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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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Road to White Mountains


Road to White Mountains

Looking West on California State Route 120 from a few miles East of US-395


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When Clouds Collide with Mountains


When Clouds Collide with Mountains

Cloud movement on the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range seen from the Owen Valley.


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Mt. Laurel Winter Reflection


Frozen Convict Lake

Winter sunrise light over Mt Laurel, Convict Lake – Eastern Sierra, California


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The Unattended Moment


convict lake laurel mountain eastern sierra nevada sierra sunrise

Men’s curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension …
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight …

The Dry Salvages — T.S. Eliot


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The Wall


yosemite granite leidig meadow b&w tree snow photofool

The big granite wall seen in a winter morning from Yosemite’s Leidig Meadow.

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