Alaska Photo Diary Part 6
We had a great second day of shooting. I was too tired last night to write so I am writing this the next day.
I made some amazing photographs on the second day. Bears standing up, eating fish, etc.
But the day was also brutal on me physically. We left the yacht in the skiff at 7:30AM and didn’t return until 6:30 PM. We walked a total of about three miles in and out over tough terrain. It just about did me in but, it was worth it.
The first two days of the trip we had near perfect weather for wildlife photography. The skies were high, thin overcast. We had occasional bouts of blue sky and sun which is actually much harder to deal with.
As I write this, we’re shut out by a major rain and wind storm. Frankly, I welcome the break. I’m bone tired.
Yesterday we had about a dozen bears. We also saw the first cubs of the trip. Unfortunately the new cubs we were tracking last year for this trip were killed last fall by a boar. No doubt he ate them or, he killed them because he knew their mother would go into estrus and he could mate with her again.
The cubs we did see were second year and were just learning to fish. Their mother actually did the catching of the fish and shared with her offspring. We were close enough to hear the cub moaning and whining for his food. It was great.
Another experience that was truly inspiring involved listening to the bears break the bones of the 20-pound salmon. The bears were very successful in their fishing, and we were successful getting photos of them in action.
We did have our first encounter with a dangerous bear – but it was a pretty mild encounter. He more or less let us know he didn’t like us, but was never a real threat. He did stand up for us which led to my favorite photo of the day.
We saw fresh moose tracks and droppings, but no moose. We saw seals, eagles, and numerous other avian species.
My gear performed well the second day. The weather was shifting so my layered approach was successful. I had a wicking t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, my fleece, and a Gortex raincoat. I removed and added layers as needed. It was never really cold. But did get cool from time-to-time.
The second day was the best of the trip so far.
Alaska Photo Diary Part 7
This morning were into some real weather. We had to move the Coastal Explorer (our big yacht) to a new location that is protected from the wind. There are gusts up to 45 knots in the area and that means no photos this morning.
We’ve been working the salmon runs around Misty Lagoon but it looks like we’ll be moving after the storm into Geographic Harbor proper.
I’m spending some time today writing and viewing my images. I’m using Aperture to select from the hundreds of images that I’ve made. The compare and select process in Aperture is as easy as pie. I’m really enjoying the time savings it offers.
Since there won’t be much photography this morning, Arthur Morris the trip leader is offering Photoshop and composition lessons. I’m going to try to catch some much-needed sleep in my 4-7′ cell, er I mean stateroom. 🙂
Alaska Photo Diary Part 8
The storm is over and wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, but it still skunked us photographically. Today we won’t have to worry about a storm, but there’s little light and it’s raining. This is typical Alaska weather. We will shoot in the rain later today if it lets up at all.
In the meantime, I’m going through my day one and day two images. I am really happy with the results, but I want another chance to go out and perfect the techniques I’ve been working on.
Since there is a lull in the activity, I thought I’d describe what it is like to live on the boats. We have a 62′ Seamark yacht and a 64′ Seamark cruising yacht. There are 14 of us total including the ship crews and our party.
Everything we eat and drink has to be flown out to us by seaplane. At $1500 per round trip for a seaplane run, we’re trying to make sure we conserve our supplies long enough to last the week.
The ship’s cook has been doing a fantastic job of keeping our stomachs happy. He’s cooked everything from grilled pork chops to Halibut Chowder.
I am on the newer of the two yachts – called the Costal Explorer II. We have modern bathroom facilities including an incinerating toilet. But it’s sort of odd. You have to put a special paper sack into the toilet. You do your business, then “flush” by pushing down on a pedal located on the front of the toilet. This causes a 1000- degree heated element to incinerate the waste.
The shower is about the size of a typical RV shower. To conserver water, we’re taking showers every three days. I have to admit it felt like a luxury to take one.
I’ll try to take some pictures of the facilities to show everyone.
We have delayed our move into Geographic Harbor due to weather, but may move there this afternoon. Some of the crew also want to take a break to do some fishing, so I’ll take a break and photograph that activity.
I’m going to have to clean the sensor on my D3 today. It got a big dust spot during the second day. I sure hope the new D3X has a built-in sensor cleaner.
I’ll report more later.