Posted by: gardner310 | July 1, 2011

Educational Shore excursions

Mendehall Rainforest

Photo Safaris

Last summer I bought a new camera, knowing I was going to South America on the Veendam and then Alaska on the Statendam. It’s my first DSLR and I got a Nikon D5000, a beginner level model. Believe me, this one has more bells and whistles than I will probably ever use but I am working on getting off automatic.

Since I got to Alaska I have taken 2 photo safaris, one in Juneau and one in Haines and I have been delighted with both of them. I took one in Stika last year with my old beat up camera and would like to repeat with my new one. They are shore excursions that can be chosen from the many offered by Holland America.

Working on aperture settings

In Juneau we went out to Mendenhall Glacier and walked through the forest back to the visitor center and the views of Mendenhall Glacier. From there we went out to Auke Bay and hopped a boat for some whale watching and were not disappointed. David Sheakley was our guide and he was most

My best whale shot

helpful on the technical side with a power point presentation while we were on the bus. He asked what we were interested in learning and I told him I wanted to get off automatic. I learned some good tips for setting aperture and shutter speed so I can now make my own choices as to what to make important in my shots. He helped with a couple settings on my camera so I can now change them at will.

In Haines we went out with Bob Adkins and he showed us some drop dead settings that typify Southeast Alaska. I loved his approach. He told us we were on a shoot for National Geographic magazine and the focus was southeast Alaska. We were given time to shoot from all angles and distances. He made suggestions as to composition as well as technical points.

Rainbow Glacier, Haines

I tend to take a lot of vertical shots myself usually because I am trying to fit in mountain tops and the water or flora below. One thing he said I will always remember. “National Geographic never puts a horizontal shot on their covers.” We need to learn how to look vertically when composing a shot as well as horizontally. OK then, I feel that I am on the right track.

Two weeks later in Juneau I took the bus out to Mendenhall glacier and spent 3 hours walking the paths of the park and then down by the glacier just working on aperture and shutter speed. Photography is a solitary hobby but the places it takes you and the little things that delight you make it a wonderful world.

I take too many photos, most of which aren’t very good. But every once in a while when a good one emerges you feel like you have conquered a mountain. Bob in Haines told us it takes 22,000 photos to get 20 shots good enough for a National Article. So perhaps I am on the right track after all.

If you are at all interested in photography, no matter what camera you are using, consider going on one of these photo safaris. For more Haines photos go to

Rainbow Glacier

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: