Cruising Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage

My wife Cindy and I recently took a long awaited vacation, cruising on the ship Norwegian Sun from Seattle up through the Inside Passage of Alaska. What a wonderful experience!

Cruising the Inside Passage of Alaska offers some of the most breathtaking opportunities for landscape and wildlife photography. This pristine region is a paradise for photographers, with its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Here are some of the most beautiful possibilities for photography during your cruise:

  1. Glaciers and Icefields:
    • Capturing the immense scale and ethereal blue hues of glaciers such as the Hubbard Glacier, Sawyer Glacier, or Mendenhall Glacier.
    • Awe-inspiring shots of ice calving events where massive chunks of ice break off and plunge into the sea.
  2. Fjords and Waterfalls:
    • Photographing the dramatic fjords like Tracy Arm Fjord with towering cliffs, serene waters, and cascading waterfalls.
    • Long-exposure shots of waterfalls like Nugget Falls or Bridal Veil Falls, creating a dreamy, flowing effect.
  3. Wildlife Encounters:
    • Close-up shots of humpback whales breaching and tail-slapping in the icy waters.
    • Bald eagles perched on trees or in flight, capturing their majestic presence.
    • Grizzly bears and brown bears fishing for salmon along riverbanks.
    • Playful sea otters and seals lounging on ice floes or basking in the sun.
  4. Coastal Rainforests:
    • Moss-covered trees, lush undergrowth, and misty atmospheres in the temperate rainforests like Tongass National Forest.
    • The interplay of light and shadows in the dense forest, creating magical woodland scenes.
  5. Sunsets and Sunrises:
    • Stunning sunsets and sunrises over the calm waters, with reflections of the colorful sky in the sea.
    • Silhouettes of mountains, glaciers, or wildlife against the vibrant hues of dawn or dusk.
  6. Whale-Watching:
    • Capturing the moment when a massive whale breaches the surface, creating dramatic splashes and water spouts.
    • Shots of whale tails and fins as they dive into the depths.
  7. Indigenous Culture:
    • Photographing traditional Native Alaskan totem poles and cultural performances in towns like Ketchikan and Sitka.
    • Portraits of indigenous people in their traditional attire, showcasing their rich heritage.
  8. Dramatic Weather:
    • Moody shots of mist and fog enveloping the landscape, adding an air of mystery.
    • Rainbows arching over the water, mountains, or glaciers after a passing rain shower.
  9. Unique Wildlife Habitats:
    • Shots of birds, like puffins, in their natural cliffside habitats.
    • Close-ups of starfish, sea anemones, and other intertidal creatures in tide pools.
  10. Midnight Sun:
    • Taking advantage of the long daylight hours in the summer to capture the surreal landscapes under the midnight sun, offering soft and warm lighting.

Remember to be respectful of the environment and wildlife during your photography adventures and adhere to responsible wildlife viewing guidelines. Additionally, be prepared for varying weather conditions and have the right gear to ensure you can capture the incredible beauty of the Inside Passage of Alaska on your cruise.

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