Mount Sanford, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Mount Sanford, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

This is a photo of Mt Sanford, in winter, taken early one morning. In 2 weeks I had 3 mornings with some alpenglow. The first one I didn’t shoot because it was so socked in with cloud an hour before dawn that I didn’t figure the light was going to happen – and being tired, I slept in. I awoke, looked over, and saw a nice magenta glow on the face of Sanford, but there wasn’t really any kind of way to shoot it from where I was. Such is my life, it seems. I did enjoy a hot coffee and a bagel watching the mountain light up through the forest window, though. The next morning I photographed, and for some reason my camera had reset it’s shooting menu, so all images were set to ‘tif’, not RAW files .. weird, sucked, but not a complete loss. coulda been worse. Then I had nearly 10 days of cloudy mornings, no alpenglow or sunrise stuff at all, before a long clear night promised good morning light. My alarm goes off, I wake, dress, grab my camera gear, rush to the truck, start it up and drive to my trail head, knowing I had a short walk to get where I wanted to shoot from. I’m cruising down the road, Emmylou Harris’ “Wrecking Ball” playing on the stereo, round a bend and glance to my left only to see the peak of Mt. Sanford already  glowing a fiery pink. Alpenglow is half an hour earlier than it was 10 days ago. This Alaska stuff is hard.

I got where I was going shortly thereafter (no dad, I didn’t speed, I promise, safety all the way), and hiked over to this frozen snow-covered lake to photograph from. The lake is around mile 18 on the Nabesna Road, a few miles before Rock Lake, which is another nice place to shoot Mount Sanford from.  I managed to make it in time for a few images before the apenglow faded, but I really prefer to photograph this kind of foreground with some light on it, which only occurs after the pastels of dawn have slipped beneath the horizon. I converted this to black and white on my laptop, so will probably need to do more tonal work at a later date.

You can see Mt Zanetti just to the left of Sanford, the perfect little cone-shapped dome that between Mt Sanford and behemoth of Mt Wrangell, the lit mountain in the background, middle left. The shaded mountain ridge in the foreground-left is the escarpment that runs (out of the frame) to Tanada Peak.



2 thoughts on “Mount Sanford, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

  1. Neil Donohue

    Hi Carl,
    Your Mother will be pleased you were driving safely (she doesn’t read your blogs since your bear incident at the lake); however I’m not worried about your driving, remember I taught you.

    I’m more concerned with the music you’re playing on your car stereo. At that time of the morning you should have some light classical on to soothe the soul.

    Are they your ‘no shoes’ footprints in the foreground?


  2. Carl D Post author

    Hey Dad,

    nope, no footprints in the foreground .. that’s just patterns on the snow surface from the wind blowing it around. Pretty cool, eh?

    My soul doesn’t need soothing .. especially on a nice sunny morning with Mt Sanford glowing in the pre-dawn light .. so the classical was for later. Nah, Emmylou was perfect.



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