Sometimes you have to work

Night sky over Mt. St. Elias, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A starry night sky falls above Mt. Saint Elias, still glowing in the late evening sun. Stars at night over Mt. St. Elias, Icy Bay, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Sometimes the work of an artist is simply to be persistent; keep at it. Follow through on that little spark of an idea that awakens us at night; pursue that little ‘idea’,┬áno matter how trivial, how distant it seems. That trigger is where art begins. All art.

I suppose this point may be made more clearly in reverse; sometimes it’s easier to simply think ‘yeah, that would be neat’, but┬ánever actually follow up when we receive an idea. It’s always too easy to conjure up excuses not to do something, rather than actually take a single step in the direction that calls us; something akin to what they say about evil and good men doing nothing.

As an artist, when you notice that little spark of an idea, that trigger that calls your attention, no matter how briefly, give it your attention; make an effort to follow that story, that path, that rhythm, that idea, and see where it takes you; that journey is what art is. Don’t “do nothing”.

The idea of a photo like this has been bouncing around in my head for years now; Mt. St. Elias, after dark, with a night sky packed full of stars, and the faintest of glows from our favored star, the sun, lighting the mountain. Yet there were so many reasons why I never took this photo; Mt. St. Elias is hard to get to, and costly, and when you do visit, the summer sky doesn’t get dark enough anyway. Further, in summertime, the alpenglow is on the far side of the mountain, which would mean either shooting the shaded and unlit mountainside, or camping on a glacier (even harder and costlier to get to) on the mountain’s northern side. So, for these and so many other reasons, this photo remained nothing more than a fantasy. I thought ‘oh yeah, that’d be neat’, but never followed up.

Finally, last month, I set off on an adventure that included a very singular focus; I wanted to shoot a photo of Mt. St. Elias, aglow under a night sky.

Don’t do nothing.



8 thoughts on “Sometimes you have to work

  1. Carl D Post author

    Hey Tracey; thanks so much.

    Hey Ron – Thanks. It’s a single exposure, well after nightfall – it was actually shot right around midnight. I used my headlamp to light the foreground a tad .. I wanted just the hint of a glow on the foreground, rather than the standard over-the-top light painting we see so often. I felt that softer glow made a little more of an eerie mood to it.




  2. Mark

    A spectacular image Carl. I appreciate the insight into all of the factors that need to come together to realize it. That can be a difficult thing with the image alone if you are not familiar with the area and conditions. This would look so awesome as a large print.

  3. Carl D Post author

    Hey Folks,

    Thanks so much for the kind words, I’m glad you enjoyed the picture and blog.

    @Greg; the eagle shot you mentioned is part of a rotating slideshow that appears up the top; so as I read your comment, I was like “whuh?”. But thanks, yeah, that’s a favorite of mine, too.

    @Stan – yes, I believe it’s a plane flew by. they don’t fly over too much, but they do go by here now.



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