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Snowshoe Hare

November 19, 2018

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR DECEMBER    "Wardrobe Malfunction...Again"

Alaska Range Mountains, Alaska

Into the third week of November already and we have white Snowshoe Hares unsuccessfully trying to hide in brown vegetation. What little snow that fell in my yard has just about melted again, as temperatures rose above freezing this week.

My three resident hares have been harassed by predators all fall—Coyotes howling and Great Horned Owls hooting, trying to flush them out of hiding, as well as a Goshawk gliding among the trees. But I still have my three original resident bunnies…

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6 II lens at 330mm, exposure of 1/250 at f5.6, ISO 12,800, handheld.

Teakettle Junction Sign

October 30, 2018


Death Valley National Park

On the 4X4 road to Racetrack Playa, 21 miles from the nearest pavement, is a strange sight—a sign adorned with teakettles of all colors and shapes. The origin may be somewhat obscure, but nowadays some travelers leave a teakettle hanging, usually with something written on it.

It is considered good luck to leave a teakettle and take one. I couldn’t because I needed my electric kettle to make my morning coffee…no propane stove in my new Revel to heat water the old fashioned way!

Canon EOS 5DS R, EF 24-105mm f4 lens at 28mm, exposure of 1/125 at f9, ISO 100, handheld.

Brown Bear Splashing Water

October 15, 2018


Katmai National Park, Alaska

During the summer months, Brown Bears (sorry, but I don’t like the recent trend to call them Grizzly Bears, since they are seldom grizzled like their inland cousins) must fatten up on migrating salmon in order to survive the winter in hibernation.

This 1000# boar spotted a salmon in the shallows upstream, and charged towards it, producing an impressive spray. This year’s salmon run was poor, so the bears had to work for their meals.

Canon 1DX Mark II, EF 300mm f2.8 IS II lens + 2X III Extender, exposure of 1/1000 at f6.3, ISO 2500, on Arca Swiss B-1 Ballhead and Feisol CT3301 tripod.

Wildfire Smoke

August 31, 2018


Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Smoke from huge forest fires in the Western states is having far reaching effects. I’ve just returned from Upper Michigan where high altitude smoke turned the moon copper color, and even interfered with the satellite TV signal.

On my return to Alaska via Seattle, all the flights both in and out of Seattle were slightly delayed because the reduced visibility. After waiting nearly a half hour in the queue to takeoff, we headed north over Vancouver Island. There, smoke from local fires filled the valleys—more interesting from 30,000 feet than on the ground, I’m sure!

iPhoneX, 6mm lens, 1/1500 second @ f2.4, ISO 16

Abstract Image

August 2, 2018

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR AUGUST    "Accidental Abstract"

South Rim, Grand Canyon NP, AZ

When I'm in a hurry photographing before the light changes, I set the tension on the ball head of the tripod just tight enough to stabilize it, but loose enough to make any final adjustments to the composition.

At the Mohave Viewpoint in Grand Canyon NP, while photographing a butte in the fading evening light, I pushed the shutter release--and watched the camera tilt forward in very slow motion! The 16 second exposure faithfully recorded the slow descent...

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 24-105 f4 lens at 32mm, exposure of 16 seconds at f8, ISO 100, Arca Swiss Ball Head B-1 on Feisol CT3301 tripod.


July 2, 2018


North Rim, Grand Canyon NP, AZ

In May of 2000 a prescribed burn on the North Rim of Grand Canyon NP quickly grew out of control. Over the next two weeks the Outlet Fire burned over 13,000 acres before being brought under control.

Now 18 years later, the aspens in Fuller Canyon are slowly overtaking the remnants of the conifers that burned during the fire. To take this image, I was standing on fairly barren ground, the result of another fire in 2016.

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6 II lens at 234mm, exposure of 1/400 at f8, ISO 500, handheld.

California Condor

May 28, 2018


Lee's Ferry, Glen Canyon NRA, AZ

In 1987, after California Condor numbers in the wild declined to just 27 individuals (mainly from poaching and lead poisoning), all were captured for a captive breeding program in zoos. Begining in 1991 they were slowly reintroduced into the wild, 82 of them in Arizona and Utah. The total population (wild and captive) is now up to 463.

Currently #54, born in 2004, appears to have mated with #H9 and are thought to have eggs in the cliffs above the Colorado River. Here he is resting under the Highway 89A bridge at Lee’s Ferry.

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6 II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/1000 at f8, ISO 1000, handheld.

Polar Bear

May 2, 2018


Bellsund, Svalbard, Norway

Isbjorn (“Ice Bear” in Norwegian, Polar Bear in English) is a bear so dependent on the ocean that it is classified as a marine mammal.

While this Polar Bear teenager goes through the separation process from its mother (see previous entry), it no longer has its mother to catch seals for his food. Here it is sniffing the water, hoping it will catch the scent of a seal and use some of the hunting skills learned from his mother.

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6 II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/1300 at f8, ISO 1600, handheld.

Polar Bears

April 19, 2018


Bellsund, Svalbard, Norway

For nearly 2 years this young bear has had his/her mother’s undivided attention, but all of a sudden she has become more distant and has been pushing him away. Now this huge male bear has arrived and won’t let it’s mother out of his sight, and even chases the teenager away.

This polar bear drama happens each spring as mothers chase their offspring away as she comes into estrous, and a male suitor arrives.

Canon 1DX Mark II, EF 300mm f2.8 IS II lens + 2X III Extender, exposure of 1/2000 at f8, ISO 500, on Arca Swiss B-1 Ballhead and Feisol CT3301 tripod.

Cook Inlet Mudflats

February 23, 2018


Cook Inlet, Alaska

For flying too often last year, I unexpectedly gained MVP Elite status with Alaska Airlines this year. Besides early boarding and more legroom in Premium Seating, sitting forward in the plane also gives an unobstructed view out of the window—my preferred version of inflight entertainment.

Last week as our plane banked for a landing in Anchorage, I couldn’t resist photographing the low-tide mudflats and ice floes with my iPhone.

Apple iPhoneX, 6mm lens, exposure of 1/170 sec @ f2.4, ISO 16.

Short-tailed Weasel

January 27, 2018


My Backyard, Interior Alaska

Last month while testing a new camera on a resident Snowshoe Hare in near darkness, I noticed an Ermine (Short-tailed Weasel) checking the woodpiles for a Red-backed Vole to invite to dinner. After several unsuccessful attempts to photograph it--they never stay still--I prefocused on a hole in the snow and snapped several frames as he popped up, before he promptly disappeared.

The amazing thing about this 'barely usable' image is that the ISO was 10,000! Normal would be 100...

Canon 1DX Mark II, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/400 at f5.6, ISO 10000, handheld.

Chinstrap Penguin

December 24, 2017

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR JANUARY    "Penguin Mountain Climbers"

Astrolabe Island, Branfield Strait, Antarctica

When penguins return to their colonies in the spring, the shorelines still have ice walls left over from the winter storms. Some shorelines are easy, and all the penguins need to do is wait for high tide and easily “fly” out of the water onto shore.

But on Astrolabe Island this past November, the ice walls were still high, so the Chinstrap Penguins have learned to climb the walls using their sharp claws, and when necessary, using their beaks as ice axes.

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/1250 at f8, ISO 160, handheld.