a thrill to be so close to these iconic animals.

TECH SPECS
1/640 sec. at f/5.6, ISO 800. Canon 70-200mm f/4 lens with 1.4x telextender for an effective focal length of 280mm, on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Alive, the grizzly is a symbol of freedom and understanding - a sign that man can learn to conserve what is left of the earth. Extinct, it will be another fading testimony to things man should have learned more about but was too preoccupied with himself to notice. "  --Frank Craighead

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Denali, The Great One


I just returned to Anchorage last night from a wonderful week in Denali National Park. Once again luck was with us and we got great views of the tallest mountain in North America, Denali.

The day this was taken started out overcast with sprinkles, but by afternoon the skies cleared beautifully to reveal this superb view of the awe-inspiring mountain.

It was a super group with friendly and excited people, and we all enjoyed our time together. Everyone got amazing images of an array of wildlife including grizzly bear, caribou, moose, a rare fox sighting, and of course breathtaking scenics. 

The tundra was turning to autumn shades of gold, yellow, and red, and the animals were in beautiful condition. As always it was hard to leave this incredible place.

TECH SPECS
1/1000 sec at f/11, ISO 400.  Canon 7D Mark II body with Canon 24-105mm lens set at 70mm.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: " If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it."  --Lyndon B. Johnson

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!


I got to Alaska a couple of days early to just chill. I wanted to see and do a few things before everyone arrived. I had not been to the tiny town of Talkeetna in over a decade so it was time for a return visit. Three tour participants who had arrived early rode there with me, and we had a fun day of shopping, eating pizza, shopping, having ice cream, shopping, and  -  did I say shopping??

Anyway, I was persuaded to pose for this exquisite portrait in Talkeetna and wanted to share it with you. It was taken by my friend Jane who agreed to part with it for a small fee.

Full disclosure  -  the bear was quite friendly, and I did not catch the fish!

Tonight is our first group meeting at a Welcome and Orientation session. We leave early Sunday morning for Denali National Park. Let the fun begin!

We will be out of internet range until next weekend, so I will not be able to post any images from Denali until then.

TECH SPECS
Unwilling model was photographed with iPhone 6 at close range. Handheld. 

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun."  --Randy Rausch

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Back In Alaska!


I'm happy to be back in Alaska, just one month after concluding my July Alaska photo tours. After so many trips here, it feels very comfortable and easy. It is always exciting to be back. This is the view from the plane as we began our descent into the Anchorage airport. Some peaks were snow-capped, and others revealed their rocky tops.

There are still many hours of daylight here, and this was taken a little before 9PM. Sunset was about 9:30, and as we swung around toward our gate we could see an almost full moon above the Chugash Mountains.

The Denali National Park photo tour begins on Saturday evening. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, and helping them to revel in the joys of this incredible place with its abundant wildlife and sweeping scenery.

TECH SPECS
1/1600 sec. at f/2.2, ISO 32, iPhone6 camera 4.15mm lens.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Photography is a love affair with life."  --Burk Uzzle

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Beautiful Brown Bears of Alaska


Spending time with the brown bears of coastal Alaska is an experience every photographer who enjoys wildlife should have at least once in their lives. Two words best describe them - beautiful and compelling. These bears are very human-like, and even though they are completely wild, the coastal bears are not concerned by our presence. They are calm and go about their daily routines right before our eyes.

After a short time with these bears, you realize that each one has a different face, and you will begin to recognize each one. And they are more entertaining than a TV sit-com. The cubs romp and play, they chase each other and engage in mock fighting. But when mom utters a barely audible huffing sound, they snap to attention and immediately obey her command.

And there are tender moments as well. Watching cubs nurse is a special experience to observe and photograph. And the strong bond between mothers and cubs is obvious and endearing.

I return to this same location year after year because of the amazing images we can get, and how easy it is to photograph these special animals. We are transported in ATV's with all our gear very close to where the bears are. Our experienced guide gets us in good locations where the light is right and the action is best.

I also return year after year because our lodge is very close to the bear action, and is a very pampering place to return to after a day of shooting. It is a classic Alaska lodge, with great food and nicely decorated rooms. I reserve the entire lodge, so everything is done on our schedule and with only us in mind. 

This is an exclusive workshop open to only 8 photographers. Group size is kept small so that you can receive personalized attention and be in positions to get the best shots. These bears are so mellow that they are do not react to our presence. Often they will walk fairly close to us, allowing some superb close up shots. Huge lenses are NOT needed.

Learn the nuances of nature photography in a truly wild atmosphere. Join me in Alaska July 15 - 21 for a world-class experience.

TECH SPECS
Shutter speeds between 1/1000 and 1/2500 sec. at f/8. ISO 400 to 800. Canon 100-400mm lens with 1.4x extender on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Sometimes you get no second chance, and it's best to accept the gifts the world offers you."  -- Paolo Coelho