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The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

January 9, 2013 Profile & Interviews 3 Comments

Written by: Charlie Borland

My love of the natural world began literally before I can remember. My parents have many pictures of me as a smiling, rambunctious toddler trying my best to explore the wild frontier of the back yard, or a local park. My admiration and attraction to the great outdoors grew just as fast as I did, perhaps even faster. The love-affair I had with all of creation as a child has remained a life long passion, and my greatest source of peace, comfort and inspiration.

Nature and wildlife photography actually began as an off-shoot of my other favorite outdoor activities: fishing, hiking, hunting and camping. About ten years ago I began to notice more and more that during my time in the wild I was constantly saying to myself, “Darn! I wish I had a camera! Look at that!!!”  And so, even though I knew essentially nothing about photography, I bought a decent camera and had it with me at all times while on my many outings.

What started off as simply a means of capturing significant memories of outdoor adventures, photography eventually turned into the adventure itself. I found myself spending more and more time seeking out things to shoot with my camera instead of my bow or shotgun. “Catch and release hunting,” I like to call it…which one can do year round. The only downside is that one can’t eat “photographs and memories,” so sometimes I do leave the camera at home when the freezer needs to be filled.

Over the last few years my passion for nature and wildlife photography has exploded!  I have upgraded my camera gear quite a bit and have continued to learn all I possibly can about the art of photography: from shooting techniques, to processing, to finishing and marketing photographs. This passion has grown even more, being that I currently live in one of the most photogenic places on earth: Kodiak Island, Alaska. The biggest brown bears in the world, hundreds of majestic bald eagles, life-giving salmon streams and emerald green mountains are literally right out my window. Every spare moment I have I grab my camera and seek out something to shoot. On some occasions, subjects just seem to magically appear at the right time and place, and on other occasions, I carefully plan every moment of a particular photo shoot to capture a subject during a very specific time. I often have to wait weeks to perfectly align the tide with the sun rise or set, with the right winds, the right weather, etc.

Every photograph tells a story and shares a once in a life time experience. As a man of great faith, I believe that everything in the wild, all of creation, reveals something magnificent about the Creator, thus, the name of my photography business: Wild Revelation Photography. To see my entire online portfolio, visit www.wildrevelation.com

About the Photographs…….

Abercrombie Creek 1 The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Abercrombie Creek


File name:  Abercrombie Creek #1

Caption:     Babbling Brook of Fort Abercrombie.

Description:  Rivers of any size are the arteries of the land. They supply refreshment, nourishment and support life in many ways for all of creation, including human beings. There are few things as soothing as sitting next to a stunningly beautiful wilderness stream and listening to the voice of eternity in the sound of the rushing water. When photographing rivers, prepare to get wet! Hip boots or chest waders are a must to literally immerse one’s self in the beauty of a potential composition.

AK Brown bear 4 The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Brown Bear

File name:   AK Brown bear 4

Caption:      Sunbathing Brown Bear.

Description:  The mighty bears of Alaska live in some pretty wet and dark conditions for much of their lives. I photographed this big boy as he was out for a stroll on a warm, sunny, spring day. As any wildlife photographer will attest to, one can wait for hours upon hours to get one decent shot. Extreme patience is a must!

Bear fight 2 The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Bears Fighting

File name:  Bear fight 2 

Caption:    Sibling Rivalry.

Description: Things are not always what they seem to be in nature. What appears to be the beginning of a brutal fight to the death in this photograph is actually a young set of brown bear siblings having a playful wrestling match…despite blood being drawn and fur being ripped off each other!

Buskin River Red Fox 2 The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Red Fox


File name:  Buskin River Red Fox #2  

Caption:     Buskin River Red Fox.

Description:  “Always be prepared!”  Not only is this the motto of the Boy Scouts, but it is perhaps the most important rule for wildlife photography. If there is one thing you can expect while in the wilderness, it is the unexpected. This curious, bright-eyed red fox appeared out of nowhere as I was leaving one of my favorite fishing areas. Thankfully I had my camera ready to go…which reminds me of another important rule that applies to nature photography: “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.”

Eternal Moose The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Moose Antlers

File name:  Eternal Moose 

Caption:     Eternal Moose

Description:  It is certainly true that bad weather produces some very epic photographs!  I took this picture in an extremely remote part of Alaska while on a week-long solo adventure. While I was shooting this ancient bull moose skull from various angles, an apocalyptic storm suddenly blew in which offered an incredible background. As always, be prepared for anything while exploring and photographing waaaaaay off the beaten path. The only helping hands in such places are yours!


KI AR Ice 2 The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

River Ice

 File name:   KI AR Ice 2   

Caption:      Frozen Psychedelic River Ice

Description:  Don’t forget to “look small” instead of “looking big” all the time. While our eyes often seek out massive, majestic, panoramic views while in nature, there is an incredible amount of wonder and beauty in small, unexpected areas. This photograph is of a slab of frozen river ice under a brush pile that I would have never noticed if I were not paying attention. The frozen bubbles above the rushing water and the way the bluish morning light lit up the ice was amazing!

KI beach life hdr The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen



File name:   KI beach life hdr

Caption:  Goose Barnacle Beauty.

Description:  Again, keep your eyes open at all times and expect the unexpected while searching out subjects in nature. While in the process of trying to photograph beach-side buffalo that roam about on parts of Kodiak Island, I came across a big batch of goose barnacles, fresh in from the sea. The beautiful cluster of blue shells made an interesting shot.

KI Eagle in flight 1 The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen


File name:   KI Eagle in flight 1     

Caption:  Winter Eagle in Flight.

Description:  Kodiak Island is home to hundreds of bald eagles. During the winter, our majestic National birds congregate in much smaller vicinities where food is most abundant. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of them in the same roosting tree. Capturing one in flight however, takes a little more patience and practice.


KI Mossy Sitka. The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Sitka Forest

File name:    KI Mossy Sitka.   

Caption:      Mossy Sitka Forest.

Description:  A unique feature of some of the forests of Kodiak Island, are the old, mossy covered Sitka Spruce trees. Walking through a stand of such trees invokes a mysterious vibe, like something out of a Lord of the Rings movie. Photographing these areas is all about the right lighting. A few minutes too late, or too early, and you’ve blown the opportunity.

KI pink head The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Salmon Head

File name:     KI pink head   

Caption:     Frost on the Salmon Head.

Description:  You know winter is on the way when the rivers are lined with hundreds of frost covered salmon carcasses. There is a strange beauty in images that reflect the reality of the full cycle of life.  It’s a good reminder that the natural world is not a Disney movie.  Mother Nature is indifferent to life or death…but at the same time, death always gives way to new life.

Kodiak sow and cub bonding 1 The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Sow and Cub

File name:   Kodiak sow and cub bonding #1  

Caption:      Kodiak Bear Bonding.

Description:  Few things are as heart warming as seeing a mother and her young in the wild. But beware; few things are also as dangerous!  See my article about safely photographing bears for more detailed information about capturing images such as these.

Monashka sands The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

Monashka Dunes

File name:    Monashka sands

Caption:       Monashka Beach Sand Ripples.

Description:  The white sands of Kodiak’s Monashka Bay are the result of the Katmai Volcano eruption of 1912.  During low tides, the receding waters create a mesmerizing pattern in the sands.  Again, great photography subjects can appear right before your eyes when you least expect it…so keep them open at all times!

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plant visual flow The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Barb & Skip Rutkowski says:

    My God Almighty….These photographs capture our belief in what Alaska is all about.
    Our imaginations ran wild with the hope that we, also, will sample this exqusite beauty
    in the very, near future now that we are retired.
    There is nowhere else, in God’s green, earth we’d rather see – and experience’ and these tremendous photographs
    cement our longing!!!!!

  2. [...] Posts: The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen,  Interview With Wildlife Photographer Laurie [...]

  3. [...] Posts: The ProFolio of Alaskan Photographer Joseph Classen, Here is Why Sean Bagshaw is a Top Landscape [...]

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