Since I returned home last week, I have not had a lot of time to edit my new images, but this one is definitely worth sharing. I photographed this dramatic sunset while visiting the US National Park of American Samoa on Ofu Island last month. It took a lot of effort to travel this out-of-the-way tropical destination, which was part of the charm, but also explains why it is the least visited of the US National Parks. I stayed at the Vaoto Lodge where Jim, Ben, & Marge were delightful hosts. Other than the 2 researchers who were doing coral studies, I had the entire stretch of beach in the Park all to myself. I photographed a number of brilliant sunrise and sunsets, but this was the most spectacular. As much as I travel, it is still special when the clouds light up with intense color like this. I composed this image by framing the dramatic peaks in the distance with this eroded limestone shelf with waves washing over it in the foreground. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 28mm f2 ZE lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer, and 3-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
I am incredibly excited to have 2 of my new acrylic face mount prints on permanent display at Etheridge Family Dentistry in Seattle, WA. The 35×50 Laguna de los Tres Sunrise 5 print above is from my trip to Patagonia last January and the 35×50 False Clownfish 23 image below is from my trip to Raja Ampat last March. They look absolutely stunning (even with Dr Ty standing in front of them). Both of these acrylic face mounts were created by West Coast Imaging. WCI offers several paper options. I chose the Epson premium glossy paper, because it most closely matched the colors of my own Epson printer. They are mounted directly to 1/4″ acrylic, backed with a white dibond backer, a metal hanging system is attached, and the edges are flame polished. I have not finalized my price list for these spectacular prints, but they will cost about 2 to 3 times the price of my current Museo silver rag prints. To celebrate the 2011 holiday season, I will offer these ready to hang prints at the introductory price of 2 times my current print prices. It takes about 3 weeks to create them, so all orders that are placed no later than next Friday December 2 will be guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas.
I spent 3 long days attempting to photograph brown bears fishing underwater while visiting Kuliak Bay. I did not succeed. However, I had 6 opportunities where a bear sniffed the back of my underwater camera rather than the front. If I were a cartoon, I would have had one of those bubbles over my head with something like !@#$%^&%$#@* inside. Oh, well, I can try again in a few years. With my underwater camera positioned in the river all day, I took a lot of pictures of the salmon swimming in front of it. This is my favorite image of the mostly pink salmon with a few sockeye mixed in. I really like the reflection of the salmon on the surface of the water as well as the beautiful green color. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens inside my Aquatech 5DmkII housing with a Aquatech 8″ wide-angle dome port which I remotely triggered with a PocketWizard in an Aquatech PocketWizard housing. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
This is my most successful wide-angle brown bear image from my August expedition to the Katmai Coast. I spent 4 days in Kuliak Bay trying unsuccessfully to photograph brown bears fishing underwater. For most of the day, my underwater camera system was submerged on a tripod with the PocketWizard antennae barely extending about the surface, but I had to pull it out of the river at high tide. While waiting for the tide to drop on my first full day ashore, I observed the bears fishing in the creek when the salmon migrated up to the lake at high tide. The next day, I decided to preposition my camera at the bottom of the falls before high tide and the arrival of the salmon and bears. It was nerve racking positioning my camera even though there were not any bears around at the time. They could emerge from the woods at any moment, so I quickly set it up next to some rocks and returned to the relative security of my viewing platform. This beautiful young bear was the first to arrive. Over the course of an hour, I observed this bear fishing and remotely triggered my camera every time that it appeared to be in front of my camera. Right before this moment, the bear caught the salmon on the far side of the creek. It then ran directly towards my camera with the fish in its mouth when it realized that there was a mother with 2 cubs coming down the creek from above. When I retrieved my camera several hours later, I was giddy with anticipation while reviewing the images and discovered this one was on my memory card. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens inside my Aquatech 5DmkII housing with a Aquatech wide-angle flat port which I remotely triggered with a PocketWizard in an Aquatech PocketWizard housing. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
My August trip to the outer coast of Katmai National Park was pretty dangerous, but it allowed me to create some unique photos. I took my boat on the ferry from Homer to Kodiak and then used it to cross treacherous Shelikof Strait in order to spend several weeks living with the brown bears. I spent the entire trip as close to brown bears as anyone has ever been. This probably sounds insane to most people, but brown bears are not going to just run up to and eat you for no reason. However, they must be respected at all times. One of the new techniques that I employed was using PocketWizards to remotely trigger my cameras so that I could shoot wide-angle bear images. Guessing where to pre-position my cameras was the challenge, but I got better at it as learned the bear’s routines. While visiting Kuliak Bay, brown bears regularly walked past this location, so I placed one of my cameras on a tripod low to the ground and waited. I remotely triggered the camera whenever a bear walked in front of it. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII, 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard GND filter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
This is one of my new images from my July visit to Denali National Park. I had a professional photography permit to drive the Wonder Lake Road. I’d had no ambition to photograph Denali as I had already done so in 2005 and 2006 when the weather was horrible. Since it is typically very cloudy, I was mostly planning on photographing wildlife near the road. However, when the weather improved and the clouds parted, I switched my goal back to landscape photography. This tundra pond is one of thousands located near Wonder Lake. This sunrise was gorgeous as alpenglow illuminated the summit at 20,000 feet while the clouds clung to the lower flanks of the mountain. There were a lot of water bugs disturbing the surface of this pond, but otherwise the reflection was as close to perfect as possible. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 ZE lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer, and 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
I created this image while visiting Kukak Bay on the Katmai Coast in August. This brown bear was lazily sitting by the edge of a stream waiting for a salmon to swim past. Eventually, it sat up on its hind legs and yawned. When I saw this image on my camera’s LCD screen, I chuckled. I felt bad for the bear, since this was not the most flattering picture, but I doubt that the bear cares. The early morning golden light was an added bonus. I used my Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens to photograph this moment. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
At the end of August, I embarked on a dangerous expedition to the Katmai Coast to photograph brown bears. The trip required my friend Paul Souders & I to depart from Kodiak and cross the always treacherous Shelikof Strait using my 22′ C-Dory. There are safer and more expensive ways to visit the Katmai Coast, but none of these options would have allowed us to spend as much time so intimately with the bears. To say that I was scared when we entered the open ocean in less than ideal conditions is an understatement. However, we successfully motored across to our first destination, the spectacular Kukak Bay. After we anchored, we immediately set out for shore to walk amongst the bears. I’ve been around my fair share of bears, but nothing quite prepared me for spending the first day amongst them at such close range. I do not advise people to be foolhardy and run up to brown bears, but they are also not going to attack and eat you under most situations. For instance, this beautiful bore was waiting for a salmon and nonchalantly watched us as we set up our cameras and moved in close enough to take his picture. He drifted in and out of sleep as we observed him for several hours. I’ll share some images soon where he rolled on to his back and stretched, but this low and tight portrait is my favorite. In order to render the distant background pleasantly out-of-focus, I laid on the ground on my stomach to get as low as possible with my Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens. I then waited for him to look straight into my lens whenever he opened his eyes. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
On my first day in Denali National Park, I encountered a large group of Dall sheep up the side of a mountain. I grabbed my camera equipment, including my 500mm lens, and hiked over 1500′ up to them. As I approached the group, they became aware of my presence but did not run away. I was unsure how close they would allow me to get, but they seemed unconcerned by my presence and continued foraging for grasses. I got close enough to photograph individual animals isolated against a clean background. Eventually, I moved in close enough to photograph this nice head-on portrait of a big male looking down on me. I created this image with my Canon 7D, Canon 500mm f4 IS lens, and Canon 1.4X tele-converter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
During my recent visit to Denali National Park, I had a professional photography permit for the first time. The permit allowed me the unique opportunity to drive the Wonder Lake Road in my own vehicle and spend as much time taking pictures as I needed. The week started out with terrible weather, but quickly improved and kept getting better every day. I honestly had no ambition to photograph Denali based on how difficult it was to even see the mountain during my previous visits in 2005 and 2006. However, with all the clear weather that I experienced, I took advantage of every moment that the summit was visible. I created this spectacular image on the last day of my permit. After staying up all night for several days and barely sleeping, I had lunch at the Kantishna Roadhouse. After lunch, my intention was to start driving back to Anchorage, but as I was nearing Wonder Lake the mountain was again entirely visible. So much for driving that afternoon. I had scouted several nice patches of fireweed during the week, so I decided to set up my camera for the rest of the day and see what would happen. Not only was it sunny and warm with almost no wind, but the mosquitoes disappeared entirely. This allowed me to comfortably sit at the side of the road while working on my tan with my shirt off. Anyone who has ever been back to Wonder Lake during the summer will appreciate how incredible this sounds. Over the course of 6 hours waiting for the sunset, I listened to some of my favorite music, waived at the occasional bus passing by, and waited for the clouds to part again in order reveal Denali. Everything came together perfectly about 1 hour before sunset. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 35mm f2 ZE lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer, and 3-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.