Brown bear walks along the beach of Naknek lake at dawn in Katmai National Park, southwest, Alaska. Canon 1Ds Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L IS, (35mm), 1/25 sec @ f/10, ISO 400
I’ve been digging through some files from that latter part of 2011, doing some clean up work and getting folders in a completed state. Occasionally I will shoot a series of images which are to be stitched into a larger file in post production. I do this for panoramas, and sometimes to increase the overall resolution due to focal length and/or scene restrictions. This is one of those made from four images. I was set up along the beach in Katmai National Park and knew that the bears make this morning journey. I missed a few chances for simply not being ready, but this time, I had set my focal length to 35mm, anticipating the basic composition of the bear. After I shot the series of the bear walking along, I kept the camera on the tripod and shot three images in a vertical direction, which includes the tree and sky. This affords a nice, high resolution file very suitable large publication.
Cinnamon Bay Beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands
Cinnamon beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Canon 5D Mark II, 16-35mm f/2.8L, 1/50 sec @ f/14, ISO 200, polarizer
Given the current temperature in Fairbanks, Alaska this morning, which weighs in at -40 below zero, this scene is about as far away from my current view as possible. My week on the Island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands was filled with views of aqua blue water, and temperatures between 75-85 degrees. That is 125 degrees different that today. Alaska, its a land of extremes, and that’s one of my favorite things about living here.
It may look like this picture has been heavily saturated, but in fact, I added zero saturation in lightroom, just a little vibrance and contrast. It really does look like that along that stretch of beach.
My dreams of the expansive and crystal clear views under the Caribbean were not fully realized on this trip due to some stormy waters and the resulting turbidity. However, I spent some time snorkeling in the 80+ degree water, which yielded awesome sights of underworld creatures like, octopus, coral, squid, sharks, brilliantly colored fish and and a colorful sea floor.
I took this shot with my EWA Marine housing, having left my larger Ikelite housing at home in order to travel light. The great barracudas would hang out just off the reef, keeping fairly stationary in the water, and somewhat easy to approach. Basically, there is no way around it, underwater photography is challenging. I’ll be going back there some day to focus more on underwater views. In the wake are some great times in this aqua blue, marvelous island landscape.
Great barracuda, St John, Virgin Islands. Canon 5D Mark II, 16-35mm f/2.8L (35mm), EWA Marine housing. 1/500 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 400
Cinnamon beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Canon 5D Mark II, 16-35mm f/2.8L, 1/80 sec @ f/13, ISO 200, polarizing filter.
When I left Fairbanks for a little tropical reprieve in the US Virgin Islands, it was minus 35 degrees below zero. What a contrast to this Caribbean scene! My journey, although short, was partly a vacation although a photographer is never really free from the addiction of picture-taking. Significant rain and clouds in the first few days kept my DSLR in the pack, and I shot mainly with my Iphone. However, when I saw these clouds forming, I ran for the camera. Although the polarizer filter was helpful for the water, I rarely like it’s influence on the sky, specially with the 16mm lens. It is never a uniform representation and tends to vignette to the opposite side of the sun’s direction.
This picture was taken along a popular beach in a National Park which covers a good chunk of the Island of St. John. And that is a good thing or the whole island would be covered with houses, much like it’s neighboring Island of St. Thomas.
I’m back in snowy Fairbanks now, with the temperatures to drop well below zero again. It sort of feels like a dream looking at this picture… meanwhile, I’m getting ready for a cross country ski.
I’m on vacation in the Virgin Islands. Yup, a rough life. Fairbanks was minus -30 degrees when I left, and even though I really like winter, the white sand and aqua water will be a fantastic break. A few photos in the making but nothing too serious. While I’m gone, I scheduled this post of a recent publication, and since it is a calendar, I thought it was a fitting picture to wish everyone a new year worthy of their expectations. May your 2012 be a rewarding year.
Panorama stitch I made from photos taken in Denali in August of 2011
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