Category Archives: Cool stories

Wildlife Photography

Hey Folks,

Huge congratulations to all those who did so well in the recent BBC and Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Overall winner Greg du Toit has a remarkable image in “Essence of Elephants”. The winners of all the various categories should be proud of some fantastic photography.

I saw an interview with Paul Souders, winner of the “Animals in their Environment” category on BBC here. Congrats to Paul for an incredible image, and a great job in the interview. Paul deserves huge kudos for getting out their, on his own, and doing the work. He doesn’t simply trek off to a well known and much favored hot spot and follow the hordes with their long lenses to do his photography. Sure, Churchill is one of the great polar bear photography meccas, but no tundra buggy and over-sized group for his trip. Just himself, his boat and hours upon hours of exploration trying to find a subject; it’s worth noting Paul spent over a week on his trip and saw only 2 polar bears, after spending 12-14 hours riding up to 30 miles a day on the ocean; the first of the 2 promptly raced off never to be seen again.

This should be inspirational to so many of us who do this work. We don’t need a dozen bears in the vicinity, and we don’t need to follow the footsteps of the masses and we don’t need to shoot gigabytes of images to make a great image. We need to be creative, diligent and persistent. And, of course, having your own boat doesn’t hurt either!

Congrats all.



On Selling Stock photography

Grizzly bear, Brooks River, Katmai NP, Alaska.

Grizzly bear gives me the once over, Katmai NP, Alaska. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Reading a recent post from someone on facebook reminded me of my start in stock photography, and I thought it might make a good subject for a blog post. How’d you make your start in selling stock photography? Every photographer wants, or once wanted, to be “published”. It’s the hallmark for aspiring photographers, I suppose.

I guess every photographer has their own story about how this happened for them. Here’s mine.

I received an email from a magazine editor in Europe requesting the use of this image, at left, for the cover of their magazine. They’d seen the image on the website, and wanted to license it. The email included the fee they pay for the image usage, and asked that I ftp the high-res file to them if that was acceptable. It was.

I dug the file (a tif file, scanned from a slide) from my external hard drive, saved as a high quality jpeg, and ftp’ed the file right away. I got a nice check and 2 copies of the magazine son after, with my photo sitting ever so proudly on the cover. My first ever sale, a cover photo for an international magazine. And it took my all of about 2 minutes to negotiate. “Wow; this is TOO easy”, I thought; “I’ll be rich before I’m a month older”. Continue reading

Mount Saint Elias Photo

Mt. Saint Elias photo, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Mount Saint Elias, 18 008' high, stands tall in the evening light over an unnamed glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska - aerial photo. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Well, just back from 2 weeks to photographing brown bears in Katmai National Park, and I’m off again already; I’ll be gone for some time on this trip, 4 weeks down along the coastline of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, where I will meet up with Erin and Hig, of Ground Truth Trekking. They’re spending 2 months in the area,  finding out

“what would it be like to live on ice? In the fall of 2011 we will set out to spend two months living on the shifting, melting surface of North America’s largest glacier, along with our two young children.

Trekking between a series of camps on the Malaspina Glacier, on Alaska’s remote and harsh Lost Coast, we will explore this dramatic and wild landscape, weather the fall storms, and document climate change in action.”

Pretty cool stuff. Continue reading

Nizina Glacier photo, from above

Nizina Glacier, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Ice and dirt patterns, Nizina Glacier, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A view from above; looking down on to the Nizina Glacier, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Bob and I hiked around on the Nizina Glacier all afternoon, exploring the expansive icy landscape. Good times indeed, and a myriad different (temporary) photo opportunities. I say “temporary” because many of them were gone the following week when acres of the glacier calved from the main glacier into the lake, fractured, up-ended and disappeared down river. I flew over the Glacier maybe a week after our hike and much of the area we had traversed was gone. Cool stuff.

Glaciers are incredibly dynamic landscapes, and always a blast to explore, travel and photograph. As such they can be a dangerous place to navigate, but so can the streets of Anchorage (especially if you’re on a bicycle); caution is required, certainly, but glaciers are a fascinating subject.



Grizzly bear sow nursing 4 cubs

Brown bear sow nursing (Grizzly bear, Ursus arctos), Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Brown bear sow nursing4 cubs  (Grizzly bear, Ursus arctos), Katmai National Park, Alaska. Quadruplets. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

There’s probably no reason to post this photo other than it seems like a good time to post another grizzly bear photo.

This event was quite possibly one of the highlights of the 2 weeks in Katmai National Park last year, on the grizzly bear photo tour. We actually saw 2 separate sows each with 4 cubs on several occasions, which was pretty neat. But the chance to watch all 4 bear cubs nurse at once was a special treat indeed.

It’s pretty amazing how much noise the cubs make nursing on the sow. They growl and spat and purr all at once.

The mother, the sow, was pretty mellow, just kinda laid back and watched us photographers, wondering what all the fuss was about. It was definitely her most restful time of the day; the rest of her waking moments were spent hellbent chasing salmon up and down the river. Feeding 4 hungry cubs is a big job for a single mom.

What a great moment to witness.



Photography; does it get in the way

Aurora borealis and Denali, Denali State Park, Alaska.

Aurora borealis lights up the winter night sky over Mt McKinley, highest mountain in North America, also called Denali. Viewpoint from Denali State Park, Alaska. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

One topic I’ve often heard discussed relating to nature and outdoor photography pertains to the value of the experience itself. Does photography “get in the way”, and limit the photographers’ realization of the experience itself, or does it add to it?

I have friends, for example, that don’t like to bring a camera on a backpacking trip because they feel it hinders how they are able to soak up the actual experience. They’d rather sit and watch that glorious sunrise than fiddle with the camera and try to get a good composition. They’d rather sit back and stare in awe at the Aurora borealis do its thing over Denali than take their gloves off and tweak camera settings. Continue reading

How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies

Evening light on the Canadian Rockies.

Evening light on the Canadian Rockies. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Some great news; photographer extraordinaire, and a man I am proud to call my friend, Darwin Wiggett has put together his excellent series, “How To Photograph the Canadian Rockies” again, this time with even more detail and information than its predecessor. In 2005 Darwin released, through Altitude Publishing company, this great book, as a small, portable handbook,a a guide to photographing the Canadian Rockies. I was lucky enough to grab a copy before the company went bust and the book’s publishing ended, leaving countless nature photographers frustrated, as they weren’t able to snare a copy. The book is absolutely fantastic; I unhesitatingly call it a “must have” for anyone heading toward the Canadian Rockies. Which is a bummer; a ‘must have‘ is now a ‘can no longer get’.

Until now. The great news; Darwin’s just set up a new website, How To Photograph the Canadian Rockies, and released all the great info in his book as ebooks. This time the ebooks go into more detail, and cover the Canadian Rockies region by region. Starting with the Icefield Parkway area, the first 2 ebooks are currently available, and soon to come are ebooks on photographing Banff and Jasper National Parks, probably the crown jewels of the Canadian Rockies.

We’ll do a quick test here. I’ll invite Darwin to check this blog out and tell me where the scene in this photograph (above) is, and where I shot it from (Darwin – if you know it, don’t post the answer just yet). The first non-Darwin who can do so, I’ll buy you any one of Darwin’s ebooks (your choice which). Continue reading

Click This – March 2011

Backcountry Skiing trip, Kuskulana River, Mt. Blackburn, winter, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Backcountry Skiing trip, Kuskulana River, Mt. Blackburn, winter, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks

The next of the monthly series for 2011. The biggest news, of course, in photography this month was the Oscars. I, of course,  missed them. Again. Ahh well – there goes pop culture, I spose.

The next biggest piece of news is that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time out of town, tooling around in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, enjoying the mountains. A few days here, a  few days there; beats the heck out of navigating the treacherous icy roads of Anchorage. And much more interesting than reading the news. 🙂

Below is what caught my eye this month. I’ve been in the mtns a bit, so might have missed some good stuff. Feel free to add your own stuff of note.

In no particular order: Continue reading

Mount Blackburn Photo

Hey Folks,

Winter in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Kuskulana River, Alaska.

Mount Blackburn - Winter in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Wrangell Mountains, Mount Blackburn, Kuskulana River, Winter, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Mount Blackburn, the 5th highest peak in the US; a grand mountain!

Sometimes those moments in the mountains are just too grand to describe; This is one of those views that is beyond the sublime. The Great Horned Owls hooting behind me only added to the ambience. The more time I spend in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the more impressive the place appears.

As the light faded, I quietly breathed my “thank you”, turned the skis around, and eased toward the night.



Kuskulana Glacier

Winter in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Kuskulana Glacier, Alaska.

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Wrangell Mountains and the Kuskulana River, Kuskulana Glacier, near Nugget Creek mine. Winter, Alaska. This photo is a closer look at the ice wall on the Kuskulana Glacier, from the photo I posted last week. I probably spent about an hour or 2 here, checking out this fascinating place. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

My friend Guy Tal posted (as usual) another great read on his blog; “Photography and the Environment”. I urge you to read his treatise; it’s a solid piece. Guy has a great knack for writing on particular topics without seeming to offend those who disagree with him, which makes his a powerful voice. At the same time, he’s not wishy-washy. that’s a hard line to toe.

One question Guy asks in the article is “Will another photograph on a web site in a stock library truly change public opinion? How about another thousand? Another million?”

I’d suggest, however, that this is the wrong question to consider. Continue reading