Well gang it's almost time to depart for summer photo trip 2012! Needless to say; i'm pumped with preparing for a wonderful time, especially seeing my first Coastal Brown Bears! My destination is the Alaska Homestead Lodge,http://www.alaskawildlife.com/, located in the pristine Lake Clark National park interior. Unlike some other famous Alaska Bear viewing destinations, here we use no platforms, or boats to get close. Hiking, and Atv's are used to get to some remote areas, for viewing,photography, and observing undisturbed natural behavior of Alaska's coastal brown bears, and the natural fauna.
So to start, a few disclaimers: This is my first Photo-Trip blog/story! Secondly, i'll suggest, and share what i discover as this trip develops, and hopefully this blog will highlight the location, the lodge, and Alaska's beautiful Wilderness!. Lastly, your mileage may vary as i'll outline the equipment, both photography gear, and clothing that is required for a trip like this.
Perhaps the best way to plan and start a trip like this is to have some pre-visualized images, or goals set! My first and foremost desire is to capture puffins,and coastal brown bears in natural habitat/environmental settings while they hunt,graze,play, and clam along the cook inlet areas. Lake Clark also offers Fabulous landscape opportunities bound as well, so as you can see already, this trip looks like a 24/7 photo-shoot! Remember at this time of the year, the daylight hours are massive, along with an extended SWEET twilight.
Ok, let's outline my CANON equipment list:
HG10 HDD VIDEO
300mm F 2.8 II IS
500MM F 4 IS
70-200MM F 2.8 II IS
17-40MM F 4 L
24MM TILT SHIFT
24-105MM F 4 L
Both 1.4EXII ,and 2.0EX II Tele extenders
Accessories, and Misc Equipment:
Wimberly gimbal head
Feisol tripods, large and light weight landscape
Think Tank Hydrophobias, for both long and short lens
580EX Flash, with pocket wizard remote triggers
Remote cable release
LEE Filter system, ND grads, and solid filters for landscape use.
After consulting with James, and Sheila, owners of Alaska Homestead Lodge, it was evident that good rain gear, and the proper layered clothing is a must for this trip, as the daily climate is variable, and ever changing. James, and Sheila, have been most helpful, with suggestions, and fantastic customer service!! There goal is for one to have a fantastic visit, and a memorable trip to Lake Clark's crown jewel... the homestead lodge!! Low 40's to 50's seems to be the order of the day, along with frequent rain showers, thus te need for a dependable gore tex shell/rain suit. By choosing the later part of August, i increase my chances of hitting the peak salmon run and bear fishing, however i also increase my chances for some wet, and drizzly days. Think tank Hydrophobiias http://www.thinktankphoto.com/categories/camera-rain-covers.aspx, will serve as my equipment protection, as these units are bullet proof. Tin Man Lee, a fantastic photographer also mentioned the importance of a waterproof gloves (seal skinz), and waterproof wide brim hat outdoor research), that allows you to shoot and not have precipitation dripping in your eyes!
Ok, so yes equipment is always the concern, "should i, or not", weight restrictions are a very prominent issues for sure... Currently, i've tried to not overlap focal distances, yet, some overlap is needed due too low light shooying options, thus the brand new 300mm F 2.8 II, is going along, as the cloudy, rainy, and low light situations, along with the 1DMK4 might enable shots that other wise would not happen. My Gura/Gura bag is the best for travel, Andy Biggs,(http://www.guragear.com/) hit a home-run with these bags.. Love all three of mine and they have been all over South America, and some USA trips! I'll also be using the smaller Tenba roadie, as it's overhead compliant , and a roller to boot! Heavier lens, etc, and camera bodies will roll..............!!!
Starts with an emergent case at the office, and need for me to see a patient this am ( not planned), that is post CABG, and probably will need intervention, so i am packed, and ready to leave directly from here to fort lauderdale via chicago, via seattle,to Anchorage. Going to be a long day as i arrive into Anchorage tonight around 11pm, which is like 3 AM my time!! Whew!!
Tomorrow; i'm most fortunate to hookup with Mr, Aaron Bowman, Audubon group leader from anchorage; as we photograph anchorage's beautiful birds, and sights! Later, and a safe weekend to all....
Stay tuned as i add to this story, and hopefully take you along for the ride with me.