How to Get Known

One of my buddies here in town is a fellow photographer with a rather nich photography. My Buddy Ryan truly does play with the stars. He is an astronomical photographer and quite literally controls million dollar telescopes through a computer all over the world in order to do his photography. When he’s not working with those big beauties, he has his own telescope and teaches kids about the cosmos. Well a number of times now we have talked about the business of photography and what it takes to sell images.

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The problem every photographer has in the beginning is getting out there. Getting your name out to the public for people to see your work and get attention has always been a challenge. Before the internet was so heavily used it was required to get published in order to have a tear sheet to show to a magazine to get published. That of course always raised the question of how do you get that first tear sheet? Now days it’s a lot easier to get credibility by having a blog or website and then constantly having a presence on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Does this all lead to more sales? That’s a mix bag.

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Having a well established web presence is essential in today’s world but where does the money come from? Well I put these images up for a reason. Over the years I have spent a good amount of time working with Grizzly Bears up in Alaska, and from the years and thousands of images of them in my files, not one has sold. Now the stories are great and the images always cheer me up to look at, so don’t let dopy here make you think that the images are useless, it’s just requires a special market. As most photographers agree and what I’ve come to learn is that constantly getting published in the editorial market place is not only smart business but required to make a living. How to do that, depends on the story. Everything comes done to the story and the images backing it. But with thousands of magazines out there and every month needing new material, all it takes is a creative mind and some hard work to get published.

The fun thing about this business is it is always changing. Every day something new comes out, a better and more efficient way to work or just something fun. What will be the next best way to get a career started or to make it flurish, who knows? The basis for any business has always been and will always be three things: patience, perseverance, and hard work.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400 VRII, TC-17e, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Down the Road and up another hill

Unfortunately the Dalton takes a good amount of time to travel back and forth on, so after a day of going up to the campsite and a day heading back, we only had a few days to shoot the marmots. Factor in the rain we had and we ended up with one good day of shooting. This may sound bad but considering it’s fall in the Arctic and we had a sunny day of shooting, we got lucky! One good day is it all it takes and we had that. So on Friday we went back down the road to Fairbanks and on to the next area.

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The next population that we worked with was the Hoary Marmots down at Wickersham dome. It was a popular area that in Summer is great for hiking on and during the winter is used as ski trails. Of course it’s also a great place to do some landscape shooting! Thankfully we had some clouds that day cuz the next day it was bald skies.

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Images captured with D3, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The adventure continues…what’s that!

Wait, where was I? O yea i remember now. We get past the Brooks range to our camp which was, well I’m not going to say except that it was out on the tundra. We get the tents up fast because the fog is rolling in fast which can only mean one thing, the rain is coming. That’s not a bad thing though, being in a warm dry tent and cozy sleeping bag can feel pretty good.

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When the rain cleared up we went out to greet the little guy that we went up there for. This is him. Wait this is him! What is it you might ask well it’s cute, fuzzy and sluggish when the sun is out. You might have guessed, it’s a Marmot. These rock climbers and burrow dwellers live in the high slopes and rocky outcrops that most people wouldn’t believe they could live in. This is a special Marmot it’s the Alaskan which is different from the Hoary and others found in British Columbia and lower forty eight.

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Why is it different… well can’t say, but it was fun to photograph. This particular one spent a lot of its time outside the burrow and eventually climbed up the hillside and out of sight. No problem, where there’s one there will be more. In this case two other individuals came out and sorta played with us (Dad and myself).

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The little guys are such good climbers on the slippery rocks that it made the rest of us look like drunken monkeys trying not to topple over. Between the tundra going squish after every step and the rocks covered in water from the rain showers, it was amazing we were able to carry the 6’s up the slope. Speaking of the slope what else might be up there you ask?

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Images captured with D3, 600f4, TC-14E, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Way up in the North, o yea!

I almost don’t know where to start with this one, there’s just too much excitement to begin! Dad and I had another trip on the books for Alaska, which is nothing new because we seem to go there often for one reason or another. Normally it has to do with grizzlies but this time they weren’t even on the scope. The two of us headed up north beyond the Arctic Circle to work with some biologists on a project. In order to get up to the location we had to take the infamous Haul Road which is known for big curves, steep inclines and destroying most vehicles that traverse it. It was a fun drive!

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Along this windy road of kidney punchers was not only some of the greatest scenery but construction to try and… improve the road. I say this cuz the pot wholes never seemed to go away even after being repaired. So we were driving up this road in a Chevy F350 with five of us crammed in along with all of our gear to go camping for a week and we get stopped by one of the construction crews. What a perfect time to go out shooting!

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The clouds were settling around the tops of the mountains around us so we couldn’t see the sky. If you’ve ever been up in Alaska you know this is pretty typical, a light rain and grey skies. It had an ambiance to it that makes you feel all calm and serene. Only 200 miles from town but still.

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After about ten minutes of standing around enjoying the grandeur of the land, the skies opened up briefly alloying some clearness to be seen. The low clouds continued to surround the mountains until we got past the construction and through the pass. We got back in the car and continued down the road until….

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Images captured with D3, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Endings of an awesome vacation

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The trip was a blast. Dad, Mom and me came back with probably close to 50,000 images amongst the three of us. Amazing how well the wildlife and weather cooperated for us during these past 16 days. Even all the flights were on time. Of course all trips have to end at some point, including ours. We didn’t fly out on a turbo 207 like the one above, but since i didn’t take any shoots of the jets we were on, i figured that this would be appropriate to end on.

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Part of our trip was out on Kodiak Island. Some of the largest bears in Alaska can be found there, and we wanted to see them. This one particular bear, a sow probably around 4 or 5, was a complete butterball. When she stood you could see nothing but a round ball of fluff. Very good looking bear but a little heavy for the age. Considering how cautious she was fishing when other bears around, she would run a good distance whenever a male was in the river, we concluded that the weight must have been from grasses.

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The salmon run really hadn’t come in on the river in the days before we arrived, but when we got out there the salmon were in the thousands. Lucky break again for us. First, great weather the whole trip and now fish for the bears. Unfortunately due to the lateness of fish arriving, which is common all over the state right now, most of the larger bears weren’t around fishing. However some of the younger bears, mostly around 3 yrs old and up, were out entertaining us.

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Of course bears aren’t the only creatures at the river that we are photographing. Gold Crown Sparrows are busy flying around grabbing the insects off the Cow Parsnip or Angelica, that accumulate on the top of the white flowers.

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Another visitor to the fish frenzy is the Bald Eagle. You can always count on at least one around when the bears are fishing.

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When the bears go fishing, everyone is invited. There are always Glacous Gulls around to pick up those scraps they leave. When the salmon run is slow they eat the whole fish not leaving much, but when the run is going well they tend to eat just the skin and roe, leaving most of the fish for others to cleanup, and it always is.

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Bears were not the only thing that we were photographing. There was a Red Fox den at the site where we were staying. The den had 6 pups that we saw for sure, probably a few weeks old. Here are 2 of them trying to get mom to feed them. They are difficult to shoot, they keep making me laugh.

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