Posted by: lle2010 | March 6, 2011

Week 10 – Whales, Nature and A Glacier -Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is located on the upper Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska.  It is nearly 600 air miles from Anchorage and 900 miles from Seattle.  Juneau is the capitol of Alaska and the only transportation in or out of Juneau is by air or boat.  There is no road linking it to the outside world. 

The one thing that has amazed me about the cities in Alaska, is most of them still look like a small town.  Even Juneau.  On my first visit, I could not believe this small, rural looking city was the capitol.  I guess I am used to the crowded big cities of the East.  There is plenty to do and see here.  There are museums, fishing, hiking, whale watching, helicopter rides, float plane rides and camping.

On my first visit, I took my first helicopter ride over several glaciers and landed at Dog World where my friends and I rode the dog sleds.  We also had time to visit Mendenhall Glacier.  This visit we decided on a photo safari excursion.  This included whale watching and a trip to Mendenhall.  Our guide was a photographer who gave us a crash course in taking better nature photos.  He offered assistance to everyone, no matter their skill level or what type of camera they had; be it a DSLR or point and shoot.  I was able to pick up a couple of tips that helped me that day as well as now. 

This first photo is just to show you what type of boat we were on for the whale watching.  It was completely enclosed with windows all around.  The guide would raise the windows for a better view and picture taking opportunity.  The boat fit approximately 14 guests plus the guide and the captain.  I felt it was a nice way to view the whales, but then I have nothing to compare it to.


Lots of whales were spotted that day.  The captain had a radio that he could monitor the whereabouts of the whales.  When there was a sighting, he headed in that direction.  The one thing I wanted to see, as well as, several other folks on the boat, was the breeching of a whale.  That is when the whale comes completing out of the water.  I hear it is a spectacular sight.  We were not that lucky on this day.  But, I had a great time!  It was hard to capture that ultimate shot, but I did my best.  Knowing what I know now, whenever I return, I will rent a lens with a longer focal length to get really up close and personal.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/11  1/500  ISO 400

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/13  1/500  ISO 400

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200mm  f/11  1/500  ISO 400

We spent about 2 hours on the water then returned to shore, boarded a bus and rode about half an hour to Mendenhall Glacier.  Once there, our group hiked a couple of the nearby trails and stopped for nature photos.  We made our way to the visitors center and saw our first real views of the glacier.  It was just as spectacular this time as it was the first time.  Here are some of the nature photos I took along with a couple of Mendenhall Glacier.

This first photo was taken as we walked along the trail.  I took several photos standing and kneeling.  Not happy with what I was getting, I finally got down on the ground and took this.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/11  1/100  ISO 400

I have no idea what type of plant this is.  It just looked interesting.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  f/5.6  1/60  ISO 400

I must have taken about 15 shots of this waterfall/babbling brook.  I was experimenting with slow and fast shutter speeds.  Not having a tripod it was hard to get a really sharp image at the slower shutter speeds.  I wanted to create that soft, blurred water effect.  I did not want the crisp, stop action on the water.  For hand held, I think this turned out pretty good.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 28 mm  f/16  1/30  ISO 400

This view is from the Visitor’s Center overlooking Mendenhall Lake and Glacier.  You can get a sense of how vast this glacier is by how small the folks are in the left foreground.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 60 mm  f/16  1/250  ISO 400

For this last photo, we moved to a different viewing location. I turned the camera to a vertical position and wanted to capture the reflections in the lake as well as the glacier.  It creates a different feel.  I like the contrast of the ice in the background and the lush greenery in the foreground.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 40 mm  f/18  1/30  ISO 400



  1. Linda-

    Pleased to see you posting again. I love your pictures and look forward to returning to Alaska and trying my hand at getting some pictures of my own.

  2. Nice photos! Alaska is a wonderful place. I have some photographs of glaciers and whales as well, but I didn’t get a chance to go to Janeau, mine were taken in Kenai Fjords National Park. Both places look quite spectacular. Thanks for sharing your photographsm next time I go to Alaska I’ll have to make it to Janeau.
    – Nate

  3. Lucinda,
    Renting is a great way to try a lens before buying. Also, it is really nice to rent that lens you know you will only use on a special occasion. Renting can be less expensive than buying. Check with your local camera store to see if they have a rental program. If not, just go to the internet. I know B&H Photo and Adorama both have a rental program.


  4. Nice! Alaska looks like heaven to me.
    I did not know you could rent lenses. Very interesting. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: