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November 24, 2020


Parks Highway in the Alaska Range Mountains

One freezing October morning I left home in the dark, driving the almost 40 miles to the Teklanika Campground in Denali National Park. I hoped to photograph lynx while they stalked Snowshoe Hares. After stealthily walking for several miles, seeing only two hares and no lynx, I headed for home.

Then, only 1 1/2 miles from home, here is a lynx on a busy highway, investigating a dead porcupine in the middle of the road…

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF100-400 f4.5-5.6L II at 400mm, exposure of 1/400 sec at f8, ISO 400, handheld.

October 23, 2020


Denali National Park, Alaska

On the Park Road in early October, despite the freezing temperature and the threat of snow, this male Spruce Grouse was herding and guarding his harem of females as if it was spring mating season. They were all picking gravel bits for their gizzard to help break down seeds and Spruce needles.

The joke is on the male—his courtship instincts were falsely triggered by the length of daylight, and the unaffected females probably found it annoying!

Canon R5, EF100-400 f4.5-5.6L II at 400mm, exposure of 1/320 sec at f7.1, ISO 5000, handheld.

September 23, 2020


Along The Dalton Highway, Northern Alaska

The northern half of Alaska has been ravaged by lightning caused forest fires over centuries, so finding an old growth patch of trees is rare. And the term old growth is relative, considering the fire history, so the trees may only be 50 years old.

On a cool August morning after a rainy night, thick ground fog formed, separating just enough to reveal one Black Spruce survivor towering above the new growth trees below.

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF100-400 f4.5-5.6L II at 286mm, exposure of 1/320 sec at f8, ISO 250, handheld.

Foxtail Grass & Glacier

August 31, 2020

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR SEPTEMBER    "Picturesque Invasive"

Matanuska Glacier, Matanuska Valley, Alaska

Originating high in the Chugach Mountains, the Matanuska Glacier is the only glacier in Alaska accessible by car, thus usually overrun by tourists during the summer. But because of Covid-19 closing the Canadian border and eliminating cruise ship travel, basically the only tourists this summer are Alaskans. Me included.

In the foreground is Foxtail Barley Grass, unfortunately an invasive weed, however picturesque it may be.

Canon 5DS R, EF50mm f2.5 Macro lens, exposure of 1/50 sec at f22, ISO 160, Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead on Feisol CT3301 tripod.

Sea Lion Catching Salmon

July 25, 2020


Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery, Valdez, Alaska

Early returning Pink Salmon gather at their birthplace, the Solomon Gulch Hatchery in Valdez, but are stopped by a weir until the hatchery is ready for them.

This presents a great opportunity for the Sea Lions, who gather in front of the weir to feast on the salmon. They dive underwater to catch them, momentarily returning to the surface to reposition it, enabling them to swallow the fish whole. In one big gulp!

Canon 5D Mark IV, EF100-400mm f4-5.6 II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/1000 sec at f7.1, ISO 400, handheld.

Grizzly Claw Marks

June 27, 2020


Along the Nenana River, Alaska Range Mountains, Interior Alaska

On my daily walks I’ve noticed how scarred some of the Quaking Aspen tree trunks are, but lately I’ve noticed quite a few fresh ones—Grizzly Bear claw marks! These happen to correspond with a young male who has been hanging around the neighborhood for the last month. He’s been quite bold, and of concern, isn’t afraid of humans. Plans are to live trap and relocate him—hopefully before he is shot for some transgression.

Male bears do rub trees to leave their scent, but I expect this bear was just wearing down his claws, since they’ve been growing longer all winter in the den. Click on the image to see the full image.

Canon 5D Mark IV, 50mm macro lens, exposure of 1/200 sec at f9, ISO 1000, handheld.


June 3, 2020

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR JUNE    "Surprising What You Can Do With An iPhone"

Along the Nenana River, Alaska Range Mountains, Interior Alaska

On this mid-May daily walk I decided not to take a 'real' camera, but instead use my iPhone's camera should I see something interesting to photograph. Of course--and I should know better!--I found many prime condition Pasqueflowers (correct spelling), with ideal angled lighting and no wind. So I spent almost an hour photographing, enjoying the simplistic camera functions while concentrating on composition and style--and was amazed with the results!

iPhone X, lens at 4mm, exposure of 1/245 sec at f1.8, ISO 20, handheld.

Click on the image to see the full vertical image.

Seagull Harrassing Eagle

May 9, 2020

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR MAY    "Hey You, Get Off My Rock"

Cook Inlet near Clam Gulch, Alaska

This mature Bald Eagle was enjoying his high perch when this seagull decided it wanted “his” rock back, making several noisy and close passes, trying to make the eagle fly. Wasn’t successful…

In the background is Mt. Redoubt, an active volcano whose last last major eruption was in 1990, lasting six months. In 2009, a lesser eruption occurred.

Canon 5DSr, EF100-400mm f4-5.6 II lens at 182mm, exposure of 1/500 sec at f8, ISO 125, handheld.

Cheetah Cubs

March 26, 2020


Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya

Three year old Siligi (Masai name for ‘hope’) and her 7 five month old cubs have caught international attention as well as being a top tourist attraction in the Reserve. Normally cheetahs have 3-5 cubs, so having 7 is rare, much less keeping them safe for 5 months. But as of last month, only 2 of Siligi’s cubs have survived.

Click on the image to see the whole cheetah parade panorama.

Canon 1DX Mark II, EF100-400mm f4-5.6 II lens at 100mm, exposure of 1/500 sec at f8, ISO 160, handheld.

Back-lit Leopard

March 3, 2020

IMAGE OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH    "Photoshop To The Rescue"

Mara North Conservancy, Kenya

Photographing a subject that is strongly sunlit from behind can be difficult. First there is the problem of exposure—the subject is very underexposed while the parts in sunlight are very overexposed. Then there is lens flare, as direct sunlight scatters back and forth among the glass elements within, producing a heavy haze that obscures the image and makes focusing difficult.

That is where Photoshop comes into play—correcting the exposure of the subject and taming the haze—and reproducing what the human eye sees.

Canon 1DX Mark II, EF100-400mm f4-5.6 II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/320 sec at f7.1, ISO 200, handheld.

Giraffes Necking

January 31, 2020


Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya

Teenagers of all species have different methods of establishing their societal hierarchy, in other words, their ranking. These young Masai Giraffe males are performing an ancient dance called necking. At the start it involves just leaning and pushing against each other, but later involves head butting and body slamming, each trying to dodge the opponents blows while preparing for their counterblows. This is a long, slow process, with no immediate winner.

Canon 1DX Mark II, EF100-400mm f4-5.6 II lens at 286mm, exposure of 1/640 sec at f8, ISO 125, handheld.

Chinese Cheetahs

December 20, 2019


Mara North Conservancy, Kenya

The Mara North Conservancy is owned and managed by local herders, who give the 11 lodges within the conservancy exclusive access to guide visitors within the conservancy. However, there are several main roads that pass through, so you often see local cars and supply trucks passing by while you are photographing wildlife. Motorcycles, usually cheap versions from China, are permitted on the main roads.

Since they are often seen speeding along the rough gravel roads, the guides call them "Chinese Cheetahs".

Canon 1DX Mark II, EF100-400mm f4-5.6 II lens at 400mm, exposure of 1/250 sec at f7.1, ISO 500, handheld.