Alaska Brown Bear Adventure…Grand Finale

I can’t believe two weeks have already passed. We had a beautiful day so, we headed off to a neighboring bay for a change of pace. Ad did we ever strike gold! It began with a sea otter hauled out on the rocks who stuck long enough to get a few images…


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

Shortly after that we came across a Glaucous-winged Gull with a starfish in its mouth. It was fun watching it try to get the starfish down. It did succeed finally and then had a hugh lump in it’s throat…


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

In the same cove were several Pigeon Guillemots in pairs. One amorous pair performed right in front of our lenses…


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

There is also a puffin rookery nearby and they were all over the water. The puffins are quite shy and don’t let us approach too closely but, we did have a few opportunities to photograph a bird or two. This little guy is a Horned puffin. I love the reflections in the water…


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

We had been shooting like crazy and still hadn’t even arrived at our destination. Upon landing on shore Perry spotted a red fox trotting through the grasses. Noel and I grabbed our cameras and along with Perry began following the fox. He was going at a pretty good clip and I didn’t think we would catch him but, nothing ventured… He finally stopped, looked at us and then lay down in the grasses totally disappearing from view. We crept closer and closer until we could barely see him, set up our tripods and waited for him to get up again. When he did he peeked at us through the grasses…


Nikon D3S with AF-S 500mm f4 VR

I thought when he saw us he would take off but, he simply moved on about his business stopping to scratch at one point…


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

We had our lunch on the beach enjoying the good weather and then boarded the boat once again to see if we could catch some puffins in flight. I like the way there is a Horned puffin flying along with the Tufted puffins in this image…


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

I usually bring my 600mm f4 VR with me to Alaska but, this time I brought the 500mm f4 VR to try something lighter when shooting handheld from the boat. I found that the 500mm with or without the TC-14E II worked beautifully as it is much lighter and I could handhold for longer periods of time.

With the good weather holding we decided to make it a two bay day and headed south to see what we could find. Perry spotted some Dall’s porpoises in the distance. We headed their way and when we got in the vicinity slowed down and they rode the wake off the bow of our boat. It was awesome watching them streak beneath the water and then break the surface and fall back into the water. It was a real challenge and while I didn’t get the shot I would have liked, I did manage to capture a few.


D300s with AF-S 28-300mm VR (I turned to this combo to go wider and be more mobile as I was hanging over the front of the boat)

We arrived at the next bay and Perry spotted a Ground Squirrel which he said he’d never seen in this area. He was totally unafraid of us and seemed curious to see people…


Nikon D300s with AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II and TC-20E III


Nikon D300s with AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II and TC-20E III

It was getting late so, we headed back towards the lodge stopping at rock near the lodge where a pair of Horned puffins were nesting. We got lucky to find them “home” and posing on the rocks…


Nikon D300s with AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR II and TC-20E III

While we didn’t even aim our lenses at a bear, we sure did have a wonderful day filled with a variety of subjects. What a grand finale to a grand adventure!