Brooks Range Northern Lights

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Photos, Travel 1 Comment

Northern lights in the Brooks Range, Alaska.
Northern lights in the Brooks Range, Alaska.

Here is another one from the amazing aurora show I witnessed in the Brooks Range just over a month ago.  I have been asked about the long term aurora cycle, and yes, it is true that we are at the bottom of the 12 year aurora cycle and activity will probably be down this year.   However, despite what some people may think, you can still have amazing shows even at the bottom of the 12 year cycle!   This was with my Olympus E-M1X and 8mm f/ 1.8.  

Curious Bear

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Lake Clark, Photos, Travel Leave a Comment

Brown Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

I have been busy this last week updating some of my presentations for my Kansas trip coming up this week – it has been a fun trip down memory road as I pull images – this one is nearly 10 years old. To think, if this bear is still alive, it is now in it prime and much, much larger!

Antarctica Photo Tour – Fly Down and Back

Ron Niebrugge Antarctica, Photos, Travel Leave a Comment

Near the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica.
Near the Antarctic Circle, Antarctica.

With 5 new exciting photo tours next year, including two in Kenai Fjords National Park, Katmai National Park and Africa, I haven’t had a chance to mention what might be the most exciting of them all – what I think might be the ultimate trip to Antarctica! This is a trip I’m leading on behalf of the wonderful folks at Cheesemans’ Ecology Tours.

What makes this trip so amazing? Well for one, it is going to be a very small group, just 12 friends, plus me and ship crew! Talk about having maximum freedom! I have always advocated for traveling on smaller vessels to Antarctica because of landing restrictions, and this takes it to the extreme! Plus, we all easily fit into two zodiacs. We will be aboard the Hans Hansson.

I usually recommend 100 passenger vessels because of the Drake Passage which can be notoriously rough. I have seen it flat calm, but I have seen it crazy! I wouldn’t have wanted to be on anything smaller than a 100 passenger ship. However, on this trip we are flying down and back, so we don’t have to worry about the Drake! This is a game changer. In addition, we save two to three days of travel each direction, giving us that much more time on the Antarctica Peninsula. We will have 12 full landing days, giving us the opportunity to see so much! I get so excited when I think about all the amazing places we can explore. If conditions permit, we will visit places outside the range of typical tour vessels.

I also love the timing of this trip in later December, which is early summer down there. So that means penguin chicks, lots of light and so much more. Let me know if you have any questions.

Great Plains Nature Photographers Talk

Ron Niebrugge Photos, Travel 2 Comments

McPherson Opera House, McPherson, Kansas. Photo by Jim Griggs.
McPherson Opera House, McPherson, Kansas. Photo by Jim Griggs.

This is going to be really fun – I’m doing an all day talk for the Great Plains Nature Photographers group in McPherson, Kansas on Saturday November 9th, 2019! Also, we will be doing a sunset shoot at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge the evening before.

This large gathering of nature photographers has been taking place for something like 20 years. I’m proud to be included in their long list of presenters over the years. It will be fun to be speaking in such a beautiful building! Follow this link to register: Great Plains Nature Photographers. It only cost $15!

So here is one I’m planning on presenting:

Animalscapes.  This is my most popular presentation and covers combining landscape and wildlife photography.  It gets people to look at wildlife photography a bit different, and you don’t need fancy telephoto lenses, the techniques and concepts I discuss would work with a cell phone.

Alaska.  This is for people who have never been to Alaska, but have wanted to visit, or folks who have been, but are looking for something different.  I cover a lot of amazing places that might not be on everyone radar.  Many are off the beaten path, but I also talk about how to approach the more popular places like Denali National Park from a photographers perspective.

Improving Your Photography.  In this presentation, I talk about the things I consider and look for when creating a photograph.  A bit of my thought process with many examples.

Camera Trapping and Remote Photography.  This is a fast growing area of wildlife photography that has lead to the capture of some amazing and unique wildlife images.  Take a look at many contest winners in recent years and you will see a lot images captured with traps and triggers.  Again, it doesn’t take expensive telephoto gear, but a fairly modest investment of money.  I’ll touch on the gear, techniques and other considerations.

Falkland, South Georgia and Antarctica.  This is a photo journey to the Southern Oceans where I’ll talk about not only my favorites places, but will also offer travel advice.  There are some things that most people aren’t aware of that can make a big difference in a trip to this amazing region, especially for serous photographers.

Crimps Cub?

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Lake Clark, Photos, Travel 1 Comment

Young sub-adult walking towards us.

This is one of those special moments that seem to happen throughout my bear trips – moments I’ll likely never forget, and what make each trip special and unique.

This young sub adult was feeding on the sedges in the meadow near the lodge. We decided to walk out and get a closer look and to make photographs. To avoid the heat, thanks to Alaska’s crazy hot summer this year, we decided to sit in the shade provided by a nearby “tree island”. Not long after sitting down the young bear started walking towards us, leaving any possible food source behind. That always gets your attention a little bit. The young bear reached the edge of the same tree shadow we were sitting in, and non-nonchalantly laid down in very close proximity to us. Even crossing its paws, which is a sure sign it didn’t feel threatened. The young bear then laid its head on its paws and relaxed, obviously very comfortable in our presence.

Some of my repeat guests immediately started wondering if this wasn’t one of crimps cubs. Crimp is a very popular sow who’s cubs were now on their own for the first time this summer. These are cubs I have watched grow up over the years from spring cubs, to now sub-adults out on their own for the first time. Without a specific marking like their mom’s crimped ear, there is no way of knowing if this really was one of crimps cubs, but given its behavior, I sure like to think so. 🙂

Given Crimps busy activity with the boars this spring, I would say it is very likely she will have another set of spring cubs this upcoming spring, and the amazing cycle will begin again. I’m already looking forward to the spring!

The young bear laying down just inside the tree shade.
So special to be so close to such beautiful animals.

Play Time!

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Brown bear, Lake, Clark National Park, Alaska.
Brown bear, Lake, Clark National Park, Alaska.

A couple of brown bears avoiding the heat by playing in the ocean – last June at Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

Kenai Fjords Photo Tour

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Kenai Fjords, Photos, Travel Leave a Comment

Kayaking in Bear Glacier Lagoon, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.
Kayaking in Bear Glacier Lagoon, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. Can you see the kayaker?

Well this is a late addition for next summer’s lineup, but one I’m really excited about. It has been many years since I have offered a photo tour into Kenai Fjords National Park – a place that has not only been my backyard for over 25 years, but also a location of many assignments and even my first book project! It is a shame I don’t have a trip here – well, now I do! This trip includes so much, and you can read all the details here: Kenai Fjords National Park Photo Tour.

I’m offering two separate tours next summer, one is already full thanks to folks from my mailing list, and one in June has two spots left. Here are the highlights:

  • Four full days and three nights an a beautiful yacht where we will by staying in Kenai Fjords! We will be anchored in beautiful bays for sunset / sunrise, instead of making the long trip back to town each day.
  • Helicopter flight with the doors off over the National Park – everyone will have a view seat. Then, an extended landing in the remote mountains.
  • Jet boat and kayaking excursion into the incredible Bear Glacier Lagoon.
  • Gold Star Service Alaska Railroad transportation between Anchorage and Seward.
  • All meals and rooms including a nice hotel in Anchorage, and a very nice hotel, and restaurants in Seward. Plus, beer and wine.
  • June trip is timed for what is historically a peak time for killer whales.
  • Limited to only 4 guests – we will have lots of room on a modern 65 foot Bertram yacht.
Sunrise at anchor, Northwestern Fjord, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.
Sunrise at anchor, Northwestern Fjord, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.