Archives for November 2011

In The Far North…Polar Bears Day Two

There was a fresh dusting of snow in the early morning and by the time we arrived at the buggy launch, the clouds were moving on and the day was promising to be sunny. With yesterday’s overcast, we had one exposure issues to deal with. Sun, on the other hand gives several exposure considerations…is our subject backlit, side lit or front lit and how to deal with the exposures. Not an insurmountable issue by any means but, it did keep everyone on their toes.

We had several sightings starting off with anArctic Hare who startled even our intrepid driver, Bob, by suddenly bounding out of harms way of the buggy tires to the nearby brush to hide…


Nikon D3X with AF-S 500mm f4 VR

We didn’t see any arctic fox all day yesterday and today we saw five and were able to work one for a short time as it was on the hunt in the willows…


Nikon D3X with AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III

We spent the majority of our shooting time working a sow with her coy (cub of the year). She had a tough job of keeping her young one safe from the many males roaming the area. While on the alert at all times for other bears, our buggy didn’t seem to bother her…


Nikon D3S with AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-14E II

Our day flew by way too fast and before you knew it we were headed back to base when Buggy Bob spotted some Willow Ptarmigan. When we first pulled up they all darted into the brush but, quickly went back about their business paying little attention to us…


Nikon D3S with AF-S 500mm f4 VR

Today’s sightings…
21 Polar Bears
1 Arctic Hare
5 Arctic Fox
17 Willow Ptarmigan +/-

In The Far North…Polar Bears

We arrived in Churchill last night to lightly falling snow which was very welcome as it’s been unseasonably warm here with very little snow. By the time we awoke there were a few inches of snow covering the ground giving the world that winter wonderland look that we were hoping for as a backdrop for photographing polar bears. We headed out to the buggy launch to meet up with our intrepid driver, Buggy Bob and headed right out onto the tundra in search of bears. Our first encounter was with three males who took turns sparing with each other providing us with some great photo opportunities…


Nikon D3S with AF-S 500mm f4 VR


Nikon D3S with AF-S 500mm f4 VR

One question that came up was how to expose for these creamy bears against the white snow. While I think today’s cameras do an outstanding job of coming up with a good exposure, all that lightness makes it want to darken the image to achieve a neutral exposure. So, the simple thing to do on an overcast day was to dial in between plus .5 to plus 1 exposure compensation for brighter, whiter snow and let her rip which is exactly what we did. (Later, in Photoshop, I dropped a white point on the snow to clean up any color cast and added a slight bit of NIK Detail Extractor to finish it off.)

Polar bears are a curious sort and while we were intent on checking them out, they too would show interest in the strange creatures in the ginormous vehicles. Some would simply keep an eye on us as they passed by…


Nikon D3S with AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-14E II

And others would come over for an even closer look. When a subject is coming straight at me, I immediately think “vertical”…


Nikon D3S with AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-14E II

Today’s count…
1 Red Fox (on the way to the buggy launch)
25 polar bears

With only one day under our belts, we are already filling our hard drives with memorable images and our hearts with wonderful memories. Stay tuned.

Looking For Adventure?

An Excellent Photo Adventure may be just what you are looking for. With a variety of locations to choose from, small group sizes allow me to give each and every adventurer personalized instruction and to provide a quality experience for everyone (including our subjects). You can count on having an Excellent Photo Adventure with Laurie…

Last chance at 2011!
A last minute cancellation opened up a spot for Bosque del Apache Nov 27 – Dec 3, 2011. Limited to 5 Adventurers, 2 openings $2450.00

2012 Adventures:

-Extreme Yellowstone Jan 7-14 Full


-Yellowstone Below Zero Jan 15-22 limited to 4 Adventurers, 2 openings $4450.00 includes transportation from Bozeman, lodging, my personal instruction

-Oregon Winter Waves Feb 12-19 Full


-Southwest Adventure 1 March 18-24 limited to 3 Adventurers, 2 openings $3950.00 includes transportation, lodging, my personal instruction
-Southwest Adventure 2 March 25-31 limited to 3 Adventurers, 1 opening $3950.00 includes transportation, lodging, my personal instruction

-So Texas Birds May 1-6 Full


-Storm Chase Tornado Alley May 13-21 limited to 5 Adventurers, 3 openings $3850.00 includes transportation, lodging, expert storm chase guides, my personal instruction


-Alaska Spring Coastal Brown Bears June 2-10 limited to 6 Adventurers, 3 openings $5750.00 includes transportation, lodging, all meals, expert guides, my personal instruction

And more…
-Alaska Prime Fishing Coastal Brown Bears Aug 11-19 limited to 6 Adventurers, 4 openings $8450.00 includes transportation, lodging, my personal instruction

-Yellowstone Fall Rut Sept 23-29 limited to 5 Adventurers, 3 openings $4450.00 includes transportation, lodging, all meals, expert guides, my personal instruction

-Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Oct 10-14 limited to 5 Adventurers, 4 openings $2650.00 includes transportation, lodging, breakfast and dinner, preferred parking and entrance to event, my personal instruction

*Currently looking at new locations for late fall 2012. Stay tuned!

For more information, and to sign up contact Laurie at lexcell@earthlink.net today! What greater gift this holiday season than the gift of an Excellent Adventure to that special photographer in your life.

At this point, my web/blog is undergoing a complete transformation and you won’t find information about 2012 Adventures on the site right now. Refer to this blog or email me at lexcell@earthlink.net for any and all updates for the immediate future!

It’s A Wrap!

I am thrilled to announce that my 2nd book “Wildlife Photography, From Snapshots to Great Shots” is finished and will be shipping in November. The timing is perfect for giving the gift of photography this holiday season!