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06/23/2009 11:50:46 AM · #1
Hi All,
I'm getting close on our dream trip to Alaska. We are flying in to Anchorage, driving to the Kenai Peninsula, then driving up to Denali.
The arrangements have been made. I even purchased two new lenses: 70-200 L and 10-22. I'm getting nervous that I might need another lens (unfortunately it'd have to be a rental). I also purchased a good pair of binoculars.
We will not be doing a cruise, except perhaps a one-day journey in the Kenai Peninsula area. We plan to try to meet up with ShutterPug, if she is available.
Anyone want to dish some advice? Do I need another lens, any nice little places I have to hit in the areas that we'll be.
06/23/2009 11:59:08 AM · #2
You're in for a great experience! I think you'll be happy with your new lens choices. Alaska is just beautiful. The only thing you might consider adding is a teleconverter to give you a little extra reach for bald eagles and so forth. Have a wonderful trip!
06/23/2009 12:02:19 PM · #3
You may want to consider that Sigma 50-500mm. I know that it is a very heavy lens, but when my parents went my Father really needed the extra reach. He has pics of some wildlife, but digitally enlarging them didn't do it justice.
06/23/2009 12:13:53 PM · #4
Hi.
This time a year you are going to get a all a round clock brightness (about 60°N), that northerly getting long, long evenings and morning and that is when the light is uniqe. I know it from my country, wihich lies a bit norther. My advise: use the nights to take pictures.
06/23/2009 12:21:45 PM · #5
You'll love Alaska. I would spring for the 2X teleconverter for a little extra reach.
06/23/2009 01:02:36 PM · #6
You can probably rent the 100-400 rather cheaply. Worth checking out.
06/23/2009 01:09:21 PM · #7
Originally posted by rodneyg:

You'll love Alaska. I would spring for the 2X teleconverter for a little extra reach.


Doesn't work on the 70-200mm f/4L, unfortunately. Needs an f/2.8 lens for consistent focus. 1.4x extender will work, but it's not that much extra reach...

R.
06/23/2009 01:12:34 PM · #8
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by rodneyg:

You'll love Alaska. I would spring for the 2X teleconverter for a little extra reach.


Doesn't work on the 70-200mm f/4L, unfortunately. Needs an f/2.8 lens for consistent focus. 1.4x extender will work, but it's not that much extra reach...

R.


Rob is right, however the 1.4x on a 1.6x body will give you the equivalent focal length of a 440 mm or so at F5.6 - probably not ideal thinking about it.
06/23/2009 01:54:11 PM · #9
I spent about 14 days in Alaska last year. While the days are long, for the most part, on the Kenai, they were overcast - plan on higher ISOs or slower shutters. I did take a crapload of images from a boat on a tour - I took the 11 hour captain's choice which I highly recommend. I kept the ISO at 400 to keep the shutter speed high enough to compensate for the light conditions (drizzly, foggy, overcast) and the vibration of the boat engine.

If you get the opportunity, stop at Ninilchik and Kenai Lake - two of my favorite places on the entire peninsula. Kenai Lake is an ungodly blue and the setting is just beautiful (there are a couple of good overlooks right around Cooper's Landing) and Gwen's has a pretty good breakfast. Stop and watch the combat fishing - very amusing, especially when a moose decides to run through. Ninilchik, on the way to Homer, is a tiny fishing village that has both been there for years and seen better days. But it has some charm that is missing from Homer - it feels like a real place with real people. The Russian church at the top of the hill is very cool looking, as are the bald eagles who hang around on the beach waiting for the seine netters to cut up their catch. Both are fun to watch.

Homer is touristy and windy but kind of a place you have to go to drive down the spit - its kinda like the end of the world. A good place to do once to say you've been there.

Seward was like Homer but that is where you catch most of the Kenai Peninsula Cruise boats. Pretty little town - go to the end to see the waterfall and the camping grounds.

On the way between Seward (and the rest of the world really) you will pass Exit Glacier (worth a stop), Portage Glacier (worth a stop), and Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Definitely worth a stop and a few hours.

Enjoy the trip - it will be absolutely amazing. Just remember to keep your eye out for moose - they will jump out in front of you on the highway and it can get a little messy. Oh, and in Anchorage, watch out for bear along waterfront park trails. The bears are everywhere but keep *mostly* to themselves.
06/23/2009 03:42:33 PM · #10
Thanks for all the advice, I hope it keeps coming. The excitement level is building steadily right now!!
06/23/2009 03:57:26 PM · #11
We spent 5 days in Alaska in August 2006.

According to the postcards and the signs, we were often supposed to see fantastic views of mountains etc, but we saw none of that. 5 days of pretty much relentless rain meant we only saw what was very close to us, the rest was behind thick clouds.

The only time we got a bit of a break was on a boat while we were right next to a glacier (must have had something to do with the cold air from it).

From the very rare glimpses we caught and the pictures, I think Alaska could possibly be very beautiful.

Good luck with the weather!
06/23/2009 04:01:13 PM · #12
Take some pug-sized doggy treats. :)
06/23/2009 04:41:08 PM · #13
I did the same trip in sep 08 I also landed in Anchorage and drove down to homer , It's at the end of the Kenai pen . I rented a seaplane and flew down to Katmai National Park to go Brown Bear viewing, A little expensive , But well worth it I stayed in homer and then went to Seward which was about 2 hours away , All the cruses ships leave from there . They have one day trips to the Fiords and glaciers which is very cool . After that I drove up to Denali it took about 8 or 9 hours Make sure you take the tour thru Denali and make sure you go to the last stop on the tour it takes 13 hours round trip, buy your lunch at the sub way across the street , if you stay in denali make sure you get reservations or stay out of town, There is a town just north that I stayed in it was a lot cheaper I stayed in a log cabin Alaska is the most amazing trip I have ever taken and I cant wait to go back its like it calls me to come back , I brought a 100-400 lens which I used a lot, Get a 1.4 extender have a good trip
06/23/2009 04:48:28 PM · #14
I hope you don't mind a long post...We just got back (on the 13th) from a week in Alaska. We did the same routine, up to Denali, then down to Seward and out to the Kenai Fjords on a eight hour or so boat tour. I'm working my way through a lot of shots.

Some things: I have the 50-500mm Sigma with a 1.4x but it was mixed on the wildlife in Denali Nat'l Park. Needless to say, the creatures aren't just walking up to the bus (other than the wolf, but that's another story and a picture I'll post here: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801594.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801594.jpg', '/') + 1) . '). The more reach you can bring along, the better off you'll be. I also used my 24-105 for the mountain pictures.

I dragged a tripod, a monopod and a "The Pod" (bean bag thing) along and used all three of them a lot. The bean bag was great for using on the bus in the park (I just balanced it on the window). I did a lot of three exposure brackets for HDR also, so the tripod was vital. ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801595.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801595.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Denali was wonderful, great sunshine and decent temps. I understand that we were very lucky (a picture here soon as well: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801602.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801602.jpg', '/') + 1) . ').

On the boat tour out of Seward, it was very overcast, almost foggy on the shore. I kept the ISO high and the aperture wide so that I could compensate with shutter speed. I used a monopod on the boat and it worked well. Again, your limitations are the motion of the boat, the clouds and rain, and the distance to your subject. Expect to see Puffins, Dall Porpoises, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles and if you're lucky Humpback Whales ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801603.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/35000-39999/38478/120/801603.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' or bears.

I hope you have a wonderful time, we sure did. The only thing we did wrong was to not spend two or three weeks.

ETA: photos

Message edited by author 2009-06-23 19:07:39.
06/23/2009 05:14:51 PM · #15
Originally posted by davidw:

I hope you don't mind a long post...We just got back (on the 13th) from a week in Alaska.


And you didnt even try to contact me!!
06/23/2009 05:20:32 PM · #16
Shamelessly looking to get points ...
but I did!!!!

Originally posted by ShutterPug:

Originally posted by davidw:

I hope you don't mind a long post...We just got back (on the 13th) from a week in Alaska.


And you didnt even try to contact me!!
06/23/2009 05:27:11 PM · #17
I forgot about riding along in the bus and trying to take pics out of the window. I bought one of these.....
Camera Suction Cup Window Mount
and use it on my car window at fires and such. It really works great. You can't let it take all of the weight all of the time but it helps steady the camera greatly and it only connects by the suction cup. Just a thought.

Message edited by author 2009-06-23 17:28:09.
06/23/2009 08:53:36 PM · #18
Jeanne,

When you get here and make it to my neck of the woods I have a few ideas for places we can go depending on the weather. Give me a call when you get in town. I'll email you my phone number.
06/24/2009 08:38:03 PM · #19
Thank you everyone, lots of great advice!! And it is very much appreciated.
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