My newest collections documenting our trip to Nome, Dutch Harbor, Barrow, Bethel, and Seward, using Anchorage as a hub, are now posted at mrtk.smugmug.com. Each location except for Bethel, which is lumped in with Anchorage, is its own collection. There is also a chronological collection of all photos should you prefer to view them that way. These pictures are primarily intended to note as many of the photographically cooperative birds we saw that mostly have some redeeming bird-watcher/artisticish qualities. Some pictures are there because documentation demands it. For example, the very uncommon Bluethroat in Nome was a bird we chased for several days following rumored sightings in a couple locations. We finally saw it, but when I got to take its picture it was a mere dot in some shrubs. I wasn’t even sure it was the Bluethroat until I processed the pictures that night. Fast flying Jaegers were a challenge since they would appear suddenly and leave equally as suddenly. Flying Snowy Owls were relatively plentiful in Barrow, but usually far away and on a white/gray background, but I included several less than perfect owl pictures since they’re so exotic to us. The Kittlitz’s Murrelet was the only one we saw, but was shot directly into the sun. I settled. Not a great picture, but finding a Red Knot in Nome was also special so I included it. The Red-faced Cormorant was deep in a cave shot from a bouncing boat, so a fast shutter speed and +3 EV, but we were glad to find them. Hopefully birders will find these collections useful should they plan a trip to these locations. I would be glad to answer specific questions.
Alaska is not the place where the number of species will blow you away though we did see 140 some odd species and listed them on eBird. Nevertheless we added around 30 species to our life list. Wife Terry and friends Sooney and Nick and I spent nearly four weeks, braving 30-40 mile an hour winds (while trying to hold long lens and binoculars steady), gray skies, rainy days, snow-covered tundra, choppy seas, native restrictions on walking more than 25 feet off the road, endless ponds and waterways, 27° temperatures with winds (read air conditioning) blowing off a frozen Arctic Ocean, limited road access, and assorted other challenges in our quest for birds. We called it a great success. Go figure.
For the most part I shot a Nikon D850 with a 500mm f/4E lens and a 1.4 teleconverter. I used a monopod and gimbal head since it fit into my luggage while my tripod did not. I hauled my equipment in a carry-on ThinkTank Airport Commuter bag. The long lens fit perfectly in the bag and the bag went in the overhead bin or under the seat in smaller commuter planes. Neither of the airlines (Alaska or Ravn) weighed the bag or cared. Thanks for all the earlier input on carry-ons.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Nick’s blog and pictures are located at https://www.viani.us/
. I highly recommend reading his historical, cultural, and descriptions of our stops. Very informative. And since we were often shooting pictures while standing next to each other, you may recognize some similarities in the photos.
A few examples