Friday, July 28, 2017

Just For Fun

This majestic eagle, seen on the recently completed private yacht cruise in Alaska's Inside Passage,  was caught in a comical pose. He had been performing for our cameras, swooping, catching fish, and generally feeling his oats. But when he turned to fly away, I happened to catch, well, not his best side. When I looked at this image, it struck me that his tail looked like a ballerina's tu-tu, and his feet were his toe shoes. And then to make it perfect, he turned his head as if asking "does this tu-tu make my butt look big?"

Now I will never be able to look at an eagle's tail the same way again!

1/8000 sec. at f/7.1, ISO 1600. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens on Canon 7D Mark II body.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance."  --Martha Graham

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Eyes Wide Open - Where's The Bear?

Spoiler alert - there is no bear! This was shot on my recent brown bears trip in Alaska. We were on the mud flats watching the bears frolic and dig for clams. When we turned around to change our vantage point, we were greeted with this beautiful abstract design of sand and shallow water.

Wherever you are, whatever you are photographing, there is often much more than you anticipated. It is important to keep your eyes wide open to all possibilities, even if your main mission is particular wildlife, a special landscape, or anything else. When I am out shooting I am a firm believer in being an opportunist. I always try to be open to any and all photographic opportunities, whenever and however they present themselves.

This image was optimized in Lightroom. I deepened the blue of the water to create more contrast between it and the silvery sand. It was a sunny day, but even in bright overhead light this scene had a wonderful 3-dimensional quality and a great deal of texture.

1/1250 sec., f/10, ISO 400. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 140mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Your big opportunity may be right where you are now."  -- Napoleon Hill 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Bear Facts

Bears, bears, and more bears! For the third year in a row, we have traveled to the best and one of the safest locations to see and photograph brown bears in Alaska. We saw many mothers and cubs, a few males, wildflowers, had great weather, great food and great accommodations. What more could you ask for?

The 2018 trip has already been scheduled for July 13 - 19, 2018. We travel by small plane to Lake Clark National Park, about a one-hour flight from Anchorage. We will see newborn cubs, frolicking and sparring teenagers, wildflowers, and maybe even puffins.

The trip is not yet listed on our website, so please email me at for more information. Limited to only 8 participants, this trip will fill quickly. Let me know if you are interested.

All images f/8, ISO 800. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "If people were superior to animals, they'd take better care of the world."  --Winnie The Pooh

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wild Alaska Postcard

I head back to the East Coast today after almost a month in glorious Alaska. All I can say is WOW! Between the brown bears trip, followed by the yacht cruise in the Inside Passage, it was all I had planned for and more. Everyone on each trip got superb images and had a blast. Many want to return next year for either one or both trips.

Today's blog is another postcard from images captured on the private yacht cruise. Starting at the top, this is a sunset view of snow covered mountains taken at one of our overnight harbor locations (each evening our captain moored us in calm protected inlets). The eagle was fishing and this was taken just after he snagged a herring (click on the image to see the entire postcard in a larger view). Next to the eagle is a shot of our Zodiac shuttling us to shore where we were surrounded by beautiful icebergs with abstract shapes and intense color. Having the Zodiac available allowed us to get images that most other photographers never have the opportunity to get.

The breaching whale was a real treat to see. The whale was quite exuberant and breached multiple times. He also did a lot of "chin slapping" so he made a lot of loud noise for quite some time. One of the benefits of this sort of trip is that there is no time limit - when we came upon something photogenic we stayed as long as we wanted. Pure paradise for a photographer!

The two seals were a real treat - the baby had just been born and if you look closely you can see the umbilical cord still attached. It was wonderful to see new life just appearing. And finally, the whale tail shot is actually two whales side by side, one blowing and one diving. We saw dozens of whales, more than I had ever seen before.

So, two wonderfully successful photo trips have come to an end.  What an amazing time it has been! We all have memories that will last a lifetime. Applications are now being taken for next year's private yacht cruise. Dates are still to be determined but it will be in late June / early July 2018. There is already a sizeable list of interested photographers, so if you are interested, please contact me as soon as possible and I can provide details.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The quicker we humans learn that saving open space and wildlife is critical to our welfare and quality of life, maybe we'll start thinking of doing something about it."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy July 4th from Alaska!

Happy July 4th from Petersburg Alaska! The last of my group is here celebrating a truly small town holiday. The town puts on some fun games for kids and adults, a parade, a log rolling competition, rowboat races, and many more entertaining events.

Thanks to group member Cindy McCaffrey for capturing this image at the Salty Pantry restaurant at the harbor in town. The food is superb and the staff very friendly. Doesn't get any better than that!

My nearly one month in Alaska is coming to an end and it was filled with incredible photographic opportunities, great camaraderie with wonderful people, and one adventure after another. I can't wait to return!

TODAY'S QUOTE: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."  --Nelson Mandela

Monday, July 3, 2017

Alaska Postcard

I have just returned from an incredible week aboard a private yacht for a photo tour of Alaska's Inside Passage. The seven participants traveling with me were treated to some of the finest photographic opportunities Alaska has to offer. All of us were blown away by the superb things we were able to observe and photograph during our week on the water.

We photographed cavorting whales, swooping eagles, pristine icebergs, a world class sunset, sea otters, sea lions, seals, a variety of birds, and so much more. On several days we took our zodiac skiff to nearby islands with ancient moss covered trails flanked by huge trees, or icebergs on the beach. We had complete flexibility since the boat was chartered just for us. Our captain was an experienced naturalist who has traveled these waters for over 40 years. He knew exactly where to go to get us the image opportunities we wanted.

As if that weren't enough, we had a world-class chef who prepared all our meals, and a ship's mate who did the lion's share of taking care of our quarters, shuttling us to shore, and a myriad of other duties. It was a great crew, and we were treated like good friends which for me is the best way to travel.

I plan to return next summer to do the same trip. Stay tuned for dates. It will fill very quickly.

Eagle  -  1/6400 sec. at f/7.1, ISO 1600. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 280mm on Canon 7D Mark II body.  Handheld.
Sunset  -  1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 800.  Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set at 70mm on Canon 5D Mark III body.  Handheld.
Iceberg  -  1/1600 sec at f/9, ISO 800.  Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with 1.4 extender set at 560mm on Canon 7D Mark II body.  Handheld.
Whale  -  1/2000 sec. at f/10, ISO 800.  Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set at 200mm on Canon 5D Mark III body.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "There is nothing  -  absolutely nothing  -  half so much worth doing as simply messing about in ships."  -- from "Wind In The Willows" by Kenneth Grahame