Category Archives: Musings

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’, no 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 never 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”. Continue reading

Mount Saint Elias Photo

Mt. Saint Elias photo, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Mount Saint Elias, 18 008' high, stands tall in the evening light over an unnamed glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska - aerial photo. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Well, just back from 2 weeks to photographing brown bears in Katmai National Park, and I’m off again already; I’ll be gone for some time on this trip, 4 weeks down along the coastline of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, where I will meet up with Erin and Hig, of Ground Truth Trekking. They’re spending 2 months in the area,  finding out

“what would it be like to live on ice? In the fall of 2011 we will set out to spend two months living on the shifting, melting surface of North America’s largest glacier, along with our two young children.

Trekking between a series of camps on the Malaspina Glacier, on Alaska’s remote and harsh Lost Coast, we will explore this dramatic and wild landscape, weather the fall storms, and document climate change in action.”

Pretty cool stuff. Continue reading

Northern lights over Mentasta Mountains

Northern lights, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Northern lights over the Mentasta Mountains, tundra, boreal forest and a small kettle pond on a moonlit night. Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

From the recent trip to shoot the northern lights in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. I’ve never seen clouds move in quite so quickly as they did this particular evening. I’d se up to shoot over in the Glennallen area, and before long, high clouds rolled in from the southwest. In order to keep shooting, I had to figure which would be the best direction to head.

I chose north and east, toward the Nabesna Road, partly because I wanted to be in that area for sunrise. So I spent the evening trying to stay ahead of the lights and catch what images I could along the way. Finally, I made it to where I wanted to be, and then set off to find a composition I wanted.

For any Alaskans out there, or anyone else who’s hiked over muskeg before, you’ll appreciate this one.; try setting out at night time to hike over the muskeg for your photos. I guarantee that WILL kick your a$$.

Then I spent the rest of the evening waiting for the lights to turn on. They popped out a few times, but never really strongly, though they were pretty active. The full moon made for plenty of light for the foreground. I wish I could’ve gotten a little closer to the water’s edge here, but all that long grass in the foreground sits in about 10 inches of water. If the lights had offered something really dazzling, I might have ventured out, but for staying dry and warm seemed a better option given the circumstances.

Finally I fell asleep under a spruce tree, woke up to a clouded sky, and stumbled my way backward camp and my superwarm, absolutely amazing, Western Mountaineering Lynx sleeping bag. life was good. I didn’t get up for sunrise.

Cheers

Carl

Erie Mine, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Erie Mine Bunkhouse, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Erie Mine Bunkhouse and the Wrangell Mountains, fall colors. Erie Mine is one of three mines that made up the famous Kennecott Copper Mines, Kennicott, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

From the aerial shoot we did in September; this one is of the old bunkhouse at Erie Mine, one of the 3 Kennecott Mines, in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.

It’s interesting to me how much money, time and investment the National Park Service put into Kennecott, an old abandoned Copper Mine. The basic tenant of the Park Service is “don’t take stuff out of the place, and don’t leave your trash behind”.

It seems odd to effectively celebrate an organization that did quite the opposite of that. The mining company, like most mining companies, took what they wanted from the landscape, and left all their sh** behind when they were done. Now, what they did is revered.

But, such are the ways of the NPS; sometimes they’re hard to follow.

Cheers

Carl

Carl on Google Plus

Hiking in snow, Mt Jarvis, Wrangell - St. Elias, Alaska.

Backpacker hiking in snow near Mt Jarvis, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I’ve signed up an account with Google Plus, and would like to invite all of you Google Plus users to ad me to your groups and lists there. I’ve only just started my account there, but it looks like a great network. There are some fantastic photographers on there, among some of my favorites; Guy Tal, Ron Niebrugge, Michael Gordon, Gary Crabbe Dan Mitchell, Jim Goldstein and a host of others; some really great images on there, so if you haven’t got an account yet, it might be worth checking it out, if for no other reason than to follow the work of folks like this.

My Google Plus page is here.

Cheers

Carl

PS: Oh, and the photo above really has nothing to do with Google Plus; it’s from a hike I did last fall up to Mt Jarvis, and just happens to be a shot i like a lot. Of me, of course!

See it to believe it?

Kuskulana Glacier, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Wintertime on the Kuskulana Glacier. Abstract photo of ice patterns and colors on the glacier, Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

It’s interesting to think about how technology and cultural constructs shape what we think and feel. Today we live in a somewhat bizarre world, where digital mediums both record and present way too much of our lives; we can watch Australia’s then Prime Ministerial candidate Kevin Rudd (he went on to win the election) pick something from his ear and eat it during gov’t Question Time, we watch a person rush over and catch a baby falling off an escalator, etc, etc. So much of our lives is recorded and witnessed again, from the mundane to the exciting, the thrilling to the disheartening, our greatest moments and our worst. Whether recorded intentionally or unintentionally, today we see it almost all on the big screen.

In some ways, the power of visual imagery has only increased, it appears, with the inundation of imagery that digital technology has yielded. Some folks might suggest that this flood of images waters down its potency, but it appears to only strengthen with increased volume. The more imagery we’re subjected to, the stronger, apparently, their hold on us. Continue reading

RAW files and stock photo sales

Bull Moose in fall color, Denali National Park, Alaska.

A bull moose standing on the fall tundra in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Vegetation includes Dwarf Birch and Alaska Willow. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks

Recently I saw a tweet the other day from photographer Richard Bernabe: “Just had a photo editor demand raw files to process as they see fit. I turned the deal down.”

I saw and enjoyed at least some of the following conversation. We discussed the merit of sending out a RAW file to a photo editor instead of some other file format, such as a tiff or a jpeg.

For myself, I can’t see any reason to not send a RAW file if an editor or graphic artist requests it, unless there was some very highly unusual and extenuating circumstance; the only one that springs to mind is if the final image was a manual blend of multiple exposures, and/or a panoramic stitch that I’d put together. Even in those circumstances, I suspect I’d most likely explain to the person I was dealing with about the amount of time involved in finishing the product from camera to computer screen, and suggest they simply use the finished 8-bit tif or jpeg file, but if they felt they really wanted the RAW files, I can’t see why not; it’d mean they have to do (in some cases) a whole lot of work I’d already done, but if that’s what they wanted, I can’t see a good reason to refuse. Continue reading

eBooks and microstock

An early fall snow coats the peaks of Mount Edith Cavell, Edith Cavell Lake, Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

An early fall snow coats the peaks of Mount Edith Cavell, Edith Cavell Lake, Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Looking around the web recently I can’t help but notice the surge in photographers’ promoting eBooks. I wonder if eBooks aren’t the newer version of microstock photography? The hallmark of microstock sales is, IMO, an incredibly low price for (typically) royalty free sales; at best only very loosely managed rights. That seems to be the industry marketing model for eBook sales as well.

I’m not saying this is all a bad thing. One plus I see is that the bulk of eBook sales are direct from the photographer to the customer; cutting out an agency, which I think is (virtually) always a good thing.

Another plus is the quality of the material; the eBooks I’ve seen have been absolutely first class stuff. Microstock photos are often pretty sad images.

I think the above 2 positives are more than likely related.

Just wondering out loud is all.

Cheers

Carl