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.
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.
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.
Situated along the Rio Grande River, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 57,000 acres and is a major wintering ground for cranes and waterfowl. Refuge personnel manage the water levels of its wetlands and impoundments to simulate what was once the seasonal flow of water from the Rio Grande before the river was damned and the flow altered. To feed the huge number of birds visiting the refuge each year, nearby fields are planted with corn, winter wheat, millet, and other grains. Loop roads transect the refuge marshes and fields and provide prime sites for wildlife viewing and photography. Species that may be seen include shovelers, buffleheads, pintails, teal and other ducks; bald and golden eagles; kestrels and other hawks; turkey; meadowlarks; quail; roadrunners; coyotes; mule deer; and more. In November, large flocks of snow geese and sandhill cranes will be present. At night to escape predators, the birds flock to the marshes and shallow pools. With dawn, the snow geese and other waterfowl rise in mass from the wetlands and sweep overhead on their way to nearby fields to feed. Each day we will spend the early morning and late afternoon hours at the refuge photographing birds and many other species of wildlife which are present at the sanctuary.
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.