Kenai Photo Opportunities
I will be spending a few days photographing the Kenai in July of this year. We are flying into Anchorage and will rent a vehicle and drive down to Seward and later to Soldotna.
I plan to visit the Exit Glacier on the ranger-led tour, visit the Falls of the Russian River, visit the Seward area and also visit Homer to see the Bald eagle concentration there.
There are boat tours from Seward to the Kenai Fjords which I am interested in. I am torn between the 1/2 day and the full day boat tours. Which would, considering my short time on the Kenai, be best from a photo point of view? Additionally, since I will have 3 traveling companions, would there be a better way (such as chartering a private boat) to see and photograph the Fjords? I really don't want to spend a whole day of my trip if the tour boats don't get me close enough to get significant images.
I would also like to take a bear viewing/photography trip. This will be only me - since my companions, not being photo oriented, have not expressed interest in this activity. I have found one trip advertised on the Internet for $300 which is about my top limit as far as this activity goes.
Is there a better way that is within my money limit to photograph bears around the Kenai - other than, of course, taking chances seeing them along the Kenai or Russian Rivers. I would love to photograph bears near a waterfall fishing for salmon. By the way - is there a time of day which would provide a better chance for the occasional sighting of a bear or bears.
I will be also be staying at a fishing lodge around Soldotna (Marlows on the Kenai) on the Kenai River. I will have three guided boat trips and one fly-in trip. However, these trips will be aimed more toward fishing than towards photography. The lodge operator says that it would be a hit-and-miss proposition regarding bears on his fishing trips.
I plan to take two cameras (Canon 30D and 350D) along with three lenses (17-5mm f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/4L IS and 300mm f/4L IS) along with a 1.4x TC; a flash and a monopod.
I am sure that I have missed mentioning a lot of photo opportunities in and around the Kenai Peninsula and will be grateful for any help.
Boy, not to sure where to begin!! Looks like you got some pretty good plans there. On the Kenai Fjords tour I would certainly suggest the 9 hour wildlife cruise. Try to narrow it down to Captain Erica's boat. She does a wonderful job getting you in for tight shots of bird rookeries and stuff. I have never been disappointed with this one. In fact, that is the only cruise I take family on when they come up. Orcas, humpbacks, dalls porpoise, otters, sea lions, bear, sheep, goat, eagles, great scenery, just about anything you can think of.
Bears are just hard to place. They may be around the Russian when you are here or they may not. They do some flight seeing tours out of Homer to bear areas that are just about a guarantee.
Your gear list looks pretty good. I might suggest a CP filter just to get some effect on the clouds and help with the water shots.
On your drive down south, keep an eye out for the Beluga whales in Turnagain Arm.
Good luck and post some shots when you get home!!!
Go to the Kenai Senior Center and stand on the bluff overlooking the river. The eagles/gulls/ravens will catch the wind gusts up the bluff. You will get many great shots of eagles soaring at a distance of less than 50 feet.
Not sure what lens you referring to by "17-5mm f/2.8L". The Canon 17-55 f/2.8 isn't an L lens, and the 17-40 is f/4, but bring either one as you will want something fairly wide at times. I think I would only bring one body, and it would be the 350D (Rebel XT) to save weight. But if you don't mind packing both, go for it. Having two lenses mounted and ready to fire is always fun. I would find a Pelican Case for at least some of it, so you pack what you need safely.
If you want to be assured of seeing bears you will either need to spend a great deal of time in the woods, or take the bear viewing flight across the Inlet. Otherwise, getting a good shot of one will be improbable.
The Eagles congregate in Homer during late winter due to the feeding frenzy that Jean King puts on each year. By late spring they are disbursed all over the place, and you will see them anywhere on the Kenai Peninsula from a distance. Don't expect great closeup shots like you might get right now.
I would take the whole day cruise out of Seward. We did this a couple years ago and loved it. I photographed three specie of whales, otters, seals, sea lions, puffins, eagles, goats and bears, and I'm probably missing something. I also photographed sheep and moose on the drive from Anchorage that day. Some of those can be seen here: http://jimstrutz.com/images/alaska/Alaska-index.html
The photos are awesome.
Im travelling to Anchorage on a fishing trip next summer with two friends,
4,250 miles to go fishing. The wives think were mad, but a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do.