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 classic wooden boat, the M/V Westward, where you’ll have a front row seat for sea lion haul-outs, bald eagles and an ancient glacier 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 adventures we’ll encounter from our comfortable wandering home invite 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 ability 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.
When people think of Hawaii; they think of summer vacation, beaches, and relaxation. What many people overlook are the warm winters, lush tropical landscapes, and spectacular wildlife Maui has to offer. February is one of the best times to visit. Over 10,000 Humpback whales return to give birth, mate and nurse their young. Hawaii is the only state in the US where birthing and mating occurs. Why do whales choose Hawaii? Some of the same reasons we do; warm clear water, shallow depths, and lack of predators. Maui is the premier photography location as the depths in the Maui channel do not exceed 200 ft. In February, we witnessed over 100 breaches from our hotel Lanai. You learn quickly there is a big difference between seeing and “experiencing” these majestic mammals when you are on a boat, within 100 yards of a breach, camera in hand.
We round out this itinerary with other incredible photography opportunities. We experience a spiritual Haleakala sunrise, travel and photograph along the historic 64 mi. Hana Highway, and spend time in a unique lava field landscape. Our objectives are to give photographers a chance to scratch items off their bucket list while we work with you to improve your nature photography skills. Your hosts for this trip have been fortunate enough to visit Maui 5 times and understand the island culture, best locations to stay, and where to put photographers in position to capture all the beauty and mystery this island has to offer.
We leverage our partners on Maui to keep costs down. When you consider what is included; high end resort on the beach with ocean views, experienced guides, photography expertise, meals, excursions, all ground transportation, even a Luau. There are not many companies who can bundle this same trip at these prices.
Included in this Trip:
-4 Boat excursions to get up close and photograph Humpback Whales, including one sunset dinner cruise.
-1 guided trip to the summit of Haleakala Crater to photograph a sunrise, weather permitting.
-1 trip to Hana and Back, capturing Seascapes, Waterfalls, and Rainforest along the way
-1 trip to the Wailea Lava Fields
-1 Luau, VIP seating
-Multiple Sunrise and Sunset opportunities
-All Meals, minus one dinner. We want you to experience Kaanapali or Lahaina with your partner.
-High end beachfront resort in Kaanapali steeped in Hawaiian culture and tradition
-Built in downtime for exploring, hanging out at the beach. Also a good time to review post processing with anyone in need of assistance.
Flip Nicklin is one of the featured keynote speakers at the 2015 NANPA Summit taking place in San Diego, California from February 19th – 22nd. Flip will also lead of one of the Pre-Summit Boot Camp sessions. To learn more about the Summit and to register for this exciting and inspirational event, please visit www.naturephotographysummit.com. Early bird registration ends on October 31st!
Forty feet below me she hovers quietly. She’s 45 feet long and 80,000 pounds, and her bulk hides her 15-foot-long calf. The calf makes his way out from under her chin to take a few breaths at the surface. On his way back to his mother, the young humpback spots me near the research boat and gives me a good look. After 35 years of photographing cetaceans professionally, situations like this still bring a smile to my face.
The lives of whales aren’t always serene, though. Only a few days after I spot the mother with her calf, our research team finds a dozen male humpbacks fighting over a female. The battle is brutal; many of the whales have open bloody scrapes on the tops of their bodies. Despite whales’ occasional reputation as “gentle giants,” I would never use the word “gentle” to describe these violent, occasionally fatal encounters in the winter breeding grounds off the coast of Hawaii. Continue reading →