Alaska Photo Tour Highlights

Hello All,

I’ve spent the last two weeks in a frenzy of non-stop Photoshop processing of the thousands of the images I took on my Alaskan photo tour.  Now that I’ve got the bulk of the photos done, I’m in a bit of a quandary about how to write a blog to accompany the pictures.  The problem is simply that it was an incredible 10 day trip packed with an expansive range of photographic subjects…everything from Polar Bears to the Aurora Borealis, so  if I tried to write a single blog and cover all these topics…well, the result would be a small book.

So instead, I’m going to break up the adventure into bite-sized topics and cover them separately in-depth.  Today I’m going to just give you a taste of things to come by providing a brief recap of my Alaska Photo Tour Highlights.

The adventure started off with an incredible night of the Aurora Borealis in Fairbanks.  In fact, it may have been the best northern lights we saw on the entire trip!

Alaska Photo Tour Highlights

The calm Chena River was a wonderful reflector for the Aurora!

Believe it or not, this view was not more than 20 feet behind the little cabin I stayed in.

Day two and three were spent driving up the Dalton Highway (the “Haul Road” made famous in the “Ice Road Truckers” TV show)  which was built to supply the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. The Dalton is over 400 miles, most of it is gravel and there are only 3 small towns on the entire route (with a TOTAL population of less than 40, combined)!

Alaska Photo Tour Highlights

The Alaska Pipeline has been controversial, but it certainly is an engineering marvel…and it can be photogenic as well!

The Alaska Pipeline was our companion the next couple days and was usually within sight off to the side of the road.

At Deadhorse (the name of the town at Prudhoe Bay) , we took a puddle jumper to Barter Island. This is a small island off the northern coast of Alaska only 70 miles west of Canada which has become justifiably  famous for the Polar Bears that can be viewed there this time of year.

Alaska Photo Tour Highlights

A mom and cub share a polar bear ‘kiss’

We photographed the bears from buses and from small boats.  The weather was pretty iffy, but I got one 40 minute window with good light the last day I was there and made the most of it.  My adrenaline was pumping!

These two sibling cubs were engaged in a good-natured rumble!

These two sibling cubs were engaged in a good-natured rumble!

After three days of photographing polar bears, arctic wildlife and the fascinating native town of Kaktovik, we headed back to Prudhoe.  About an hour south of town, our sharp-eyed guide (Hugh)  spotted a herd of Musk Oxen.

Alaska Photo Tour Highlights

Truly prehistoric beasts!

It was pretty cool ‘stalking’ these huge critters!   You have to walk in single file to avoid appearing like a predator.  Even so, it took every bit of 550mm to get this shot.

Heading down the Dalton a few hours later we noticed that the Northern Lights were making an appearance.  We stopped for an hour or so along the road and didn’t get to our rooms until 3am, but no one was complaining.  Of course, then I had to stay up for another couple hours drinking beers with the guys.  It sure seemed like a good idea at the time…

Alaska Photo Tour Highlights

The Aurora was absolutely breathtaking!

I was the only one up for sunrise…I got precious little sleep but I had plenty of time to make up for it during the 23 hours it took me to fly home (thanks to a couple long layovers).

Sunrise over Wiseman Creek

Sunrise over Wiseman Creek

Okay, I know that this blog was brief, but I’ve been stuck for a few days trying to get started so I’m glad I’ve broken the logjam!  I’ll be writing some detailed articles over the next few weeks about the Aurora, Polar Bears, Dalton Highway wildlife and landscapes .  I also plan to provide a review of the actual tour I was on (Hugh Rose Alaska Polar Bear and Aurora Photo Tour) for those of you who might be thinking about going yourself!

Jeff

 

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8 Comments

  1. Debra Petre October 5, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    Jeff,
    I truly enjoy receiving your blog updates-these photos from your Alaskan trip are impeccable! What an amazing opportunity to be able to see the Northern Lights, the unique wildlife creatures, and the sublime landscapes. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs and experience.

    • Jeff Stamer October 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Hi Debra,
      I’m tickled pink that you enjoy my blog and photos. I love sharing my adventures and hopefully inspiring others to have a few of there own!
      Take care,
      Jeff

  2. evelyneholingue October 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    This is outstanding, Jeff. What a trip! Hard to say which photo is best. Between the polar bears and the Aurora, my heart is split. I also find the Musk Oxen’s pretty amazing. Your last photo is simply gorgeous. What did I tell? Hard to choose? Impossible, I meant. Great work and I’m sure a fantastic trip. Thank you for sharing since many of us won’t get to see so much beauty in our lifetime.

    • Jeff Stamer October 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      Thanks Evelyne! It was a wonderful trip and I’m having the same difficulty picking out my favorite shots, but that is a wonderful problem to have! I would have told you that it was a once in a lifetime trip, but I had such a great time that now I’ve started a piggy bank for the next one!
      Jeff

  3. Juan Zas October 2, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    Indeed it was a nice trip, specially for us, the two spanish guys that complement the Hugh Artic trip with the visit at Wrangler St.Elias – Kenniccot, Lake Clark, Chena Hot Springs and Blak Rapids … but I have to say we have had a nice time together (not the alaskian wheather, foggy and rain mostly). We have arrived with more than 15.000 photos !! Now the hard job to eliminate the “loosers” and post-process the good ones !. Cheers from Spain.

    • Jeff Stamer October 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Hi Juan,
      Great to hear from you! Yes, it has been a challenge just culling thru all the photos, but that is half the fun. I look forward to seeing some of your best shots from Alaska. Say Hola to Igor for me!
      Jeff

  4. Ed Rosack October 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    Wow – looks like the trip of a lifetime!

    • Jeff Stamer October 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      Ed,
      It certainly was…unless I hit the lotto!

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