Alaska Inside Passage with Juan Pons

Introduction
Alaska is one of the last truly wild places in North America, and aptly considered our modern day “last frontier.” Wildlife and landscapes here are like no place else. Come and spend 8 days (7 nights) on an amazing Alaskan Wildlife and Landscape photographic adventure.

I have scheduled this workshop to coincide with the herring spawning season which is one of the largest spring herring spawning occurrences on the west coast of North America. The huge biomass attracts many species of wildlife comprising a spectacle of many thousands of animals which come to feast on the vulnerable rich fish.

The widely distributed Pacific Herring biomass is an essential resource for the existence of almost all marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. The herrings annual spring spawning event is a celebration of this absolutely essential component of Southeast Alaska’s natural environment. Eagles gather by the thousands lining the tress along the shoreline with their majestic white heads. The eagles’ keen eyesight and winter long hunger helps create a more than formidable aerial presence with their continual elegant dives catching herring by the talon full. Seals and Steller sea lions rush through the tremendous schools of herring that ribbon the shallow waters along the shoreline. Humpback whales demonstrate a variety of forage techniques to capture the extremely elusive schools of herring. It is even not uncommon for us to observe the whales fascinating cooperative ‘bubble-net’ feeding behavior up close. And of course, what marine wildlife party in SE Alaska would be complete without an appearance of the oceans top predator the killer whale. The orca’s nomadic travels most definitely include a ‘shopping trip’ to the buffet presented by the herring’s arrival to spawn along beautiful isolated beaches.

During this workshop we will be traveling aboard a privately chartered 84-foot world-class expedition yacht. This luxuriously appointed yacht was designed and constructed from steel with the same rugged integrity of vessels built for Alaska’s renowned commercial fisheries. It offers an ideal balance of public and personal space with ample outdoor areas for play and lounging.

We will have an onboard chef that will be preparing specifically for us the locally caught salmon, crab, halibut, shrimp, caviar and black cod purchased from Southeast Alaska fishermen. Dinner will be served alongside a selection of boutique wines or specialty beers from Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau.

What sets my photo workshops apart
I believe that in order to truly enjoy your time and get the most out of a photography tour and/or workshop you need to have small groups, and a very high ratio of instructors to participants.

This is a very unique workshop and as with most of my workshops, the group will be very small, limited to 7 participants to ensure everyones comfort and ensure that everyone gets the attention they need making once in a lifetime images.

What you will learn
You will be accompanied by Juan, and Captain Dennis. Juan is an accomplished professional photographer, and photographic educator who has a deep passion for the outdoors, he has been visiting this area of Alaska for over 6 years. Dennis is the captain and owner of our amazing boat. He lives in this part of Alaska and has spent a lifetime in Alaska first as a commercial fisherman and now the owner of an expedition yacht.

We believe that the best way to teach is by demonstrating, and to this end, we will be shooting alongside you, demonstrating our vision, technique and sharing our love and knowledge of wildlife and the landscape. However, our priority is always YOU, and helping you get the best images YOU can get.

The biggest advantage of having small groups is the flexibility they provide for customizing and adjusting both the schedule and agenda to suit the interests of the group while being able to maintain the flexibility required by variable weather. This allows us to cover only those topics that you are all interested in, including:

• How to create asthetically pleasing wildlife and landscape photographs
• Storytelling thru natural history photography
• Best use of equipment
• Panoramic and High Dynamic Range Photography
• Digital Workflow
• Adobe Lightroom basics
• Image presentations and critiques

What to expect
My workshops are pretty intense, and as such you should not expect this to be a leisurely vacation. My goal is to capture the best images we can during our time on the yacht.

Within 2 working days of registering for the workshop you will receive a confirmation email with a request for your deposit. Once I receive your deposit, I will email you a registration confirmation as well as the details you will need to book your airfare. I will then be emailing you periodically with any pertinent information about the workshop, including checklists for clothing and gear to bring.

About 2 to 3 months prior to the workshop, you will then start hearing from me on a more regular basis. At that point I will provide you with detailed rendezvous and contact information and go over more details of the workshop and get you excited and thinking about the images you want to capture during the workshop. At this time you will also receive from me a list of recommended clothing, equipment and even discounts for equipment you may want to acquire for this once on a lifetime trip.

I always available to answer any questions you may have leading up to the workshop, simple call or email me.

About our Yacht
The Northern Song is an 84-foot steel expedition yacht which was designed and constructed with the same rugged integrity as Alaska’s renowned commercial fishery vessels. Safe, functional and comfortable, it offers an ideal balance of public and personal space with ample outdoor areas for play and lounging.

The Northern Song features three beautiful guest staterooms each feature en suite private bathroom and shower, and an additional spacious Master Suite with a queen sized and an en suite private bathroom and shower.

Our yacht features an expansive indoor common areas that are ideal for dining and relaxing. In addition, several covered and open decks provide a perfect platform for wildlife watching and photography.

For more detailed information and pictured of the Northern Song please go here.

What is Included
• Privately chartered Yacht
• Lodging during the workshop
• All meals and snack during the workshop
• Beverages, including beer and wine during the workshop
• All permits, fees & gratuities
• Instruction
• Inspiration
• Camaraderie
• A great time

Alaska Brown Bears with Daniel J. Cox

Daniel has photographed grizzlies in the wilds of Alaska for well over a decade. His guidance and experience assist in giving guests the opportunity to take their own amazing images. We invite you to join us in this exceptional bear-viewing location where no viewing platforms are used. Peaceful encounters with these magnificent giants of the north—there is nothing more exhilarating than photographing these bears! Beware: this trip can be addictive!

Whales, Bears and the Best of Southeast Alaska with Wendy Shattil

The calm waters of southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage teem with captivating wildlife and breathtaking scenery. At this time of year humpback whales congregate in large numbers and may indulge in impressive bubble-net feeding, breaching, tail lobbing and other dramatic behaviors. We’ll travel from Sitka to Juneau, Alaska, aboard the historic wooden boat, the M/V Westward, exploring the land and waters for whales, bears and other wildlife as well as landscapes ancient glaciers with giant icebergs calving off its face. We’ll search for brown bears catching salmon, walk through lush and serene rainforests, explore the diversity of creatures in tide pools and skiff or kayak through the gentle waters, drifting quietly past hanging gardens and waterfalls.

Benefit from Wendy Shattil’s 30+ years of field experience as a professional wildlife and conservation photographer. The remote wilderness we’ll see from our comfortable wandering home evokes a tranquility of the soul. Expect to be stimulated by the quiet solitude and reminded of our place in nature. We’ll do our best to capture these feelings and experiences with our eyes and our cameras and learn the power of our own storytelling through compelling imagery.
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Whatever your skill level, you will learn tips, techniques and strategies to create memorable images. In the comfort of the Westward’s salon we’ll project our images and review the day’s experiences in a friendly group setting. Rather than snapping pictures and hurrying to find the next encounter, we’ll take time to savor each moment. Every scene is constantly changing, each animal is an individual and every behavior has a purpose.

Nome Alaska Birds and Wildlife with Ken Archer

Join professional photographer Ken Archer to photograph the breeding birds of Nome, Alaska and the Seward Peninsula. The dates of this workshop are planned to take full advantage of the unique variety of bird life that migrate, live and nest and in the area during this beautiful time of year. We should find the arctic tundra blooming with a variety of wildflowers making for the high possibility for colorful and unique compositions. The main focus of this trip will be the incredible bird life, including a wide variety of shorebirds, passerines, raptors, jaegers and waterfowl. Rarities we will be especially looking for include the Bluethroat, Yellow Wagtail, Northern Wheatear, Bristled-thighed Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Aleutian Tern among others. A good variety of mammals also live here. There is a good probability we will see and photograph Musk Oxen, Red Fx, Moose, Reindeer and Arctic Ground Squirrels. Wolves, Lynx and Grizzly Bears also live here but are less visible. And the arctic landscape is irresistible to photograph, especially early and late in the day.

Glacier Bay Alaska with Wendy Shattil

Glacier Bay – Unlike the cruise ships, we spend days rather than hours exploring what John Muir called “the grandest place on earth”. No other location has the diversity of wildlife and dramatic scenery so easily seen from our decks and from land. Spring brings black and brown bears out of hibernation; whales return to Alaskan waters, migrating birds begin to nest, moose and wolves may be seen in the valleys, and of course we’ll see the glaciers themselves, up close and personal. Walk among beached blue icebergs of countless shapes and textures. Glaciers are great subjects where patience is often rewarded with dramatic calving events – the ice cracks and house-sized chunks crash into the ocean. Icebergs beached at low tide invite photos only limited by your imagination. Birds and mammals we encounter in the unspoiled wilderness are likely to be seen by us alone.

Benefit from Wendy Shattil’s 30+ years of field experience as a professional wildlife and conservation photographer. The remote wilderness we’ll explore from our comfortable wandering home evokes a quiet solitude and reminds us of our place in nature.

Whatever the skill level, you’ll learn tips, techniques and strategies to create memorable images. In the comfort of Westward’s salon we’ll project our images and review the day’s experiences in a friendly group setting. Sea kayaks and a zodiac add to the opportunities for up close and personal encounters with nature. Rather than snapping pictures and hurrying to find the next encounter, we’ll take time to savor each moment. Every scene is constantly changing, each animal is an individual and every behavior has a purpose.

Built in 1924 and thoughtfully restored to comfortably accommodate eight passengers in four staterooms with private bathrooms, the historic wooden boat, Westward, features a wood paneled salon, mahogany trim and multiple viewing areas. Meals and snacks are sumptuous and delicious, prepared with fresh, natural ingredients, many locally sourced.

Captain Bill Bailey and his crew of gourmet chef, Tracie Triolo and an accomplished naturalist, genuinely care about the quality of their guests’ experience on this unique small ship cruise.

Alaska Spring Whales & Eagles with Dennis Rogers

Join us in Southeast Alaska aboard our 84-foot luxury Northern Song during one of the most exciting seasonal wildlife re awakenings of the year: the Sitka Spring Herring Spawn and Humpback Whale Homecoming. Unguided, this small group 9-day / 8-night all-inclusive cruise celebrates the first humpback whale bubble-net lunging and bald eagles. Gorgeous snowy backdrops form the perfect framework to quietly perfect your photographic creativity.

This unguided photography adventure for 8 maximum participants aboard our luxurious and spacious yacht will be captained by NANPA member, Captain Dennis Rogers. An Alaska resident for more than 45 years, Captain Dennis brings navigational expertise that allows his guests to capture those magical photographic moments born from patience and knowledge. The tour is based in Sitka, Alaska, and guests can expect to see humpback whales performing the first bubble net lunging of the year as well as the magical herring spawn and soaring and diving bald eagles by the thousands.

Our safe, comfortable and functional Northern Song features four beautiful guest staterooms, an expansive indoor common area, gourmet meals prepared in a fully equipped kitchen with on board professional chef, and several covered and open spacious decks providing the perfect platform for wildlife photography.

When booking, mention this listing on NANPA’s web site and enjoy a $300 discount on the trip.

Feeding Humpbacks and Sitka with Neil McDermott

Want to photograph one of nature’s greatest events? Then, this workshop is for you! This is the absolute best time and Sitka is the unrivaled place to capture frame worthy images of this remarkable display. This group feeding behavior is on display as often as 150+ times per day during these dates. Envision the stunning images we will help you capture 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.
It’s with good reasoning, the BBC chose to film in Sitka for the bubble-net feeding content for the Netflix program, “Our Planet” Episode 4. 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 over 28 hours on the waters of Sitka Sound and over 20 hours visiting tidepools, muskegs, beaches and historic sites around Sitka. 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.

Wildlife 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

Species Sometimes 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 leaders 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 60 years of Alaskan residency.
❖ Sitka lies along the coastal edge of Baranof Island in the Tongass National Forest in spectacular Southeast Alaska. Witness both the wildlife and town, home to a mere 8,900 year-round residents, spring to life. Our remote community, 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. As we journey through historic Sitka, you will appreciate how three cultures—Tlingit, Russian, and American—were woven together. During your land portion of the expedition, we will visit the Starrigavan Estuary, The Sitka National Historical Park, the sacred Russian Cemetery, and explore the Tongass temperate rainforest. We will also find excellent opportunities to capture beautiful shots of classic and historical boats in the harbors of this fishing community.
❖ Ride in comfort aboard our very stable and heated 43’ 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.
❖ 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.
ITINERARY
We will do everything in our power to find, view, and capture the images that are of interest to our guests and stay on itinerary. Circumstances including, but not limited to, species location, weather, and sea conditions may necessitate alteration of an itinerary. Plenty of time will be allocated for image editing and image review.

Day 1 – Your adventure begins! (D)
Please arrange arrival into Sitka prior to noon on day one. Our van driver will meet you at Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport and transport you to the Longliner Lodge and Suites where you can get settled into your accommodations. You will attend our 3:30 PM workshop / meet and greet at the Longliner float house located down the ramp on the beautiful Sitka harbor. Upon conclusion of the workshop we will board our custom Sitka built catamaran, MV Cat Daddy for a short ride to the Mean Queen for a welcome dinner. The Mean Queen has excellent lunch and dinner options (including gluten free). After Dinner we will board Cat Daddy once again for a scenic cruise of the bays and islands around Sitka returning to the Longliner about 7:30 PM.

Day 2 through 6
These will be full days! We will keep our schedule flexible so we can take advantage of the best conditions the weather and the seas present us. Below is a typical itinerary for days 2-6.

Day 2 (B,L)
We will meet at Longliner float house at 6:00am ready for the morning photo session aboard, “Cat Daddy” and start our journey to photograph humpback whales bubble-net feeding. We will be on the water until approximately 2:30. Your lunch selection as well snack bars, pastries, hot beverages, and water are available onboard. After a brief respite we will convene in the parking lot and travel to one of Sitka’s scenic harbors photographing classic and historic fishing vessels. You will be on your own for dinner from 4:30 until 6:00 pm. At 6:00 pm we will meet in the parking lot of the lodge and make our way to Eliason or Thompson Harbors to capture images of these colorful and busy fishing harbors all the way through sunset.

Day 3 (B,L)
Like the morning itinerary above with new locations and new techniques. Meet at the float house at 6:00 AM. We will again board our vessel and head out for more marine wildlife pictures. Like day 2, we will be on the vessel until approximately 2:30pm. We will have a review and critique of your images in the Float House from 3:00 until 4:30. You will be on your own dinner from 4:30 until 6:00 pm. At 6:00 we will meet in the parking lot of the lodge to board the van and head to Starrigavan for estuary and muskeg photography or Sandy Beach for the Alaskan sunset. We will head back to the lodge after sunset.

Day 4 (B,L)
Like the morning itinerary above with new locations and new techniques. Meet at the float house at 6:00 AM. We will again board our vessel and head out for more marine wildlife pictures. Again we will be on the vessel until approximately 2:30pm. We get a small break for a bit today to catch up on our rest, or perhaps image review and editing from 2:30 until 6:00 PM when we will head back out on the boat for some evening golden hour photography returning to the Longliner at 7:30. Again, dinner is on your own.

Day 5 (B,L)
At 6:00 AM we will meet in the parking lot and proceed to downtown Sitka to capture images of Pioneer Home, St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church, The Russian Cemetery, Crescent Harbor, and the many beautiful places in our historic town. We will also visit the O’Connell Bridge for high angle shots of the environs. We will stop at the Highliner café for breakfast items and pastries while in the downtown portion. We will then take a short drive to the Sitka National Historical Park. Locally known as Totem Park, where we will capture images amongst Sitka Spruce and along the shoreline punctuated with amazing totems. The park in its various forms has sought to commemorate the Tlingit and Russian experiences in Alaska and boasts 117 sacred rainforest acres and 18 totems. Our driver will return us to the lodge at 2:30 so you can prepare for our final photo review and critique in the Float House from 3:30 – 4:30. After Dinner we will meet in the parking lot to head to Swan Lake or Magic Island where great reflective shots and sunsets await.

Day 6 (B)
We will meet at the Longliner Lodge parking lot at 6:00 AM for our final morning session We will head to the trailheads of Indian River or Herring Cove trails, that feature outstanding macro, waterfall, muskeg, and landscape photo opportunities in a tranquil rainforest setting. We will return to the Longliner Lodge at 10:00 am. After we will say our goodbyes and head home (or photograph more on your own using new skills / concepts). Note; check out time is 11am. We are also happy to do another photo tour or image review after.

Please call or email me directly if you have any questions.

PAYMENT & CANCELLATION POLICY
● $4199 + 5% Sitka city sales tax. Balance due 30 days prior to trip start date

● $1000 deposit required to reserve your spot

● Single supplement room fee of $799, based on availability

● More than 30 days prior to trip start date, 50% refund (unless we can fill your spot)

● Less than 30 days prior to trip start date, no refunds (unless we can fill your spot)

MORE INFORMATION

Alaska Spring Whales & Eagles with Dennis Rogers

EVENT DESCRIPTION: Join us in Southeast Alaska aboard our 84-foot luxury Northern Song during one of the most exciting seasonal wildlife re awakenings of the year: the Sitka Spring Herring Spawn and Humpback Whale Homecoming. Unguided, this small group 9-day / 8-night all-inclusive cruise celebrates the first humpback whale bubble-net lunging and bald eagles. Gorgeous snowy backdrops form the perfect framework to quietly perfect your photographic creativity.

This unguided photography adventure for 8 maximum participants aboard our luxurious and spacious yacht will be captained by NANPA member, Captain Dennis Rogers. An Alaska resident for more than 45 years, Captain Dennis brings navigational expertise that allows his guests to capture those magical photographic moments born from patience and knowledge. The tour is based in Sitka, Alaska, and guests can expect to see humpback whales performing the first bubble net lunging of the year as well as the magical herring spawn and soaring and diving bald eagles by the thousands.

Our safe, comfortable and functional Northern Song features four beautiful guest staterooms, an expansive indoor common area, gourmet meals prepared in a fully equipped kitchen with on board professional chef, and several covered and open spacious decks providing the perfect platform for wildlife photography.

When booking, mention this listing on NANPA’s web site and enjoy a $300 discount on the trip.

Eagles of Homer, Alaska with Lewis Kemper

Every year thousands of eagles winter in and around Homer, Alaska. During this tour we are going to spend 4 days concentrating on photographing eagles in their nature habitat. The tour is limited to just 5 participants, so there is plenty of time for one to one help. There will be images of eagles flying, fishing, fighting and more. And all at close range, where lenses from 70-200 and 100-400 will be all you need. When on shore with the birds you can be as close as 4-8 feet away and a wide angle may be more appropriate.

We will be going out in a boat on five excursions with a wonderful guide/captain that I have known for years. We will have ample opportunity to work on our flight images. I will teach you how to photograph on manual and what settings you need to take razor sharp eagle images. I will be talking about shutter speeds, aperture, metering patterns, and ISO settings. Be prepared to take lots of pictures! Bring lots of memory cards as you will be taking between 2000-3000 images a day, downloading at night and doing it again the next day!

Beside just eagles, we will also have the chance of seeing, otters, seals, sea lions, other seabirds, and beautiful scenery. To take full advantage of being in one of the most scenic areas of the world, I have scheduled an extra day of sightseeing, where will go out in a van and tour the area surrounding Homer. We will visit Old Ninilchik Village and its very scenic Old Russian Church with great views of views of Mount Illiamna and Mount Redoubt, weather permitting. While on the van excursion we will also be on the lookout for moose and other wildlife.

Weekly Wow! Week of September 16, 2019

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: "Red Pine Tree Trunks in Snow Storm, Near Reno, Nevada" © Susan Dykstra.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: “Red Pine Tree Trunks in Snow Storm, Near Reno, Nevada” © Susan Dykstra.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, September 16, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.  Tonight is the deadline for entering your best shots in this year’s Showcase.  What are you waiting for?  Let’s get shooting!  Your best shot might be your next one.

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