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With each successive year, I become increasingly more fascinated, intrigued and concerned about the the arctic itself and the inhabitants that live in that beautiful but austere landscape. I was proud to participate in a book project over the past few years that sought to help bring public awareness to some sensitive areas in the National Petroleum Reserve, and advocate for their protection (On Arctic Ground: Tracking Time Through Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve). Alaska is a big place, and the Arctic region is close to 1/3 of the State. I’ve had a gallery of my work from the Arctic on my website for a long time, but with 20,000+ images, many can get lost in the masses. I thought I’d highlight that gallery here for a little emphasis.

Arctic Photos

Gallery featuring some of my photography in Alaska’s arctic.

Come to me aurora … it never obeyed … but if it did!

Patiently waiting for the elusive aurora borealis. Canon 5D Mark III, Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8, 13 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 800.

Purse seiner fishing vessels return to Sitka, Alaska after an afternoon Herring fishery opener. Canon 5D Mark III, 100-400mm f/5.6L IS, (135mm) 1/400 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 800.

Each year, schools of Pacific Herring arrive in Sitka in late March to early April to spawn in the nearby waters. I spent a few days there recently but the weather and fish conditions never timed themselves in my favor. The photo shows conditions not favorable for aerial photography, which was my hope. One singular issue that every nature photographer must reconcile themselves with is the weather. Sometimes it is more easy to do than others, but in the end, a well-honed practice of “redeeming the time” is critical. Sometimes you score well, sometimes you don’t. And when you don’t, you have to learn to take it in stride. I did enjoy some great runs in the forest trails around town. Sitka is a beautiful place.

  • Sitka Package Tours - Very awesome photos! I love to visit Sitka by ship.August 9, 2013 – 1:51 amReplyCancel

  • Jane - Hi Patrick,
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Sitka to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!
    JaneMay 9, 2013 – 2:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Sue - ah, the cold and freezing of a nice day on the water in Southeast (I actually miss those). On one of many such days on a SE ferry ride we had an interpreter repeatedly comment in his slurred speech “Shitka is such a lovely shitty by the she” and it truly is! Nice soft forest floor to run – finding your gratitude for the little things is always a gift! loving your posts Patrick!April 3, 2013 – 11:27 amReplyCancel

Aurora over the Brooks Range mountains. Canon 5D Mark III, Rokinon 24mm f/1.4, 3.2 sec @ f/1.4, ISO 1250.

While the clouds and snow were abundant during a recent photo tour I was guiding in Alaska’s arctic, the skies opened up and poured out the green cascading curtains of the northern lights along with chilly air that dipped to -34 below at the coldest hour of the night. The aurora show went on for multiple hours with many great shimmering displays. I used the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 to capture this image, and the short shutter speed of 3.2 seconds allowed for some definition in the many shapes that were undulating and changing quickly.

Snowshoe hare on the snow in willow thickets. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L II IS, 1/800 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400, hand held.

I’ve just returned from another successful aurora photo tour into Alaska’s arctic, but to give a little break from aurora pictures, which I’ve been posting a lot of lately, here is a little creature of the boreal forest that takes shelter from its predators in the shrubby willow thickets. The snowshoe hare turns white in winter, and uses this cryptic pelage to camouflage itself among the snow. During the day they rest in the thickets, which makes getting a clear shot at them difficult. This was one of the rare frames free of brush clutter. During the tour we had a lot of snow and cloudy weather, but fortunately some aurora also. Thanks to Alaska in general, there is always something interesting to photograph across its great landscape.