Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Alaska July 2014

North to Alaska!
Panorama Near Juneau, Alaska
Tracy Arm, Alaska
There is an advantage of taking a cruise ship to exotic ports.  You get there quickly and you can see a lot in a short period of time.  I could have wandered all over Alaska on my own at greater expense and a huge waste of time.  I instead went with Holland America on a cruise to Alaska and the tours got me up close for photographs.
Birds Feed Where Whales Go!

My standard travel equipment is the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-105mm lens.  I also brought along a 2x extender.  One thing to remember on using extenders is you lose a stop or two of light.  In this case, my f/4 went to an f/8 and that is ok in daylight, but lousy in darker environments. 
Sawyer Glacier - Note the Icebergs!

From Seattle, we sailed to Alaska along the Canadian west coast and entered Tracy Arm.  We were headed to view Sawyer Glacier.  The ship sailed really close, as these photos will show.  RIGHT INTO AN ICE FIELD!  I had visions of the Titanic, but I knew we were safe.  However, if a person falls in the ice water, they have about 20 seconds before succumbing to the cold.  So I photographed with one hand while holding the railing with the other.  As pieces of the glacier broke off, you could hear what sounded like a gun shot.  KABOOM! 
A Whale Doing a Tail Flip

From Tracy Arm, we sailed to Juneau, the state capital.  I caught a small boat from Allen Marine to find whales, eagles, and otters.  It was a photographers heaven; everywhere I looked there were things to try to photograph.  On a side note, Juneau has a population of about 30,000.  When four cruise ships come in on a day, the population goes up 10,000!  And that is about every day in the summer. 
Bald Eagle at the Sitka Raptor Center

Next stop was Sitka, Alaska.  Allen Marine also got me close to wildlife on the water with more chances at finding whales.  I also visited and photographed the Alaska Raptor Center, where they nurse injured birds like bald eagles.  It’s truly a good cause, so visit that link and look around.  Another great work I visited was the Fortress of the Bear.  These folks rescue abandoned or injured bears. 
Bear at the Fortress of the Bear in Sitka

On to Ketchikan, Alaska, a lovely town that gets 300-plus inches of rain a year.  A real rain forest but not hot, cold.   One fun event I photographed was the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.  Now, yes it is hokie… but lots of fun and the events they showed were interesting and took skill.  From there we went off to the Totem Bight State Historical Park.  It’s right on the ocean and is filled with various examples of totem poles. 
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan

Then it was ocean cruising all night to Victoria, British Columbia, a lovely city I’ve visited before.  It was only a few hours stop… then back on the ship to Seattle and eventually back to the heat of Phoenix. 
Totem Bight in Ketchikan

What equipment did I wish I had taken?  Well, when I travel I like to pack light.  That means a camera body and ONE LENS.  At times, while hunting whales and eagles, I wish I had more reach.  Maybe the Canon 70-300mm lens next time? 

Until My Next Adventure, 

See You On Down The Road!

See all of my photos from this adventure on Flickr or by clicking the Zenfolio slideshow below!

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