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Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread

  
 
guitardirky
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


Trying to piggyback on the success of the African safari thread to plan a new trip for next year and since it is prime travel time, I wanted to see what folks recommend from their Alaskan experiences.

Looking to see your favorite lodging sites for photography, favorite regions along the Cook Inlet or into the national parks such as Lake Clark NP, Katmai NP, or others areas like Kodiak Island.

What is your preference for air travel or water taxi from Anchorage, Kenai, Homer or other areas, and the time of the season you like to travel vs duration of trip time. Also, for weight restrictions on small aircraft flights, what are we packing gear wise.

Feel free to share a few photos along the way!



Jul 10, 2024 at 06:56 AM
chez
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


I would think the following forum is a better place to ask this.

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/51/



Jul 10, 2024 at 07:34 AM
berimbolo
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


chez wrote:
I would think the following forum is a better place to ask this.

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/51/


No. That forum is dead.

OP: I have a pdf with some info that I will try to share. I've not yet been, but I am biased towards Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clarke NP because friends of mine work as bear guides out there.



Jul 10, 2024 at 07:39 AM
Al Trujillo
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


The problem with Alaska is its so big! I typed that somewhat 'tongue in cheek' though seriously the state is big and first time visitors may be a bit overwhelmed by the distances involved from one place to the other. Unless you have unlimited time and funds, I recommend you pick a region of the state and explore it (you'll want to go back again another time). I've been to AK four times and have probably only explored 1/10th of the state.

Hotels are scattered, get booked early and can get pricey. The tourist industry recognized this a long time ago and now the RV rental business has made it easy for visitors. IMO, an RV is the best way to enjoy your time there rather than hurrying to your next hotel. Alaska highways has many pull-off sites for overnight camping, and their state park system is very accomodating to its visitors Do a price comparison between of hotels vs. RV rental you'll you'll go the RV route. This is who I've used and their products and service are top-line:

https://www.greatalaskanholidays.com/?gad_source=1&gbraid=0AAAAAD_dTqgXFhw65YK0sbkjGMcpjkEU1&gclid=CjwKCAjw4ri0BhAvEiwA8oo6F6K-wH3kA7lhrSkEVLg9pSFMwVRo7RHJG6iaa5nznqv6Hy_8uluGBRoCOHwQAvD_BwE

The Alaska Milepost is probably the best source of useful information as it details all the highlights of the state highway system (mile by mile). If you decide to rent an RV you should buy one as soon as you can. If you are flying to all your designations it may not be as useful.

https://themilepost.com

Duration of your trip: Each of my trips were 14-20 days long and I would recommend a minimum of two weeks.

Bears - You'll want to see bears. IMO, the better options are to schedule a flight to either Brooks Falls or Lake Clark National Park. If you can swing the cost I'd recommend flying to one of the camps/lodges and spending 2,3 or 4 days there. Most lodges will have flights arranged for you. The single day flights originate from Anchorage, Soldotna or Homer. At Brooks Falls you'll find yourself surrounded with a lot more people. Not so much at Lake Clark NP.

This place is on my list and I understand it is one of the better ones in AK:
https://silversalmoncreek.com

Information on Brooks Falls:
https://katmailand.com

Denali: Everybody who goes to AK wants to see Denali. The problem with Denali is that with few exceptions the only way to see the interior of the park is on a crowded tour bus. You'll be run some distance into the park and back out again on the same road. When you make reservations (my last experience in 2022) the tour company selects the tour time for you. When I called several months in advance and asked for the earliest tour time available I was told that we would be given a tour time when we arrived. In this case our tour began at 11:30AM which was not a great time.

There are a number of cruise companies doing business in AK and they are on tight schedules. On our first visit (as part of a Princess cruise/train package) the cruise members were given tour priority as we had to be on the train back to Anchorage by late afternoon.

I've ridden the tour bus into the park twice and won't do it again. But...I still think first time visitors should do it at least once. Just understand the reality.

Seasons to visit:
July-August for bears when the salmon are in the streams
September for hard horned moose and caribou. The moose are coming into rut and the bulls are easier to find and caribou have started to migrate and are more visible.
Aurora - October through winter.

Family: Will you be traveling with family? If you haven't experienced a cruise through the Inland Passage I recommend you consider one. If your wife is traveling with you I think this would be great experience for both of you. You'll be seeing a part of the state that is difficult to visit without a series of flights and water taxies. Take a cruise north from either Seattle or Vancouver (BC) and start your land trip after you disembark in Anchorage.

Hope this all helps!


Edited on Jul 10, 2024 at 08:04 AM · View previous versions



Jul 10, 2024 at 07:54 AM
chez
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread




berimbolo wrote:
No. That forum is dead.

OP: I have a pdf with some info that I will try to share. I've not yet been, but I am biased towards Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clarke NP because friends of mine work as bear guides out there.


So we should just make the Sony forum a free for all? What about the non Sony members whose inputs youd be missing out on.



Jul 10, 2024 at 07:56 AM
berimbolo
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


chez wrote:
So we should just make the Sony forum a free for all? What about the non Sony members whose inputs youd be missing out on.


You can crosspost to multiple subforums.

Caring deeply about threads that may appear to be offtopic is something I'm way too young for.



Jul 10, 2024 at 07:59 AM
berimbolo
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


Apologies for the formatting:

Alaska Bear Photography Guide
Important Note: Bear Spray is not allowed on airplanes.

Locations:

Lake Clark National Park:

Best Time: Mid-June to September (mid-June to early July for spring cubs)
Getting There: Fly to Anchorage, then rent a car and drive to Soldotna. Alternatively, some lodges offer direct flights from Anchorage. Scenic drive recommended via Seward Highway with a stop at Potter Marsh.
Opportunities: Cubs playing, mother-cub interaction, feeding, mating, standing on hind legs.
Photography Situation: Mostly overcast/rainy. Request early morning trips for good light at low tide. Bear viewing from 6am to 10:30pm. Minimal walking, transport by ATV.
Gear: 24-105mm, 100-400mm, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm lens, 1.4x teleconverter, tripod with gimbal head, monopod with monopod head.
Clothing: Rain gear (essential) and cold gear (recommended). Head net for mosquitos.
Lodging (book at least 6 months in advance): Alaska Homestead Lodge (www.alaskawildlife.com). Silver Salmon Creek Lodge (http://silversalmoncreek.com/) is another option.

Hallo Bay, Katmai:

Best Time: Mid-June to September (mid-June to early July for spring cubs)
Opportunities: Similar to Lake Clark National Park (cubs, feeding, mating)
Photography Situation: Mostly overcast/rainy. Bear viewing from 8:30am to 5pm. More walking required and further from bears compared to Lake Clark (consider if Lake Clark is booked).
Gear: Same as Lake Clark National Park.
Clothing: Same as Lake Clark National Park.
Additional Tips:

Potter Marsh: Near Anchorage. Stop in early July for nesting birds (Arctic terns). See website: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=viewinglocations.pottermarsh

Anchor Point Beach: Look for bald eagles during low tide.

Brooks Falls, Katmai:

Best Time: Varies depending on salmon run (unpredictable).
Getting There: Fly in daily (limited good light) or camp for more opportunities.
Opportunities: Bears catching salmon at the falls.
Photography Situation: Shooting down from viewing platform (not eye level). Hiking near Brooks Camp offers better chances of seeing bears with cubs.
Gear: Same as Lake Clark National Park.
Clothing: Same as Lake Clark National Park. Head net with extreme mosquito caution!
Note: Walk from the visitor center to the viewing deck can be dangerous due to bears and limited visibility. Go with a companion.
Lodging (consider noise and bunk beds): https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/lodging.htm. Camping option for experienced campers: https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/plyovicamp.htm
Tours: Contact James at [email protected] or (907) 262-1960 or www.alaskawildlife.com
Inland Katmai:

Best Time: Late July, early August
Opportunities: Witnessing bears pouncing on salmon (considered intimidating). Tours recommended.
Photography Situation: Wading in water, eye-level with bears (dramatic action shots).
Gear: Same as Lake Clark National Park.
Tours: Contact Charles Glatzer (Canon Explorer of Light) at [email protected] or Shootthelight.com for pouncing bear tours (unpredictable). Consider risks associated with chartering flights, camping, or remote lodges (timing, water levels, weather).



Jul 10, 2024 at 08:02 AM
guitardirky
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


berimbolo wrote:
You can crosspost to multiple subforums.

Caring deeply about threads that may appear to be offtopic is something I'm way too young for.


Except it would not cross post to or from the Trip Advice forum ! This forum will ramp up our information quickly and efficiently.

thank you all for the advice so far, I will dive right in.




Jul 10, 2024 at 08:17 AM
guitardirky
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


Has anyone worked out of King Salmon?


Jul 11, 2024 at 03:12 PM
 


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chez
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread




berimbolo wrote:
No. That forum is dead.

OP: I have a pdf with some info that I will try to share. I've not yet been, but I am biased towards Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clarke NP because friends of mine work as bear guides out there.


Quick two second search got me this on that dead forum.

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1852117/0?keyword=Alaska#16510127

OP, did you do any homework before posting away in the wrong forum?



Jul 11, 2024 at 03:38 PM
guitardirky
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


chez wrote:
Quick two second search got me this on that dead forum.

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1852117/0?keyword=Alaska#16510127

OP, did you do any homework before posting away in the wrong forum?


Thats for a driving trip, not what I need. Thanks.



Jul 11, 2024 at 03:58 PM
berimbolo
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


chez wrote:
Quick two second search got me this on that dead forum.

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1852117/0?keyword=Alaska#16510127

OP, did you do any homework before posting away in the wrong forum?


You're such a dork lol



Jul 11, 2024 at 06:54 PM
chez
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread




berimbolo wrote:
You're such a dork lol


Its obviously over your head to understand why if we dump everything into one forum without regard to the topic of the post well end up with a big mess. But dont let me stop you from doing what you doI will just ignore ignorance.



Jul 11, 2024 at 07:03 PM
curious80
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


Frankly combative posts like these with the unnecessary back and forth add far more clutter to these forums than the 'offtopic' posts. My 2 cents


Jul 12, 2024 at 11:52 AM
RustyRus
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


chez wrote:
Its obviously over your head to understand why if we dump everything into one forum without regard to the topic of the post well end up with a big mess. But dont let me stop you from doing what you doI will just ignore ignorance.


PM Fred and let him know this thread is here and happening- See if he cares- Its seems relevant to me- I am intrested-

In short of doing that- MOVE ON ALREADY



Jul 12, 2024 at 12:13 PM
berimbolo
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


This is a relatively new lodge in Lake Clark. It looks incredible. Im in touch with them for planning a 2025 trip: https://www.instagram.com/brownbearbay/

It looks like it costs between 10-15k USD for 7 days. Worth getting in touch with them soon because they have quite a long queue of requests @guitardirky



Jul 12, 2024 at 12:22 PM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


guitardirky wrote:
Trying to piggyback on the success of the African safari thread to plan a new trip for next year and since it is prime travel time, I wanted to see what folks recommend from their Alaskan experiences.

Looking to see your favorite lodging sites for photography, favorite regions along the Cook Inlet or into the national parks such as Lake Clark NP, Katmai NP, or others areas like Kodiak Island.

What is your preference for air travel or water taxi from Anchorage, Kenai, Homer or other areas, and the time of the season you like to travel vs duration of
...Show more

A couple of pointers, I didn't see a grizzly, the people seeing them saw them from a Piper Cub. I saw some wildlife but you really need to plan if that's a focus, not necessarily just running around the road.

There just aren't a lot of roads in Alaska. Not saying you can't see a lot by road, you can, but you probably need to look at the ferry system to get around, in addition, at the very least especially on the panhandle. There are a lot of pilots in Alaska for a reason

We just flew into Anchorage rented a car no big deal. Back in film days, I dont have anything handy



Jul 12, 2024 at 12:43 PM
MRundel
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Alaskan Photo Trips - - Recommendation Thread


We went to Alaska at the end of August last year. My wife's birthday present to me was to schedule an evening with the Denali Photo Guide company. They took me way off the regular beaten path and I got pics of moose, eagle and beaver. Saw parts of the tundra most would never see. They deal with everything from I-phone photographers to guys like me showing up with my A7R4 and a 200-600, Plan on rain, it rained all day of my excursion but the sun peaked out at dusk and I got rainbow shots. As for seeing Denali, the locals say only 30% ever see it due to weather. They also say, if you can't see the stars, you can't see the lights (auroras). One guide said it only rained two times that summer, the first time 38 days and the second time 22 days.


Jul 14, 2024 at 06:41 PM







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