Another wonderful subject. I have always been fascinated by the sea – probably because of the never ending change that it represents. Every wave, every ripple adds a new effect – both visually and dynamically. The other aspect of the sea is its power – something we see and feel in every wave that breaks or every current we encounter or even every storm we weather while on the water. Lastly, as a scuba diver I marvel at the life giving abundance of the sea – fueling an entirely different world than most of us routinely experience. I should mention one more thing since this is a photographic challenge – what would the golden hour be without the sea, in all its forms, to highlight it…….??
Anyone who has been around here for a while knows I can’t pass up a good wildlife photo. You probably also know I can’t pass up a good reflection picture. So when those opportunities coincide, I am a happy camper. That is exactly what happened when we were on the tidal flats in Silver Salmon Creek Alaska and this very blonde brown bear was out clamming in the morning light. Her coat is very ragged (she hasn’t completely scrapped off last years winter coat), she was quite muddy, but she gave us this very nice photo op. For anyone interested in the particulars of this bear, she is about 4 years old and is quite small for her age. Our guide told us that she had only recently developed the skills to clam so he was hopeful that would enable her to add some weight on. Lightweight or not – she has a great career in modeling ahead of her…..
Another nice challenge. I often use the depth of field capabilities to try to capture the scope of the photo (for instance in wildlife, the numbers of animals in the frame) while maintaining a tight focus or point of attention on the main subject of the photo. In this photo I wanted to give the idea that there were two almost identical bear cubs in the frame but I wanted the attention to be clearly on the forward cub. I used a narrower depth of field than I would have to capture the same level of detail on both cubs. I also think this treatment gives it kind of a “ghost” image in the background to add interest.
Just realized that I hadn’t posted a pic of a bald eagle since we’ve been up here. When our bear camp was cancelled we spent a few days chasing after eagles to fill our days and our memory cards. This young eagle was just taking a high dive off a stump in a place called deep creek which is north of Homer. They are majestic flyers – young or mature. Hope you enjoy!
Well, after a week of photographing eagles, otters, and the occasional moose, we finally got the opportunity to play with some bears. After our week long bear trip was cancelled, I started researching bear lodges and with the help of the wonderful people at the Homestead lodge at Silver Salmon Creek, we were able to book a two day stay in Bear country. We arrived at the site by air charter and were transported to the lodge by ATV – the lodge was incredibly beautiful and homey and the staff were tremendous – especially our bear guide Scott who gave us every opportunity to maximize our interactions with the local Bear population. You’ll be seeing alot of the local Bears but I thought I’d start with one of the first shots I took on our first morning. This mom and her two spring cubs were very hospitable and we were able to see and photograph them in a variety of environments. This particular moment captures the reaction on the Mom and one of the cubs as another bear came into the area. They immediately went on alert and departed the area. I hope you enjoy this series for the next several days (maybe even weeks) – we are still in Alaska and will have more to share but our bear adventures are probably over for now 😦
Hi everyone! It hasn’t been the bear adventure that we were anticipating up here in Alaska but we’ve been having a great time anyway. It got even better when I saw the subject of this challenge as I had a perfect photo from yesterday. Our friend Jay invited us out on his boat here in Homer, Alaska and we had a wonderful carefree day that we will remember for a long time. Along the way, we had the opportunity to hang out with a bunch of other carefree characters. How is this for carefree and kicked back??
As I mentioned in my last post, we were worried about the weather in the wilderness area that we were going to. As it turns out the weather got even worse – to the extent that it pretty much destroyed the camp that we were going to. Our guide and his guests were stranded in an awful storm but were finally able to get a plane in to take everyone out – tired, wet, but unharmed. Unfortunately, our bear adventure has been cancelled. We’re kind of scrambling to figure out what we are going to do while we are here but it looks like we’ll be able to go out to a lodge on Lake Clark for at least two days with the Bears. In the meantime, I’ll try to give you some updates on where we go from here…..you gotta love Alaska.
This photo is the closest we’ve gotten to our quest so far…..
In the meantime, we’ll have put up with the lousy scenery around here…….
so this will probably be my last post for a little while. We’re off to go camping with Brown Bears in the Katmai Region of Alaska again – this will be our third year doing that and it is definitely one of the coolest trips we do. We’re going to a little different area this time and we are keeping our fingers crossed on the weather. Our bear guide called by satellite phone to tell us that for the last week the wind has been blowing at 60-80 mph and his guests for this week haven’t been able to get to the tent camp – in fact he has been unable to set up some of the camp because of the wind. The long range forecasts we’ve found seem to be improving so hopefully we’ll be able to get out there with those magnificent animals. In any case I thought I’d leave you with another shot of what we hope to see. I’ve posted this photo before but I re-procesed this one to make it more of an “art shot”. This is from 2 years ago – this little cub was following its mom along the beach near our camp. The cub was very inquisitive and kept standing up to see us over the wispy grass and bushes growing on the shoreline. I hope we’ll have new shots like this to share in the near future….take care.
We went out to Santa Rosa Island a couple of weeks ago and spent 4 nights camping. Every morning, I got up early with the hopes of capturing a photo of a Channel Island Fox. These little foxes are unique to the Channel Islands (and each island has its own subspecies) and were very close to going extinct. Until about the 1960s, the islands were inhabited by Bald Eagles who mostly eat fish. As the Bald Eagle population was decimated by hunting and by DDT poisoning, Golden Eagles moved in from the mainland. The Golden Eagles feasted on the island fox populations with the Santa Rosa population going down to only 14 foxes . To save the foxes, they were rounded up and bred in captivity on the islands. With the recent relocation of the Golden Eagles from the Isands and the reintroduction of the Bald Eagles, it was possible to reintroduce the foxes to the wild. The foxes are now thriving on the Islands in what is thought to be one of the most successful reintroductions of an endangered species to an area. The Santa Rosa population is now estimated to be in the range of 500 foxes. In any case, I was “skunked” during my morning photo walks except for a quick glimpse of a fox as it dove into a nearby canyon. As happen many times while trying to photograph wildlife, the opportunity came when we least expected it. My wife and I were sitting in a small canyon and waiting for our boat to the mainland on the last day when I saw this little face coming out of the brush……
I told my wife not to move for fear of it running back into the weeds but he instead came down and spent about 5 minutes with us – getting a drink of water and then returning to the brush. He didn’t seem very scared of us as he came pretty close but he certainly kept an eye on us for any threatening gestures. I think this next shot captures how we felt about this incredible way to end our stay on the island……Priceless!
This post is about one of those magic moments where you get to witness and capture something completely unexpected but amazing. We were making an early morning drive through Lamar Valley in the Northern end of the park when we spotted a lone wolf a good distance away down in the valley. We pulled over just as he was making his way toward a herd of Bison. He made a few tentative attempts to separate a “red dog” bison calf away from its mother but the mom kept itself between the wolf and calf and the predator kinda lost interest. Shortly after that, a group of 5 or 6 bison chased the wolf away from the main herd. Somewhere during all this action, a coyote joined the party and began nipping at the wolf’s heels. We were still a long ways away but we could hear the coyote’s barking clearly. The wolf slowly turned toward us and started walking quickly towards where we were parked. The Coyote kept pace and never left his trail position behind the wolf – yelling the entire time. Eventually we got a better view of the whole proceeding and were able to get a photo of the encounter. I managed to get this shot of the Wolf coming at us, the coyote with mouth open as it chased the wolf, and the buffalo behind with their young. Sort of a perfect description of what Yellowstone is all about.
We continued to watch as that coyote chased the wolf for about 2 miles!! Even when the wolf turned and showed the size of his teeth the coyote kept coming…