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Sat, Jan 20, 2018
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Alaska is the dream for many a wildlife and landscape photographer. This is a country of such astounding natural beauty which is made all the more enticing by the frequently harsh climate conditions, making many parts of it almost inaccessible at certain times of year. Few other places in the world offer such a wealth of photographic opportunities, and whether you’re a professional or an amateur, if you holiday here you’ll need to bring more than a few memory cards for your camera.

If you’re a first-timer to Alaska, here are some locations you definitely won’t want to miss if you want to catch a memorable shot.

Brooks Falls

In the Katmai National Park in the south of the country, Brooks Falls has a special viewing platform set up, because so many people are after that iconic shot of brown Kodiak bears fishing for salmon as they swim upstream. Catching one just as the jaws clamp closed is a measure of luck as much as skill.

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Katmai is also home to seven active volcanos, one of which, Novarupta, erupted in 1912, the largest eruption in the 20th century. It created the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, where you can see colourful clouds of dense ash drifting along, as well as great cracks cleaved into the earth’s surface.

Captain Cook State Park

Visit the beach here from May onwards and you may catch a sight of Beluga whales, as they arrive to feed. Keep your finger on the button as you try to catch one breaching the waves.

Tana Glacier

Walk along this 17-mile glacier that begins at Bagley icefield during the summer months. As the snow starts gradually melting in the bright sun, tiny holes become gaping-mouthed caves. Pointing your lens down there is akin to staring into the bowels of the earth.

Turnagain Arm Drive

Part of the legendary Seward Highway, this is reputed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country. Mountains, waterfalls and many scenic coves are everywhere - there are plenty of places to pull over and grab a few shots on this 45-minute drive.

Glacier Bay

In the south-east of Alaska, this is a huge body of water, usually navigated by cruise ship. Stay on the deck, and you’ll witness gigantic floating blocks of ice that dwarf your ship, as well as porpoises and bald eagles plus, if you’re lucky, orcas.

Aurora Borealis

The mysterious and entrancing Northern Lights are visible in Alaska from September to April, when the skies are clearest and the weather mildest. Most weeks will offer several good opportunities, and your best spot is around Fairbanks.

Kenai Fjords

Cruising around the Kenai Fjords is another fantastic chance to snap majestic icebergs, as well as whales and sealions, in a landscape of such beauty it defies words.

Denali National Park

One of Alaska’s most prominent destinations for Alaska holidays, Denali is home to Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. On a clear day you can get incredible views of it’s icy summit, but if not then there is abundant flora and fauna to capture your attention and viewfinder elsewhere.

Ice-Fishing

Ice-fishing is a traditional Eskimo pursuit that many visitors like to try out for themselves. The northern Bering Sea coast is where you will find Inuits who spend hours at a time crouched over a hole in the ice, and will be happy to pose for a picture, or help you catch your dinner.

As you would anywhere, it’s always polite to request permission before taking anyone’s picture. Alaska has some of the planet’s most diverse, and also dangerous, wildlife. When out with your camera, always be aware of your proximity to the subject and take appropriate precautions.  

A big fan of amateur photography holidays, Rob has undertaken tours of Alaska, Kenya and the Amalfi Coast in recent years.  

Category: Photography Blog

Taking family portraits is an important part of preserving a family's history. If you are working as a portrait photographer, this short, helpful post will guide you through the "do's" and "definitely do not's" of taking a great family portrait together.

DO: Give the Family Good Preparatory Guidance
As the photographer, you can influence the outcome of each family's portrait session. Understand that most people don't know how to look their best in front of the camera. Here are some tips your clients will thank you for when they see the finished portrait:

  • Coordinate your outfits. include here colour, style of clothing, head to toe attention.
  • Use makeup for camera lighting. For women, this means erring on the side of too much rather than too little. You can also ask that clients bring their makeup to the session so you can adjust as needed.
  • Do not eat or drink en route to the session. The jarring and jouncing of transportation can cause spills and stains.
  • Bring one outfit change just in case. If your clients feel indecisive, it is best that they bring at least one outfit alternative to the session - better safe than sorry!
  • Avoid tanning, waxing, or any other visible cosmetic adjustments just prior to the portrait session.


DON'T: Get Pulled into Family Drama
Sometimes family members may squabble during the photo shoot. Don't let yourself get pulled in or persuaded to take sides. You can suggest a five-minute break to let emotions cool, but remain polished, calm, and professional at all times. Remember, an arguing family now can still turn into a referral later!

DO: Check and Double-Check all Equipment and Lighting Before the Session
The last thing you want to do when your clients arrive is to discover that some part of your equipment is non-functional or that the lighting in the space you have chosen is not conducive to a good shot. Know the lighting in your space inside and out at every hour. Check and double check your equipment and make sure you have enough supplies before the family arrives. 

DON'T: Get Too Creative During the Shoot

Stick with what you absolutely know will work. You can brainstorm different ideas with your clients before the shoot, but once they arrive, have a plan and stick to it. Remember, the family has paid you for a beautiful portrait, not so you have time to explore your "creative side." 
With these "do's" and "definitely do not's," you can have successful family photoshoot sessions every time - and happy clients who will refer their friends to you - repeat business never harmed anyone right?

DO: Ask the family to coordinate clothing

Before you meet up with the family you will be shooting it is a good idea to ask them if they would like to coordinate their wardrobe choices.  Of course it is ultimately up to them but it would be helpful to remind them to avoid any extreme colours, prints or logos that will have a negative impact on the overall quality and give you an easier time post production.

About the Author

Michael Jones is a keen photographer and has contirbuted to various blogs offering help and advice in all areas of photography.

Category: Photography Blog

In an age of camera phones where no memorable moment escapes our iPhone’s shutter, the traditional, dedicated camera seems obsolete. With the notable exception being the DSLR for taking extremely high quality pictures, not many people even consider buying a camera anymore. With Instagram and built in filters on our phones, they serve as a pretty good alternative to the traditional digital and disposable camera. But there are still those who want a unique camera that captures memories in a special way. With the amount of photos we take on our phones, the magic of taking a good photo is lost – instead, we spam the shutter, saturating our memory cards with as many photos as possible. So for those looking for something a little more special, try one of these out.

Lomo LC-A+

A relatively new movement from the 1990’s, lomography is an attempt to experiment creatively with photography by returning to the analogue camera model. The only automatic feature this camera offers is exposure, everything is you’ll have to do manually: including loading, winding, rewinding, and focusing. A fun gift idea for a photography enthusiast, it feels really rewarding to take a good photo manually.

Holga

In a world obsessed with high quality, there are those who stand fast and choose low quality photography to make a statement. Lo-fi photography is intriguing and strangely beautiful. It’s unconventional photography and far from mainstream, but it delivers beautiful and nostalgic photography. The Holga camera will allow you to join this defiant movement and capture your memories uniquely. There is a lot you can do with this camera and no two photos you take will ever be the same.

Polaroid

The Polaroid camera is well known and established. I’m not talking about the new variety of instant photography, I’m talking about an old Polaroid, a classic tool for capturing those special moments. They may not be ideal for selfies but they provide a certain retro feel to the photography experience. A wall decorated with polaroids of smiling children, family portraits and friendly outings is awe inspiring. It feels classic, real, and special.

Fujifilm Instax

The newer varieties of instant cameras are cute, compact and stylish. They are considerably smaller than their older counterpart and far trendier. These don’t feel as elegant or classic as the Polaroid, but more fun and energetic. They have colour photography capabilities and capture great photos. However, most of them don’t allow for much in the way of optimizing your photography. They remain a fun and novel way of taking photos however, and their popularity is rising.

Underwater Cameras

Underwater cameras are great for both summer and winter vacations. If you want to take photos of your kids while you’re swimming at the pools or at the beach or skiing in the snow, an underwater camera will capture their energy and joy with no loss in quality. A lot of contemporary underwater cameras offer a lot in the way of quality and maximising your photos’ brilliance. There are a few to pick from, with CNET recommending the Nikon Coolpix AW100 for great photos every time.

About the Author

Adrian Rodriguez is a freelance writer and photographer who enjoys unconventional photography. If you want to experiment with different cameras, he suggests you use to Flexirent to try a wide variety of cameras and see which best suits you.

 

Category: Photography Blog