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Favorite Photo Locations – Alaska!

1. Lake Clark National Park

Located just southwest of Anchorage and accessible by float plane, there are several great sites for Brown Bear photography. My favorite is Crescent Lake. When the Brown Bears are on the Salmon runs, there are lots of opportunities for great action shots. I advise staying focused on a single bear, rather than scanning for action and trying to hit the shutter before it’s too late.

Remember, every bear will do something interesting, if you just wait for it.

Brown Bear Shaking off the Water. Canon 1D MkIV. Canon 600mm f4 L IS
ISO 3200, f5.6, 1/5000th second.

2. Denali National Park

Moving north, Denali National Park is not to be missed. The combination of spectacular scenery (especially in the Fall)…

Denali in Fall Colors. Canon 5D MkII. Canon 100-400mm L IS @ 100mm.
ISO 640, f18, 1/100th second.

…combined with abundant wildlife make it a nature photographer’s dream!

Alaskan Wolf. Canon 1D MkIV. Canon 600mm f4 L IS + Canon 1.4X
ISO 1250, f10, 1/320th second.

You’re only able to drive your own vehicles for the first 15 miles in Denali. Beyond that, you either hike or take the park bus system. This keeps the environmental impact from visitors down to a minimum.

I recommend both the Tundra Wilderness Tour (5 hours) and the Kantishna Experience (12 hours). Both provide a boxed lunch and make frequent stops for wildlife. Both are booked through

3. Kaktovik Island

The last spot on my Alaska list is the final stop on my photo tours – and we like to finish with a bang!

Kaktovik is a tiny island, just offshore in the Beaufort Sea and it’s an Inupiat Eskimo village, with a population of about 300. There’s no commercial tourism there, so you should arrange your trip with a guide like me.

You might ask why we would go to such a remote little island that’s so isolated. Here’s your answer.

Polar Bear Cub with Mom. Canon 5D MkII. Canon 100-400mm L IS @ 400mm.
ISO 640, f10, 1/1250th second.

Using a small boat, we cruise the shoreline, photographing the polar bears on the beach. By shooting at eye-level, we create really compelling images with just a hand-held telephoto lens.

Like the Brown Bears of the south, every Polar Bear will do something cute or interesting if you just give it enough time. The little 1st-year cub above was in that position for just a few seconds, but a little patience produced this portfolio-class image.

So when it comes to wildlife, landscape and nature photography, there are few places that can compare to Alaska. If you want to join me on a tour or just want some advice on shooting in Alaska, drop me a note – and enjoy the trip!

Charlie MacPherson
The Amazing Image

Original Publication Date: June 24, 2013

Article Last updated: June 24, 2013

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