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It was easy to get caught up in photographing nothing but bald eagles during my recent trip to the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, Alaska. To get a sense of place, I would occasionally break away from the eagles and shoot landscapes . Subjects included the nearby Four Winds Mountain, and Takhinsha Mountains, Mount Jonathan Ward and Takhin Ridge which are popular heli-skiing destinations. All are visible from the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
For many of these “landscape” images I used my 600mm lens. A 600mm lens isn’t thought of as a typical lens for landscape photography but I found forcing myself to use it as one provide me with unique images that I might not have seen through more traditional landscape lenses.
During a layover in Juneau I was able to take advantage of a windless day at Mendenhall Lake at the foot of the Mendenhall Glacier to photograph reflections of icebergs. I have found the area to be windy during previous visits so I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass. The stillness of the wind reflected the stillness of the scene. During the summer, thousands of cruise ship tourists visit the glacier every day. It’s a mad house then. During November, there was nary a sole.
While traveling on the Alaska State Marine Highway Ferry system back and forth between Haines and Juneau, I took advantage of the early evening light and the setting sun above the mountains and glaciers along the Lynn Canal of the Inside Passage. On my return trip to Juneau on the FV Fairweather I was especially lucky to photograph a rising full moon above the Herbert Glacier near Juneau with pink alpenglow from the lasts gasps of sunlight dancing on the mountaintops above the glacier (photo below).
A full moon rises above Mount Ernest Gruering and the Herbert Glacier near Juneau, Alaska as the final rays of the sun at sunset baths mountain tops in alpenglow light. The view is from the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry FVF Fairweather as it traveled down the Lynn Canal from Haines. To license image, click image. To see our collection of fine art prints, click here.
Editor’s note: Since it will be a while before I finish editing photos from my recent bald eagle trip to the Chilkat River, I thought I would do a few more postings from my earlier trip to Alaska.
I would venture a guess that thousands of tourists visit the Mendenhall Glacier located just outside Juneau, Alaska every day during the summer cruise season. Juneau is a major stop for cruise ships during the summer and the easy access for cruise lines to bus tourists to the glacier is likely to make a visit a somewhat crowded experience, particularly at and near the U.S. Forest Service visitor center.
With all these tourists armed with cameras, this past summer I wanted to try to get a photo different from the pack. In the past, I have taken some interesting landscape photos with my 600 mm lens — definitely not a lens often thought of for landscape photography. I figured why not try. Instead of focusing on the actual Mendenhall Glacier, I set my sights on the neighboring Nugget Falls, an impressive waterfall coming off the same icefield as the glacier.
I selected a slow shutter speed to give the falls the silky look. Obviously, that slow of a shutter speed with such a long lens, required the lens and camera locked down a tripod and the use of an electronic shutter release cable to take the photo.
Normally, I’m used to being the only person around when I’m taking photos. This time not only was I in a sea of tourists, I was the center of attention — not the falls nor the enormous glacier! It seems that the tourists were more impressed with my lens and began to snap photos of me and my long lens. Guess you could mark this one up to “lens envy.”
ABOVE: Hikers to Nugget Falls located next to the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska in the Tongass National Forest are dwarfed by the 377 foot waterfall. Photographed using a Nikon D3, 600mm f4 VR lens, on a Gitzo GT3541LS carbon fiber tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead, and a Nikon MC-36 Multi-function Remote Cord. Image capture: 1/8 at f22, ISO 100ADDITIONAL PHOTOS of the Mendenhall Glacier and Juneau area
This is the first time I have tried a video blog posting from the field using only my iPhone to shoot, edit, and post the video. Unfortunately in this report from the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska, there is virtually no movement in the video due to the unusual lack of wind. (oh well, at least I tried)
Because these iPhone posts are not up to my usual quality they will not appear on my home page, but will appear on the blog.
I see this particular post as a short prototype for future posts of this type. Let me know what you think.