Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

2012 Alaska Eagle Trip Wrap Up

This is my final post about this year’s eagle trip in Alaska.

This year’s eagle trip had the usual themes for me. I got to spend time in some of the most beautiful outdoor scenery in the world. I got to spend time helping a friend. I got to spend time with friends. I got to make new friends. I got the chance to tell the story of the eagles with my camera. I got to preserve moments in time that will last beyond my time here.

This year, I figured out that concentrating on type of shot, i.e., perched, flight, fight, prey, etc., at a time yielded the best results.

As with every trip I take these days, I discovered that taking less and less gear is always the best policy. I had lots of cameras and lenses with me but only took one or two into the field. This helped reinforce my policy of concentrating on one thing at a time. I’m doing some of the best photography of my career right now and I can tell you for sure that I am carrying less gear than ever.

In the past, I would have missed several shots due to gear wrangling and the associated hassles that come with that. This year, there were days where I simply went out on the boat with one camera and one lens and a card wallet and I got great stuff.

The irony is that I own every single photo gadget known to man, but I find myself using most of it less and less.

In fact, next year my plan is to bring not one piece of gear WITH me. I’m going to have ship EVERYTHING I need for the trip. As they did last year, I had them ship backup stuff so in case something went south I was ready. But now I am convinced I can have them take care of all of it which means no hassle with planes, or worrying about gear being stolen or damaged by TSA, baggage handlers, etc.

I also did something this year that I usually advise people NOT to do. I took cameras that I was totally unfamiliar with and used them in a critical shooting situation. The good news is that the new cameras I was testing, primarily the Canon 5D MK III and the Nikon D4, performed so well there were no worries.

This year’s eagle trip was great. I continue to face medical challenges that makes these trips harder and harder but I feel worse if I do NOT go so – I go.

My admiration and respect for the people who live and work here full time continues to grow. It’s a tough environment with harsh weather, a difficult economy and a certain sense of isolation. Yet almost everywhere I went I was enthusiastically greeted and warmly received.

I have some of the best guides around helping. And I am now so confident in my abilities to get great eagle shots here that I plan to offer a workshop/tour this time next year with my pal Robert O’Toole.

We’ve done a great deal of scouting and secured permits, licenses, guide and outfitter relationships and can actually guarantee people that we can put them in close proximity to eagles.

If you like the pictures I’ve been posting from this trip stay tuned. I’ll guarantee anyone who knows how to operate their camera portfolio-quality eagle pictures if they come on my workshops here next year. I’ll have more information soon. I’m first making these workshops available to my core supporters. If there are any spots left I’ll mention them here. If you’d like to be notified by email, send me notice to [email protected]

I want to thank my guides and the people of Alaska for another great experience. And most of all, I want to thank the eagles who allow me to tell their stories and love them. It’s an honor to speak for the birds.


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