I’ve been spending a lot of time with my son and not so much time with my camera, but I aim to remedy this next week when I take son and camera on a road trip.  Until then, I hope you don’t mind if I share some images from a cruise I took my wife and son on about 8-9 years ago.

All the images were taken with a Nikon D2h which was a professional class Nikon DSLR at the time equipped with Nikon’s best sensor, a 4mp APC-S 1.5x sensor.  I’ve oft mentioned that it’s not so much about the number of pixels, as the quality of the pixels.  Good glass and 4mp’s produced images that printed at 24x30 inches and back then were considered more than acceptable.  I suspect few professionals could tell the difference between some of my 4mp 24x30 and my 21mp 24x30’s, unless they were side by side comparisons.

Some background.  My wife and son had helped me with a lot of hard emotional and hard physical work when my parents passed away.  2-3 years of work.  At its completion I rewarded their loyalty and hard work by booking passage on a then brand new cruise ship on only its 3rd voyage.. I’ll tell you what I thought of the cruise at the end of the pictures.. J

 

This is the main ‘mall’ area of the ship with all the nice stores.  These ships can be as nice as the finest hotels.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 12-24mm F4 AFS at 14mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

This is the main ‘mall’ area of the ship with all the nice stores.  These ships can be as nice as the finest hotels.

 

 

The wife coming up the stairs below.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 12-24m F4 AFS at 12mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

The wife coming up the stairs below.

 

 

A view of one of the five pools and who knows how many Jacuzzis.  The northwest sky was always interesting.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8 AFS at 24mm.  Handheld at ISO 200

A view of one of the five pools and who knows how many Jacuzzis.  The northwest sky was always interesting.

 

 

The Seattle skyline from the ship as we left port.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 12-24mm F4 AFS at 12mm.   Handheld at ISO 400

The Seattle skyline from the ship as we left port.

 

 

A view of our ship from a port in Alaska.  I can’t remember what port, but she sure is a beautiful ship.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AFS VR at 120mm.   Handheld at ISO 400

A view of our ship from a port in Alaska.  I can’t remember what port, but she sure is a beautiful ship.

 

 

Another view of the ship where if you count carefully you can see all five swimming pools, the 9 hole golf course, and much more.   Quite different from the big grey ships I’ve spent considerable time on.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AFS VR at 70mm.  Handheld at ISO 400

Another view of the ship where if you count carefully you can see all five swimming pools, the 9 hole golf course, and much more.   Quite different from the big grey ships I’ve spent considerable time on.

 

 

This caged eagle had its eye put out supposedly while mating.  Eagles exhibit mating behavior in the air and can get quite carried away resulting in crashes and injuries.  Without both eyes his depth perception is off and at the speeds these beauties fly he flew into the ground and barely survived.  A caged life was all that would keep him alive.  To me he looks extremely sad.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS.  Tripod mounted at ISO 200

This caged eagle had its eye put out supposedly while mating.  Eagles exhibit mating behavior in the air and can get quite carried away resulting in crashes and injuries.  Without both eyes his depth perception is off and at the speeds these beauties fly he flew into the ground and barely survived.  A caged life was all that would keep him alive.  To me he looks extremely sad.

 

It took over 30 minutes for him to turn towards me.   Hundreds of tourists noisily went past his cage and I’d swear he made the decision not to look at them.  Once they were gone he slowly turned towards me and held my gaze for several seconds.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS.  Tripod mounted at ISO 200

It took over 30 minutes for him to turn towards me.   Hundreds of tourists noisily went past his cage and I’d swear he made the decision not to look at them.  Once they were gone he slowly turned towards me and held my gaze for several seconds. 

 

 

My son while out on a hike.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 AFS at 60mm.  Handheld at ISO 400

 

My son while out on a hike.

 

 

A tourist town plain and simple.  Most of the small towns servicing the cruise ship crowds had a similar look and shops lined with everything from real wolf pelts (wolves raised in captivity!) to custom made hunting knives.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8 AFS at 18mm.  Handheld at ISO 200

A tourist town plain and simple.  Most of the small towns servicing the cruise ship crowds had a similar look and shops lined with everything from real wolf pelts (wolves raised in captivity!) to custom made hunting knives.

 


The same sort of town at another port.  It was at this town where I could resist a custom made skinning knife made by the best custom knife maker in Alaska.  Beautiful work.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8 AFS at 20mm.  Handheld at ISO 200

The same sort of town at another port.  It was at this town where I could resist a custom made skinning knife made by the best custom knife maker in Alaska.  Beautiful work.

 

 

A piece of floating ice.  Floating ice can and was often many different shades of blue.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS.  Tripod mounted at ISO 1200

A piece of floating ice.  Floating ice can and was often many different shades of blue.

 

 

Another piece of floating ice.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS.  Tripod mounted at ISO 1600

 

Another piece of floating ice.

 

 

The floating ice can be really beautiful.  I’d stand on the deck for hours watching the different light of the fast moving sun change the color and shadows of these ice pieces.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AFS VR.  Handheld at ISO 800

The floating ice can be really beautiful.  I’d stand on the deck for hours watching the different light of the fast moving sun change the color and shadows of these ice pieces.

 

 

I made a friend on this cruise and his name is Phil.  This is him sampling my D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS (even back then I liked white lenses.. :o), and my Gitzo tripod with Arca-Swiss head.  Yes, I brought two D2h bodies with me on the trip.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 AFS at 43mm.   Handheld at ISO 200

I made a friend on this cruise and his name is Phil.  This is him sampling my D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS (even back then I liked white lenses.. :o), and my Gitzo tripod with Arca-Swiss head.  Yes, I brought two D2h bodies with me on the trip.

 

 

A weather vane, mostly decorative I’m sure.

Nikon D2h, 70-200mm F2.8 AFS at 200mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

A weather vane, mostly decorative I’m sure.

 

 

With the APC 1.5x sensor, this was an effective 900mm shot from a moving ship of a large glacier.  These shots took every bit of proper tripod and telephoto lens technique I could muster and quite a few of them turned out very sharp.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS with the Nikkor 2x teleconverter.   Tripod mounted at ISO 800

With the APC 1.5x sensor, this was an effective 900mm shot from a moving ship of a large glacier.  These shots took every bit of proper tripod and telephoto lens technique I could muster and quite a few of them turned out very sharp.

 

 

Quite the lucky shot from a fast moving skiff at an effective 630mm!

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS with the Nikkor 1.4x teleconverter.   Handheld at ISO 1600

Quite the lucky shot from a fast moving skiff at an effective 630mm!

 

 

Whale watching tourist boat.  I saw more of these than I did whales.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AFS at 200mm.   Handheld at ISO 400

Whale watching tourist boat.  I saw more of these than I did whales.

 

 

A beautiful Alaskan sunset.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8 AFS at 24mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

A beautiful Alaskan sunset.

 

 

My son came up on deck to get me for dinner.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8 AFS at 35mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

My son came up on deck to get me for dinner.

 

Many nights I’d wander the ship looking for interesting photos that someone else hadn’t already taken thousands of times.  This might be an original.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 85mm F1.4.  Handheld at ISO 800

Many nights I’d wander the ship looking for interesting photos that someone else hadn’t already taken thousands of times.  This might be an original.

 

 

The colors of the sunsets were spectacular, even if the landmasses were unremarkable.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 AFS at 70mm.  Handheld at ISO 800

The colors of the sunsets were spectacular, even if the landmasses were unremarkable.

 

 

Quite the sharp image for a wild eagle in its nest at an effective 900mm.  There are many eagles in Alaska, the trick isn’t in finding or even photographing them, but in photographing them with a degree of sharpness.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS with Nikkor 2x teleconverter.  Tripod mounted at ISO 400

Quite the sharp image for a wild eagle in its nest at an effective 900mm.  There are many eagles in Alaska, the trick isn’t in finding or even photographing them, but in photographing them with a degree of sharpness.

 

 

Taken at the same time and the same nest as above.  I tried and tried, but there was no way to get both of the pair in focus at the same time no matter how much I stopped down the lens.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 300mm F2.8 AFS with Nikkor 2x teleconverter.   Tripod mounted at ISO 800

Taken at the same time and the same nest as above.  I tried and tried, but there was no way to get both of the pair in focus at the same time no matter how much I stopped down the lens.

 

 

This photograph hanging on the wall of a totem exhibit really intrigued me.  It looked very old and was technically very good.  The composition was impressive as well.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 AFS at 28mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

This photograph hanging on the wall of a totem exhibit really intrigued me.  It looked very old and was technically very good.  The composition was impressive as well.

 

 

This totem appeared to be otherwise engaged in both a mental and physical activity!

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 AFS at 40mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

This totem appeared to be otherwise engaged in both a mental and physical activity!

 

 

I captured this during a boring entertainment show.  Sometimes it funs to hold open the shutter, move the camera about, and see what turns out.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8 AFS at 35mm   Handheld at ISO 400

I captured this during a boring entertainment show.  Sometimes it funs to hold open the shutter, move the camera about, and see what turns out.

 

 

The wife and son at one a forest.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 AFS at 50mm.  Handheld at ISO 200

 

The wife and son at one a forest.

 

 

The wife in our closet sized stateroom waiting for me to put my shoes on and go to dinner.  We sure did eat a lot on this trip.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 AFS at 28mm.  Handheld at ISO 200 w/flash

The wife in our closet sized stateroom waiting for me to put my shoes on and go to dinner.  We sure did eat a lot on this trip.

 

 

An early evening shot as we moved through one of the many passages.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 12-24mm F4 AFS at 24mm.  Handheld at ISO 1600

An early evening shot as we moved through one of the many passages.

 

 

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AFS VR at 70mm.  Handheld at ISO 400

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 AFS VR at 70mm.  Handheld at ISO 400

As we moved slowly through the passages waterfalls such as this were everywhere.  Truly a beautiful piece of country.

 

 

It wasn’t easy getting in position for this shot and I was lectured by a crewmember for sitting on top of his lifeboat..

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 12-24mm F4 AFS at 12mm.   Handheld at ISO 1600

It wasn’t easy getting in position for this shot and I was lectured by a crewmember for sitting on top of his lifeboat..

 

 

There were several formal dinners where we dressed to the nines and on this occasion sat at the captain’s table.  He turned out to be a sour old coot with not much to talk about except his trips to Thailand which he thought the wife would find of interest.  He came close to crossing the line with several comments.

Nikon D2h, Nikkor 28-70mm F2.8 at 60mm.  Handheld at ISO 200 w/flash

There were several formal dinners where we dressed to the nines and on this occasion sat at the captain’s table.  He turned out to be a sour old coot with not much to talk about except his trips to Thailand which he thought the wife would find of interest.  He came close to crossing the line with several comments.

 

What do I think of cruises?  By the end of the third day I was calling our vacation “Boat Jail” because of the very limited shore time allotted by the cruise lines.