Updated: Apr 29
Along the Seward Highway: SP15-30mm Di VC USD: 1/320 sec, f/11, ISO 100 @ 15mm
Alaska is big, really big, between land and sea 656,424 square miles big. To give you some perspective, Texas will fit into Alaska twice and still have about another 100,00 square miles to spare. With That being said here are some interesting facts about this gigantic state. 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are in Alaska, with the top 3 being: #3 Mount Foraker at 17,400 ft, #2 Mount Saint Elias at 18,009 and finally coming in at #1 is Denali at 20,310 ft. Then there are the Aleutian Islands that stretch out into the Pacific Ocean, this chain of volcanic islands stretches out over the ocean more than 1200 miles.
It is basically impossible see and photograph all that Alaska has to offer unless you have an unlimited amount of time and money. So, what do you do? My suggestions are to, research Alaska as much as possible by looking at photographs, seeing what kind of tours you can take, what are the elevations and lengths of hikes, drive distances between locations and weather conditions during the time of year you intend to go. Research every question you may have, then determine what the top highlights are you want to see and how long is the maximum amount of time you can spend there. Once you have that, try to set an outline itinerary and not leave it up to chance.
Seward Harbor: 18-400 Di II VC PZD: 1/250 sec, f/16, ISO 400 @ 22mm
Located at the head of Resurrection Bay about 125 miles south of Anchorage along Highway 9 (Seward Highway) is the town of Seward, population of approximately 2700. Officially named for President Lincoln’s Secretary of State William Henry Seward, the man who orchestrated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. This small port town plays a major part in the past and present history of Alaska. Seward is Mile 0, or the beginning of the historic Iditarod Trail. The original Iditarod trail consisted of more than 2300 miles of dog sled trails that ran mail and supplies to the interior of Alaska, starting in Seward and ending in Nome. Today Seward is the Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, a commercial and recreational fishing destination, a main terminal for the Alaska Railway and major tourist hub. This small town is a must-see destination for anyone who visits Alaska.
Ogive glacier: 28-75mm Di III: 1/125 sec, f/22, ISO 200 @ 31mm
Even though Kenai Fjords National Park is a relatively new comer to the national park system, it does not disappoint in its grandeur and beauty. established in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, it covers more than 1,000 square miles and contains such geological features as Exit Glacier, Northwestern Glacier, the Harding Ice field as well as an abundance of sea life, making this national park a great stop along your Alaskan adventure.
Humpback Whale, Resurrection Bay: SP150-600mm Di VC USD: 1/2000, f/8, ISO 800 @ 500mm
Seward’s harbor location makes it a perfect starting point to visit many of these locations, most are a somewhat short drive and a hike (maybe not so short hike) or a beautiful boat ride away. Kenai Fjords Tours (https://www.alaskacollection.com/day-tours/kenai-fjords-tours/) is one of the local vendors that offers many different water tours from dinner cruises, whale watching to all day excursions that will take you all the way into the Northwestern Fjord to the tip of Northwestern Glacier. No matter which tour you take the captains will share their knowledge about this location and amazing park. You’ll be pretty hungry after hiking or sailing all day and Seward has some really great choices to satisfy your taste buds. Chinooks Restaurant (https://www.chinooksak.com) in the harbor and Thorn’s Showcase Lounge in downtown on 4th Ave are two of my favorites.
Homer Harbor On The Spit, AK: 28-75mm Di III: 1/125 sec, f/22 ISO 200 @ 43mm
Located “At the end of the road” of Sterling Highway on Kachemak Bay and known as the halibut fishing capital of the world, is the town of Homer. Sitting on the northern tip of the Kenai peninsula a little more than 200 miles south west of Anchorage, Homer has quickly become a destination not only for sport fisherman but for art lovers, foodies and adventure tourists alike. The Homer Spit, a unique stretch of land about 4 ½ miles long that extends into Kachemack Bay is home to many of the towns art galleries, restaurants and mobile home parks. Homer is also home to TV’s “Deadliest Catch” fishing boat the Time Bandit, but one of Homers most famous residents was Jean Keene, also known as the “Eagle Lady”. Jean moved to homer in 1977 and while working at a local seafood plant, she was given permission to take home scraps for a pair of eagles by her home. Over the years more and more eagles would come and visit Jean and at its peak more than 200 eagles would gather near her home to be fed.
Bald Eagle: Homer, AK: SP150-600mm Di VC USD G2: 1/2500 sec, f/9 ISO 1250 @ 550mm
Homer is no stranger to good food and a good-times, there are a number of great places to choose from, just park the car and take a walk up and down the main drag on The Spit. Some of my suggestions though are: For breakfast I highly recommend La Baleine Café (http://labaleinecafe.com), be patient and prepared to wait, it will be worth it. If you are in the mood for some no nonsense straight forward Alaskan seafood dinner (and more) go to Lighthouse Grill Seafood and Smokehouse, it is off the Spit, but truly fresh and delicious. Chances are you will be driving allot while in Alaska and in need of some really good coffee, stop in to Captains Coffee Roasting Co, (https://captainscoffee.com) and pick up a cup as well as a pound of beans to go!.
Check out the instalment of Andre and Ken’s Unofficial Field Guide Video on Tamron’s Youtube page, TamronVids.
Tamron 150-600mm Di VC USD G2
Tamron 28-75mm Di III
Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC PZD
Tamron 15-30mm Di VC USD