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Photographer’s Paradise: Capturing Alaska’s Beauty from a Small Ship Cruise

Alaska’s Inside Passage showcases a network of waterways that snakes through stunning fjords and past towering glaciers, presents a unique photographic journey.

Cruising these waters on an Alaska small ship cruise brings you up close to the untouched splendors of nature. This article guides photography enthusiasts on how to best capture the essence of this majestic landscape.

Understanding the Alaskan Landscape

Alaska’s landscapes are a photographer’s dream. The towering mountains, sprawling forests, and immense glaciers each offer their own visual narrative.

Early morning light brings a soft glow to the mountains, ideal for landscape shots. Conversely, the harsh midday sun can highlight the ruggedness of the terrain.

Understanding the interplay of light and landscape is key to capturing Alaska’s grandeur.

Wildlife Photography from the Deck

The immense value of going on a small ship cruise throughout the Inside Passage is that you have numerous opportunities to photograph wildlife up close.

What type of photography gear do you need for a small ship cruise? Here’s our list

  • Digital camera & backup camera –  tons of memory cards & batteries
  • SuperTelephoto lens: 70-200 works amazingly well and if you have a tele-converter, that’ll be well worth it. A 100-500 range telephoto lens is also nice so that you can have the ability to zoom in and out to properly compose your shot.
  • Wide angle lens – Any lens in the 16-36 zoom range is highly recommended.
  • Filters – there are two must-have filters for a trip to Alaska: circular polarizer filter for all lenses and a neutral split density filter and holder for your wide angle lens. This is without doubt my favorite filter that I use all the time!
  • Photo Packs –  Any pack that holds all of your gear is fine, but it MUST be all-weather as the Inside Passage has a wide range of weather conditions.
  • Laptop – This is paramount for downloading and backing up photos from the day.
  • Tripod & Monopod – This kind of goes without saying, you’ll need some sort of stability for your low light conditions.
  • Additional note: if you can afford to either buy or rent a lens, get the best glass you can afford. The 2.8 range for this trip would be incredible.

If you don’t have a nice wide angle or telephoto lens, we would highly recommend renting a couple lenses for your trip. Borrow lenses and Lens Rentals are two great companies that we’ve used in the past.

 A telephoto lens is essential for capturing distant wildlife like whales breaching or eagles soaring. Being on the deck during dawn or dusk increases chances of sightings.

 Wildlife in Alaska is unscripted, so always be ready for that unexpected moment.

Capturing the Light: Photographing Alaska’s Weather and Skies

Alaska’s weather adds drama to your photographs. The shifting mists and cloud formations over the landscapes can create ethereal and moody scenes.

Photographers should be ready to capture rapidly changing conditions. Nighttime brings its own wonders, with opportunities to photograph the Northern Lights, a highlight for any photographer visiting Alaska.

The Magic of the Water: Reflections and Seascapes

The calm Alaskan waters offer stunning opportunities for reflection photography. Capturing the mirror image of a mountain or glacier in the still waters requires finding the right angle and light.

Seascape photography also thrives here, with the changing tides and light playing across the surface of the water. Experimenting with different shutter speeds can yield captivating results, from smooth, silky water surfaces to crisp waves.

Close-up Encounters: Shore Excursions and Macro Photography

Shore excursions provide a chance to delve into macro photography. The Alaskan wilderness is rich with minute details, from the textures of leaves and flowers to the intricate patterns on rocks and tree barks.

 Bringing a macro lens for these excursions can open up a whole new world of photography.

Capturing and Sharing Your Alaskan Journey

Embarking on an Alaskan cruise with your camera is more than a journey; it’s a chance to capture and share a unique perspective of one of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes.

The photos you take will not only preserve your memories but also tell the story of Alaska’s wild, untouched beauty.

We hope to see you in the vast Alaskan wilderness.

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