Travel

Photographing an Alaskan Cruise – Juneau Excursion

Juneau was on the morning itinerary for day 4 of the southbound Alaskan Cruise on the Norwegian Sun.  We didn't get to see much of the city of Juneau as our excursion took the entire time we were in port.  In fact, we arrived just minutes prior to the all aboard time for the cruise ship.

Cruise Ships Heading to Juneau

Juneau is a popular port for cruise ships

Today's excursion was the photo safari by Land and Sea.  The price for this excursion was $199 per person.  The Sea portion of the photo safari came first.  This was mainly looking for Humpback Whales and Bald Eagles.  There were plenty of Bald Eagles at the dock. 

We did see several Humpback Whales, got several tail shots, and a couple even breached and rolled over in the water.  This was a smaller boat than yesterday.  In fact, there is a maximum of 14 people on the tour.  The tour guide opened up the front of the boat and the large windows on each side so everyone had a chance to photograph the whales.

The land portion of the tour went to Mendenhall glacier and the rain forest that surrounds it.  Mendenhall Glacier is part of the Juneau Ice Field.  There are 38 glaciers that flow from the Juneau Ice Field.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

I thought the second part of the excursion was a bit rushed.  This could be because we were running late and had to get back to the ship in time.  There are some nice compositions walking through the lush temperate rain forest.  Look for wildflowers (purple Mountain Lupine were everywhere), moss, ferns, and waterfalls.

We got views of Mendenhall Glacier from several angles, but I didn't feel we had enough time to photograph the glacier.   There were also several nice compositions of the mountains that I could have spent more time on.

Alaska Humpback Whale Up Close

You will need a telephoto for the whale watching and a mid to long range zoom for the glacier.  A nice all purpose zoom works well here with the close up rainforest compositions and the longer range shots of the Mendenhall Glacier.  I brought my Canon 300mm f/4 with the Canon EF 1.4X Telephoto Extender and the Canon 24 – 105mm zoom for the rainforest and landscapes.  A little longer telephoto like a 70 – 200mm would have also been nice for tighter compositions of the glacier.  I just used by 300mm lens for tighter shots.

I would highly recommend taking a whale watching tour at one of the ports.

This afternoon we are heading to Tracy Arm and the Sawyer Glacier.

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Photographing an Alaskan Cruise – Icy Straight Point

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