Black and White Alaska

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Photos, Travel 1 Comment

Mount Benson, Seward, Alaska.

Mount Benson, Seward, Alaska.

Made a very quick, short (two nights) trip back to Seward to check on our house where we have had some boiler issues.  Seward has an amazing amount of snow this year, it looks absolutely beautiful!  Such a contrast coming from the desert!

Alaska Polar Bear Photography Tour

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Polar bear this past September, Alaska.

Polar bear this past September, Alaska.

My 2017 Alaska photo tours have been full, and I hope to announce the 2018 trips soon!

However, I guide a trip for my friend Hugh that covers the whole Arctic autumn that surprisingly still has room.  The main attraction on this photo tour is polar bears, but on this particular trip we see so much more.  Including auroras, incredible autumn colors in the Brooks Range, muskox, snowy owls – I could go on.

Now I recognize many people prefer the end of the season in October because they hope to capture polar bears on snow.  I get that.  However October isn’t a guarantee of snow.  Or, you might have so much cold that the bay has iced up, and we are unable to utilize the best shooting platform, boats.

I think there are many more advantages to going at the beginning of the season and not the end – this trip is at the beginning  Here are some of the advantages:

  • Fewer photographers, and usually more polar bears as they gather in mass waiting for the capture of the first whale.
  • Longer and much more comfortable days.
  • Absolutely stunning autumn colors in the Brooks Range.  We photograph these on both the way up and way back giving us peak color in different parts of the range.  In another week or so, they will be gone.
  • Aurora Borealis photography in maybe the most comfortable conditions you will encounter for this unique event.  And, we will have aurora with autumn colors and open water for reflections.
  • Many more birds as the migration will be in full swing.  I see snowy owls on this trip ever year – I haven’t had the same success on later trips.
  • Smaller group.

You can read much more about this Alaska Polar Bear Photo Tour by following the link.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions about this trip, although the actual book takes place with Hugh. Thanks!

 

 

Favorite Photos from 2016

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Photos, Travel 25 Comments

Gosh, another busy, exciting fun year!

We began with a couple winter months in Alaska before heading to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  While there, we closed on 10 remote acres of land in Arizona which will be home to future photography blinds and workshops.  In March I headed to Antarctica where I  traveled below the Antarctic Circle – by May, I was above the Arctic Circle in Alaska!  The other half of April and May was spent in Arizona working on the new land.  We had great success on my photo tours, both the Alaska Bears and Alaska Bear and Whale Whale Tours went very well, as did the polar bear and Alaska North South trips I also guided for others.  By October we were back on the Southern Ocean for more penguins, before finishing the year working hard on our new Arizona land.  No wonder I miss home!

So here are a few of my favorite images from the past year thanks to a tradition started by Jim Goldstein many years ago.

For those interested, here are more:  Favorite Photos of 2015Favorites of 2014  Favorite photo of 2013  Favorite photos of 2012favorite photos of 2011favorite photos of 2010  –  favorite photos of 2009 and finally, favorite photos of 2008.

Humpback whales.

Humpback whales, Antarctica.

I had so many amazing close encounters with whales while in Antarctica with Cheesemans’ that it is hard to pick just one image, but I’ll go with this one thanks to the amazing back-drop of the Lemaire Channel.

 

Bullock's Oriole.

Bullock’s Oriole.

We are seeing a wide variety of wildlife on our Arizona property, especially birds!  This was from May.

 

Denali, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Denali, Denali National Park, Alaska.

From another Cheesemans’ trip – the Alaska North / South where we flew over Mt. Denali with my friend at Kantishna Air – an amazing experience!

 

Brown Bears, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

Brown Bears, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

From my June Alaska Bear Photo Tour.  Even though we see this every year, it still amazes me when such a powerful creature shares such an intimate and vulnerable behavior.

 

Looking down on the Spencer Glacier, Chugach National Forest, Alaska.

Looking down on Spencer Glacier, Chugach National Forest, Alaska.

I could have included a number of images from this wonderful backpacking trip Janine and I did with Patrick Endres, but I narrowed it down to one.

 

Brown Bear, Baranof Island, Alaska.

Brown Bear, Baranof Island, Alaska.

 

Similarly, I wanted to include a bunch of images from my Alaska Bear and Whale Photo Tour – we had so many fantastic photo opportunities including humpbacks and sunset with a full moon, but I narrowed it down to this big guy with the perfect pose.

 

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl

It was great to have a snow storm for one of the two polar bear trips I guided this Fall, the owl was a bonus!

 

Ice patterns.

Ice patterns.

Ice on the windshield of my car in Seward back in September.

 

Sea otters in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Sea otters in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

I always enjoy my time I spend with Dean and crew with Discovery Voyages in Prince William Sound, and this past Summer was no exception.  In fact, it was exceptional, especially given the warm weather and sunny skies we had for some awesome kayaking!

 

Sea lions at the Alaska Sealife Center, Seward, Alaska.

Sea lions at the Alaska Sealife Center, Seward, Alaska.

My favorite assignment for the year was with the Alaska Sealife Center.  It was a treat to capture all four sea lions in the same frame!

 

Polar bear playing with a stick, Alaska Arctic.

Polar bear playing with a stick, Alaska Arctic.

Seemed like the polar bears were extra active this year – so I had to go with a playful one for my favorite!

 

King Penguins molting at St Andrews Bay, South Georgia.

King Penguins molting at St Andrews Bay, South Georgia.

Hard to narrow down my South Georgia / Falklands trip in October with  Cheesemans’ to just one photo since I captured so many – lots of which I haven’t shared yet, but you can’t beat a nice day at St. Andrews!

 

Aurora over the Brooks Range, Alaska.

Aurora over the Brooks Range, Alaska.

Gotta have an aurora photo – this was from a polar bear trip.

 

Sunset, Tortolita Mountains, Arizona.

Sunset, Tortolita Mountains, Arizona.

Finally I have to finish with an Arizona sunset!  Not only am I standing on our beautiful piece of property, so are all these saguaros!

 

Here are some honorable mentions – as you can see I love bears, and can’t leave these out!

Bear cubs playing in Alaska.

Bear cubs playing in Alaska.

Alaska brown bear in wildflowers.

Alaska brown bear in wildflowers.

Thanks for looking!!

 

Ultimate Christmas Gift!

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Humpback whale tail at sunrise, Tongass National Forest, Alaska.

Humpback whale tail at sunrise, Tongass National Forest, Alaska.

A couple of unexpected cancellations has now opened a couple of spots on my favorite trip of the year – my yacht based whale, bear and glacier photo tour is Southeast Alaska!   Because this trip fills so quickly, it has been years since I have had any availability at the holiday time of year – so, just maybe, this could make the most memorable Christmas gift ever!   I could go into many details on why this is such a great trip, but follow the link for all the details.

Ice

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Ice patterns on the windshield.

Ice patterns on the windshield.

Ice patterns on the windshield yesterday morning.  Amazing the detail and patterns created overnight!

Chinstrap Penguins

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Chinstrap penguins on a large iceberg, Cooper Bay, South Georgia, Antarctica.

Chinstrap penguins on a large iceberg, Cooper Bay, South Georgia, Antarctica.

Chinstrap penguins from last October.  This week I’ll be taking my third trip in the last 12 months to the Southern Ocean, and I believe my sixth trip overall!  Should be another exciting adventure!