Fall colors in the Arrigetch Peaks

Arrigetch Creek, fall color, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska.

Fall colors along Arrigetch Creek in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Sunrise over the Brooks Mountains, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

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.



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