Sunday, June 29, 2008

Alaska – Day 46 Yukon Territory

We’re currently sitting on the side of the road in Haines Junction, Yukon and very happy to see that we have WiFi so a little catching up ...

We left Homer Friday June 27th headed to Tok Alaska. We spent the night in Glacier View Park (Matanuska Glacier) before heading into Tok last night. We decided to get an early start on the drive this morning and left Tok at the ungodly hour of 530 a.m. There were two reasons for the early start; first there’s an hour change as soon as we reenter Canada which was about 2 hrs away, and second we didn’t know just how long a wait we’d have at the Canada border. Turns out we actually had no wait at all at the border and got into a nice conversation with the customs official there.

We hadn’t driven but an hour before Sandy spotted our moose feeding inside a small lake. We stopped and set the 1Ds III with the 400 DO lens and 2x converter on top of a tripod and started snapping. The distance was well over 200 yards however the moose appears to have been sharp (at least on our small laptop).

Speaking of moose – we were just turning into a gas station in Seldovia AK (just north of Homer) when we spotted this moose on a side road just happy as could be eating some sweet grass or other such stuff. Seeing as how we really haven’t seen too many moose on our trip we just had to stop and see what we could do. Don really is all that close to the moose the angle that Sandy took it just makes it look that way.

Edit Note: We're in Dawson Creek BC (Wed July 2nd) where we have great internet - took us a couple days to get the images loaded.

Sandy & Don

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Alaska – Day 43 Final return to Anchor Point

It is now Thursday, June 26th and it’s our last full day in Homer; we leave tomorrow morning headed back to Tok then onto the Alaskan Highway for the return trip home. We’ve been in Homer for 10 days; longer than anywhere else this trip. We’ve met some very nice people who have helped us get some fantastic images. We want to once again thank Hallo Bay for their excellent service to Katmai National Park and getting us close to the bears and a very special thank you to Millie Jeakins who told us about the gathering of eagles in Anchor Point. Millie is starting out as a photographer and has done some fantastic work herself – THANK YOU VERY MUCH Millie!!

We decided to return once again today to Anchor Point to see and photograph the eagles.

As we said before, this is our last full day in Homer. We’re headed home to Tucson but the ride isn’t over yet as we have a trip planed to the National Bison Refuge in Montana. While we’re not sure when the next update will be, it will happen so please stay tuned.

We’ve shown you samples of the work we’ve done in Alaska – they may look okay but they aren’t the pick of the litter. Once we get home and back in the studio the real work begins. Once we have the “keepers” sorted and placed on our regular website they will be for sale. We are still thinking about a DVD slideshow but want feedback on that before we decide to do it. Thank you for all you comments both public and private.

Just a little landscape

Enjoy the samples.
Sandy & Don

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alaska – Day 42 Return to Anchor Point

We had such luck in Anchor Point earlier this week that we decided to return there this morning. The last time we were there the tide was out allowing us to walk along the beach for several yards before nearing the surf line; this morning the tide was in covering much of the beach. We also noticed a difference in the amount of eagles in the area as there were less today with the tide up. Even though there were fewer eagles than the other day we nevertheless were able to capture quite a few good images. We only used one camera today that being the Canon 1Ds III along with the 400 DO lens; we also decided to shoot slightly different using the different extenders or no extender at all; the focal length for the images range from 800, 560 and 400mm. We started out with an ISO of 200 and by the end of the shoot had moved to 250.

Returned to Homer feeling hungry so we decided to stop at Frosty Bear on Pioneer Ave where we met the new owner Aaron. Aaron opened Frosty Bear about a month ago and serves great hamburgers and ice cream among other goodies. If you want something simple, fast, and, good in a 50’s atmosphere stop by.

Enjoy the samples.

Sandy & Don

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Alaska – Day 40 Homer

We decided to take it easy today after running around in the bush yesterday. After looking at the images we took and loading our update this morning we decided to just take a drive in and around Homer. Of course the only camera we decided to take was the little G9. Because we found something we needed the larger camera and lens for; an eagle’s nest with an eagle sitting in it. There it was just off the road near the airport. The interesting thing was we had passed this spot several times before without ever noticing anything.

We decided to return to the nest armed with the 1Ds III and 400 DO with a 2x extender. The first image shows the original untouched; while the second is a crop of the nest and eagle. As near as we can tell we were shooting approximately 200 plus yards away.

Sandy & Don

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Alaska – Day 39 Hallo Bay

When we first began thinking/planning our trip to Alaska we hadn’t included going to Homer, we also hadn’t given any thought about going to Katmai National Park. All this changed last year after a very good friend of our came back after spending a couple days with Hallo Bay and told us how great the staff was and how great the bear viewing was as well. So to make a long story short we added Homer to our itinerary and Hallo Bay on our must do list. We had a decision to make, do we spend a couple days or take a ½ day trip; we decided on the ½ day trip only because we knew that we’d be in Homer during the later period of our trip (as it turns out today is Day 39). If you only have a short period of time to spend in Alaska and you’d like to see bears (and other critters) up close in the wild (all the while totally safe) environment then by all mean contact Clint and Simyra, owners Hallo Bay.

We left Homer a little after 7 a.m. in an aircraft operated by Smokey Bay Air and landed Swik Shak beach in Katmai National Park about an hour’s flight time from Hallo Bay. David, our guide from Hallo Bay took us to an area where several bears had been spotted feeding on a whale carcass the past couple days. Sure enough we land and find an adult female with two cubs (approximately 2 ½ years old) busy feeding. This was a real treat for the bears as they would have normally been feeding on nothing more than grass and the occasional clam however the whale was providing much needed nourishment from their winter hibernation. We stayed in the general area viewing the bears for the better part of three hours before returning to Homer. We were very please with the level of security we had while on the beach and our pilot Gary was top gun.

We’re so pleased with our experience from today that we’ve decided several things; we are beginning to plan or return trip to Alaska and we will certainly head straight for Homer, and we’ll be going with Hallo Bay again but the next time will be at their bear camp for several days.

We shot from as close as 25 feet to 50 yards and beyond today; Sandy used her Canon 1Ds III with the 300 f/2.8 and 2x extender while Don used his 1Ds II with a 400 DO and 2x extender. Both systems performed flawlessly.

Enjoy the samples – the really good stuff will be posted on our web site after we return home.

Please note that while the images we post are what we consider samples they are nevertheless are copyrighted by us, Iron Creek Photography and can not be reproduced in any fashion without our consent. You’ll see that we have had to add a small copy right statement on each image in order to better protect our work.

Sandy & Don

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Alaska – Day 38 Anchor Point – Alaska State Park

We couldn’t start this update with expressing our thanks to Millie Jeakins of Timeless Titles who we met yesterday at Coal Point Trading Company. After speaking with us for a short time Millie first invited us to her backyard then also offered us another place to visit to see and photography eagles; so a very big thank-you Millie for telling us of Anchor Point.

As you might gather, we spent the majority of the day at the State Park in Anchor Point watching moose (it didn’t stay around for very long) and eagles – lots of eagles. We recommend Anchor Point as a place to watch eagles.

Tomorrow we go to bear camp at Hallo Bay!

Sandy & Don

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Alaska – Day 37 Homer Spit

We spent the better part of today exploring the Spit; doing a little window shopping, fishing and eagle watching. We revisited the Seafarer’s Memorial and saw the bell that is rung each time afisherman is lost at sea.

We visited Coal Point Trading Company and did a little “fishing” while we didn’t catch anything we decided that we’ll return next week before we leave and try again.

Just as we were leaving the Spit we spotted a lone Bald Eagle just sitting there watching the world go by and had to stop and keep him company for awhile…

Learned a couple interesting factoids this morning: It’s about 15 to 20 degrees cooler than normal for this time of year, and did you know that all polar bears are left handed?

A must go to place to visit in Homer!

That’s about it from Homer – more to follow….

Sandy & Don

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