This Summer has been busy, but it is about to get busier! I’m hitting an exciting stretch that I have been looking forward to for some time, although I’ll only be home one day over the next three weeks!
Early this morning I’m flying to Ketchikan to begin my bear and whale yacht based photo tour. Not only are we going to visit and see some amazing sights, but I have traveled with everybody but one person, and in most cases have done multiple trips with each person, so I know it is going to be a really fun group! For me, the bears and whales will just be a bonus, although I don’t think they will agree.
Then a couple of days in Juneau with a friend, home for one day, then off for another Alaska Bear Photo Tour! With all those cubs the June trip was amazing – I still have a bunch of photos I’m excited about that I haven’t had a chance to share from June! I’m anxious to see how the cubs are doing.
So I may have internet at times, and if I have time, I’ll post some updates, but if you don’t hear from me, you will know why.
Over my career I am sure I have easily had over a 1,000 photos printed in various publications, but this is a pretty proud moment – to actually see a story! If my high school English teacher, Mrs. Foster, was still around to see this she would be shocked! Yes, I went to a small school where I only had one English teacher.
You see, I seem to have some aptitude for photography, but when it comes to writing, it has been a long struggle. I did not like English class in high school and frankly paid little attention. Probably because of this, I have never enjoyed the writing process.
Well, a number of years ago I made a conscious effort to improve my written communication. Beginning this blog around the same time I believe has also helped with my writing. But, I never envisioned a magazine actually asking me to write a story as Country Extra did – they were looking for an article on aerial photography, something I have done a lot of! Whoops, ended a sentence with a preposition, still improving. :) So I nervously went about writing and submitting my final article and was looking forward to feedback, but never heard a word. I reminded myself that I rarely get feedback on photo submissions, it makes sense that articles would be the same – magazines are all business. But, it must have been adequate as to my pleasant surprise, it showed up in the July issue along with a number of images!
This was from my bear tour last month – very cute! Well it looks cute, but in reality it was up there because it was afraid of a nearby male.
Whether in Alaska or Antarctica, I have found that grounded icebergs are by far the coolest and most interesting!
This is Janine exploring Bear Glacier Lagoon last Saturday. The compression from the telephoto gives the appearance that I was under the overhang, but I definitely wasn’t. It is amazing just how quickly an iceberg like this can break apart, roll and almost implode – we saw it happen a number of times during our two days there. It can be a dangerous place as it is in constant change and deserves a lot of respect, but that is also what makes it such a fun place!
My last image was of our campsite last Friday night, was back up at 4:30 the Saturday morning and was treated to a beautiful morning!
This is Friday nights campsite – it has been a a wonderful whirlwind week!
This was sunrise yesterday morning. I have never seen this pretty little pond before even though it is only about 1/4 of a mile off the Lost Lake Trail – a trail I run on a couple of times a week in the Summer. This is one of my favorite places for trail running and now photography!
Last nights camping spot! This is the first of what should be a few overnight trips around the area this week with a photographer friend visiting from Fairbanks.
A sow and a couple of cubs on the hunt for clams last month at Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.
Zodiac cruising – looking for seals, penguins and cool landscapes was my favorite activity in Antarctica, and I’m already getting excited to return! Cheeseman’s tells me they still have a bit of space available on what may be the last time an extended trip of this length will be offered, so if you have ever wanted to see the South Georgia and Antarctica, this is the time! I’m happy to answer any questions, but if you want the in-depth scope, you can read much more here: Cheesman’s Antarctica.
A pair of second year cubs playing on driftwood. Few animals are as cute as first year cubs – sometimes called spring cubs, or cubs of the summer. But, I often prefer second summer cubs – cubs that are basically a year and a half old as they are born in the den during the Winter. Second summer cubs are almost as cute as first year, but are far more playful and entertaining to watch, as they are now brave enough to wander short distances from their mom. But, when another bear appears nearby as one did here – they are quick to run back to mom!
Wow what a great trip! Really fun group of people, perfect weather, and get this – 5 sows each with their own set of first year cubs, and two more sows with a second year cub or cubs! Wow! A boat trip to view puffin, and an exploration trip up the Johnson River capped off a wonderful week!
Four of the sows with cubs were there when we arrived, and consistently gave us great photo opportunities including my long time favorite bear, Pavlov (more on her later). One day in the middle of our trip, 3 more sows with cubs were spotted on the same day! These new families were a bit more skittish and couldn’t always be located, including this mom with cubs. This sow was noticeably uneasy hanging out in an area with so many other bears, and when she got nervous, one of the cubs would almost always jump on her back making for very entertaining viewing and photography.
Thanks to the mild Winter and warm Spring, I thought it could be a good year – I’m glad that prediction came true. If you want in on this amazing year, because of a recent cancellation, I still have two spots for my August trip: Alaska Bear Photo Tours. I know it is last minute, but I would really prefer to bring two more passionate bear viewing photographers, and be able to refund deposits then the opposite, so if you have any questions, please let me know!
I’m excited to be heading off on a bear tour early tomorrow morning. I’m always excited for my bear tours, but this trip I’m extra excited for a couple of reasons. First – I know it can change, but I’m hearing reports that 4 of the first year cubs from last June are back – hopefully these two are among them. And, I’m hearing reports of a new set of Spring cubs! First year (Spring) cubs are so cute because they are so small, but second Summer cubs are better photo subjects since they are still really cute, and far more active and playful. Sounds like this year we might have the best of both worlds! Speaking of this, due to a recent cancellation, I still have two spots for my August Alaska Bear and Puffin photo tour.
I’m also excited as I have traveled with everyone on this trip in prior years, so for me, it is going to be like getting together with old friends!
The day after I return begins a private Alaska photo tour. Then begins the July 4th weekend, so there may not be any activity here for awhile. See you on the backside hopefully with lots of great bear stories!
Not surprising, Antarctica has some of the most amazing ice I have ever seen including this backlit berg near Booth Island.
Looking down on my cool little home town last Friday. You can see why a cruise ship like the one you see here can double the size of the town.
My before and after images were used in this PBS show on the mustard invasion in Anza-Borrego.
It will be interesting to see what happens this year – especially if it is a wet El Nino year. There was speculation in the local paper last winter claiming that the mustard can not survive 3 years of drought, and last year, being the third extremely dry year in a row may have killed off the seeds. I hope!
I like to photograph a relatively unknown spot I call the cactus garden – I see they filmed much of this in my “secret” spot.
Here are more photos of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California.
I can’t believe I haven’t shared a photo of this amazing place from last winters Antarctica trip! This is the King Penguin colony at Salisbury Plain. Although St Andrews was my favorite location on South Georgia, this is a close second, and extra memorable as this was our first landing site on South Georgia, and the first time I had witnessed a huge King Penguin colony in person. Really excited to be heading back!
I’m selling my baby, my 600 f/4 IS lens – this has been an awesome lens and helped me capture most of my wildlife images over the years. I am the original owner, and have the manual, original box, lens caps and strap. It comes with a neoprene cover which has kept it protected over the years. There are a few minor scratches on the barrel, and some of the paint is worn off one part of the foot. The front of the lens coating and glass is all in great shape. I can provide closeup images of the wear to anyone who is interested.
I’m asking $5,600 plus shipping. I believe I can get more then this through EBay, but would rather avoid the hassles and commissions if I can sell direct. We can take Visa, MC or Amex.
Why am I selling? Since I photograph far more bears then birds, I don’t really need the extra reach, and shoulder pain has slowed me down a bit, so I’m looking to downgrade to the 500.
I’m also selling my carbon fiber Gitzo 1548 along with the original Whimberly Head and could do a package on all three.
Seeing the cover and some of the images on this calendar was a nice surprise to come hone to after our winter travels.
The actual calendar looks better then this – unfortunately our copies sat out in the rain on our back porch and got a bit damaged.
A very unfortunate injury has just opened up a spot on my yacht based bear and whale photo tour in Southeast Alaska this July. This trip originally filled quickly almost a year ago, so if you can travel with fairly short notice, this is a great opportunity to photograph lots of whales, bears and stunning landscapes. Click on the link for all the details.
I also still have two spots, thanks to a last minute cancellation, on my Alaska Bear and Puffin photo tour. I have been leading this wonderful tour for years and there is nothing like spending your days up-close with magnificent brown bears along with their cute little cubs! Thanks to our mild winter, it is looking to be an excellent year with 13 bears already arriving at the lodge by the end of May!
Hot off the press – another new one from an amazing trip into Denali National Park last summer. Here are more photos of Denali National Park.