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Sunset Rays over the Alaska Range


Sunset light and colors over the Alaska Range and the Susitna River - Talkeetna, Alaska


Sunset light and colors over the Alaska Range and the Susitna River – Talkeetna, Alaska

Caught this rare moment of evening light rays filtering through the clouds on to the Alaska Range and the Susitna River in Talkeetna. Alaksa, land of the midnight sun, does have beautiful summer sunsets.

This image shows the south view of the Alaska Range. Mt McKinley is off to the right of the frame. Looking for a good sunset location in Talkeetna? I’d get to the banks of the Susitna River.

I wished I could have gotten on higher ground or hiked beyond the tree lines to get a cleaner frame, but didn’t have enough time.


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Chugach Mountain Range Alpenglow


Sunset sky over Chugach Mountain, Alaska


Sunset clouds over the Chugach mountain range – Girdwood, Alaska.

Photographing this sunset scene on Mt Alyeska near midnight was a surreal experience. In front me, the sky above the Chugach Mountain was on fire. Behind Ragged Peak, lighting flashed sporadically. To my right, the Seven Glaciers sat high above the northern-most rain forest in the world. To my left, Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet bathed quietly in the soft twilight colors.

My photos don’t do this place justice. Earlier, I did a solo hike up Alyeska North Face trail; out of breath, I stumbled into the Seven Glaciers bar to recover from my hike. A couple hours later, I walked outside, and the view took my breath away again. I hiked further up the ridgeline away from other visitors, planted my tripod, sat there for hours and waited for twilight colors. I was supposed to take photos, but I didn’t want to do anything else but to sit back and soak it all in. Up here near midnight, time seemed to stop; words, non existent…

Here is an Alyeska aerial winter image from Google image search results showing a bird’s eye view of the area. The North Face trail is underneath the snow on the west facing slope. Turnagain Arm is to the south-east. North-west view is Seven Glaciers.

PS: final image above is a composite of two horizontal frames.


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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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Ebbs and Flows in Slow Motion


Ebbs and Flows in Slow Motion


Surf motion during a spectacular summer evening afterglow – Santa Barbara, California



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Keymaster and Gatekeeper


A candid shot of a Southern California beach runner during the twilight hour


Last week, I took my camera gears to the mountains, hoping to shoot new photos, but for three days, I saw 50 inches of fresh snow and no sun. A day later, I was back on my local beach watching this beautiful scene unfolded right in front of me. What a difference a day makes: from a whiteout blizzard at 8000 feet to a colorful sunset at sea level.

As for the tittle of this shot, I could write a long post about it, but I am leaving possible interpretations to my viewers.


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