“Letters. We get letters. We get stacks and stacks of letters. Dear Perry. Would you be so kind to fill a request and sing the song I like best.” I’m dating myself but when I saw this rusty, weathered mail slot in Nevada City, Montana, that jingle from the old 1950’s Perry Como show came to mind.

Nikon D850, Nikkor 105 f/1.4.

2019—Painting a Bromeliad

Light painting has become an obsession of mine. I saw this bromeliad at the grocery store recently and I knew instantly it was a must-have so I could create a light painting of it. I used a small pen light with a snoot, creating a very focused beam of light to paint the light on the petals without lighting the background in a 20 second exposure. Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24-70/2.8 S.

2019—Light Music

Photoshop World 2019 in Las Vegas ended Friday. It was my first opportunity to participate in this “All Things Photoshop” event sponsored by KelbyOne and it lived up to my expectations. Mixed in with the schedule of lectures and live action events were opportunities for photographers to take advantage of professional lighting setups and models. On the last day, a professional model, the lovely Julienne, posed with a cello and bow for a couple of hours under strategically placed studio lights while PSW participants photographed her. I used the Nikon Z7 and Nikkor 105mm 1.4 lens to capture this image.

2019—Expressions from the Cove

Sea Otters have very expressive faces and gestures. Although it is anthropomorphic to say that they knowingly use their paws to make adorable gestures, we often can’t help but interpret those expressions in human terms. This Sea Otter looks as if he has just realized he’s forgotten something, pulling his paws to his face with an “oh no!” expression.

2019—Baby in Tow

The Sea Otters of Halibut Cove in Kachemak Bay near Homer, Alaska are adorable. Sea Otters are often called the “teddy bears of the sea” with good reason because they are irresistibly cute and cuddly looking. We were lucky to find several rafts of Sea Otters floating near us on our visit. Many grasped their young to their bellies with their paws. This Sea Otter appears to be towing its young pup, the pup resting on the adult’s belly and rear legs.

2019—30% Club Membership

Denali, North America’s tallest peak, is shrouded in clouds most of the time. In fact, according to the National Park Service, because of its mass, Denali actually creates its own weather. The weather surrounding it changes constantly and a view of the mountain is not guaranteed. They say that there are two kinds of people at Denali: the 30% of visitors who actually see the peak and everybody else. During our visit, the mountain was either completely hidden or was tantalizingly veiled in wispy clouds. But, the photo gods and Denali were on our side and, after dinner on our last full day in Alaska, Denali threw off its shroud and was surrounded by the golden glow of the slowly setting sun. We were happy to join the 30% club.

2019—The Four Bears

The highlight of our unforgettable trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve near Homer, AK last week was the grizzly bear family that entertained us for hours. The mother grizzly and her three, almost grown, cubs were fascinating to watch. They pounced on pink salmon swimming upstream in the river. The cubs frolicked in the water and on the river bank playfully pummeling each other with their huge paws and gnashing their teeth. Twice they lumbered toward us getting within a few feet as our guides dissuaded their approach and coaxed them into turning away. They were never threatening to us nor did they seem concerned with our proximity. I was never afraid. Excitement was the emotion of the day.

After about an hour, all four turned and walked away from us toward the dunes. I thought that they might disappear from view but Mama Bear lay down on the sand and despite their age (probably three-year old cubs) and their size, the cubs eagerly nursed. Afterwards, we had three more incredible hours with them that day. This is one of my favorite photographs and memories from that wonderful experience.


An adult female moose is called a cow. We’d seen several moose, both bulls and cows, from a distance on our trip to Alaska last week but none close enough to photograph until we reached Kenai. There, we encountered a cow and her calf foraging on a grassy strip between the road and a walking path right across the street from the United States Post Office. No one was around when Moose (the two-legged variety) pulled into a parking lot and we emerged with our long lenses. Even without our tripods, the appearance of giant camera lenses draws a crowd and before long, cars were stopping and people were lining up for a better view. Moose had to yell at one oblivious person who was intent on walking directly up to the cow, a dangerous situation for him because the calf was across the road. Our attention span is much greater than the average observer, however, and after the initial hubbub died down, we were once again alone on the edge of the road with the cow and her calf. In this shot, she looks across the road to reassure herself that her calf, also foraging, was safe. I was able to position myself so that none of the roadway or distracting sign posts appear in the photograph.

Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF.


We visited the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska last week and stopped near Nikiski to look at a jack-up oil rig that was docked. The erector-set type features of the rig and the sun low in the sky made an interesting graphic silhouette. What’s fascinating to me about the Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera is that the electronic view finder reveals exactly what your photograph will be when you take it. In this case, I could see the starburst appear exactly as I hoped it would in the frame the instant I took the photograph.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24-70/2.8 S

2019—Evening Alaskan Skies

The Alaskan skies were filled with storm clouds and Denali, North America’s tallest peak at 20,310 feet, was completely obscured by clouds on Saturday evening as we drove through Denali National Park in search of beautiful landscapes to photograph. We couldn’t see Denali at all but when I turned around, the clouds and light from the slowly sinking sun made a gorgeous scene.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24-70 /2.8 S

2019—Just Chillin❜ on Halibut Bay

Tuesday morning, a short trip via a converted water taxi took us to Halibut Bay just outside Homer Harbor. Several rafts of Sea Otters floated by the boat. Many of the otters had pups. They were adorable. Shooting from a rocking boat was a huge challenge and there were seven of us jostling side to side as the rafts of otters floated by or the captain turned the boat around so we could get a better view.

Nikon D5; Nikkor 500mm PF


What a day! We met up with our pilots Derick and Joe of Alaska Bear Adventures out of Homer at 6:30AM Monday morning for a briefing and fitting of hip waders. Then we boarded two Cessnas (I got the co-pilot seat) for the one hour flight to Katmai National Park to see Coastal Brown Bears, AKA Grizzly Bears. When Derick spotted a couple of bears near the shoreline, we landed…on the beach! The next five hours was indeed an Alaska bear adventure.

For most of the day, we watched a mama bear and her three almost grown cubs, fish for salmon that were beginning their run from the ocean inland. Derick and Joe kept us safe and always with bears in view for us to photograph. They knew how close to approach the bears. Most of the time shooting, we knelt so as to minimize our presence. The bears want to be the biggest thing around so we knelt while shooting to appear smaller. We were rewarded twice with Mama and all three cubs walking up to and by us without incident. The first time, Derick made sure mama bear kept moving as she passed within a dozen feet of us, even stopping to defecate right next to us. The second time, Joe knelt next to me as one of the cubs made a bee-line directly towardus. I kept shooting while Joe calmly redirected the cub, but not before I got these shots. Just about the time Joe made sure the bear moved away, using only his voice and not the protective flare he carried, the bear’s face filled the frame and was too close to focus. My lens can’t focus any closer than 10 feet.

It was the adventure of a lifetime! Because of weight limitations on the airplanes, most of us used our lighter Nikon Z7 mirrorless cameras. I also used my 500mm PF with a 1.4x teleconverter. The teleconverter was overkill for these two shots.

2019—Two Ladies

The feeders in Madera Canyon were dominated by aggressive male Broad-billed Hummingbirds. There were a few other species that occasionally attempted to feed but usually, whenever the male Black-chinned hummers or the male Rivoli’s Hummingbirds approached the feeders, they were harassed mercilessly by the Broad-bills and driven away. Thefemale hummingbirds, however, didn’t seem to suffer the same harassment that the males did. And, they were usually more cooperative, darting to and from the feeders over and over, giving us more opportunity for photographs. Here are two of the females, one a Black-chinned female, the other, a female Broad-billed hummingbird.

Nikon D5, 500mm PF Lens.