Alaska: Kenai Fjords NP

Part 1 Kenai Fjords + Seward

The September Alaska photo expedition began in Anchorage where my parents, who were on their way back from a week in Denali, picked me up. The time here was spent hiking, hunting for wildlife, and taking a boat ride to view Fjords from the sea.

Day 1- Anchorage to Whittier, Portage Glacier hike
Day 2- Seward, Exit Glacier hike. Kenai Fjords National Park
Day 3- Seward, tour of Northwestern glacier and fjord. Kenai Fjords National Park

The definite highlights of this portion of the trip was the Exit Glacier hike to the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjord National Park. This is a beautiful, but relatively strenuous, 8-9 mile dayhike with a 3000 foot elevation change. However, the rewards for this trek are plenty.  Wildlife dotted the hillsides, and the view of the Harding Icefield is spectacular.  Ice stretching to the horizon as far as you can see, with mountain peaks poking through. 

The next day was a Kenai Fjord boat tour.   9 hours in length, it leaves Resurrection Bay  and hugs the coastline all the way down to Northwestern Fjord/Glacier. The views afforded from a seaside vantage point were spectacular. This is one place that is best experienced from the water (unless you are an expert glacier traverser).  The only way to improve on this boat experience is to go by kayak, gliding silently between the icebergs and camp on some isolated beach.  Wildlife was also abundant. Wildlife photography from a boat is typically never easy, and when you are using a fixed 600mm lens with 1.4x extender, the challenges are increased even further. But despite this, I was able to get get some decent bird, seal, sea lion, and orca photos. However, my mom was able to capture a couple orca breaches! Very jealous of that!

The Seward area is tucked into a bay surrounded by seaside mountains, therefore there isn’t much sunrise or sunset light getting the ground, save for the highest peaks.  But each night I was take walks and use this period of gentle light to search for eagles in the surrounding areas.  I was even able to use the fiery sunset colors with some eagle “headshots”.