Cordova, Alaska with Diana McPherson

About this trip

Discover the natural wonders and photogenic beauty of the “Last Frontier” – Alaska! Perhaps no place fills the senses more than Cordova, Alaska’s hidden treasure. Cordova is a small, coastal town surrounded by glacier-carved mountains and nestled at the head of Orca Inlet in Eastern Prince William Sound. The area provides endless photographic opportunities with its wildlife, rich wetlands, lush forests, and countless waterways. Explore the natural grandeur not only with wildlife photography, but also hiking, kayaking, boating, and flightseeing. Each day you’ll enjoy hearty meals – home-cooked with local ingredients and plenty of fresh seafood – and stay in a cozy ecolodge.

Highlights

~Seek out wildlife along the Copper River Delta as you take a canoe ride down the Alaganik Slough.
~Fly to explore Egg Island, a barrier island hosting a variety of bird species.
~Take a boat trip to the panoramic Orca Inlet to see the world’s largest population of sea otters.
~Hike through three complete ecosystems on the Heney Ridge Trail, where birds and wildlife can be spotted.
~Kayak the tranquil waters of Orca Inlet, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and home to eagles, sea otters, and seals.
~Participate in a discussion on global warming before heading to the Sheridan Glacier for an ice trekking excursion.

Alaska’s Bubble-Net Feeding Humpback Whales with Dan Evans

Want to photograph one of nature’s greatest events? Bubble-Net Feeding Humpback will be our principal muse during this concentrated 3-day workshop. This is the absolute best time and Sitka Alaska is the world-renowned place to capture frame worthy images of this remarkable behavior.
Imagine the beautiful compositions you will create when up to 20 whales explode through the water with their mouths agape, throat grooves bulging with herring and seawater flushing through their baleen plates. Then, hundreds of Gulls and Bald Eagles come in, screaming and picking off the scraps, seemingly right out of the whales open mouths. There will be plenty of opportunities as this behavior is on display as often as 150+ times per day during these dates.
It’s with good reasoning, the BBC chose to film the bubble-net feeding content for the Netflix program, “Our Planet” Episode 4 here in Sitka. While they filmed in 2018, 52 humpback whales were identified in a 2 square mile area feasting on the bounty of calorie-rich herring as they returned to these pristine feeding grounds. During this immersive workshop, we will spend 24 hours on the waters of Sitka Sound. You will see why Conde Nast Travel magazine named Sitka, “the most beautiful town in Alaska.”
We limit attendance to a maximum of 6 photographers so we can give our guests personalized attention and every opportunity to be in the exact position you want to be in when the action is happening.

FREQUENTLY SEEN
Humpback whales / Bald Eagles / Sea Otters / Harbor Seals / Harbor Porpoise / Stellar sea lions / Pelagic and Double Crested Cormorants / Common Murres / Buffleheads / Long Tailed Ducks / Surf Scoters / Harlequin Ducks / Greater Scaups / Common Mergansers / Common Loons / Black Oyster Catchers/ Pigeon Guillemots / Marbled Murrelets / Glaucous-winged, Mew, and Herring Gulls / Rhinoceros Auklets

OCCASIONALLY SEEN
Transient Orcas / Minke Whales / Gray Whales / Coastal Brown Bears / Sitka Black-tailed Deer / Pacific Octopus / Tufted Puffin / Common Golden Eyes / Barrow’s Golden Eyes / Pacific Loons / Mink / Martens / River Otters / Belted Kingfisher / Great Blue Herons / Harbor porpoise / California sea lion

HIGHLIGHTS
❖ Witness one of nature’s greatest events as humpback whales feast on the bounty of Herring alongside hundreds of Sealions, Bald Eagles and Gulls. They will gorge on the bounty of herring, along with hundreds of sea lions, bald eagles, and gulls.

❖ Our photography professionals are also accomplished naturalists, so they can explain the wildlife behaviors as you witness them and give you in the moment tips to help you capture your best photos. Our team has an excess of 80 years of Alaskan residency.

❖ Ride in comfort aboard our very stable and heated 43’ custom built catamaran that features 360-degree viewing, complete walk around deck and spacious restroom. Our research quality hydrophone allows you enjoy the sometimes-funny whale communication and alert us as to when the whales will be lunging out of the water so you can have your cameras at the ready.

❖ Sitka lies along the coastal edge of Baranof Island in the Tongass National Forest in with its myriad of forested Islands and rugged coastline, is what whale biologists call the humpback whales’ “first service station,” as they return ravenous from their mating and calving time in Hawaii.

❖ This is truly a photographer’s paradise! No other town in the 49th state has Sitka’s charisma.

❖ Feel good knowing you are joining a globally recognized true eco-tour company. We are one of only 5 companies worldwide that are certified by the World Cetacean Alliance as a responsible whale watching company.

Enjoy a 10% Lodging discount at select exclusive Sitka properties

CONSERVATION: Sockeye Salmon Spawning

Story and Photographs by Andrew Snyder

 

Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) making the jump up a small falls en route to spawning – Katmai, Alaska. © Andrew Snyder

 

Andrew Snyder is a new NANPA board member, a professional biologist and photographer, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Mississippi.  He recently posted a piece on maptia.com, a website devoted to stories and photography of the natural world, about the annual spawning of sockeye salmon, which return to freshwater rivers from the Pacific Ocean each year to lay their eggs.

When sockeye salmon are born, they spend between one and two years in freshwater lakes or streams.  Then, they migrate to the ocean and spend two or three years there.  Once they’re ready to spawn, they head back to the river where they were born. Continue reading

Winner’s Profile- Mark Kelley

 

 

In springtime, before the salmon start running up the creeks, many bald eagles hang out on the icebergs in Tracy Arm looking for food. © Mark Kelley

 

How many of your images will win? The 2018 NANPA Showcase competition is accepting entries until October 1, 2017 at 11:00 p.m. EDT. The annual competition is a wonderful opportunity for you to submit your best photography and have it evaluated by three notable professional nature photographers- George Lepp, Roy Toft and Darrel Gulin .  You may even have your image published in our annual Expressions publication which features the top 250 images from those entered.  For more details about the 2018 NANPA Showcase competition, check out the website.

Over 3,300 images were submitted last year. One of the key NANPA Showcase 2017 winners is Mark Kelley, a photographer based in Juneau, Alaska.  Mark had nine images featured in the 2017 Expressions, including Best in Show for “Eagle Hell,” Judge’s Choice for “Hiker Inside Glacier Ice Cave,” and First Runner-Up for “Drizzly Bear.”  All of these images were made in Alaska and reflect the photographer’s passion for this beautiful state.

“Eagle Hell” Best of Show winner in the birds category for the 2017 NANPA Showcase Competition. A smudged up bald eagle use a discarded stool as a perch in the Adak dump where it scavenges on caribou hides and carcasses left by hunters. (See hide in lower left corner) © Mark Kelley

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