While visiting Cordova, I saw flocks of several thousand shorebirds, but never the millions that I had read about. If there were millions, they were spread out over the entire Copper River delta region. The shorebirds that I saw were scattered all over the mudflats of Hartney Bay which made photographing them difficult. The best opportunities to photograph them was when they grouped together at high-tide. During the week of my visit, high-tide luckily corresponded with sunrise and sunset. There were also no clouds just clear sky, so I was able to take advantage of the good light. In this image, I positioned myself on the sunlit side of the birds and added some color by including the reflection of the blue sky in the mud. I was attracted to the repetitive patterns of the resting shorebirds, but even when they were resting many of them still moved around. I created this image by hand-holding my Canon 7D and 400mm f4 DO IS lens with my 1.4X tele-converter. Depth-of-field was a real challenge, so I stopped my lens down to f18 and chose ISO 400 to give me a reasonable shutter speed for hand-holding my camera. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
During my recent visit to Cordova, Alaska, I was blessed with nearly a week of perfect weather. Of course, clear blue skies are never conducive to dramatic landscape images, so I kept my eye out for the occasional clouds at sunset. These mountains formed the dramatic backdrop for the prime shorebird viewing area of Hartney Bay. Since it was still early spring, they were still covered in snow almost all the way to sea-level. Fortunately for my photography ambitions, high-tide corresponded with sunset which allowed the channels in Hartney Bay to fill with the incoming tide. Since there was almost no wind the night that I created this image, I was able to photograph a near perfect reflection in the calm waters. The clouds lit up with more dramatic colors as the sun set, but I find my photographic eye increasingly drawn to more fully illuminated landscapes with great light, rather than overwhelming neon colors and dark shadows. I created this image using 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 required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
ALASKA!!! That sums up my feelings about my recent trip north. I began my trip by teaching some classes in Anchorage and Fairbanks, but then my friend and fellow photographer Steve Kazlowski joined me for a week photographing the Copper River shorebird migration near Cordova. It was the first time that either of us had been to Cordova. I was prepared for a week of terrible weather based on what I’ve heard, so imagine my surprise when the sky was clear the entire week! Not only was the weather perfect, but high-tide (when the shorebirds were best photographed) actually corresponded with the prime light of sunrise and sunset. I could not believe our fortune, since neither of us did any research before our trip. It was very difficult to photograph the flocks of mostly Western sandpipers, but this is one of my favorite images. I like how the shorebirds are landing towards me and a few of them are in sharp focus amongst the chaos. I created this image with my Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens (which Canon Professional Services was kind enough to loan me). I slightly cropped the original image to make a stronger composition, otherwise, it required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
I created this image during my first incredible but brief voyage on Prince William Sound in Alaska last month. I motored my boat from Whittier to the head of College Fjord for a few days and was blown away but the photographic potential. I anchored in Tuition Cove near the Yale Glacier and used my inflatable to explore the area. One morning, I navigated my way through the iceberg choked fjord to the the Smith Glacier with the ambition of photographing the Harvard Glacier at sunrise. I got skunked on that one, but I was thoroughly enamored with the area so I turned my attention to the intimate landscape details of these crevasses.