Mt Sanford Photo

Alpenglow lights up the face of Mt. Sanford. Dawn and reflection in a small kettle pond, fall, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Alpenglow lights up the face of Mt. Sanford. Dawn and reflection in a small kettle pond, fall, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

hey Folks,

Another shot of Mt. Sanford. I know this might be a few too many, but trust me, t’s a REALLY cool mountain. And, if you had any idea how many times I’v tried to take this photo, you’d offer me your sympathies. And maybe some therapy.

So nearly 5 years ago I “found” this little pond and thought ‘ahhh, this could be a nice spot to photograph Mt Sanford from’. And it is. However, the pond is prone to some ripplage, particularly right around dawn, when the alpenglow lights up the mountain. So, all too often, I’ve been thwarted in my efforts; either the pond is rippling and the reflection is lost, or the light is not great, or the mountain not visible (most common). This week I thought I had a good shot at something happening, so I made the trip over to that area and spent a total of 3 mornings trying my hand.

On the 3rd morning, the conditions came together; the light was nice, the pond calm, and the mountain clear as a bell. I spent the better part of 2 hours photographing the scene, and enjoying a glorious morning. I then left, headed over to another pond, decided I was better off where I started and returned for some more photos. Even in mid-morning light the scene is such a treat that I couldn’t help but photograph it.

It was at this point that I fiddled with my camera and thought ‘hmm, that’s weird’. Well, it wasn’t “weird”, but stupid. I’d left the ISO setting, which is akin to film speed, at 1600. Way higher than I wanted, and resulting in digital noise, or grainy, images. Every single one of them.

It’s pretty hard to be this stupid.

So, other than having had the pleasure of seeing such a grand sight, I’m still no further along in my quest to make this photo. Well, maybe a little less stupid, which always helps. But that’s a big maybe.



2 thoughts on “Mt Sanford Photo

  1. Mark

    I think they ought to design some popups in cameras that give you a small static shock of something with a message saying “Are you sure your settings are right?” Can’t tell you how many times I have experienced the same thing.

    Beautiful image though Carl, I like the pastel feeling to it. And quite frankly, sometimes that matters much more than a little technical nit pick at the noise. Besides, not sure if you are using Lightroom 3 yet, but it does a downtown job on noise.

  2. Carl D Post author

    Hey Mark,

    I’ll have to look at some software and see what I can do about the noise – I’ve not tried Lightroom, but hopefully that or NX2 will help me out, without softening the image too much.

    I agree about the popup message. The other issue I’ve seen happen a lot, with a number of Nikon shooters, is the Image Quality file changing. Three times this year I had my D300s shoot RAW+JPEGS, instead of just RAW. I never touch that control, so I’m not sure why that happened. I also had my D2x suddenly shoot TIF files one time, and the same thing happened to a guy over in Katmai this last week with his D3.

    I hear ya on the image – the feel of it is more important .. but it’s pretty ugly noisy. I was So frustrated when I saw that setting, I tell ya. Total bummer. But wow, what a gorgeous morning.

    Thanks man,



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