This mockingbird was captured recently from our lower blind thanks to the Pro Capture “time machine” mode with my new Olympus.
We actually have a few spots left in what has historically been our most popular photo tour; our Alaska Bear and Puffin photography tour!
We spend our days up close to magnificent Alaska brown bears, and our evening in a very comfortable lodge with awesome food! What could be better. Based on all the mating activity last spring, this could be a good spring for cubs! Talk about the ultimate Christmas gift!
Sorry I haven’t posted much lately – that should change soon now that I’m getting caught up with projects at the Desert Photo Retreat, and can get back to my own photography.
I have been really busy modifying the photo blinds and getting ready for the season, so I haven’t had time for photography yet – However, I couldn’t resist grabbing a photo of this cute little guy. Our javelina group has two little ones so far this year.
Well we had a crazy couple of days. First a snow storm on the drive to Anchorage with cars off the road all over the place. Then an all night flight to Phoenix. Lyft to our storage unit where we had a car that wouldn’t start, a flat tire, and broken jacks on our trailer. Long story short, everything worked out well and we are now on the property at the Desert Photo Retreat.
This summer was dry in Arizona with a lack of monsoon rains. When we checked on the property in October, I knew we would be right back, so I decided I had enough water storage that I could double the amount that flowed into the waterhole each day, that way the water hole never went dry. Well, thanks to the drought, that had huge results!
We picked up a few new regular species, including a mountain lion that at times came twice a night! Plus, a ring-tailed cat became a new regular, as did a spotted skunk, so now we see three species of skunks. The gray fox still visited nightly. The javelina were still regulars, and coyotes became a new regular. Bobcats were a infrequent visitor, but fun to see. Deer were regulars, that is until a mountain began showing up, then no more deer! At least two species of skunk also show each night. The activity has been incredible, that is until the rain arrived, and then I must say it dropped off. We should have a bunch more rain this week. But, the good news is, as soon as it dries out, most of these animals will be back!
Here is just one night, the times represent when the animal arrived. Most stayed for a few minutes at least. The night of November 2, 2019:
- 6:26 Gray Fox
- 7:47 Gray Fox
- 8:17 Gray Fox
- 8:45 Coyote
- 9:18 Ring-tailed cat
- 9:33 GrayFox
- 9:55 Coyote
- 10:39 Gray Fox
- 10:53 Mountain Lion
- 11:44 Gray fox
- 12:11 Hooded Skunk
- 12:38 Gray Fox
- 12:58 Coyote
- 1:34 Gray fox
- 2:43 Gray Fox
- 2:57 Mountain Lion
- 3:18 Gray Fox
- 3:26 Coyote
- 5:41 Stripped Skunk
An unusual night without javelina.
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.
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!
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.
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.