Denali National Park

Denali National Park was in a way the goal of our trip.  The one place we wanted to get to.  It really lived up to expectations.  The mountain itself (further images of that to follow) is just as massive as you would imagine.  It has a huge prominence over the surrounding mountains and looks formidable.

As far as wildlife goes there are a lot of Grizzly bears to see.  We had a mother and cub Grizzly in our campground and ran into them on the way to the bus stop in the park.  They left us alone and we left them alone.  The bears aren’t so large as those on the coast which eat the salmon but are still big.  There are wild blueberry bushes everywhere and you are encouraged to eat as many as you would like.  We ate a lot and they tasted fantastic.  The wild cranberries were not so good but still edible.

Denali is strange in that there aren’t many hiking trails but instead you are encouraged to hike anywhere you like.  Since it is mostly tundra up there with no trees you can’t really get lost in the huge valley and really only need to keep your eyes open for a wandering bear or angry moose.  We did not see wolves unfortunately.  To get around the park you use buses as you cannot drive in most of the park.  It is setup very well and you can just jump on and off a bus wherever you choose.

Time is limited so here are a few pictures for now. The Bull moose was massive, the largest I have seen.

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Grizzly bear in Denali National Park
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Bull Moose in Denali National Park
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Mountains in Denali NP
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Our campsite in Teklanika campground, Denali National Park

Calgary, Alberta to Whitehorse, Yukon

First week on the road and we have made it to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory.  The long daylight hours up here take some getting used to.  It doesn’t get fully dark at the moment and it still quite light out at midnight.  It confuses your brain into never wanting to go to sleep!

The Alaska highway is beautiful and in certain sections there are a lot of black bears.  After Laird hot springs there are lots of Bison to see.  A couple of males were fighting and we had to make a quick getaway in case they pushed each other into the van.  They are huge and would have wrecked it.

A few pictures from the first week:

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First night on the road in Lake Louise
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Edith Cavell, every time I have visited the weather has been like this. Beautiful anyway
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Stag Elk, he was huge
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Roadside black bear
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Alaska Highway stopoff
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Bison on roadside, Alaska Highway

Hummingbird and Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 & 1.4x

I would like to write about gear sometimes and I am new to the Olympus and Micro four thirds system.  I am not new to photography and it has been a hobby for about 13 years and digital for about 10 years.  Compared to my first camera (Konica Minolta 5D) things have come a long way and I am a firm believer that film has well and truly been surpassed in quality.

I started with Micro four thirds earlier in 2016 and have been learning the system since.  For the most part I like it but coming from a Sony A77 I find the Autofocus is inferiour with long lenses and moving subjects.  High ISO is about the same and neither camera is outstanding.

The lens and camera combination I was most interested in was:

Olympus EM1
Olympus 40-150mm f2.8
Olympus 1.4x teleconvertor

This is an incredibly small and light package for what gives you a 420mm f4, if it is sharp wide open.  I am pleased to find that it really is sharp wide open, impressively so.  I am fully aware of equivalence and from a depth of filed point of view this is not an f4.  However as mostly a wildlife photographer it still  gives me the light hitting the sensor of an f4 and for my purposes I mostly want more depth of field, not less since I usually shoot wide open.  This is because animals don’t sit still and are often in poor light.

This is a screenshot of a zoomed in picture I took in Panama with my Olympus EM1, 40-150mm f2.8 and 1.4x tele.  It is at f4 (wide open with the tele on) and iso 800, 1/1000 s. I am impressed.

Hummingbird-2This has been edited from the RAW file in Lightroom to my taste.

And the full picture:

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Underwater in Panama

In April 2016 we went to Panama.  All of these pictures were taken in Bocas Del Toro while snorkeling.

PanamaUnderwater-28The Coral is absolutely incredible.  Some of the best I have seen.

PanamaUnderwater-22Amazing colours.

PanamaUnderwater-30They look like trees, it is an underwater landscape.

PanamaUnderwater-43There was a gnarly looking crab among the coral.

PanamaUnderwater-41So many starfish, though this was the only one I have seen with only 4 arms.

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PanamaUnderwater-54Lots of sea cucumbers as well.

PanamaUnderwater-51Horribly wrinkly underwater hands.

PanamaUnderwater-38This was underneath a restaurant.  There was thousands and thousands of fish hiding under there.  It was called the Blue Coconut and you can have lunch and then snorkel around the reef and underneath the restaurant.  You have to go there by boat as it is not attached to the island.

PanamaUnderwater-40A Stingray hiding in the sand.