Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sitka, Alaska with Marc Muench Workshop

Every time I join one of Marc Muench's workshops I become reinvigorated in my photography. I spent the last few weeks in one of the most gorgeous locations in the world filled with extraordinary scenery, wildlife and wonder. Probably none of it better shown than with our guide, friend and fellow photographer Dan Evans.
When looking at the weather reports leading up to my trip, it looked very grim. It showed rain, rain and more rain. Flying into Sitka from Seattle, my aerial view was nothing but thick vicious looking clouds. My hopes were starting to diminish greatly. By the time I got to the hotel, the weather looked threatening but it was not raining. As a matter of fact, I was even able to capture the moon through my hotel window just before going to sleep. If this shot was a sign of things to come, I was very happy indeed.

On my first day on Sitka, I went with Andy Williams and Dan Evans on Dan's Boat to tour Sitka surrounding waters and what it had to offer for a few hours. I did not know what to expect since I have never shot of a small boat. I am definitively glad I had my D3 and 200-400mm f/4. With the over cast weather and the boat rocking around, I pushed my camera and the lens as far as it would let me.

Just as we were leaving the harbor, Dan spotted a few Bald Eagles....

As we traveled from island to island, we encountered many sea otters and harbor seals. Even though the harbor seals were very skittish, we did encounter a few that seemed to tolerate our presence.

Captain Dan within only a few hours managed to show us some incredible wildlife as well as scenery and this was only day 1....WOW!!! I love this place

I have no idea what happened to this poor guy but he still seemed to fly ok.

Sadly, we had to go back to catch up with the rest of the group. I could have easily spent all day with Andy and Capt. Dan cruising around the islands taking pictures in every direction I looked.

What I did not know and quickly came to realize was that everyday I spent in Sitka was a day full of photography opportunities while spending some great time with fellow photographers. The best was yet to come.

That evening, we all went on a charity dinner cruise. I use dinner very loosely here since we all just got a cold slice of pizza but the photo frenzy that persued was well worth over looking such minor details.

Whales were abundant and we ran right into their feeding of krill.  When I picked up my D3 w/ my 200-400mm f/4, I realized something was very wrong. The camera was not working and I could not get a shot. Whales were everywhere and here I was struggeling to figure out why my camera was not working. I soon realized that my early morning boat trip the camera must of dropped since my lens mount on my camera was bent and my zoom ring on the lens was dinged bad enough it would not turn....I was Soooooo bummed out.

Dan Evans loaned me a canon w/ a 70-200mm lens but before I was able to figure out how to properly use it, I was only able to snap off a few shots. Oh well...I am glad I brought a back up camera. Too bad it was sitting in my hotel room.

Here were the few shots I was able to snap off...

I was even able to capture a isn't very sharp but it was the only one I captured on the trip ;-)

Common Murre's are in the thousounds on St. Lazaria Island. This is an incredible island. It looks like a scene right out of jurasic park. I will defeinitely take more pics of this incredible place next time I visit Sitka. I just wish I had more pics to show you.

Day 2 I was set to go back out with Capt. Dan and Marc Muench for another half day of boating around Sitka's small Islands and coves.....

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