Archive for March, 2011

Alaska eagles – March 24

Friday, March 25th, 2011

[NOTE: All images in the blog are copyrighted. Unauthorized use constitutes copyright violation and subjects the violator to statutory damages of as much as $100,000. DO NOT COPY IMAGES FOR YOUR OWN USE.]

Very long, very full days with very little down time. Start out when it gets light, shoot all morning, break for lunch, hope you have time to download your images off your CF cards before a training session and then out again for the afternoon and evening (it stays light here very late). Sleep and then it’s time to get up and repeat. Won’t have time to report much on how the shooting goes, it’ll be enough if I can show a few examples:

Eagle in morning snow

Eagle in morning snow

Morning eagle

Sibling rivalry?

Juvenile eagle on beach

Sundown eagle

Alaska eagles – March 23

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Day 2 – March 23

[NOTE: All images in the blog are copyrighted. Unauthorized use constitutes copyright violation and subjects the violator to statutory damages of as much as $100,000. DO NOT COPY IMAGES FOR YOUR OWN USE.]

I had arranged my schedule to arrive in Homer a full day before the photo workshop began to get my bearings, work on my gear, etc., after having been so busy in recent weeks. I knew there was a “intersession” day between the prior week’s workshop and my workshop but had been told it was full. So I was a bit surprised to get a call last night telling me when to be ready to go out shooting today. Pleased, mind you, but surprised.

The drill is… if it’s a clear morning, we’ll leave the hotel at 8 am to be out where the eagles are in the bay by sunrise (we’re that far north here that sunrise is so much later). If it’s not clear, we go out at 10. The morning is basically spent doing flight shots. Then a break for lunch etc. and then out again for more flight and perch shots.

I have said all along that if I could get one, just one, really killer shot from the trip I’d be happy. And if I could get one really killer shot a day I’d be thrilled.

I think I’m about to be thrilled. These are all just from this morning. I’ve hardly even looked at the ones from this afternoon yet…

Adult bald eagle

Adult bald eagle

Adult bald eagle

Juvenile bald eagle

Adult snagging a fish

Juvenile bald eagle

North to Alaska

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Day 1: March 22.

So everything started off okay. If getting up in time to get a cab to the airport at 4 a.m. can be considered okay. Why I scheduled a 6 a.m. flight is beyond me, and why I decided to fly through Chicago when about 99% of flights to Alaska go through Seattle is even more of a mystery.

The flight pushed back from the gate right at 6 a.m., got about a plane’s length away from the gate, and that’s when the troubleĀ  began. Some maintenance issue. Okay. I have an hour and a half in Chicago to make my connection to Anchorage. So we sit. And we sit. Then we start to move, everyone is happy, and the pilot comes on and glumly announces that they want us sitting somewhere else and the maintenance issue isn’t fixed. So we sit. And we sit. Finally we start actually moving, the pilot says the maintenance issue is fixed, we’re all happy… and they slap on a weather hold out of Chicago. We FINALLY take off, I’m down to maybe a half hour to make my connection if I’m lucky, we get to Chicago without incident, land, taxi… and there’s another aircraft at our gate. Now I’m down to maybe 20 minutes by the time we actually get to our gate. And there’s no gate agent to open the door. FINALLY I get off the plane, run to the other gate (and I do mean RUN), get there, the plane is there, and the woman behind the gate counter says the door is closed and they’re not letting anyone else on. And oh by the way there are no other flights to Anchorage today. None.

I am not a happy camper.

Six others from the same flight get there, we’re all upset, and the woman’s pager goes off: “I need to see you at the jetway,” says a voice. “I’m busy,” she replies. “It’s important,” the voice insists. She leaves, and when she comes back… miracle of miracles, they have reopened the door, I make the flight, and all is well (at least until I see whether my luggage also made the flight).

Arrive in Anchorage, I’m looking out the window, and yup, last on first off is my suitcase… not a problem at all. Make the connecting flight to Homer (puddle jumper), the advertised 10-pound limit for carryon is studiously ignored by all, we arrive, there are four of us from the photo group and we share taxis to the hotel.

It’s now 5 pm Alaska time (9 pm EDT), I’m starving, I’m exhausted, and I’m wondering why I ever came to this place anyhow. I mean, when am I ever going to see…

The first of many?


Eagles. Oh yeah. Eagles.