I have been home for such little time after my Antarctica trip, that I really haven’t had time to share many photos from this amazing end of the world. So I thought I would share one today.
Another unexpected medical issue has forced one of our guests to delay his June Alaska Bear and Puffin Tour back one year – so now we have one unexpected opening for both June and August trips. Both these trips filled many months ago – so this is a unique chance to spend time with these amazing animals without having to book a year in advance! Here is lots more information on the Bear and Puffin Photo Tour.
The recent rains have definitely helped the cactus as I’m seeing more and more come into bloom.
This was from last night under the stars in a cool slot canyon.
Canon 5D III, 24mm f/1.4 Canon lens at f/1.4, 8 seconds, ISO 1600.
Here is another one from Sunday evening. Hard to beat stormy weather in the desert!
Had a fun workshop last weekend! Great group of people, and interesting weather including rain, cool clouds and nice sunrises and sunsets.
Couldn’t wait to get out myself – This is from last night as Janine, and our friend Andy chased hummingbirds and sunsets!
I have been doing spring weekend workshops in Anza-Borrego for many years now, and with rain in the forecast, this weekends could be really interesting!
I haven’t mentioned my Anza-Borrego workshops at all this year and I kinda feel bad – when people inquire about signing up Anza-Borrego Photography Workshops, I tell them to keep an eye on Facebook, or my blog for information, as I usually begin to promote it in the late fall. This year my weekend workshops filled last Summer back when I first put them on my website and emailed prior guests, before I had a chance to even mention them here, so I apologize to those who missed out. In the future, we are going to add a email sign up list to our website so I can send out notices a couple of times a year of our workshop offerings to everyone at once.
My 2014 photo tours have been full for some time, that is until yesterday. Unfortunately, we have a person who is going to have to cancel thus opening an opportunity to join me on this amazing trip in August! This photo tour usually fills about a year in advance, so this is a unique opportunity. Here are the details: Alaska Bear and Puffin Photo Tour. Feel free to email or call if you have any questions.
By the way, it may still show as full, but that in only because we are having trouble updating our website while on the road.
I spent last night photographing one of the many cool sculptures found around Borrego Springs. I lit this one with a couple of LED panels. I tried a red one it its mouth, but not sure if I like that version – a bit over the top, but interesting.
Here are some more coyote photos.
Since the slot canyons around Page, Arizona had changed so much between our June and September visits due to flashing flooding. I figured we better check out the one here in Borrego, since this area experience the same weather.
There are a few more boulders that fell down from above, but none of them block the canyon. And, the cool mud arch is still standing – barely.
I have been trying for a couple of evenings to get a nice clean image of this beautiful bird, but it likes to stay in the thick reeds watching for bugs to pounce on. So, I decided to embrace the reeds by including the plants. As Janine pointed out, seems like such a beautiful bird shouldn’t have “Common” as part of its name.
Seems a bit odd going through Antarctica images while in the desert during a heat wave.
I have made the trip from Alaska to Anza-Borrego and are now situated comfortably. Part of that trip involved driving from Phoenix to Anza-Borrego in Southern California, a drive that gave me a bit of an over-view of what’s to come. Here are my thoughts.
I was really excited about the prospects of wildflowers during my visit to Arizona in September. In Northern Arizona I saw some of the best fields of wildflowers I have seen in the desert in two years – and it was September! This was due to some heavy rain during the month of August, numerous YouTube videos showed flashing flooding and crazy rainfall from Anza-Borrego, California, to Page, Arizona. Even now, the water year to date rainfall total for Borrego is way ahead of the last few years.
Fast forward to today – unfortunately, the desert has seen little if any rain since those Augusts storms, and California is experiencing the most extreme drought in modern history. Because of this, my expectations were extremely low. I was pleased to see a report on the news when I arrived talking about an early bloom this year. I was even more surprised to see numerous green areas though out Arizona that showed some good potential for a bloom. Even more encouraging, there were a two of small areas that were actually already in nice bloom right now!
Both areas were along Highway 8. The first was at mile 149. There is actually a nice picnic and parking area on the South side of the highway right at the best spot, which included a thick carpet of yellow flowers amongst the saguaro cactus. At 70 miles per hour, I couldn’t tell what type of wildflowers, but it was a pretty area. Another nice area was on a rocky hillside at mile 125 – the hills were spotted with a good collection of blooming Brittlebush. Between the brittlebush, rocks and cactus, this was another nice area similar to what is pictured above. There were some nice patches of wildflowers in other areas of Arizona, including lupine, but most of those were limited to the shoulder of the highway, an area that always has some bloom.
Now as I made my way West, things looked worse, and I must admit, it doesn’t look very promising for Anza-Borrego. There are a few blooms in the washes, but most areas are brown. Now a nice rainfall could change all this, but the forecast isn’t promising either. In fact, the whole region is experiencing record high temps which should last for at least a few more days – the heat won’t do the wildflowers in favors. If things do change, I’ll let you know!
According to the L.A. Times Leonard Knight pasted away on Monday. Leonard was the builder of Salvation Mountain, you might have seen it in the movie Into The Wild.
This image is from 2009. We had the pleasure of meeting him, and getting a tour of his creation. He was a very friendly, interesting gentleman who lived year around in the back of a truck and worked on building Salvation Mountain. Even in the middle of the brutally hot Summer, he worked continued adding new elements. I’m glad we had the pleasure of meeting him, I don’t think it was too long after this he had to move into a retirement home. Rest in peace Leonard.
I thought I would share another one from our amazing Northern Light show over Seward this past Fall.
I have good news and bad news. The bad news, all my photo tour trips for 2014 are full. But the good news, I will be working with Hugh Rose on a Polar Bear / Northern Lights / Brooks Range Photo Tour and there is still space for anyone who wants to join us this Fall! This is something we have been talking about and planning for months, and are now ready to begin taking reservations.
Hugh created and pioneered this Polar Bear tour many years ago. In recent years this trip has been copied, but no one comes close to having Hugh’s experience guiding photographers in the Alaska Arctic. I have always thought this was one of the best photo tours in Alaska and I have referred a number of people his way over the years.
I first meet Hugh back sometime in the mid 90′s on a Kenai Fjords tour boat. I was just beginning to pursue my passion of photography more seriously, and he was already an established guide leading a group. Fast forward 15 years or so to today. We are now good friends, and I have worked with him on trips to Antarctica, and in Alaska on a photo trip into Prince William Sound and Cordova, Alaska. Not only is he an excellent photographer, but maybe one of the best, if not the best naturalists I know. It is an honor to be joining him. It is going to be a fun trip – there is typically no shortage of laughter on trips we work together!
If you are interested, I have far more information on my website here: Polar Bear / Northern Lights / Brooks Range Photo Tour.
We are a bit behind and are just now editing and adjusting last Summer’s photos. So I thought I would share some since they are still “new” to me.
Horned puffin are really tough to photograph in flight. Not only are they fast, but they are about the size of a football and don’t always fly a nice even path. Over the years, some of my guests have captured killer flight images of puffin, but I have been a bit skunked. Now that I have a much better flight lenses, the Canon 70-200 f/2.8, I decided to give more of an emphasis to flight photography. This past Summer, between two trips in Prince William Sound, and my two Bear and Puffin Photo Tours, I had lots of opportunity, and was able to finally captured some decent puffin flight images! This was from my June bear trip.
Canon 5D III, 70-200 with 1.4 converter @ 280, ISO 200, f/5 and 1/3200 of a second. Original is a horizontal cropped to vertical. I rarely crop, but this image worked much better cropped.
A snowy evening in the abandoned whaling ghost town of Grytviken is where I celebrated New Year’s Eve this year. It looks gloomy, but there is a British Antarctica Survey (BAS) station nearby, just out of sight of this image. The interesting folks from that base came aboard our ship for New Year’s dinner and celebrating – despite the gloomy appearance, it was actually a fun night.
For the last 5 years, at year end, I have shared a group of my favorite images of the past year. Since I have been traveling for the last couple of months, I didn’t have a chance to do it – but decided better late than never! So here are my favorites from 2013.
Looking back, I have been gone a lot! Antarctica and Southern California at the beginning of the year. Prince William Sound and Cordova with the Discovery in May. Backpacking in the Grand Canyon, then Lake Powell, Zion and Vegas in May and June. A very busy Summer in Alaska before heading back to Arizona in September. A month in Maui, then back to Antarctica! I was away from home over half the year! If I look back 13 months, I spent about 50 nights sleeping aboard boats thanks to two Antarctica trips, and two Prince William Sound trips aboard the Discovery. And, I leave again for two months soon – I better catch up on my sleep! As a travel photographer, it is a good thing I like to travel!
So, that said, here are some of my favorites. The thumbnails are partial views – click on the thumbnails to see larger versions of the entire image.
I had a wonderful trip to Denali this Summer with some perfect weather – this evening was magical.
We had a couple of wonderful Northern light shows this Fall – along with clear skies, a treat for Seward! I think this is my favorite of the bunch, although I captured a wide variety of Aurora Borealis photos.
It was a great year for wildflowers on the mountain behind my house.
I do two week long bear photo tours in Alaska every Summer, so you know I’m going to include at least one bear photo, and I couldn’t resist this cute little guy.
With so many Antarctica photos, it is hard to pick a favorite, although this 2 a.m. sunset / sunrise is among my favorites!
Backpacking into the Grand Canyon for a couple nights was one of the highlights of the year – now I can’t wait to backpack rim to rim!
I admit, the fond memories of this camping trip probably have more to do with this being a favorite then the quality of the image, but that is OK.
Another one from a wonderful trip to Denali National Park, Alaska.
Being in this magical canyon at night, away from the crowds was really special. This was from a photo tour I offered last Fall, one I hope to do again soon.
I spent a few different nights photographing the wonderful lupine along Turnagain Arm – it was a pretty good year for wildflowers along the Arm – probably one of the better shows in years.
There, I actually limited myself to 10 photos! I never can do that, although it means nothing from Maui, Prince William Sound and only one image from Antarctica and of Northern lights!
OK – Janine say’s we have to have a Maui photo – so I’m going with this from Haleakala National Park:
A Crabeater Seal from earlier this month while in Antarctica. Interestingly enough, Crabeater Seals don’t eat crabs, which is a good thing since there aren’t crabs in Antarctica. They mostly feed on krill.
Well I’ll add this cover to my category of shameless self promotion It arrived this past week and features an image I captured from on of my favorite RV resorts – in fact, we will be back there in about two weeks!
Fur seals on South Georgia quickly became one of my favorite animals. They were everywhere, and often aggressive, especially the younger ones like to bark and bluff charge people. Very entertaining, and very cute!