Tag Archives: Waterfalls

Waterfall photo

Waterfall, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Waterfall and sedimentary cliff walls, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. To view a larger version of this photo, please click on the image above.

Hey Folks,

OK OK OK .. another waterfall photo. What can I say? Generally when I visit Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, we do a fly-in backpacking trip, meaning we take a bush plane flight out to the backcountry, and backpack from there. The flights are amazing, and give an incredible view of this landscape, but they’re also a bit of a tease; every flight I make I see different scenes and valleys and peaks and drainages and think to myself how much I’d love to visit this one or that.

One of the big ones on that list is waterfalls; we fly by dozens of them, every summer, and I think how nice it’d be to get a chance to shoot some of them sometime. Once we land, up high in the subalpine, we rarely visit such waterfalls at all, as we tend to hike where the water accumulates, rather than down lower where the water has collected into larger waterways, creating larger waterfalls. So when I got a chance to shoot a couple this spring, I jumped at it.

This is another angle of the waterfall I posted a photo of last month. I spent a bit of time at this waterfall, trying to find some angle that lent itself to a pleasing image. it was a lot harder to do than might appear; there was an incredible volume of fallen rock and debris in the river channel below the falls, and the small pool into which the falls tumble wasn’t visible from many angles at all; meaning the bottom of the falls would disappear in virtually every shot. This angle was one of my favorites, giving an intimate look at this stream of water shooting down from above.

Like so many of the landscape features in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, this waterfall is officially ‘unnamed’; what do you think might be an appropriate name for this waterfall?



Waterfall and sunset at Skolai Pass

Waterfall and sunset, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A waterfall, known as Roane Falls, glows in the light of a colorful sunset. Near Chitistone Pass, looking toward Skolai Pass, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Roane Falls near Chitistone Pass, is a little known, and even less photographed, waterfall in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. This is another image from the same sunset in the previous image here.

We were on a hiking trip in the area last week, and were treated to some gorgeous weather (along with the obligatory nasty weather as well);  The days were well spent walking, talking, eating, and tooling around on the tundra, exploring a glacier, watching wildlife and enjoying this spectacular place. Skolai Pass in the summer is about as grand a place as I know of.

So you won’t find Roane Waterfall on a map, but longtime readers of this blog might remember how it got it’s name. If not, use the search function in the sidebar here and dig around a little. 🙂 This waterfall has appeared on this blog before!

I shot this with multiple exposures, then blended them together in the computer using a combination of the automated HDR tool in Photoshop (CS4) and also manually masking layers of the original frames. I find the HDR program often adds a funky look to the colors, particularly in the foreground, that I can’t seem to properly correct.

I added very little saturation to the sky at all; in fact, I left the waterfalls a little earlier than I should’ve because the sky got even more intense after I moved up the hillside to the location of the previous photo linked above.

Folks often ask whether I bring a tripod on my backpacking trips for photography, due the extra weight and ‘stuff’ factor; I can’t remember the last time I did not bring a tripod on a backpacking trip. Though I don’t always use it for every photo I take, it’s a critical part of my photography; when the light and moments provide the most spectacular opportunities, they almost always require a tripod. There’s be no way I could’ve made an image like this one without the three-legged camera holder.



Waterfall, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Waterfall, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Waterfall, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

From a recent trip to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park; we spent a few days down in the low country before hitting the alpine regions, and I took advantage of the high overcast skies to shoot a few waterfall images. This one was quite a mission to reach, including a march through a marshy boggy, swampy mess of a forest, but well worth the effort.

Spending most of the summer up above tree country I don’t get a lot of work on these kinds of shots; the waterfalls there tend to be a little less than some of the bigger snowmelt runoff falls down lower, so I was glad to get this opportunity.

We also saw a number of black bears, beaver, porcupines, golden eagles, Dall sheep and mountain goats on our trip, and then were lucky enough to see a moose cow with her 2 calves in the forest on our way home. Good times!



Waterfall – Wrangell St. Elias

A waterfall in the high alpine mountain country of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A waterfall in the high alpine mountain country of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a waterfall from our trip up Hidden Creek, in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. This particular morning, I knew exactly what I wanted to shoot; I’d hiked up to the area here, above our camp, the evening and poked around a bit, looking for some scenes to shoot. As the following morning broke, I stole away from camp, camera in hand, and spent a few hours up here photographing.

For this image, I believe I used a crappy old scratched up 2-Stop Soft Edge neutral Density filter from Singh Ray – knowing I would get back home after the trip to open a box from B&H photo with 2 shiny new scratch-free filters awaiting me.

I still prefer to shoot with a filter, when possible, over taking multiple exposures and blending them together later. But damn if those filters don’t get all scratched up easily.

Not too long after shooting this frame, I was seated in my thermarest chair, enjoying a coffee and Mary Jane’s Farm organic oatmeal – mmhhhmmm!

Quite a nice morning. Sadly, it ended all too briefly, as we had to break camp and backpack up over the pass. Good thing we didn’t linger too long though, as we arrived just in time to get setup before the rains came. It’s nice to have the tents and cook tarp set up BEFORE the rains/sleet/hail/snow come down.



Horsetail Falls, Keystone Canyon

A hiker stands alongside Horsetail Falls, near Valdez, on the Richardson Highway, Alaska.

Standing alongside Horsetail Falls, near Valdez, on the Richardson Highway, Alaska. Please click on the image thumbnail to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another photo from my trip down the Richardson Highway – Memory Lane. This one is Horsetail Falls, another waterfall in keystone Canyon, just south of Bridal Veil Falls, the image I posted earlier.

Waterfalls are so cool; I can sit and stare at a waterfall for hours, it seems, never tiring of the flow. The energy of the falls is often spellbinding.

I first visited this particular area, along the Lowe River in Keystone Canyon, on a trip to Valdez in 2000. That trip seems like several lifetimes ago now. It rained most of the time, and I left soon after, heading north to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for a backpacking trip. I wish I hadn’t taken so long to return. Continue reading

Bridal Veil Falls Photo, Keystone Canyon

Bridal Veil Falls, Keystone Canyon, Richardson Highway, Valdez,

Bridal Veil Falls from the Richardson Highway, near Valdez, Alaska. Keystone Canyon, Lowe River, Chugach Mountains, Central Alaska waterfalls. To view a larger version of the photo, please click on the thumbnail.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a photo I took this spring on a quick trip down the Richardson Highway to Valdez. Kind of a spur of the moment thing, I took off from Glennallen one rainy, nasty morning to revisit the area. I hadn’t been down to Valdez in years, and so it was a nice way to spend what looked like might be a day of dreary weather. I also wanted to photograph a couple of the waterfalls along the road, this one and Horsetail Falls as well, which is just around the bend from Bridal Veil Falls.

This kind of location is difficult to shoot, for me, as the scene doesn’t offer a lot of options regarding a vantage point. The river in the foreground, Lowe River, is uncrossable, unless you have a boat. I, of course, did not have a boat with me. So the photographer here is pretty limited to shooting from across the river, and that makes it difficult to come up with any compositional variations.

Similarly, without a heavy overcast day, including the sky wasn’t a great option either. The road runs immediately behind where I shot this image from, so backing away would drastically change the nature of the photo, by including the road in the foreground. Not necessarily a bad thing, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. Perhaps I’ll go back one day in better conditions and shoot it again, with the road and a motor vehicle in the foreground, as a ‘travel photo‘.

Continue reading

Chitistone falls, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Chitistone Falls, in the Chitistone valley. The Goat Trail is a popular backpacking route, from Skolai Pass to Glacier Creek, along the Chitistone River, in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Chitistone Falls, in the Chitistone valley. The Goat Trail is a popular backpacking route, from Skolai Pass to Glacier Creek, along the Chitistone River, in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Chitistone falls are one of my favorite waterfalls in the park yet I rarely get to see them. When I do the Goat Trail now, I head north after crossing the scree slopes, and go away from the Chitistone river, rather than down lower toward the river, which is the only way to view the falls. However, this particular evening was so nice that after dinner I headed out for some photos, and knew right away I’d be spending some time watching and photographing the falls. It’s a tough slog to walk another 4 miles after backpacking all day, but can be SOOOOO worth it.

The trek down from where we’d camped was nice; it’s great to walk unencumbered after carrying a heavy backpack all day. I set out with my camera bag over my shoulder and my small backpacking tripod in one hand. For trekking I carry the carbon fiber Gitzo G1058  tripod and the ultra light Really Right Stuff BH-25 ballhead. It’s a great little combo for backpacking and hiking, weighing under 2lbs. Gitzo have since replaced this model with a newer version, the GT-0540 and GT-0530. I’m not sure how they’re different to my older one, but if you’re looking for a really great little hiking rig, this setup works well for me.

So I moseyed my way down from the high shoulder we were camped on, watching the light get sweeter and sweeter on the nearby high peaks of the University Range. When the weather is nice, few things are quite like walking alone  in the Alaska mountains late in the evening. What a beautiful hike this is!

I got down to the plateau I was aiming for, and, before even pulling out my camera, simply soaked up the atmosphere. The American Tree Sparrows were still singing their summer call, those 3 vibrato-laden little notes that proclaim the alpine summer. Hardly a breath of air moved and yet the sounds of the mountains carried down the valley; a moving experience in the Chitistone Canyon.

The word ‘Chitistone‘ is derived from  a native Ahtna (Athapaskan) word, ‘chiti‘, that translates as ‘copper‘ in English; so ‘chitistone‘ is ‘copper stone‘. The bulk of the rock around the Chitistone canyon is Nikolai greenstone and limestone. The entire region is famous for copper production, with Kennicott Copper Mine being perhaps the most famous of all. Fortunately, the mining has largely ended in the region now, and the canyons and mountains are left alone for the bears and Dall sheep and hikers, and the mountains themselves. It’s a grand landscape.

On a warm summer day, when the glacial melt is high, the river is fairly broiling, and the falls can be thunderous. Quite a spectacle.

This particular viewpoint has always reminded me of Artist Point, in the more famous Yellowstone National Park. This one receives far fewer visitors.

Chitistone Canyon rocks.