So here we are well into this current series of blog entries highlighting the images that I shot twelve years ago on a trip to Alaska. The more I am going through these images, the more I am realizing just how many of them were shot during the one day cruise that we took on May 16th. For all of these years I had remembered many more images from throughout the interior of the continent, but there is no escaping just how many beautiful sights I saw from that boat. Funny story about my journey at this point though. I have just gone back through all of my images to make sure that they were all accounted for. With the exception of three images that I have no idea where the RAW images went to, I have them all. About half of them were from this one day cruise. That really points out a problem that I had on this trip. I had very little time to get images and to hunt them out. I had spent most of the time in Alaska shopping, eating, driving, and sitting in a hotel room. It is really starting to be clear to me why I was in the middle of a divorce by the end of 2008. I think that the reason that I was able to get so much accomplished on this day cruise was that she was content sitting down in the heated passenger area and looking out of the windows as we progressed along the route and into the Pacific Ocean. I was much more content out on the deck experiencing all that Alaska had to offer from Seward to Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay.
In fact I was having so much fun that I didn’t realize that my fingers were basically numb at this point from the cold wind across the deck coming from the water. I didn’t care one bit though. It was the trip of a lifetime and I was set to enjoy it. I had been working on some landscape images as we parted out of Seward Harbor which was my main expectation on this excursion but there was no debating that there was a lot of wildlife to see as well. I saw bears, eagles, sea lions, porpoises, orcas, and all measure of other creatures along the way. While I was doing a little wildlife photography here and there, that wasn’t my main goal, and for most of the time I didn’t have the reach with my 70-200mm lens to capture a lot of the wildlife that I was seeing. The orcas and porpoises were another story though. They were usually close enough to the boat for me to get a good view of them.
A good view and a good picture were not necessarily the same thing though. I was out of my depth when it came to wildlife photography and I was more or less just trying to get a few images. The feature today is one that I don’t really care for because it was more or less just a shot to document the experience. However, as I was going through the images, Toni fell in love with it and pushed me to process it. She loves dolphins and the like so I really couldn’t tell her no on this one. I went ahead and processed it, but it still isn’t one of my favorites. Had it not been for her input, I probably would have left it alone and moved on. I don’t even think that it spent any time in the gallery when I first added it in 2008, so it has been a while since this one has seen the light of day.
The new edit adds a little more depth to the image, and I was able to smooth out some of the high frequency textures found in the water around the orca. The highlights in the water had been a turnoff for me originally, but with the tools in Lightroom that I am much better able to use I managed to tame them a bit to keep the main attention on the subject. The colors were the next thing that needed some attention with this image. The lighting was not all that great and there was a lot of glare on the image. I worked with the colors to bring them back to a normal hue and finally had an image that I was reasonably please with. The composition was a bit rough with this one. It was shot at a pretty good distance and I had the lens zoomed into 200mm which still gave a lot of negative space. I had to do a good deal of cropping on this image to get a composition that made sense and had balance. There is enough resolution to print it reasonably large, but I don’t see it going bigger than 13×19″ without a huge loss of detail. I guess fortunately, there really isn’t much detail present with the smooth textures involved.
I’m still a much better photographer of things that don’t move, and am happy to continue shooting stills more than tracking wildlife and trying to time the shot just right. Regardless, I did get quite a bit of experience with wildlife photography while on this cruise, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Alaska!
The story continues….