Cornforth Images

Category Archives: ANWR

Barter Island Polar Bears 100

Barter Island Polar Bears 100

Posted by Jon Cornforth on January 13, 2013

I love this picture of a polar bear mother with her two cubs! I took it last October while co-leading my Polar Bear Photography Tour in Alaska with Steve Kazlowski. It is a lot of fun helping clients photograph polar bears, especially when the bears are kind enough to pose for us right when the light momentarily breaks through the clouds at sunset. I think that this light only lasted for about 4 minutes. I’m looking forward to returning to Barter Island to lead another tour this October. Who wants to join me? I created this image with my Canon 5DmkIII, Canon 300mm f2.8 IS II lens, and Canon 1.4X tele-extender and processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS6.

Kaktovik Sunrise Abstract 1

Kaktovik Sunrise Abstract 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on January 12, 2013

I got to travel with my client-friend Bryn Forbes in Alaska and Tonga this summer. Though the purpose of the trips were to photograph humpback whales, Bryn spent a lot of time shooting motion blur abstracts. We all gave him a hard time about it, but he motivated me to try shooting some myself during my later adventures.

I created this image while co-leading my Polar Bear Photography Tour with Steve Kazlowski in October. We drove our clients out to the bone-bile to photograph the polar bears at sunrise, but there was only one and it was not doing much, so we took advantage of this amazing light to shoot landscape images instead. I forgot to bring my tripod, so I decided to experiment and shoot a bunch of motion blur abstracts over the Arctic Ocean. I think everyone thought that I was just as crazy (as we all thought Bryn was on my earlier trips) until they saw my results. I created this images with my Canon 5DmkIII and 300mm f2.8 IS II lens and processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS6.

Outdoor Photographer February 2012 Discover Alaska Wildlife Article

Outdoor Photographer February 2012 Discover Alaska Wildlife Article

Posted by Jon Cornforth on January 12, 2012

I was traveling all of December, so forgive me for not having posted any new blog updates for awhile. However, I am excited to share that Outdoor Photographer published my “Discover Alaska Wildlife” article in the February issue! In my article, I give lots of advice about where and how to photograph many of Alaska’s most sought after animals. I especially like the opening full page image of the lynx that I encountered while leaving Denali National Park last July. I have dedicated most of my last 5 summers to photographing Alaska, and look forward to another productive summer up north starting in May. Please let me know if you read that article and what you think.

Barter Island Polar Bears 26

Barter Island Polar Bears 26

Posted by Jon Cornforth on November 18, 2011

I was very happy with my first encounters with polar bears while co-leading my Polar Bear Photography Tour this fall. These amazing creatures are incredibly photogenic and life-changing to see in the wild. I’m currently updating my website with information about next year’s tours, but for anyone that is interested our scheduled dates are September 24-27, September 28-October 1, and October 2-5. The cost will be $5400 all inclusive from Fairbanks, except for the optional $175 per boat ride paid directly to our native guides. We are also able to offer a multiple tour discount to anyone that is interested in extending their photographic opportunities by joining back-to-back tours.

During this year’s tours, my clients and I photographed these two-year old cubs playing in the Arctic Ocean from the safety of our native guide’s boat. They appeared to be having a ton of fun as they played with each other for several hours. Their interactions were frequently so comical that we all chuckled out loud. We were also fortunate to be able to photograph them in beautiful golden sunlight. I created this image with a Canon 1DmkIV and my 400mm f4 DO IS lens. It is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

Barter Island Polar Bears 35

Barter Island Polar Bears 35

Posted by Jon Cornforth on October 20, 2011

The young polar bears that I photographed during my recent Polar Bear Photography Tour in Alaska spent a lot of time playing with their siblings both on land and in the Arctic Ocean. Polar bears are considered marine mammals since they spend so much of their lives in and out of the water. They are capable of swimming hundreds of miles when they have to. I really like the way that this young bear looked over its shoulder and right into my lens. I find eye contact like this incredibly compelling. Of course, the nice low angle light was an added bonus. I created this image with a Canon 1DmkIV and my 400mm f4 DO IS lens. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

Barter Island Polar Bears 8

Barter Island Polar Bears 8

Posted by Jon Cornforth on October 11, 2011

This is another one of my favorite photos from my recent Polar Bear Photography Tour. I was standing next to the boat with my local Inupiat guide when this mom and cub came over to have a closer look at us. We very quickly got back in the boat, but not before I fired off a few pictures at 10fps with the Canon 1DmkIV that I borrowed from Canon Professional Services. The light was absolutely spectacular and for a moment these bears walked side by side allowing me to create this striking image. I hand-held the camera with my Canon 400mm f4 DO IS lens attached and used a right-angle view finder to get the camera as close to the ground as possible while kneeling. It is a single-exposure which was slightly cropped from the original and required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

Barter Island Polar Bears 1

Barter Island Polar Bears 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on October 4, 2011

I have just returned from co-leading my first Polar Bear Photography Tour in Alaska. It was an incredible success! I created some fantastic images, but more importantly, so did my clients. I can’t wait to do it again next year. I’ll be updating my website this fall with information about next year’s tours, but if anyone is still interested in photographing the polar bears this year, my partner Steve Kazlowski is available in Alaska for clients. Please email me at for more information.

This was my first time photographing polar bears. I now understand how addictive photographing them can be. On the last day of my tour, I was able to photograph this mother and cub wrestling in the snow for an hour. It was incredible watching the cub continuously jump on or slide under it’s mom. Check out those mischievous little eyes staring at it’s mom right before it pounces. I was initially frustrated that they were farther away than I would normally like to shoot, but I pulled out all of my equipment in order to get in as tight as possible. I was on a boat which required me to hand-hold my Canon 7D with my 500mm f4 IS lens plus 1.4X tele-extender. That is equivalent to an 1120mm lens! I was able to freeze the action at 1/1000 second by setting my camera to ISO 800. This image is a single-exposure which was slightly cropped and required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.