Whales and Bears

Whales & Bears, July 22 – 30, 2011

Photo Tour with Don Paulson

Our guests for this trip included some serious photographers with some really BIG lenses.  Award-winning wildlife photographers, Rich and Lori Rothstein, topped the big lens list with a new 600mm f4 lens.   Rich and Lori have joined Dolphin Charters nearly every year since 1985.  Rich tells me that they keep coming back, because every trip has new experiences and amazing opportunities to photograph wildlife.   Lori really appreciates Captain Ronn’s extensive natural history knowledge and exceptional environmental ethic.

We didn’t have to wait long for our first amazing photo opportunity.  A humpback whale repeatedly lunged out of the water and landed flat on its back with a tremendous splash.  Everyone on board with a camera was able to capture this amazing spectacle since the whale breached over twenty times, in a period of about 45 minutes.

Our visit to Pack Creek bear preserve on Admiralty Island was equally rewarding.  Our first day was spent in lovely Windfall Harbor exploring a mosaic of habitats along Windfall Creek.  By sitting quietly at the edge of a salt marsh, our group was able to observe brown bears fishing in a stream.   Further inland we used wide angle lenses to photograph an exceptionally beautiful muskeg with ponds filled with water lilies.

The next day was spent at the bear viewing area at the mouth of Pack Creek accompanied by a Forest Ranger.  A sow and two cubs came up close as camera shutters clicked.  All in all, eight individual brown bears provided us with a day of exceptional photo opportunities.

An evening kayak paddle in a salmon-choked stream at high-tide was especially memorable – The water frothing with waves of salmon darting ahead of our kayaks.  A large brown bear just upstream ignored us with studied indifference.

Our day at Anan Creek Bear Preserve was one of those special experiences that will be warmly remembered.  From the safety of our viewing platform we were surrounded by black bears, as many as 15 at a time.  Most were busy catching salmon from the creek.  Competition for the best fishing spots was intense with lots of loud roaring and occasional fights.  Dozens of bald eagles were among the bears cleaning up the fish scraps.  Two sets of playful twin cubs frolicked near the platform most of the day scurrying along fallen logs or climbing trees.

Our final day we took a jet boat excursion on the scenic Stikine River to near the Shakes Glacier where we photographed the giant icebergs blocked our way.  We took our time going in with several stops for photos, but zoomed back at over 40 mph.

See more photos on my Facebook page

Rich & Lori Rothstein

Muskeg, Windfall Harbor

Big Lenses

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