My in-laws took us on an Alaskan cruise, departing Seattle on July 27. Our first port of call was Juneau, and I was signed up for Gastineau's Photo Safari trip, which included a short nature walk to Mendenhall Glacier and whale sight-seeing. Our guide, Annie Macie, was amazing. Not only is she a whale biologist, but she's also a professional wildlife photographer, so she helped everyone on the excursion learn how to optimize their cameras to get the best photos possible. We learned techniques to make the blue in the glacier ice really pop, and helpful shutter speed and f-stop advice for shooting the glaciers and the whales.
When it came time for the whale watching portion of our excursion, being in such a small group with a biologist and a fantastic captain (Captain Jen) really paid off! Annie explained to us exactly what to look for in order to catch the perfect fluke shot, and explained a lot of the behaviors of the whales that were fascinating and helpful in photographing them. Captain Jen explained to us the 30-minute rule of whale watching, so when we passed by some rare humpback bubble feeding behavior surrounded by boats, we knew it was so we wouldn't waste time on the periphery waiting our turn to get close. Instead, we found a second pod, watched them for 30 minutes, then headed back and got some close up shots of the bubble feeding. Looking out at the giant whale-watching excursion boats that lumbered out on the water, I was really pleased with having chosen Gastineau!
My brother-in-law's family also did a Gastineau Guiding trip, Whales and Trails. They didn't get the photography advice, but they also had a biologist as their guide who they loved. We actually fought over who had the better guide, which is a pretty good sign that this is an all around high-quality guiding company. None of our other family members were nearly as pleased with their Juneau excursions as we were!
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