Denali on a Clear Day

We photographers know how what we do can be influenced both positively and negatively by the weather. Overcast skies, rain, snow, wind, sun angle and time of day. Consider the photo below.

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It’s about 200 miles from Summit Lake Recreational Area located near Anchorage (Willow) to Denali National Park. An unusually clear summertime day resulted in some spectacular images. Note the snow covered Denali mountains in the right horizon. Then, closer still with a 200mm lens.

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Fireweed

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Images of Alaskan Fireweed. How’d it get that name? The name fireweed stems from its ability to colonize areas burned by fire rapidly. It was one of the first plants to appear after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980. Known as rosebay willowherb in Great Britain, fireweed quickly colonized burned ground after the bombing of London in World War II, bringing color to an otherwise grim landscape.

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On the Water in Alaska

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During summer months in Alaska, with the increased number of daylight hours, Alaskans spend as much time as possible being active outdoors. They know the darker days of winter will arrive too soon. Why sleep? Go kayaking! I made these photos during early August at Lake Eklutna, a short drive north from Anchorage. Besides water activities, there are hiking trails that parallel the shoreline.

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Two paddlers with two dogs laying down in between. Perfect way to explore.

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Unfortunately the sun was shining from the right, but I wanted to get the canoe and mountains in the composition to show the size of the lake. The photo below was taken right behind where I was standing and the lighting was better. As many landscape photographers who visit places with expansive views like in Alaska can attest, it’s impossible to convey through photographs just how “small” and “insignificant” one feels when surrounded by such beauty.

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Land Glaciers in Summer

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I’ve been fortunate to have been to Alaska five times since 1999. Most of the photos of glaciers I made there were composed while I was on some sort of ship, or small boat. But, I have a lot of glacier images I made on land. Looking up in front of where I was standing. Some telephoto, some not. During summer, glaciers melt, creating long, winding waterfalls. Hard to imagine how beautiful they must be up close, standing nearby. Impossible for most, given the remoteness of the terrain. Here are several examples of what I saw in August, 2017. My last, and final trip there. The weather was absolutely perfect, five days in a row. Hardly typical. So, I’m happy to step away from being in my favorite destination while I’m on top.

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Just Wait For It

i’ve posted this special image before but now close to Christmas Day I wanted to do it again in the spirit of the season. During my last visit to Alaska we took a day-trip though a popular area of Prince William Sound. That morning weather out of Whittier was overcast with light rain, low clouds and haze. I wondered what sort of photographic opportunities I’d have. My worries proved to be a waste of time. As we reached one of our many destinations the sky opened up and I was blessed with this view. Many more followed. It turned into a perfect day. My life over the past several years has been similar. I worry about what might be and realize there is so much in life around me I may not see at first. Have faith. Good things are there. Just be patient and look for them.

A Different View of Anchorage

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My last visit to Alaska was just over one year ago. It was my fifth time there, but the first time we decided to “make our own itinerary” versus being a part of an organized group. Accompanied by our youngest daughter and her son for a week of beautiful weather and scenery, we used Anchorage as our center of operations, and drove our rental car to places within a 200-mile radius we wanted to see. The city is a special place for me, and I felt confident I knew my way around. But, I never knew there was a place where I could get the above totally non-tourist composition of the city. From Earthquake Park.

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While wandering around Earthquake Park, this city bus passed by in bright red color.

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The downtown area has this massive sea life mural on a smooth-sided building that was not easy to photograph because of its size.

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Beautiful summertime flowers are located all over the city center, and they were like a magnet for my camera.

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There are numerous places to eat and drink in Anchorage, but one stands out to me, mainly for sentimental reasons … Humpy’s. My wife and I first stopped here for lunch in 1999, and the Blackened Halibut Sandwich with a pint of Alaska Pale Ale was our favorite. For the following three trips to Alaska we always made a point to go there for lunch. On the last trip last year I made this photo while eating said Halibut Sandwich. True, its a tourist stop and often crowded but it remains a favorite for us.

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Lastly is the downtown shopping area. It’s common to see loads of people wandering about from store to store, but as you can see here, not on this late morning. In summary there are many sights in Anchorage, some popular with the average tourist and some not so much. I was looking for the latter.