Tag Archives: Wrangell St. Elias
Waterfall and sunset at Skolai Pass
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.
The creative life.
“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
Mt Sanford Photo
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; Continue reading
Mt Drum Photo, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
A view from just near the Simpson Hill Overlook, near Glennallen. The mountains here are (from left) Mount Sanford and Mount Drum. Mount Sanford is over 4 000′ the higher of the 2, but because it’s further away, looks to be shorter here. Mt Drum sits about 25 miles away from the Copper River and Glennallen.
The fall colors here can be quite spectacular on a good year. This year was a little dull compared to most, but the Cottonwoods, even on a poor year, still glow in evening light.
The alpenglow on this particular evening was quite grand, and I, of course, pretty much missed photographing it. I have an uncanny knack for not being in the right place at the right time, and true to form, was down walking through the woods when the light hit its peak.
Maybe next year I’ll do better. I did find another really nice viewpoint to shoot one fall evening, so hopefully next year I’ll manage something more.
Mt. Jarvis, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.
Here’s a quick one I thought I’d post from the recent backpacking trip up around Mt Jarvis. This was from the 2nd morning spent at ‘Reflection Pond’.
A few mornings earlier I’d made a long dash thru the snow covered alpine country to try to catch this scene at first light. Alas, I was too late, and alpen glow, always all too brief, faded as I strolled over the tundra. So I got up a little earlier, and made sure I was in place in time this morning. The couple along on the trip, Tracey and Brad, from Chicago, were split on whether to come along. Brad stayed in camp, and Tracey joined me for the walk in near darkness over to this pond. It’s not easy to be woken at 5:00am from a sound sleep, and 5 minutes later clamber out of a tent in the dark, gather up all your camera gear, and hike a mile or so. Tracey managed it well though, and we go to this little tarn in good time. Great job Tracey.
The alpenglow and sunrise was really pretty, and I made a few images; this recent posting is from earlier the same morning. It was funny how quickly the color of the light changed. A warm, magenta/pink glow very rapidly became a nice warm yellow, then a cooler white as the sun rose. I’ve never seen it shift quite so quickly as it did this particular morning.
Another interesting note; it’s amazing to me how regularly a small breeze seems to kick up right at dawn, just as the alpenglow lights up a mountain peak, and ripples the surface of whatever pond I intend to photograph, obliterating a reflection. then, just as quickly, the breeze subsides and the reflection returns – always, just after the pink alpenglow ebbs away. I wonder if it’s some kind of temperature inversion or something that goes on, because it happens way too frequently. I’d be interested to see if others have seen this same thing happen a lot.
The Mt Jarvis trip was a great week. We got some nice photos, superb views, and I enjoyed the hang time with Brad and Tracey, 2 great folks, hardy souls, who braved the Wrangell mountains in September. Trust me, walking around at 7000-8000 feet in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in September is not for the timid. I’ll definitely be back there again and again.
NB: I’m currently in Katmai for 2 weeks. I’ll try to have a few posts scheduled for while I’m gone. don’t go away now, y’all.
Mt. Jarvis, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Mt Jarvis, in all it’s 13 421′ glory.
A recent trek up around the Mt Jarvis area yielded some amazing scenery and fantastic views. I hadn’t been to the area before, and will definitely be heading back next year. To camp within a few hundred yards of this mountain face is a treat indeed. We were pretty lucky, for sure, considering we were camped at about 7200′ in the Wrangell Mountains in September!
We had a real mix of weather, from snow storms and rain to gorgeous sunny days; which I’ll take gladly. The trek was a lot of fun, with a great couple from Chicago, Brad and Tracey. I appreciated their flexibility and easy going nature, which allowed me to sneak out a morning or 2 and grab some photos. Tracey joined me once or twice, and both Brad and Tracey got up early on our final morning to make a a mad dash out the Nabesna Rd in the hopes of snaring some nice alpenglow on Mt Sanford. Much appreciated, Tracey and Brad. What a gorgeous morning that turned out to be.
This is a quick one folks – the weather forecast here this week is too promising to spend in town, so I’ll be heading back out on Monday for a couple of days to hopefully get some more fall color and nice light on the big mountains. Be back later for a day or 2, then heading to Katmai to photograph the great grizzly bears. Then it’s October.
Wrangell Mountain Reflections
Here’s another image, taken earlier, of the scene outside my tent door a few mornings ago. After spending the previous day in the rain, cold, sleet and snow, I went to bed hoping for an improvement in the weather.
All during dinner, I had watched the snowline on the peaks above camp come ever slowly down the mountains – lower and lower. Now, listening to the rain fall on my tent, I didn’t imagine much change happening.
Turning off my headlamp, it was lights out, and I had barely a flicker of hope for the rest of the hike – the continuing patter of rain falling on my tent a sound I was about done with. Eventually that sound faded and then ceased altogether – at first I thought it had simply turned to snow, but a glance outside confirmed that nope, the rain had actually stopped. Woo hoo! Continue reading
I’ve headed out again for the next trip, but will schedule this post in advance. This is from close to the pass above Hidden Creek, looking back down the valley we’d just hiked. We walked up the south side of the valley (right side in the frame), then crossed and climbed up to a bench on the north side of the pass. Camping up there was simply awesome. 2 bands of Dall sheep were wandering the mountains above us, and we saw mountain goats higher still.
Hidden Creek is simply stunning. This particular afternoon, we crested the pass and camped on the other side of the saddle, which is where the previous post’s photo (“Reflections”) was taken. Suffice it to say that the back half of the trek is just as rocking as the front half.
Suffice it to say, I’ll be on this route again next year. 🙂
Waterfall – Wrangell St. Elias
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.