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!!

 

Comments 25

  1. Brenda Z

    I always love seeing what you shot with the lens of course. And as always thanks for sharing them with us.

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  4. Pat Ulrich

    What a great year, Ron — fantastic wildlife! Favorites for me are the polar bear with stick and hawk owl in the snow. All the best for 2017!

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  7. Jim Goldstein

    Wow Ron! Impressive as always. Your owl in the snow photos is especially nice. It’s always a pleasure to see your year end photos and I really appreciate your participation in this years Best Photos of the Year blog project. I hope you have a great 2017!

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    Ron Niebrugge

    Thanks Jim – and thanks for doing this every year!

    Thanks Alan! I agree, I think it could be a good one! Seeing lots of rain in Arizona, with more on the way this weekend.

  9. Todd Henson

    Wow, amazing images, Ron! You captured some great moments. I love them all, but I’m most drawn to the Bullock’s Oriole, and even more so to the Northern Hawk Owl. I love the layers in the falling snow, and those piercing eyes of the owl. Great stuff!

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  12. David Leland Hyde

    Hi Ron, I often hear of you or from you through your communication channels that you are in Arizona or at some other location in the Lower 48. I then see great images you have made in these places outside Alaska. Perhaps you enjoy getting away from Alaska, but it seems to me that from a photographic standpoint, you certainly would not need to ever leave Alaska. You seem to have way more fantastic subjects and resulting images than most photographers, just in your own area. My favorites are the Bear Cubs Playing, the Sea Otters, Spencer Glacier and the Humpback Whales. Hope you have another spectacular year in 2017…

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    Ron Niebrugge

    Hi David – great to hear from you and thanks so much! My home is still in Alaska, but we now have land in Arizona that we park our RV on in the winter as winter can get long and isn’t always productive. But I’m not moving from Alaska for those reasons you mention.

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