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Alaska 2005
  • Territory: Washington State, British Columbia, Alaska
  • Time: May - August 2005, 6000 miles traveled
  • Vessel: "Teacup", Nordic Tug 37
  • Intent: Go where no reasonable person wants to go.

Copyright © 2005, P. Lutus. All rights reserved.

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Adventures among the birds
Hermit Thrush, Catharus Guttatus
I've been photographing more birds lately, and the technical challenges are rather formidable. Normally I am in a kayak, not the most stable platform, and I have been trying to catch birds in flight. This requires a lot of light and "film" speed. I deal with the latter problem by simply telling my digital camera which ASA speed to have, a great improvement over the old film days when one had to carry several cameras around.

My pictures of Arctic Terns in flight were culled from a vast number of discarded exposures, another advantage of digital photography, where you can press the shutter button endlessly without feeling guilty about wasting film. I love watching Arctic Terns in flight, they are very graceful and they make flying seem like a game only they understand.

Since first hearing their hauntingly beautiful song many years ago, I have been trying to get a picture of a hermit thrush, but without success until this year. The hermit thrush deserves its name, being rather shy and physically small as well. I was hiking on Shuyak Island north of Kodiak Island, when I realized I had wandered into a stand of trees occupied only by hermit thrushes — I had never heard so many simultaneous hermit thrush songs anywhere. Given this cacophony, I realized if I saw the shadow of a bird passing across the ground, chances would be very good that it was a hermit thrush. So I began carrying my camera around my neck at the ready. I saw a shadow, quickly turned and began snapping away, and got one useful exposure before the shy bird departed.

Bird pictures
Arctic Tern nesting area.
Arctic Tern aloft 1
Arctic Tern aloft 2
Belted Kingfisher on my boat's rail
Bald Eagle aloft
Black Oystercatcher
Tufted Puffin near Seward
White-Tailed Ptarmigan

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