SPIRITS IN THE FOREST
Bears, Eagles, & Scenery in Anan Creek & Anan Bay, Alaska
I was fortunate to have spent a few days over the July 4th holiday with family and good friends (was delighted that Olis Garber, photographer extraordinaire, was able to fly up from Jacksonville, FL & join Glenn & me, Conrad & Breanna, and Barb & Evan Rose) in the cabin at Anan Bay with the Anan Creek Wildlife Observatory just a short one mile jaunt through the Tongass National Forest––prime bear habitat. Shooting bears in Anan Creek is really a treat because they are truly up close and personal. I never needed more than a 400mm telephoto and, in most instances, that was way too much. Last time there, I relied on my 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM with a 2x teleconverter. Since we walked 4 miles daily (595 stairs each way give or take) I didn't want to haul anything too heavy if it wasn't essential. Thankfully, I was able to get a loaner from Canon Professional Services: their new EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM with a built-in 1.4x extender. Yes, built-in, allowing one to achieve a zoom up to 560mm. The lens weighs 8 lbs; not too much to carry with my camera body and a few other essentials, albeit a little more robust than I'm accustomed to hand-holding. I brought a monopod along, but found more flexibility by using the railing which provided a good anchor to rest my elbows on. Shooting subjects in flight, like the eagles, proved more challenging. Image quality was as good as purported to be, although I would have like to have been able to keep it long enough to shoot under "normal" conditions closer to home to really put it through its paces!
The marine life that washed ashore & a few flowers lent themselves to macro shots while the scenery called my wide angle zoom to record its grandeur.