Tag Archives: Wildlife

What’s in a word; just what is a professional photographer

Brown bear, Ursus arctos, standing raised upright and rubbing her back against a birch tree in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska .

Brown bear, Ursus arctos, standing raised upright and rubbing her back against a birch tree in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I can’t imagine my father ever calling himself a “professional University lecturer” or my brother referring himself to as a “professional math teacher”.

The word professional means many things; but when it’s followed with a vocation, such as “photographer”, it doesn’t mean that you enjoy photography a lot, or that you speak politely about it, or that someone bought a print from you. It doesn’t even mean that you have a website. It doesn’t mean you teach workshops and lead tours, either.

Show me a professional photographer, and I’ll wager a dollar I’ll show you someone who’s struggled to pay their rent, who’s sold gear to make their car payment (or sold their car to make their gear payment), someone who’s eaten peanut butter sandwiches because that’s what was available to eat.

A professional photographer has made real sacrifice to do what they do (there are always exceptional cases, with trust funds, a wealthy spouse, etc). It’s a risk. It’s giving up an awful lot to choose to pursue a particular vocation. It’s losing on that risk, picking up, and swinging the stick again. And again. And yet again. Repeat, infinitum.

It sounds much more glamorous than it might be. It means you take the bus sometimes, it means you sit in the rain and wish you were somewhere else. It means you sometimes take a lower price for a sale because you need shoes. Pardon my French, but it means you’ve been sh** on. It means you’ve wished, cursed and swore that you had chosen some other manner to live by. It means you say ‘yes’ when you think ‘oh sh**, that gig sounds like hell’. It means you say ‘yes’ and then that gig actually IS hell. And you then say ‘yes’ again. Still you pursue it.

Continue reading

Grizzly bear cubs, Katmai National Park, Alaska

Grizzly bear cubs, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

3 young grizzly bear cubs wait by a river, fall colors in the forest. Grizzly bears, or brown bears, (Ursus arctos). Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

By now, all going according to plan, I should be almost getting back from the Katmai National Park Grizzly Bear Photo Tour; here’s an image from last year’s tour, just in case we don’t have much luck this fall. 3 gorgeous young cubs slipping down to water’s edge for a look around, before slinking back to the forest.

Next photo should be from 2011. See ya soon.

Cheers

Carl

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

50th Anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Hey Folks,

December 6, 2010, marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, in Alaska. To commemorate this, and as a tribute to an amazing place, I’ve put together this slide show; 50 photos to mark the 50 years. These are all images from the Refuge, over 19 million acres of wild lands. The refuge is a treasure, home to thousands of creatures and features; the caribou herds, the Brooks Mountains, the broad coastal plain, migratory birds and countless other gifts to this world. A beautiful landscape that warrants our respect, not our exploitation.

I selected the images to present a the diversity of features and creatures that call the Refuge home, and composed and recorded the music to accompany it. I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading

Grizzly bear photo

Grizzly bear adult, fall, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

A grizzly bear (brown bear, Ursus arctos), stands on the edge of a salmon stream in Katmai National Park and Preserve. Grizzly bears can range in color from dark brown and black, as this one is, to a blond, almost white color. Fall foliage, Grizzly bear, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a photo from the first morning out on my recent trip to Katmai. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I was able to get out and shoot before returning to camp to meet the folks coming out for the first week’s photo tour. I’d also walked and photographed the river the previous evening, and it gave me a great opportunity to scout around a bit and get a head’s up on things like the river level (which fluctuates greatly year to year, even week to week), which bears were hanging where, where the best fall colors were, etc, etc.

The bear population this year was even higher than last year, with over 70 bears in the area. I recognized many from previous trips I’ve made here, but this beautiful dark bear was one I hadn’t seen before. Continue reading

Grizzly bear cubs photo

4 grizzly bear (brown bears, Ursus arctos) in the forest of Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

4 grizzly bear (brown bears, Ursus arctos) in the forest of Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Welcome back to the land of the Great Bear!

This year’s grizzly bear photo tours were absolutely awesome. We had cubs, cubs and more cubs. Big bears, little bears, fat bears, pretty fat bears, REALLY fat bears, and Rush Limbaugh-fat bears.; we’re talking, R-E-A-L-L-YYY fat bears. Dark bears, blond bears, etc, etc – all of them a real treat to photograph. There were well over 70 bears in the area, so it was a simply incredible experience.

I’ve not yet edited hardly any of the shots from the past 2 weeks, but I’m pretty excited about some of the photos I took. Continue reading

Arctic Ocean, ANWR, Alaska.

The Beaufort Sea along the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Arctic Ocean sea ocean, after spring breakup, rests on the beach. Melting permafrost in the bluffs signals warming temperatures. Arctic Ocean, Coastal Plain, ANWR, Alaska.

The Beaufort Sea along the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Arctic Ocean sea ocean, after spring breakup, rests on the beach. Melting permafrost in the bluffs signals warming temperatures. Arctic Ocean, Coastal Plain, ANWR, Alaska. Click for a larger photo.

Hey Folks,

Another photo from our recent trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Beaufort Sea. I hiked from our final camp across the coastal plain (well, across part of the plain, not the whole thing) with Steve Weaver hoping to photograph some of the icebergs we’d seen the previous day along the shoreline. Unfortunately, strong southerly winds had blown almost all the ice out to sea, and we were largely thwarted. This patch of ice, however, had been resting on shore, stranded when the tide rolled out, and we made a few images.

Coastlines are such dynamic landscapes, and in the Arctic particularly so. They can change drastically in a day or less, and do so frequently.

This photo was taken around 1:15am .. maybe later. I think Steve and I arrived back at camp around 4:00am, and I went to bed at nearly 5:00am. up at 10:00am-ish to break camp, roll the raft, and wait for a bush plane. We arrived, finally, in Coldfoot, around 5:30pm,(the temp was 90deg F, a start contrast from the Arctic Ocean we’d just left) unpacked the gear from the plane, sorted it and loaded the van, ate dinner, and hit the road, rolling into the Yukon River area stop late at night. Then up early the next morning to drive from there to Anchorage. 36 hours later it was out the door to pick up folks for the next trip to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Summertime can be like that in Alaska.

I’ve been out to the Beaufort Sea here a number of times, now every time I’ve been so fortunate as to have an absolutely glorious final evening. The wind wasn’t bad at all, the bugs had quieted down, and the expansive vastness of the place really moves me. It’s a fantastic experience, to see such a harsh and rugged environment also be so sensitively fragile; the quiet tundra, the shorebirds, a whisper of air and the glowing rays of the sun, low on the horizon. After the trek back to camp I simply couldn’t go to bed, but sat for nearly 45 minutes by my tent, just watching, listening and enjoying the grace of the Arctic coastal plain. It’s a phenomenal place.

The bluffs on the left of the frame, like Castles Made of Sand, slowly slip into the sea – eventually.

Cheers

Carl

Glaucous Gull and chick, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

A glaucous gull sits with its chick on a nest on the coastal plain in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska, ( Larus hyperboreus)

A glaucous gull sits with its chick on a nest on the coastal plain in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska, ( Larus hyperboreus). Please click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

I posted this ahead of time; right now I’m out on a hike, but thought I’d post this image from my recent trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Taken on the final evening of our trip, this Glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus) and chick were a beautiful sight in gorgeous light.

The gulls are pretty common in the refuge in summertime, and can be pretty aggressive in defense of their young. This gull and its mate were busy most of the evening dive bombing a Red-throated loon that was nesting nearby; apparently too close nearby for the gulls’ peace of mind.

Hope you enjoy the photo. I’ll be back from the current trip soon enough, and wil try to post a few more images and some video from the trips. Until then,

Cheers

Carl

The Great Bear

Grizzly bear sow photo, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

A large adult grizzly bear sow (female) walks along the edge of Naknek Lake, fall coors behind her, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version on the photo.

Hey Folks,

A grizzly bear photo from my trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve last fall. This grizzly old sow is one of the larger females I’ve seen …. most folks think she’s a boar. It’s a real treat to be able to return to a place like Katmai and see the same individual animals I’ve seen and photographed before. I’m hoping this big bear has some young cubs when I return there in September this year.

‘The Great Bear’ is just one of the names commonly given to the grizzly bear by Native Americans. A closeup look at this sow suggests why. She’s awesome.

Cheers

Carl