Tag Archives: hiking

That mountain feeling – the Arrigetch Peaks

A backpacker walking in the Aquarius valley, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska.

A backpacker walking in the Aquarius Valley, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Few of the visitors here ever get this far back up in the valley; it’s a bit of a mission to get way back here. For a larger version of the photo, please click on the photo above.

Hey Folks,

Looking over a few old Image folders on my hard drive I found this photo (among others) that I hadn’t yet processed. This one I took on a hike in Gates of the Arctic National Park. We backpacked up into the subalpine area with 5 people, and did a combination of basecamping/dayhiking and backpacking. It’s rugged, steep country, and can be challenging underfoot.

This dayhike, we started out with myself plus 4 people, and by mid-afternoon were down to just myself and one other; Jodee V, who’ll walk just about anywhere! The rest of the group had stopped along the day, each person reaching their own threshold of how many rocks they wanted to walk over.

What struck me about this photo is how, for me, it perfectly evokes the exact feeling that walking in the mountains gives me. It’s infinitely vast and expansive, yet also confined and defined. It’s a feeling of being both everything and nothing, all at once. It’s an amazingly “alive” feeling. Continue reading

Hiking the Maidens, Arrigetch peaks

Hiking among Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hiking in the Valley of the Maidens, Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

hey Folks,

So here’s another self-portrait. Me on a  dayhike up into the Maidens, in the Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park. The talus and moraine in the area was pretty intimidating for most folks on the even trip, even though they’re all strong, experienced hikers. walking over endless fields of boulders and rocks is wearisome. but being so close to such amazing granite outcrops as the Arrigetch Peaks is so worth the effort.

The peak to my right is, I believe, “Parabola”.

The small pack I’m carrying is a Marmot Komperdell pack, a great little summit pack I take on my most backpacking trips; saves carrying my heavier Mystery Ranch G5000 when I go out for the afternoon; and it looks FABULOUS!



Fun and Games

Hey Folks,

While I enjoy a few more days in the mountains, you might enjoy this. OK, so it’s not the typical blog post on a photographers’ website .. that’s a good thing, no? A friend dared me I would NOT put this on my blog … I can’t imagine why.

All I ask is that you turn it up .. loud.



The Art of Learning; step toward the unknown

Hiker looking up the Lakina River, Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska

A backpacker/hiker stands and looks up the Lakina River drainage to the Lakina Glacier, on the side of Mount Blackburn. Wrangell mountains, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

If art is exploration, then perhaps one of the best modes of “practice” we might undertake is the challenge of the new; stepping outside our comfort realms and engaging something new. Stepping toward the unknown.

The process of learning is stimulating in itself, but I think it’s more than that, too. It’s stepping back and revisiting how to learn. Going through the process of picking up at the beginning, and working toward building a comfort level with some kind of form.

Art involves, essentially, that process. With that in mind, I find it great practice to pick up something I’ve not done before, something I know nothing about, and step into it. This winter, for example, my goal is to learn to telemark ski. I’d fooled with it briefly last year, but didn’t really understand or know the process. Also, as I found out this fall, had all the wrong gear for learning on. So, I’ve set myself up this winter with a nice rig, and taken some lessons.

The good news; what started out as essentially a “Special Ed” class is gradually molding into something resembling telemark skiing. It’s great fun, and quite a workout. On top of that, it’s stimulating! Continue reading

Photography Gear Insurance

Backpacking to Mt Jarvis, Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska.

A backpacker (me) sets out on a trek toward Mt Jarvis, in fresh fall snow, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

One of the most problematic issues with photography is also one of the most glaring; the cost of all this gear. A new pro camera can easily  cost anywhere from two thousand to eight thousand dollars. A second camera, assorted lenses, tripods, ballheads, etc, etc, etc .. it’s insane how much this can quickly add up to (not to mention increasing photo requests for < $75.00 usage – another topic).

Compounded by the fragility of most of this gear, photographers face a real issue; use it, be careful with it, and try not to have to spend more $$$ on it than necessary; i.e., don’t break it. So, given the fragility of the gear, for most of us, that means insurance.

Several years ago I researched this, and it seemed that, for me, a personal articles policy with State Farm was the best route to go. It wasn’t too costly, and yes, they covered all my gear, knew I used it professionally, and life was good. Just to clarify,

Me: “I use this photo gear professionally, is it covered?”
State Farm: “Yes”.

I added the cost to my car insurance, and moved on. Too easy.

This past fall I bought a brand new 500mm lens from Allen’s Camera in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Great folks, and a great price. I then went to my local State Farm rep, showed them the receipt and added the expensive lens to my list of insured gear. All good. Continue reading

The creative life.

A backpacker stands, naked, in the Chugach Mountains, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A backpacker stands, naked, in the Chugach Mountains, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Click the image to see a larger version.

Hey Folks,

“It can be a difficult journey to live a creative life, if you live within an environment which does not understand or value creativity. Seek-out and surround yourself with positive soulmates”.

I read this note on a Status Update on facebook a while back, posted by a great photographer from Australia, Steve Coleman. Steve posts consistently valuable stuff on his facebook page, and I try to read every one of his insights. It’s nice to see someone so giving of their talent. I’ve never met Steve, but looking over his website I can tell you I already know I like the guy; click on ‘Workshops‘. That page tells me all I need to know; what a wonderful perspective!

The strength of the quote is in the paradox that it holds; creative work comes from within, yet what rises up from within is a function of the external. The input we open ourselves to form the outputs our work brings. But it’s more than that; I think a collective energy exists that is very real, very tangible, and we tap into that if we surround ourselves with a vibrant, creative community. Our neighbors, our friends, our peers, our families; these are all critical sources of creative energy that we draw upon, whether it be consciously or unconsciously.

To create and bring to life an idea, your idea, is a terribly frightening process; it opens us to vulnerabilities few of us wish to expose. A ‘support group‘ is critical. Continue reading

Moraine Lake Hiking

Tourist watching people canoeing on Moraine Lake, Banff, Canada.

A tourist hiker stands beside the shores of Moraine Lake and watches people canoeing on the lake The grand scenery of Moraine Lake and the Wenkchemna Peaks, or 10 Peaks at Moraine Lake make the area a popular tourist destination for hiking, canoeing, photography and adventures. Hiker, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Click the image to see how good I look in red.

hey Folks

I was scanning through some images recently and stumbled on to this one. Here’s me in stunning mauve at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, in Alberta Canada.

Most photographers know how much difference putting a person or 2 in the photo can make to the salability of an image. And adding some color makes a difference as well.

But the image must tell a story. For stock photography, the more generic the story might be, the more possible different uses it might have. This could be a tourist, a hiker, someone lost, a photographer, etc. It could even be someone advertising Arcteryx jackets.

But the real story of this photo, for me, is my first time to Moraine Lake. I spend a whole day just soaking up the grandeur of this place. I can think of very few places that are so simply pretty as the Canadian Rockies. They’re almost picture perfect. Many other places have a wonder all their own, and I’d never forsake the wildness of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, for example, for the Canadian Rockies. But for sheer ‘hop out of the car and be amazed’ classical mountain beauty, the Canadian Rockies have it going on.

I’d been to Jasper National Park a few times, photographing wildlife there. I’d driven through Banff in order to get to Jasper. And I’d thought to myself ‘wow, Banff is pretty’ more than once. But the first time I drive up to Moraine Lake, got out the car and walked over to the lake, it just floored me. I walked along the lake’s edge, and sat and stared at everything. At the detail or these incredible peaks above me, the silence of the montane forest, and that water. That amazing water. It just absolutely blew me away.

They day was cloudy, it was early in the summer, and few people were around; those that were had taken rental canoes out on the lake, and I had the shoreline pretty much to myself. So I just sat and soaked it in. If you ever go to Banff National Park, and I recommend that you do, at least once in your life, give yourself plenty of time up at Moraine Lake. It takes time just to see it – you can’t stand at the overlook, glance around, and see it all. give yourself a day, and embrace the place. Your life will be richer for it.

More photos of Banff National Park.



Photo sale to the CIA

Winter snowshoeing, boreal forest, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Winter snowshoeing, boreal forest, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Click the image to view a larger version.

Hey Folks,

All photo sales are unique, but this one was pretty weird. My phone rings around 5:30am, I kinda half open my eyes, clasp for the phone, miss, knock it off the table beside my bed, try to catch it, bang my head on the guitar standing against the wall, drop the phone, and it crashes to the floor. My go-to response in this situation is pretty simple; I curse. It’s a sin, I know, but it’s a hard habit to break. So I curse again, and then pick up the phone.

Surprisingly, the person on the other end of the phone is still there. I gurgle a quick greeting;

hello, this is Carl.”

hello, this is special agent ——– ………. “ Continue reading

Website work and the Bremner to Tebay Trek

On the Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes trip, this hiker takes in the view,  Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hiker on the Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes backpacking, Wrangell St. Elias National park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks

While I’m working on updating my website, I stumbled on this image from our Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes trip a few years ago. That little rocky outcrop has this big crack right through it, so standing on the boulder was somewhat …. uhhhmm .. mad. That drop off goes all the way down to the Little Bremner River below. Still, that’s what Texans are for, right? 🙂

Mark was good enough to stand on it while I snapped a few photos.

This is one of my favorite hikes, and I’m aiming to do it again this coming summer, 2010. If I ever get done with overhauling this darn website. Pesky stuff.