Alaska Revisited, Part 2

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Welcome back for another look at some images that were created twelve years ago while on a vacation to Alaska.  It was such a wonderful place to be and I miss it quite often.  As part of my current move to Purlear, NC, I have found my old RAW images and have chosen to go through and do some fresh edits on them to be released periodically while I am busy prepping the new house with Toni.  The image that I am sharing today is also one from the day cruise that I took from Seward Harbor on May 16, 2008.  It was a new experience for me since I had never photographed anything seriously from a boat, and never while in the ocean.  I was still getting used to my new camera which was a Canon 40D at the time which was only a few months old.  That was the first camera where I had shot in RAW and used Photoshop to process the images.  My skills were not that great and honestly, I would never get that good with Photoshop. Since I had found the old RAW files, I decided that it was worth seeing what a trip through Lightroom would do for the images.  Here is one of them that has been newly edited and hasn’t been seen since 2011.

Orca Abstract“, Canon 40D, 70-200mm f/4L, No filters

While I was largely a landscape photographer at this point in my photographic journey, I was also dabbling with wildlife photography here and there.  While on the cruise we had been instructed to keep an eye out for Orcas as they will typically chase the boat as we went through certain areas.  That sounded interesting and I did keep my eyes peeled for them while I was shooting some of the snow covered mountains from the water.  I tell you what, I was in a very special place and was experiencing views I had never seen before.  To say I was like a kid in a candy store would be an understatement.  I just kept my camera in hand and pointed it wherever I saw interesting views.

I felt very impressive on that deck with my brand new camera.  I had the battery grip installed on it so that I could keep both batteries loaded since it was very cold on that water and I needed all the juice I could muster while shooting.  For simplicity, I just brought along the 70-200mm f/4L lens since I wasn’t worried about foregrounds while positioned on the boat.  This was also the lens that I had Image Stabilization on which I made sure was turned on.  I had the vibrations from the boat underfoot, and the water was a little choppy in places.  Getting a sharp image was my main concern in this type of environment.  I kept the lens hood on in order to keep any spray off of the lens element and to shield it from the sun which was poking out rather often.  It was a heavy rig, but it seemed to be working quite well.

As we were making our way through the straight, I could hear some folks mentioning that they saw some Killer Whales on the other side of the boat.  I moved over there quickly and found them just off to the side and slightly in the lead.  I trained the camera in their direction and found the composition that I was after and waited for them to breach the surface.  I found the rhythm that they had so I was able to time this shot just right.  For the second edit on this, I decided to concentrate on the color of the ocean with the reflection on the right that balanced the image.  I left the spray in the air to be the main subject of the image rather than the Orcas.  Shapes and textures was what I loved about this one since you really can’t make out the Orcas all that clearly.

This one was just a grab shot essentially as I had no way of fine tuning anything about it.  My position was pretty much locked in, and I was restricted to reacting to their movements.  I stayed with them for a while but eventually they moved out too far for me to get a good image of them.  I had mountains to photograph anyway, so I was happy for my time with them, but it was time to move back to my landscapes once again.

To be continued…