Watching Humpback Whales Feed

Working Together

On our way from Farragut Bay where we picked up our week’s supply of organic veggies, one of our guests noticed a whale’s spout. We stopped for a few minutes and we were rewarded with the opportunity to watch two humpback whales working together to trap schools of fish in nets made by blowing air bubbles. 

Whale watching on a small ship in Alaska
Humpback whales feeding in Alaska
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Photography with Matt Meisenheimer

Here’s a chance to get to know Matt, one of our photography instructors. To learn more or book this trip. Visit our Southeast Alaska Fjords with Matt Meisenheimer webpage.

By Matt Meisenheimer
Adventure-oriented landscape photographer

Photography in Alaska

Matt Meisenheimer photography workshop cruise and tours
Matt Meisenheimer

Alaska is one of the most rugged wilderness areas left on our planet. Containing nearly 65.5 million acres of land, 28.8 million acres of freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds, 6,640 linear miles of coastline, and 4 out of 10 of the highest peaks in North America, it is ‘The Last Frontier’. Everything is on a different scale in Alaska; the mountains are bigger, the glaciers are bigger, the wildlife are bigger, and ultimately, the landscape is bigger. Change is ever present and each season offers something different. Fall brings vibrant color to the forests and tundra, while wildlife anxiously prepare for the approaching winter.  Winter is dark, cold, and long, but if you gaze up in the sky during an Alaskan winter night, you just might see the Northern Lights dancing above you. Spring is a season of growth, the mountainsides are stripped of snow, wildlife awakens, and plants awaken for the summer sun. And then there’s summer, one of my favorite times in Alaska. Summer is full of energy. All living things, flora and fauna, are making the most of the long summer days and the short growing season. Wildflowers grip to every surface possible of supporting life, ice melts revealing the deep fjords and glaciers, and the high alpine of Alaska awakens. For a photographer, there is no better place in the world in my opinion.

That’s why I’m so excited to lead the Southeast Alaska Fjords Photography Workshop this summer. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and it

Matt Meisenheimer Photography - Workshop
Alaska Coastal Brown Bear – Photo By Matt Meisenheimer

will be an absolutely fantastic trip. I’ve spent time shooting in quite a few different Alaska biomes. I worked and photographed in Denali National Park, I’ve camped with coastal brown bears in Lake Clark National Park, and I’ve come face to face with massive glaciers in the southeast fjords of Alaska. My favorite area of Alaska continues to be the fjords that line the southeast coast from the Prince William Sound all the way down to Glacier Bay National Park. And there’s no better way to experience and photograph this area than by taking a small ship into the glacial fjords.

As an adventure-oriented landscape photographer, my passion lies in creating innovative, unique compositions and capturing spectacular displays of light and atmosphere. Alaska is a great place for both of those things and that’s another good reason Alaska is such a special place to me. Many photographers travel across the US to many different national parks, but many consistently take the same photos at the same locations. That’s why we see thousands of pictures of Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park, Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, and The Watchman in Zion National Park. Those shots are great and they are fun to capture, but they don’t allow you to challenge yourself or expand your horizons as a landscape photographer. Well in Alaska, the perspective is totally different.

Landscape photography workshop with Matt Meisenheimer
Ice Caves – Photo by Matt Meisenheimer

There aren’t many iconic shots here, especially in the southeast fjords. You’re often left to fend for yourself and create your own art, which can be extremely enriching. Especially when the canvas and elements you’re given to work with include jagged mountains, unfathomably large glaciers, epic wildflower blooms, huge icebergs, brown bears, and orca whales. That’s why this workshop represents such an exclusive experience. We’re going to be on a small ship together for 8 days and venture into some places where very few people go. We’re going to see some things that no other photographers see. We’re going to chase unique compositions and come away with jaw-dropping imagery. Sure, we might have to endure some rain and wind along the way, but the constant flux of storm systems in Alaska makes for some of the greatest atmospheric conditions you could ever ask for. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my journey in photography, it’s that the importance of great atmosphere in the creation of a defining image cannot be understated. Like I said, I’m ecstatic to run this workshop. Alaska is my favorite place in the world and this is an incredibly special trip. Nowhere else can you get excellent photographic instruction, incredible cooking, and the hominess of a small ship that you get to share with other like-minded photographers. If you’re considering this trip, get in contact with us, this is one you don’t want to miss out on.

Landscape photography workshop with Matt Meisenheimer
Landscape Photography in Alaska – Photo By Matt Meisenheimer

I thought I’d share some personal information about myself as well. I live in Madison, Wisconsin and run photo workshops throughout the year. I usually run 1-2 workshops each month to places like Alaska, Olympic National Park, Glacier National Park, Zion National Park, and Yosemite National Park, to name a few. I am a huge advocate for workshops. No, not because I lead my own, but because I got my own start in landscape photography by attending a workshop. When I was just a beginner, I was really inspired by the work of a certain photographer so I saved up my money and invested in a workshop with him. I was just out of college, I didn’t have much money, and I second guessed myself from the instant I submitted my deposit for the workshop to the time the workshop started. Well, that all changed the moment the workshop began. It lasted only 5 days, but I learned more in 5 days than I had in the previous two years of photography. It completely changed my life and I can wholeheartedly say that if I hadn’t taken that workshop I wouldn’t be instructing workshops myself and I wouldn’t have learned nearly as much as I have in photography. Thus, because of my own experience, I take teaching very seriously. And beyond that, I want to help people create images that they are excited about and that they want to go home and share with friends or family. On this workshop in Alaska, I’ll help you with the basics, but I’ll also show you things that push the boundaries, and I’ll give you tips that you can use on every future photo trip you go on. I’m all about delivering value and empowering my students with the technical and creative skills they need to capture dream images of their own. Join me this summer and we will do just that!

Trip Number 340 – Limited to 8 Students
Dates: July 10 – 17, 2019
Boards/Disembarks: Juneau – Intermediate Vessel Float
Rate: $7000 per person

For more information on this workshop visit our Southeast Alaska Fjords with Matt Meisenheimer page.



You can do it

We were cruising alongside Gloomy Knob in Glacier Bay on our AdventuresNW Magazine Photography Workshop when spotted this mother mountain goat waiting patiently for her youngster to catch up to her. It was a nice opportunity to observe these amazing sure-footed creatures and also to try to photograph them as they were high up on the mountain-side and we were at sea level.

We have several photography workshops aboard the David B in 2019. We’ve really come to love these trips as photography brings you a depth of experience with the beauty of Glacier Bay, as well as providing you the time to slow down and observe nature while learning how to get the most out of your camera. If you think you would like to know more about our Photography Workshops and instructors, click on over to our photography page for dates and locations.


photographing mountain goats in Glacier Bay alaska
Mountain goats in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Small Waterfall

Some waterfalls are big, roaring and attention-grabbing. Other waterfalls are shy. These we seek out in our skiff to listen to their hushed babble and to feel a sense of wonder as we watch them cascade for a thousand feet or more.

Visit these links learn more about our cruises in Alaska or the Inside Passage.

excrusion to fords terror in Alaska on a small ship vruise
Small waterfall in Fords Terror

Four Eagles

We came across a large group of bald eagles in the middle of Stephens Passage. There were maybe 30-40 flying over a school of fish. Eagles everywhere were swooping talons first into the water to snatch fish. It was an incredible sight. One eagle ended up with the water and was immediately swarmed by other eagles. We weren’t sure what would happen. After several tries the eagle got air and quickly sped away with the fish in its talons.

Watching bald eagles fishing in Alaska while on a small ship cruise.
Eagles in Alaska are a common sight.

Baird Glacier Landscape

Rocks on the outwash plain at Baird Glacier. In 2015 a glacial outburst flood called a jokulhlaup broke the glacier away from its terminal moraine. The landscape was completely changed. A friend said another outburst flood happened in September. We’re looking forward to seeing what changes the glacier made to its landscape. It’s what we love about spending time around glaciers. They always are up to something.

Join us in Alaska for a chance to see and learn more about this incredible and dynamic landscape. For our most in-depth trips, we suggest either Trip #336, AdventuresNW Magazine’s Photography Workshop or Trip #339, Ecology of Southeast Alaska with naturalist and killer whale researcher John McInnes.

Photography workshop in Alaska aboard a small cruise ship
Rocks and sand at Baird Glacier

Don’t forget to do your plank today

The good bears at Pack Creek would like to remind you that a couple minutes of plank every day will help build good strong core muscles.

If you love bears, come on one of our Alaska cruises. In 2019 we are teaming back up with Pack Creek Bear Tours to visit the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area. This is a special experience where you get to closely observe coastal brown bears. We have two trips that include Pack Creek in our 2019 schedule:

Bear watching at Pack Creek in Alaska
Brown bear at Pack Creek in Alaska.


Trip #334: Glaciers, Fjords, and Bears 
Dates: May 11-18, 2019
Departs: Petersburg
Disembarks: Auke Bay, Juneau

For More information:  https://northwestnavigation.com/petersburg-to-juneau-with-pack-creek-bear-viewing/

Trip #336: AdventuresNW Magazine Photo Workshop – Tracy Arm/Fords Terror Wilderness & Pack Creek Bear Viewing
Dates: May 31 – June 9, 2019
Departs: Auke Bay, Juneau
Disembarks: Petersburg

For more information: https://northwestnavigation.com/alaska-adventure-photography-cruise/


Glacier Bay Permits — We Got Um!

Glacier Bay concessionaire contract awarded to the David B

Photography Workshop tour in Glacier Bay Alaska at McBride Glacier
McBride Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska

by Jeffrey Smith

If you were on the boat, or even within earshot of us this summer, you probably heard us talking about trying to get a permit to operate in Glacier Bay National Park. It was a difficult thing for us, mostly because of the timing. The Park released the prospectus in the middle of our spring outfitting season, and we scrambled to have our proposal complete. Luckily we have Sarah, who did a lot of the writing, editing, checking and re-checking to make sure we had it all in perfect shape to submit.

Then we waited – for 5 months.

We weren’t sure if we could even schedule any trips in Glacier Bay because we didn’t know what the status of the permit was. Then earlier this month, we found out. We got it. So we’re going, and you should come with us.

Glacier Bay is amazing. The wildlife is everywhere, there are species that you’d have a hard time seeing in other Alaska spots. Things like puffins and mountain goats. On our past trips there, we’ve also seen loads of humpback whales, orca whales, brown bears, black bears, and moose.

Then there’s the ice. We anchor in front of glaciers and walk up to their faces. We slowly skiff through fjords choked with floating ice and sneak up to glaciers that are calving. The photography experience is phenomenal. You won’t find this anywhere else.

Come join us. (We’ve got the permits) **

Glacier Bay Trips: Adventures NW Glacier Bay Photography Workshops

Trip #335 May 21-28, 2019

Trip #341 July 20-27, 2019


** Fine Print: Technically in National Park Language, we have been awarded a concession contract to provide charter boat services in Glacier Bay National Park from 2019 to 2029. People might not understand that, so to simplify it we refer to it as a permit.

Just Remember to Look Up

I was walking along a mud flat at low tide with a group of guests when I spotted several greater yellowlegs standing on a small rise that was surrounded by a tidepool. I stopped to point them out and talk a bit about their pretty call and how they feed on small fish and insects. As we watched the yellowlegs wade and forage in the shallow water, a bald eagle flew overhead attracting the attention of this bird. Just a small reminder from our friend the Greater Yellowlegs to remember to occasionally look up.


Bird watching in Alaska while on a small ship cruise.
Greater yellow-legs keeps an eye on the sky as it feeds in a shallow tide pool on Admiralty Island in Alaska.

Mother Natures’s Art

I’ve been looking at these scales, or chatter marks as they are called, near Dawes Glacier for years. I love showing them to our guests. They always feel impactful to me. Maybe it’s because they weren’t yet exposed when John Muir visited Dawes in 1880, or perhaps it’s just Mother Nature’s raw talent as an artist. Whatever it is, this part of Endicott Arm is one that I always enjoy gazing at.


Geology in Endicott Arm, Alaska. Aboard the small cruise ship David B
Chatter marks in the walls of Endicott Arm.