I would venture a guess that thousands of tourists visit the Mendenhall Glacier located just outside Juneau, Alaska every day during the summer cruise season. Juneau is a major stop for cruise ships during the summer and the easy access for cruise lines to bus tourists to the glacier is likely to make a visit a somewhat crowded experience, particularly at and near the U.S. Forest Service visitor center.
With all these tourists armed with cameras, this past summer I wanted to try to get a photo different from the pack. In the past, I have taken some interesting landscape photos with my 600 mm lens — definitely not a lens often thought of for landscape photography. I figured why not try. Instead of focusing on the actual Mendenhall Glacier, I set my sights on the neighboring Nugget Falls, an impressive waterfall coming off the same icefield as the glacier.
I selected a slow shutter speed to give the falls the silky look. Obviously, that slow of a shutter speed with such a long lens, required the lens and camera locked down a tripod and the use of an electronic shutter release cable to take the photo.
Normally, I’m used to being the only person around when I’m taking photos. This time not only was I in a sea of tourists, I was the center of attention — not the falls nor the enormous glacier! It seems that the tourists were more impressed with my lens and began to snap photos of me and my long lens. Guess you could mark this one up to “lens envy.”
ABOVE: Hikers to Nugget Falls located next to the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska in the Tongass National Forest are dwarfed by the 377 foot waterfall. Photographed using a Nikon D3, 600mm f4 VR lens, on a Gitzo GT3541LS carbon fiber tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead, and a Nikon MC-36 Multi-function Remote Cord. Image capture: 1/8 at f22, ISO 100
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