Recently, my friend Brad was kind enough to invite me on an Alaskan cruise. Apparently, his wife was unable to get the time off to go, so we had some bro time on an all expenses paid trip! Having never been to Alaska before, I took my camera and had fun refreshing my landscape / nature skills. The itinerary had multiple stops, including Ketchikan, Juneau, Tracy’s Arm Fjord, Skagway, and Vancouver Island in Canada. The ship was called the “Celebrity Solstice” and is hands down the largest ship I have ever seen in person. Being 15 stories tall and containing among other things a helipad, sprawling green lawn, multiple restaurants, casino, dance clubs, wine bar, and observation lounge, we later found out that it is over 200 feet longer than the Titanic. So, with the ship being our spear and Alaska our proverbial lion, we embarked on an adventure.
A fun little fact I learned, is the entire population of Alaska – you know, the LARGEST state in the USA – is 600,000. The population on Vancouver Island by comparison, is 800,000. You can imagine just how much of the land is untamed, which is fantastic for the wildlife. Until I had visited Alaska, California and Hawaii were at the top of my list in terms of gorgeous topography in the United States. Now, Alaska has joined my list. Our first stop was the town of Ketchikan. It was cloudy with off and on rain, which gave the town a sleepy vibe. We attempted to tour the town with our cameras, but the rain was so persistent (rain that goes sideways), it ended up soaking through my camera bag, drenching some of my equipment, so we found refuge under a bus stop waiting area that had a roof. Ironically, there was a big sign that said “no loitering”, but we justified it by checking out camera gear and emptying the puddle that was forming at the base of my bag. One shot I did manage to take while at the bus stop, is the black and white shot of the boat harbor you can view in the slideshow above. The rain had paused for a moment, allowing me to take a shot. We ended up making our way back to a local diner and ordered fish ‘n chips. As we were eating, I was looking at the various framed paintings / drawings that were hanging on the walls, when I noticed in the subtle glare on one of the pictures, a bird flying over to a light post. Based on the shape of the silhouette and movement, I mentioned to Brad “I think I see a bald eagle over by the docks. Brad scanned the area and found the bird on the lamp post, but dismissed it, saying “nah, it looks like some other bird.” The patrons in the restaurant overheard our conversation and looked over as well. The bird at one point spread its wings while perched atop the light post and you could hear a collective gasp from everyone as it was indeed a bald eagle! It became apparent that most of the folks in the restaurant were tourists like us because there was a collective stampede to the windows to get a better look. Brad and I quickly gathered up out gear and headed back out into the rain. The eagle was on the opposite side of the harbor from us, so we attempted to get some shots using our zoom lenses. The sideways rain was proving to be a nuisance, causing me to have to wipe my lens every few seconds. As we walked back to the ship, Brad noticed that the eagle was still perched on the light post, which was on the same strip of dock as our ship. By then, the rain had relented and was no more than a light misting, so we decided to try and get as close as possible to get better shots. Luckily, we got within 30 feet of the eagle before it got spooked and flew off. I was able to get this shot:
<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/99383185″ width=”1280″ height=”720″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/99383185″>Alaska Montage</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/russellperkins”>Russell Perkins</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>