Aurora and spruce trees, Denali National Park, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, Nikor 14-24mm f/2.8, 25 sec., @ f/2.8, ISO 1000
It is that time of year in interior Alaska when the skies begin to darken once again, and those brilliant stars appear in the late night sky. They are a welcomed sight for me, and on my last trip into Denali Park, I woke at 2am to go to the bathroom and looked up into an aurora borealis display in the night sky. I was not really mentally prepared, nor was my gear all set for this, but I could not resist. So, it took me a while to throw everything together and get set up, in particular because I was using a new lens which requires live-view focus, and that in turn requires placing a loupe on the back of the LCD screen to check sharpness. That need for the loupe is a special thanks to fading eyesight at close range.
I used the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 with a mount for a Canon camera. I’ve been considering this lens as an alternative for a while, as many of my colleagues have proved it’s excellent quality. There is some functionality loss on a Canon, namely the auto focus does not work, and the f/stop does not reveal in the display. But, is it a fantastic lens, and this is my first shot with it. I look forward to this year’s aurora shows and hope to capture many more images with it.
Para gliding in Hatcher Pass, southcentral, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 16-35mm f/2.8L, (23mm), 1/800 @ f/6.3, ISO 200
While driving through Hatcher Pass on a late July evening, a group of para gliders were having fun riding the wind currents at this mountainous area. It looked like a lot of fun!
Matanuska glaicer, southcentral Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 16-35mm f/2.8L, 1/30 sec @ f. 16, ISO 100
The Matanuska Glacier is located on the North side of the Chugach mountains, along the Glenn Highway in southcentral, Alaska. It is one of the few road accessible glaciers in the state, and is beautifully situated against a dramatic mountain back drop. During my July visit, the eskimo potato blossoms were profuse and the pink adds a cheerful feel to the landscape.
Coastal brown bear in a meadow of lupine wildflowers, Katmai National Park, Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS, w/1.4x, 1/400 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 640
This is a cropped version of a photo I took on coastal Katmai last month. Even at 700mm, I could have been closer, but thanks to the great quality of the 500mm lens and the file of the 5D Mark III, I am able to crop in and still have substantial file size for reproduction. I’ve been working on my 2014 calendars and have tagged this image as a possible cover shot for my 2015 calendar. I was hoping for more images like this, but the bears were so busy eating that they rarely looked up, let alone, in a profile or direct view with eye contact. The purple, brown, and green is a really nice color combination, and makes a very pleasing palette.
Coastal brown bear rolls in a grassy meadow with its feet sticking in the air. Katmai National Park, Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS w/ 1.4x, 1/320 @ f/5.6, ISO 400.
An open grassy meadow, with white daisies dotting the perimeter serves as a good spot for this brown bear to scratch its back by rolling around on the surface. I liked the display of both the pads of the bear’s feet, and its long, distinctive claws. Those claws can do some serious dirt removal, in addition to very dexterous tasks like extracting the brains from salmon.
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