Local People - Uncommon Knowledge

Neil the captain on the boat

Captain Neil McDermott – Owner

Clients find themselves inspired by his child-like inquisitiveness! From an early age, Neil sought out knowledge of wild things through books, television, and just rolling around in the dirt. He watched every Jacque Cousteau special and became passionate about marine mammals, especially whales. To this day, Neil continues to expand his knowledge, attending conferences worldwide and with visits from leading whale scientists and scholars. He does this not only to seek the most up-to-date information but also to assist in the collection of research data. He holds a Coast Guard Master License with First Aid and CPR certification. Neil is an associate member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, an associate partner with the Alaska Travel Industry Association, and a partner member of the World Cetacean Alliance. He also partners with Whale SENSE Alaska, a member of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and a contributing author to The Last Frontier Magazine.

Lione Claire ina kayak.

Lione Claire – Professional Photographer & Naturalist

Lione Clare was born and raised in Sitka and fell in love with nature at a young age. Her passion for nature photography that budded at 13 has since led to her special photography experiences, including a North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) high school scholarship and being the guest young photographer on a wildlife safari in Tanzania. Lione holds a degree in resource conservation and minors in climate change studies and media arts from the University of Montana. She is excited to share her local knowledge and passion for photographing the beauty and interconnectedness of the natural world with you on our expeditions. View her work on her website.

Dan Evans photographer and naturalist.

Dan Evans – Professional Photographer & Naturalist

Dan’s photographs have appeared in many publications including National Geographic, the New York Times, Outside, Alaska, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Patagonia, National Fisherman, and many more. He has worked for a Paramount television program called “Wild Things” where he traveled the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic photographing polar bears, walrus, and caribou. Recently, he went to South Dakota for National Geographic photographing bison. Dan’s line of photography books, posters, and calendars are sold annually to people throughout the world.

Dan’s photography uniquely captures the wilderness in Alaska. His intimate pictures of wildlife and wild places are derived from a rare relationship with the land. An experienced mountaineer and outdoorsman, Dan Evans has summited Denali, skied across the Juneau Ice Fields, bicycled across Canada, and kayaked and hiked much of the wildest geography of the Last Frontier.

Raised in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Dan has lived in Alaska for over 34 years. He and his wife Janet continue to spend much of their time outdoors finding new angles and vantage points to photograph Alaska. His business, Dan Evans/Northern Images, provides a wide range of photos, books, posters, stock images, and workshops that capture the spirit of the last frontier. View his work on his website.

Simon Hook photographer & naturalist.

Simon Hook – Professional Photographer & Naturalist

Simon Hook discovered the natural world in his childhood, adventuring in the redwood forests of California. The adventure of Alaska has captured his curiosity and continues to inspire him. Simon’s interest in the landscape and wildlife of Alaska presents a wonder for exploration and subjects to photograph. From the tiniest plankton to the tectonic plates that make mountains; Simon’s curiosity has sought out scientists and cutting-edge researchers at symposiums and lectures to further an understanding of the natural world. Simon is also extremely handy with a camera, with several awards for photos of Alaska’s wildlife and landscapes to his name. You can view some of Simon’s outstanding photographic talents on his website.

Karen Mead

Karen Mead – Owner and Chief Motivational Executive

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Karen has always appreciated beautiful, lush forests and waterways. Whether camping, hiking with llamas, fishing, or exploring, she is happiest enjoying the wonders of nature. After spending most of her adult life pursuing outdoor activities and teaching her children to appreciate and care for our natural world, she is excited to do the same for her clients.

Sean Neilson photographer.

Sean Neilson – Professional Photographer, Naturalist, and Guide

Sean has been studying and photographing southeast Alaska for over two decades. He makes his year-round home in the tiny community of Gustavus (pop. 400), adjacent to Glacier Bay National Park’s southern boundary. For many years, Sean worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service aboard cruise ships and tour boats, but now he dedicates his professional time to leading smaller, more intimate groups to locales that very few others even know about.

Sean’s first visit to Glacier Bay was in 1993. He fell in love with the place and returned in the spring of 2000 to work for the National Park Service as a ranger. Three years later, he met his wife, Janet, who also works for the Park Service as a marine biologist specializing in humpback whales. They have two children: Téa, age 13, and Skyler, age 9. When Sean is not photographing the bay or trying to get his kids to school on time, he spends much of his time traveling around the region living a subsistence lifestyle. Whether it is hunting deer, fishing for halibut and salmon, tending the garden, or gathering mushrooms and berries, Sean spends much of his free time outside in the wet and wild country that is Glacier Bay and Icy Strait.

He had the urge to take pictures many years ago while working a summer job in Yellowstone National Park. The natural beauty he witnessed there made him want to share it with others. Sean began with a borrowed Nikon FM, and after taking thousands of bad photos, he finally started to get the hang of it and sold his first image in 2003. You can see more about Sean and his work by visiting his website.

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