Tasting Salmon Before Noon in Seattle

It’s Spring and the Copper River Salmon Has Arrived

That’s the first time I’ve been in a salmon-related media scrum, elbowed my way in, and got the shot too of this big-money-making king. In the background is Ethan Stowell, the eventual winner of Alaska Airlines#‎CopperRiverSalmon cook off this morning.

What did I learn besides how to command a news cycle with Alaskan fish? Sony’s Eye Tracking tech works on salmon! The just-risen spring sun was so bright on the tarmac, I couldn’t exactly tell what was in the viewfinder. Well, a fresh fish was! And, a big king. The arrival of the first wild Alaskan salmon of the season is an annual event in Seattle with chefs cooking for judges and the assembled crowd of celebrities, VIPs, and media. Alaska Airlines flew in 20,00o pounds of fish on the Boeing “salmon 30 salmon.”For the shoot, I had a demo a6000 with me and a 35 f/1.4 lens. After shooting with Sony’s flagship cameras this year, I decide to try the best-selling digital camera for enthusiasts that was just updated to the a6300. How’d it do?

Sigma: The wait is over. Shop e-mount primes.

The photos speak for themselves. I like the a6000 for the same reasons I prefer all premium compact cameras: lightweight with great image quality. As to the salmon, Copper River is praised for the high-fat content. That’s what gives it the rich umami flavor and they’re sustainably harvested. We tasted dishes from all three chefs: Sam Burkhart, John Howie, and Ethan Stowell. The judges were Lauren Bushnell, Alaska Airlines flight attendant and winner of ABC’s “The Bachelor.” Mike “Totality” Kentrianakis the astronomer and internet sensation who created the video of the total eclipse that went viral last month with 2 million views. They joined Jay Buhner, Seattle Mariner Hall of Famer, and Jermaine Kearse, Seahawk number 15 and a wide receiver.

The first wild salmon of the season arrives in Seattle from Cordova, Alaska.
The first wild salmon of the season arrives in Seattle from Cordova, Alaska.

And, agreed with the judges that Ethan’s recipe was the best. His prep included smoking the fish with a portable smoker.

My first impressions of the affordable Sony? It did the job at $698 for the body. B&H provided the camera and lens for this shoot. Total price of my setup for the shoot: $2196.00. By the pound, the salmon is probably more expensive; when it’s in season, at least. Also, I’d normally not want to eat fish from any river that early in the morning, but this was a special occasion.

Find Copper River at a fine restaurant or fish market near you. It won’t last long at about $30.00 a pound. More of my photos from the Copper River Salmon Cook Off are on Flickr and Alaskan Airlines shared the recipes today with PR about the event.

The first wild salmon of the season arrives in Seattle from Cordova, Alaska.
The first wild salmon of the season arrives in Seattle from Cordova, Alaska.

Alaska Air Cargo Plans to Deliver up to 80,000 Pounds of Wild Copper River Salmon to Seattle

More than 20,000 pounds of fresh Copper River salmon arrived in Seattle on a fish-filled Alaska Airlines plane touching down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport shortly after 6 a.m. this morning. Today officially marks the beginning of the summer salmon grilling season that is anticipated by seafood lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In total, Alaska Air Cargo has three more flights scheduled throughout the day to bring in up to 60,000 pounds of salmon.

Every year Alaska Air Cargo partners with the state of Alaska’s three largest seafood processors, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Trident Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods, to bring the coveted fish to Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska, where it will then be shipped to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the Pacific Northwest, United States and points beyond.

Employees work round the clock to ensure Alaska Air Cargo can deliver the first catch of the coveted wild Copper River salmon from the state of Alaska to Seattle and on to points across the country within 24 hours of being caught,” said Jason Berry, Alaska Air Cargo managing director. “As the salmon season gets into full swing, our team is standing by to transport fresh Alaskan salmon to restaurants and consumers throughout the US.

Alaska Airlines plays a significant role in supporting the Alaska seafood industry, which is recognized worldwide for its sustainable fishing practices. The airline flew more than 20 million pounds of fresh Alaska seafood last year, including more than 1 million pounds of Copper River salmon.

As the event wound down, I talked to exhausted employees and media that had been working on the story since Sunday….congratulated them too, for elevating a rite of spring in the Pacific Northwest to celebrity status. Try one of the recipes or grill it yourself with this tip from all three chefs: cook salmon hot and fast.

My daily shooter is Sony a9 with a vertical grip and various Sigma lenses attached like the 14mm 1.4 Art. Find more gear recommendations in our shop.