Off to Alaska!

Camera gear for Alaska Trip

Plus My Alaska Packing List

I hope summer is treating you well! June and July hold something special for me this year. I am about to embark on a bucket list trip in a few days!

On Monday I will fly to Anchorage, Alaska, and on Tuesday, I will join a group of 11 other individuals to photograph the brown bears of Katmai National Park and the surrounding areas!

In February, I really felt that I needed to push myself and do something out of my comfort zone. I researched different workshops, and the one that fit my dates and goals was an Alaska trip with Nikon Ambassadors Kristi Odom and Tamara Lackey. I reached out to Tamara with some questions and felt like it was a good fit, so I BOOKED it!!

Now here we are just a few days out, and my bags are mostly packed. I am getting excited (and a little nervous, too!). You can check out my packing list here.

One thing I try to do before a trip is spend some time thinking about the shots I’d like to take and dreaming of the scenarios I’d love to see. Here’s what’s on my short list for Alaska 2024:

Take a breath and slow down. I want to take in the beauty around me and let go of the pressure I feel to make great shots. Many times the money, time, and my own personality push me to high levels of pressure. I want to let that go and enjoy the magnificence of Alaska this time.

Shoot portrait shots AND environmentals. I want to make sure I am considering a variety of compositions, not just the close-up bear faces. My goal is to use my 24-105 to capture some great scenes with the wildlife small in the frame, as well.

Consider the emotion of the moment. I want to ask myself – what does the scene feel like? How can I capture that? Is it with aperture? Angle? Composition? Post processing? I want to convey what I feel AND what the scene emotes when I make the image.

Study contrast. Something I am learning is to notice the juxtaposition of color. As I am finding things to photograph, do I consider warm/cool contrast? Am I looking for opposites on the color wheel? This is a fairly new concept for me when shooting, and I’d love to try capturing some images where that is practiced!

Hope and pray for dream scenarios. I am holding this loosely, but I would love to see mama bears and cubs! Bonus would be to see a mother nursing or babies on her back. One can wish and dream! Isn’t that the point of creativity?

I have so much more I am thinking about for this dream trip, but those are 5 that I continue to circle back to. If you’ve been to Alaska or you’d like to add to my 5, reply and let me know! You can also share this post with friends you know are traveling there or would benefit from it.

You can follow along on my Alaska trip on Instagram; I can’t wait to share it with you!


Jen Ritchie

I'm a nature photographer who loves capturing beautiful landscapes and wildlife from our yearly trips out West and parks here closer to home.

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