Archive for the ‘Alaska’ Category

Photos and notes on all things Alaska.

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and the Northern Lights

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and the northern lights, Alaska.

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and the aurora borealis photo, or northern lights, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

We’ve had some pretty great weather here through the month of February, and that means, a great time to get out and look for northern lights. Working on my own project, rather than photo tours, I was able to hit a few destinations I wanted to shoot that are a little more hit and miss; less reliable than some others, but places I wanted to shoot nonetheless.

One of those places is Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Inevitably I’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time in a place slightly larger than the country of Switzerland; I’d head off in one direction and then have fog and haze cloud up the skies, or I’d head off in another direction, and the lights display would be directly behind me. The mountains in front me being what I want to shoot, and the lights behind me. Not a great mix.

But, such is what happens when you have specific ideas in mind; it’s important to be flexible in nature photography, and particularly so when shooting the northern lights, but part of working on a project involves fulfilling your own ideas. Spontaneity is great, and I’m all for it. But I’m also interested in trying to make a photo of something I envision ahead of time, and working toward that.

It’s a rewarding, but often frustrating endeavor. (more…)

Editing some old images – what to keep, what to toss

Monday, February 10th, 2014
A young male brown bear walks up a salmon stream fishing for Sockeye salmon in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A young male brown bear walks up a salmon stream fishing for Sockeye salmon in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

So far this winter, I’ve spent a good bit of time editing old images from my hard drives. Mostly, cleaning up the hard drives and deleting images I don’t wish to keep. I’m trying to be a little lot more ruthless in my editing lately, and really have been cleaning up the storage space. I cleaned out over 50GB of space last week, and I’m still only a fraction of the way into that 1TB drive. I’ll probably cut it in half by the time I’m through.

It’s difficult to know exactly what to keep and what to drop some times.

Here’s a brown bear image I recently had a sale inquiry about, of a brown bear from Katmai National Park and Preserve. A beautiful bear, don’t you agree?

So when this bear came walking up the river towards our group, I shot a number of images. 22, in fact. Mostly, poorly frame photos where a branch disturbs the background, or the bears ears are back or he’s looking out of the frame or some such things that distract from the image. Maybe 3 or 4 are keepers from the sequence. I’ve processed and uploaded 2 to the website; here’s the other photo I uploaded to the site. The rest of the sequence really aren’t images I’m likely to sell. (more…)

Alaska Polar Bear Video

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Hey Folks,

I thought I’d share this video on my site here. I wrote the tune, a number of years ago, and recorded it with some friends in Atlanta, GA, when I lived there. Great musicians all of them, and it was a treat to record with them. I played the guitar parts.

The video and stills I shot in 2013 on my Alaska Polar Bear Photo Tour in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. One or 2 of the clips were shot by clients on the trip, and thanks go to Sue P and Munir K for their permission to use their clips. See my collection of stock polar bear photos here.

Cheers

Carl

Polar bear photo and sunrises

Friday, January 31st, 2014
A young polar bear on the prowl, silhouetted at sunrise, on the frozen ground of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska. Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Alaska.

A young polar bear on the prowl, silhouetted against a colorful sunrise, on the frozen ground of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska. Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Everyone loves a great sunrise or sunset, right? And everyone loves polar bears; seriously, does anyone NOT love polar bears? So who loves the 2 together?

We set out this morning with high hopes, clear skies and the beginning of color on the horizon. Everyone hoped for a nice sky and some polar bear activity. Hoping, and getting are two different things.

So how does it play out? The sunrise turned out to be, in a word, spectacular. The morning itself, frustrating.

We found some polar bears relatively soon, but they weren’t really in a great location. On top of that, they were asleep. certainly, polar bears are so photogenic that even asleep, they make a great subject. But they were sleeping just below a short embankment, with the colorful sky above and beyond and so we couldn’t find a way to really make it work. One option might have been to shoot multiple exposures, steadily, and then blend the 2 together to properly capture detail in the foreground and the background. I shot a couple of images like this, but even as I was photographing, I knew it wasn’t really happening. OK stuff, but nothing grand. (more…)

Shoot Your Passion

Saturday, January 25th, 2014
photo of the aurora borealis over the Wrangell Mountains and Copper River, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Photo of the aurora borealis over the Wrangell Mountains and Copper River, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

Shoot Your Passion

If you don’t, who will?

Cheers

Carl

Polar Bear Sleeping in a Snowstorm

Monday, January 20th, 2014
A polar bear sleeping on the snow covered ground of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus, ANWR, Alaska.

A polar bear sleeping in whiteout conditions, on the snow covered ground of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus, ANWR, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A quick post for while I’m gone; given the current weather most of the readers in the Lower 48 states are experiencing, this one might be somewhat apropos. A polar bear, sleeping in a snowstorm. See folks, it really isn’t that bad.

Polar bears are simply ridiculously photogenic. Even asleep, on a blanket of snow covered ground, and a foggy misty background, they simply look great. It’s a good thing though. Photographing polar bears, or grizzly bears, involves a lot of watching the bear sleep. And sleep. So it’s a nice experiment to see if we can come up with decent photos of the bears sleeping. (more…)

2013 Favorite Photos

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Hey Folks

As the year seeps to an end, I thought I’d once again put together a collection of images that I enjoyed most from this past 365 days.

I hope you all had a great year, and wish you the best for the holiday season. All the best to you and yours for 2014.

(more…)

Polar bear image and the Brooks Mountains Range

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
A Polar Bear and the Brooks range in the background, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.

(more…)

Polar bears on thin ice

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Polar Bear on sea ice, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Standing on thin ice a polar bear curiously approaches. Polar Bear ice, in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a polar bear photo from my trip to the arctic last month. Given the predicament bears in the Beaufort Sea find themselves in (declines in accessible food due climate change), I thought the image a particularly relevant one.

Polar bears are classified as marine mammals, not, like their darker coated brethren to the south, mammals who earn their living on good old terra firma. Polar bears hunt, almost exclusively seals, and particularly 2 species of seals; primarily ringed seals (Phoca hispida) and less often, bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus). That alone makes polar bears particularly susceptible to population declines; any animal whose primary food source s merely one or 2 other species is somewhat vulnerable. This applies no less to herbivores who may exist on one or 2 types of plants. A crash (or boost) in the abundance of their food source will have an enormous impact on the population of their own species; a look at the lynx and the snowshoe hare cycles illustrates this.

So climate change has shifted the world for the polar bear; here’s a quick, and rough, summary of how.

The most productive waters in the arctic ocean are under sea ice, in the shallower areas over the continental shelf. Deeper water doesn’t hold light as well, and so tiny little critters like plankton and what not don’t do as well. They feed on the algae that grows and collects on the bottom of the sea ice. So where the plankton population is higher, so too is the population of the little critters that feed on plankton; shrimp and such. Fish eat shrimp, and bigger fish and regular size fish, and seals eat bigger fish. Where there’s no sea ice, there’s no algae growing. And if there’s no algae, no plankton, no shrimp, no regular size fish, no big fish, no seals and, you guessed it, skinny, hungry polar bears swimming around wondering why they can’t find any food. (more…)

What’s a blog

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
An aerial photo from the St. Elias Mountain Range, converted to B&W in photoshop. Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

An aerial photo from the St. Elias Mountain Range, converted to B&W in photoshop. Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Someone asked me recently, “What’s a blog?” And after  I got over the initial shock and wonder, repeatedly asking myself “is he (yes, he) for real?”, I tried my best to answer.

Seriously, what IS a blog? I guess it’s a journal or diary. Or a news outlet. Or a discussion forum. Or about a million other things.

Technically, the root of the term comes from the longer word “weblog”, meaning a log, on the web. Log like a record of some kind.

But what IS it? For me, it’s a double edged sword; a chore and a hobby. It’s work, sometimes, and sometimes it’s great fun. And sometimes it’s a pain in the a&&; especially when I have nothing of interest to write about, or when my blogging platform, wordpress, causes me no end of headaches and pain and grief as I try to solve some problem I’m having with the site. A site without a dynamic component, like wordpress, can be MUCH easier to handle than a blogging platform. If you folks out there had any idea how much of my life has been wasted as I’ve sat and stared at a screen wondering ‘now why the hell doesn’t it work’, you’d send money. Or drugs. Or money and drugs. Or, well, something. It’s ridiculous.

But I digress. Which is fine, of course, because it’s a blog, and it’s my blog, and I’m allowed to digress. (more…)