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.

Churchill Polar Bears with Ken Lee

Every autumn, polar bears concentrate along the shores of the Hudson Bay eagerly anticipating the annual freeze-up which provides them access to their favorite prey, seals. Churchill, Manitoba, on the southern tip of the bay, is one of the first places where the Hudson freezes solid. That’s why Churchill is known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World and the premier place to capture portfolio worthy images of polar bears and other arctic wildlife in their natural habitat. Majestic wildlife, check.

At this time of year, the days are short, but the sun never climbs too high in the sky, so it’s golden hour most of the daylight hours. Great light, check.

We’ve timed this adventure to coincide with the darkest skies of the month. With any luck, we’ll get a shot or two at Aurora Borealis (northern lights) photography. Bonus!

Ken will be right there throughout the expedition to provide tips, critiques, and coaching. Formal instruction, discussions and one-on-one coaching are all parts of the toolkit that Ken uses to help you reach the next milestone on your journey as a photographer.

Practice is just as important as knowledge and you’ll have tons of distraction free time among a small group of like-minded individuals to practice what you’ve learned, refine your skills and sharpen your creative vision.

Spirit Bears of the Great Bear Rainforest with Ken Lee

Forgive yourself if your first Spirit Bear photographs turn out a bit blurry. That’s because it’s almost impossible not to tremble with excitement and awe the first time you witness a Spirit Bear materialize from dark, dense, moss draped old growth. Instantly, you understand why the First Nations peoples of the area refer to this magnificent creature as Moksgm’ol, the Ghost Bear.

Everything about Spirit Bears is special. They are one of the rarest bears on earth, with perhaps 200 to 400 in existence – no one knows for sure. They reside only in the pristine environs of the Great Bear Rainforest of coastal British Columbia, the largest temperate rainforest left on the planet. Neither a polar bear nor an albino, science explains Spirit Bears as the product of rare recessive genes. But to the First Nations peoples of the area they are sacred symbols, Ghost Bears, their unique coloration the result of an ancient bargain made with the creator, Raven, to remind us of an age when the world was covered with ice and snow.

Opportunities to photograph Spirit bears are almost as rare as the animals themselves. Most of the time, they lead solitary lives deep inside inaccessible rainforests. But for a few weeks each autumn, spawning salmon coax them to gather along coastal streams where they feast on Mother Nature’s annual abundance. Access to these areas is under the control of the local First Nations peoples like the Gitga’at. Practically speaking, the only reasonable chance of seeing and photographing Spirit bears in the wild is to join an organized trip sanctioned by a local First Nations group. Our partnership with Gitga’at guide, community leader and “bear-whisperer”, Marven Robinson allows 5 lucky photographers to participate in a wildlife photography opportunity of a lifetime.

Although there are no guarantees, every aspect of this trip including timing, hours in the field, instructional sessions and one-on-one coaching with Ken is designed to maximize the opportunities to bring home portfolio worthy images of Spirit Bears and other wildlife.

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!!

Weekly Wow! Week of August 19, 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: Cubs Play While Protected by Their Mother, Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. © Steven Barger.

Showcase 2019 Top 100 winner: Cubs Play While Protected by Their Mother, Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. © Steven Barger.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, August 19, 2019.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2019 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website.  The period for entering your best shots in this year’s Showcase began August 1st and runs  through September 16th.  What are you waiting for?  Let’s get shooting!  Your best shot might be your next one.

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The Black Bear Project

How do you live safely around bears? Ask the Black Bear Project.

How do you live safely around bears? Ask the Black Bear Project.

Something interesting is happening in the wooded hills of northern Georgia. Thanks to the Black Bear Project, people and bears are learning to peacefully live together and avoid dangerous situations.  NANPA member Mary Jo Cox has been involved in this project and gave us the story.

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NATURE’S VIEW: My Seven-year-old Encounters a Bruin

Story and photographs by Jim Clark ©

On the eve of my first trip to Churchill, Manitoba, to photograph polar bears and other arctic wildlife, I’m reminded of my son’s first encounter with a bruin. Carson was only seven, and his reaction to the experience serves as a lesson for all nature photographers. After all, it’s not the age from whence wisdom comes, but instead, it’s the true value of the wisdom that matters. But I digress.

Carson

Carson at age seven explores a trail near Cranberry Glades of West Virginia. © Jim Clark

For several summers, Carson and I would take a week-long trip to explore our favorite places in West Virginia. This became a time for father and son to have fun, discover new things, eat pizza nonstop (Don’t tell his mother!), and spend time as best buddies. Oh yeah, we photographed a bit, too.

One June, we visited the usual locations: Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls state parks, Beartown Natural Area, Falls of Hills Creek, and Cranberry Glades Botanical Area. Carson’s love for nature photography (especially wildlife) had just begun, so he was hoping to find something special to photograph at one of the locations.

While walking on the boardwalk at Cranberry Glades, I showed Carson recent signs of a black bear—scat on the boardwalk, broken alder branches and partially eaten skunk cabbage. Well, that got him excited. So, with camera in hand, he decided we should walk the boardwalk several times that morning to see if we would actually see the bear.

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