Here’s an image I took in August on a trip to the Arrigetch Peaks, in Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. We’d had a great early morning hike up in to and around the Maidens Valley for sunrise, and I shot a few nice images of the peaks catching early light. Afterward we hiked back to camp to catch an hour or so of sleep before breakfast, but I took a few shots along the creek before my nap.
I really liked the warm light striking the top of this ridge above camp, but didn’t have long to find a complimentary foreground before the low-lying clouds blocked the light. A pretty good rule of thumb for any landscape photographer in the backcountry is to always camp by water; one can USUALLY find some kind of foreground with a water source, be it a pond, a stream, a lake, the ocean, a glacier, etc.
Here I added some color by setting up near this patch of bear berry, strikingly red in peak fall color. The whole process for this shot took maybe 5 minutes, from walking over to the stream and scratching around to find the composition I liked, checking exposure, etc, and shooting the frame. 10 minutes later I was in my sleeping bag, toasty warm, and the light had dropped from the ridge altogether. I was able to grab some sleep before getting up again for breakfast with the group to a cloudy and somewhat drab day.
Shooting early and late light in Alaska in the summer/fall can be a lot of work; there are few hours of nighttime between shoots, but it’s great fun all the same. Especially in a place as grand as the Arrigetch Peaks. I’ll write another post sometime soon about the trials and tribulations of those hours.