Archive for August, 2014



Ruth Glacier Landing


Ruth Glacier Landing, Alaska

Ruth’s Glacier landing during McKinley flight from Talkeetna, Alaska.

During a sunny summer day, Alaska is as spectacular as it gets, especially from the air. Here’re two sample aerial shots: a pilot view of McKinley and one of the many snow peaks along the Alaska Range. After I finish posting other Alaska photos shot during my trip, I might return to this series and select more to post as I shot many aerial photos during our flight from Talkeetna to see Mt McKinley up close.

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Redoubt Bay Sunrise


Redoubt Bay Sunrise, Alaska

Redoubt Bay’s sunrise colors, Alaska.

Redoubt Bay is absolutely beautiful in the early morning hours. We got up for a sunrise fishing run, but when I saw this sky, I grabbed my camera gears and recorded a few shots before the colors disappeared. We caught about 30 lbs of salmon this morning, but this shot was my best catch of the day.

I spent two days here mainly to photograph coastal bears. I was able to get to within 30 feet of black and brown bears feasting on salmon flopping around on a creek bed. The bears here have it easy: they simply walk to the creek bed, look around for a few minutes, then pick out a salmon. Although the action shots here are not as dramatic as those often seen at Brooks Falls, this place is highly recommended for an overnight stay – one of my most memorable Alaska experiences.

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Passage To Heaven


Denali Park Bus and Mt McKinley, Denali National Park

Denali National Park bus and Mt McKinley in the morning light, Alaska.

This is a classic view of Denali. I love how the park road seems to connect to the base of the Alaska Range and extends up to the Harper Glacier splitting Mt McKinley North and South Peak. I converted this image into black and white to heighten a sense of darkness and light hinting by the dark foreground shadow and the brilliant morning light on the Alaska Range. Prior to this shot, I had been shooting for nearly two hours, but could not find an interesting foreground object to frame Mt McKinley. Then our bus slowed down, and this story telling composition showed up out side my window. All I had to do was to steady myself for a few shots to catch that bus.

The majority of Denali visitors take a six hour school bus ride into the park, have lunch, then spend another six hours on a bus ride back out. Statistic says only 30% of park visitors see Mt McKinley since Denali is typically shrouded in clouds. On our way into Denali, a park ranger informed us that only 5% of park visitors decide to stay over night inside the park. Of those 5%, I am not sure how many get to see Mt McKinley at sunrise or sunset.

Aside from Mt McKinley, with two million acre of wildlife preserve, the main attraction of Denali is wildlife viewing. Occasionally, our bus driver would point to a small dot far way, “See that rock there? It wasn’t there yesterday. Its a caribou!” We saw young caribous and adult male caribou with massive antlers. I took a few wildlife shots, but my main interest was the Alaska Range since there is only one Mt McKinley on earth. I suggested to our bus passengers, “This is a very rare opportunity to see Mt McKinley in this beautiful morning light.” Our bus got quiet; everyone sat back in their seats and took it all in until we lost sight of the mountains. “Its gone now!“, the gentleman in front of me quietly whispered to his wife; she nodded.

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Morning Light on Mt McKinley & The Alaska Range


Morning Light on Mt McKinley & The Alaska Range, Denali National Park

Mt McKinley & The Alaska Range in the soft morning light, Denali National Park – Alaska.

Recently, I spent three days in Denali National Park and did some photography works after two years of inactivity. This is a 6:1 aspect ratio panorama from merging four horizontal frames. One could see both Mt McKinley’s North Peak, South Peak and Harper Glacier on the far right; other prominent peaks near by, Mt Foraker & Mt Hunter. I wish I could post full size image (21 megapixel/frame) so viewers could feel the full impact of this beautiful sunrise light on the Alaska Range. Since it might be difficult to see all the details from such a small image, here is an example of a single close up frame shot a few minutes earlier.

After two days in the park and countless hours sitting by Wonder Lake waiting for Denali to show up, I had lost hope to get a glimpse of what Ansel Adams saw when he photographed that famous Mt McKinley over Wonder Lake scene, but I got lucky on this third day. I shot all of these frames hand held while leaning out a window of a school bus rumbling its way out of Denali on unpaved park road. I wished I had ten minutes off the bus with my tripod to line up all my panoramic frames from a single axis, but our bus driver would not let me off the bus due to bear and bull moose sightings. I shot this grizzly bear on the other side of the road, then turned around and resumed photographing the Alaska Range. When friends found out I was going to Alaska again, a few asked why Alaska? This scene is one darn good reason why.

Will post more Alaska images as I have time to process them.

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