September 13, 2012

Lake Clark National Park

  Well, after more than a year of silence I'm finally getting back to my blog! Thank you to those of you who have kept inquiring. Especially you Glen! I will keep it up to date from here on out.

   I have a lot of excuses, none too valid. The biggest being I wanted to get a new website set up before I started putting my work out there again.  Well work has been good and very busy but has kept me from finalizing the new web site blah blah yadda yadda....

  I do have a start on the new website and it will keep growing over the next couple of months. I hope you'll check it out and give me feedback if you'd like. You can find it at and my new e-mail is

 Ok enough of that!

  Now for the actual blog. A few weeks ago I lead a photo trip to an incredible, incredible place: Lake Clark National Park. It was based at the comfortable and friendly Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.

  I was lucky enough last year to secure some spots out at the lodge, run by David and Joanne Coray and their wonderful staff. Many of the top photography tour companies and guides have already discovered this place and it is very hard to get reservations there now.

  I had seen amazing photos taken out at SSCL but still wasn't 100% sure what to expect. It was my first time out there and I was guiding three other (wonderful) photographer clients. I was a bit nervous but trusted in the wonderful word of mouth the lodge had earned in the past.

  I can tell you that words couldn't do justice to the experience we had out there.

  After a beautiful flight from Anchorage, over rugged mountains and volcanos, our small group was paired up with one of the lodges bear guides, Dave, who was so helpful and enthusiastic he soon became a part of our "family"! Dave spent every waking hour- outside of meal times- on his ATV pulling us behind in a fairly comfortable cart. He knew the best times and locations to search for the bears and understood the photographer's need for the best lighting angles etc.

  We were lucky and had little rain and a variety of light conditions. As if a plethora of bears wasn't special enough, we were also able to take a boat out one day to a puffin rookery.  Both David and Joanne  Coray brought us by boat to an island with 1,000's of puffins! We were able to land and shoot from shore. Some puffins were landing on the rocky outcroppings as close as 20 feet!

  And, of course, the scenery was just stunning. ( In Alaska?  No way...) I am almost as happy with the landscape images I got as the bear pics.

  But, alas, nothing was able to compare with being so close that we were able to hear the grizzlies breathing as they dug for clams on the beach, munched on grasses in the fields, wrestled on the muddy banks, and chased salmon in the creek. A couple of bears frequently strolled right through the lodge grounds.

 The trip was tiring because of the long days in the field but it was impossible to resist spending more time with the bears! We were out by sunrise and in bed after sunset- we enjoy thankfully long days in the Alaska summer!

  I must have treated my group half way decently because David gave me some more dates for me to bring another small group out in August, 2013,  and I can't wait to go back!

  Kudos to David and Joanne for creating such a warm and delightful atmosphere for their guests. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the outstanding home cooked meals as well. (Thanks Craig!)

  In the next several posts I'll be sharing my favorite images from the various aspects of the trip.

 Thanks for taking a look!

The Bears!

* Check back soon for puffins and landscapes!

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