Blue Ice

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Kenai Fjords, Photos, Travel 5 Comments

An iceberg from Aialik Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

An iceberg from Aialik Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

 

This was taken during a dark, stormy and rainy day in Kenai Fjords National Park this summer.  Such conditions really help emphasize the blues in glacier ice.

This seemed like a fitting post given our recent weather.  My home town of Seward was declared a disaster area after days of heavy rain – footage of the flooding was on the Today Show this morning.  We are fine, our house is dry, but my heart goes out to my many friends battling flooding at their homes right now – really makes me sad to see such destruction.  The rain finally stopped today, but another large storm arrives tonight.

Humpack Fluke

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Kenai Fjords, Photos, Travel 2 Comments

Humpback whale, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Humpback whale, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

We were sitting with the boat motor off watching a group of humpback whales when two of them swam right towards us and then dived right before reaching us – some thrill!

Humpback Whale Breach

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Kenai Fjords, Photos, Travel 6 Comments

Breaching humpback whale, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Breaching humpback whale, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Even though I have seen humpback whales leap out of the water many times over the years – it still blows me away seeing such a massive animal coming so far out of the water!  The sight and sound is awesome!

I took a bit of a chance holding the camera in a vertical position – I think it better frames the action, but makes it harder to find and frame the animal in the limited amount of time you have while they are in the air.

This was with a Canon 7D with a 70-200 plus a 2x converter which I didn’t really need as this was captured at a focal length of 140mm at f/5.6 and 1/1250 of a second, ISO 800.  This was during my photo tour about a week ago.

Bear Glacier Humpback

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

A humpback whale dives in front of Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

A humpback whale dives in front of Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

With the arrival of wonderful weather to correspond with the amazing whale activity we have been seeing lately, I just had to get back out there.  I have to say thanks so much to Doug and Val for a wonderful evening of pizza, whales and friends!

Blue Ice

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Kenai Fjords, Photos, Travel 5 Comments

Iceberg in front of Aialik Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Iceberg in front of Aialik Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

I’m going to resist calling this iceberg cool  🙂 – really is was awesome!  All sorts of wonderful patterns and colors, we circled it in the boat about 5 times taking photos and videos of this beauty!

Bubble Net Feeding Humpbacks

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Kenai Fjords, Photos, Travel 6 Comments

Humpback whales bubble net feeding, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Humpback whales bubble net feeding, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

I’m back from my Kenai Fjords National Park photo tour.  The bad news, we had pretty bad weather – well, really bad – it rained the whole time and clouds and fog obstructed what is normally an amazing view.  Cold and wet seems to be the theme for this summer in Alaska.  I have dreaded a trip like this and knew along the coast it was just a matter of time.

But, fortunately we still had a great trip!  We saw numerous humpback whales including one that repeatedly breached.  The highlight was seeing this group of humpback whales bubble net feed, more on that later.  We also saw orcas, sea otters, sea lions, Dall’s porpoise swimming with the boat and great glacier activity.  We had some of the most cooperative puffin I have seen out there and were able to get close to them perching and flying.  And fortunately my group had a wonderful attitude about the weather which is really the key to a successful trip in Alaska.  The right attitude is the key to a lot of things I think.

So what is bubble net feeding?  It is an amazing behavior in which the whales dive deep under an area with small fish.  In a cooperative dance, the swim their way to the surface in a circle while blowing out a string of bubbles.  As these bubbles rise to the surface, it confuses the fish who swim to the center of the circle of bubbles.  At this point the whales rise up from the surface in the middle of the circle with mouths wide open filling them with fish!  In many of my photos you can see numerous fish jumping at of the whales gaping mouths as gulls dive in for a free meal.  In this photo you can’t see any fish – but it also didn’t have any bright, white distracting gulls so I thought I would share it first.

I have seen this behavior in Southeast Alaska.  It was believed this was the only place it took place, but in recent years this group has been seen feeding this way around here.  Last year I think they were only in the area for a couple of weeks.  This year they have been around off and on much longer.  Some people have speculated that these whales may be transplants from Southeast, I don’t know if anyone really knows.

Alaska Whales, Eagles and Bears – photo tour

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Kenai Fjords, Photos, Travel 2 Comments

Mountain Goat in Cataract Cove, Harris Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

Mountain Goat in Cataract Cove, Harris Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

This huge waterfall dumps straight into the ocean and is one of many places we visit on my Kenai Fjords photo tour.

All my workshops and tours are sold out this year except for this one which still has room.  I’m surprised, as this is maybe the best of the bunch!  So, if you want to see whales, eagles, bears, puffins and amazing scenery, check it out:  Kenai Fjords National Park photo tour.  

Note, there has been a date change.