Greetings friends! Every day of life is a precious gift from God and a great adventure…in more ways than one…for better or for worse. To quote a fellow Missourian, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore! Dream! Discover!” (Mark Twain)
I get many questions from folks about where certain photographs were taken and inquiries about the stories behind them. There is indeed an adventure and a story behind every image I capture, and here is where I’ll post some of the details of those adventures… past, present and future.
Enjoy your visit!
Spring is finally starting to set in here on Kodiak Island. Migrating whales are on the move, the sockeye salmon are about to start their run into the rivers, the green grass and wildflowers are sprouting, the days are getting longer, bears are out and about, bald eagles have dispersed from their winter hangouts, and life is good! Being immersed in such beauty makes one realize the great gift that life is! Struggles, challenges, trials, tribulations and soul-rotting stress simply vanish in the presence of the awesomeness of the Lord’s creation. There is no better therapy than breathing in lung-fulls of fresh air, listening to the waves gently roll to shore, the rushing water of a river, feeling the sunshine on one’s face, seeing creatures of every kind enjoying a peaceful moment in time…and sharing in that moment with them.
Despite the beauty that is all around us…no matter where one may live…its way too easy to get bogged down by all the ugliness that life can dish out, and drown in a murky sea of negativity. Turn on the TV, read the morning paper, check out your favorite news website and I’ll bet that 90% (if not more) of what you hear is bad news. It can be a challenge to not let one’s self get conditioned to constantly focus on the negative…after all...in many ways we’ve come to expect it and look for it.
My life’s motto has always been that for everything one thing that is going wrong, there are at least a dozen things that are going right. I can’t stress enough how important it is to daily call to mind the good things in life, the good things in others, the good things in our world, the many blessings and gifts that God has given us that we have forgotten, taken advantage of, or have been ungrateful for.
It can be hard to consciously seek out the good and positive instead of falling into the trap of wallowing in the mire of negativity and pessimism. One has to train one’s self to be aware of beauty in the midst of the ugliness. Just as God sees past the ugliness of our sinfulness, calls us to grow in sanctity, and rejoices in the beauty and love with which He made us, we are called to do the same with one another and with our world.
The other day I decided to go out and apply this principle to photography. I went out and photographed a bunch of ugly fishing gear and crab pots, a wrecked boat, and whatever unattractive subjects I could find…all the while trying to see the beauty in those things and capture it with my camera. I posted the results in the “Miscellaneous Photos” gallery. Here are a few to get you started….
On a final note…don’t forget about my 40% off sale! See my previous blog post for more info.
Joseph Classen. Wild Revelation Photography. Kodiak, Alaska.
Wild Revelation Photography is a year old this week! In honor of this first anniversary I’m offering a 40% off discount on all prints and products until the end of the month. And speaking of products, I added some new ones! I now offer outstanding, high definition Metal Prints, Fine Art Prints and Standout Displays. For more information about these, and some updated information on the other products I offer, see the Products and Services page.
To redeem your 40% off discount, simply type in the words “Happy Anniversary” in the Coupon Code box which will appear on the screen after you have placed an order and are completing the check-out process. Again, this offer is good for the entire month of May, so don’t miss out and spread the word to your friends!
Joseph Classen. Wild Revelation Photography. Kodiak, Alaska.
My mom and dad made it back up to Kodiak last week for a visit. Thankfully, they brought with them some wonderful, sunny weather too! Our time was relatively short, but great nonetheless. We were able to cram quite a bit into our visit.
On their first evening, I took them out to Chiniak Bay in hopes of seeing the big sow and cub Kodiak brown bears who have been hanging around the remains of a humpback whale carcass. Sure enough, the bears were out! The sow was chowing down on the nasty rotting whale tail while her cub just sat around and watched. I got a few nice images that I added to the “Bears of Alaska” gallery…
During the next few days we saw some beautiful wild horses roaming around, dozens of migrating gray whales and all the wildlife that Kodiak has to offer…with a few exceptions. I added these pictures to the “Alaska Wildlife” gallery…
Along with sightseeing and wildlife viewing, we also took the time to just stroll around, chat, and enjoy each others company. By the end of the trip, my dad was really getting into the proper, Kodiak spirit!
Along with just having fun and taking some casual shots, I was able to capture one rather unique image. While wandering the beach of Isthmus Bay one evening I noticed an old dead-fallen tree laying across a creek that was flowing out into the bay. I captured a few images of the evening seascape from the perspective of under that old log. The result is posted in the "Kodiak Island" gallery....
Joseph Classen. Wild Revelation Photography. Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Over the last few days, and in the days to come, I’ll be updating and reorganizing all the images here at Wild Revelation with essentially the same ones, except that all of them will now be key-worded, tagged, and captioned so that internet search engines will be able to find them easier and thus generate more traffic. So, if you are visiting the site and notice that a bunch of your favorite pictures or galleries are missing…have no fear...they will quickly return! The only downside to this updating is that the images I had embedded in my previous blog/journal entries will not show up as they originally had. But again, have no fear, all the images can still be found in the galleries and everything will be back to normal for future blog posts. Thanks for your patience.
While most sane people who live in cold climates like to head to warmer places for vacation, I decided to do the opposite this year. I spent the first week of April exploring some of the coldest, most inhospitable places in the state of Alaska with my buddy Clint. We headed north through the Brooks Mountain Range, well into the North Slope, and ended up not too terribly far from the Arctic Ocean.
It was an unforgettable experience to venture in and through such arctic environments. It was like a different planet up there with a wonderful, savage, frozen beauty all its own. Of course, camping out and photographing in subzero temperatures was also a most unforgettable experience! Anything that did not stay close to a heat source, such as water, food, camera equipment, camping gear, clothes and body parts, simply froze and/or stopped functioning correctly in no time! Needless to say, one has to be very aware of the ultra-serious dangers of frostbite, hypothermia, etc., in such settings.
While part of our adventure was aimed at bowhunting caribou…as fate would have it, we saw everything but caribou. We witnessed thousands of snow white ptarmigan moving across the desolate landscape in search of food and shelter, a massive bull moose defiantly stomping through the frozen tundra, Dall sheep peering down at us from atop lofty perches in the mountain peaks, a few mighty musk ox huddling together on a frozen river trying desperately to conserve body heat, fresh wolf and fox tracks all over the place, but alas, the caribou had moved on before we could cut them off at the pass. I have to admit though, I was not too upset. As always, hunting for me is simply a catalyst to explore new places, see things that few people ever see, and a chance to spend quality time with the Lord and good friends.
Something that we did finally see though, was something I have been “hunting” for, for a long time! And that is the Northern Lights! Finally, I was able to see and photograph some incredible displays of the aurora borealis.
I included all the photographs from this adventure in a new gallery here at the website entitled, “The Frozen North.” Have a look!
Even though the temperature has occasionally dipped down to around 10 degrees during the last couple of weeks here on Kodiak Island, spring is in the air, at least according to the calendar. A number of our big brown bears have emerged from their slumber, two of which who have provided some awesome bear viewing and once in a lifetime photography opportunities.
In my previous journal entry I wrote about the eagles that were fighting to the death over the gnarly remains of a humpback whale that washed up on a beach this past fall. Well, the eagles have moved on now (except for a few defiant characters that have stayed around) and a big Kodiak sow and cub have moved in. The bears have literally been living right on top of the remaining whale carcass. They sleep next to it, eat and chew on the remaining scraps, and aggressively defend their boneyard home against anything that even thinks about intruding upon them…especially a few sneaky bald eagles that simply won’t give up what used to be theirs. I spent all morning and afternoon last Monday on my day off watching and photographing this incredible sight…all the while freezing to death in the cold, driving, coastal winds, but, it was worth it!
Let me point out, as always, that while it may appear that I’m extremely close to these bears, I was actually quite safe. I was using a 300 mm zoom lens, and was on top of a very steep ridge, right next to my truck. Such creatures as the mighty Kodiak brown bear absolutely demand the highest respect, as there is nothing as dangerous as a sow with cubs. If I would have gotten anywhere near them…on ground level…I would probably not be writing these words that you are now reading…I would either be dead, or in the hospital recovering from a savage mauling. While on the subject of bear safety, in case you missed it the last time around, here is a link to an article I wrote about safely photographing the biggest bears on earth.
I ended up taking 625 pictures during my photo shoot of these wonderful creatures. That’s one of the major benefits of digital photography…one can fire way until all the memory cards are filled and simply keep the good stuff without any expense for film development. Out of all those photographs, I ended up keeping around 30 really good ones when it was all said and done. I added those photographs to the “Bears of Alaska” gallery.
Along with the new bear pictures, I also included a few new additions to the “Eagles of Alaska” gallery, and also the “Kodiak Island” gallery. Have a look!
I have not had much of a chance to do any serious photography over the last several weeks, but I have been able to capture some pretty unique images of eagles while driving around the island on a couple of occasions. Two weeks ago I spent my day off doing some hiking on a blustery, winter day. While en route to my destination, I noticed several dozen eagles feasting and fighting over the gnarly remains of a beached humpback whale. I snuck up as close as I could (while breaking up my human outline with a camouflage umbrella), hunkered down in the frozen brush, and watched the action for an hour or two in the midst of a snow storm. It was wild!!! I have never seen such violence among birds before! But, being that the people of our nation unfortunately fight with each other non-stop, I guess it is only fitting that our national birds do the same.
I was able to get some incredible action shots of the dominant eagles pouncing on the others and stabbing their sharp talons in their victims back. They’d pin down an intruding, lesser bird, beat it with their wings, bite its neck, peck its eyes and rip out its feathers in a savage attack! Some of these fights were apparently to the death, as I found the fresh remains of a bloody, beaten, young eagle not far from the whale carcass. It was a brutal reminder about how creatures in nature will fiercely protect what they believe to be their own. I added all the images to the “Eagles of Alaska” gallery.
Later that week as I was out running a few errands, I noticed another large gathering of eagles hanging around on a beach, feeding on some washed up fish remains. Luckily I had my camera handy, so I slowly pulled over, cracked my window a bit, and fired away. The results of that drive-by shooting are also in the “Eagles of Alaska” gallery.