Glacial Stream, Root Glacier, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park

Glacial Stream, Root Glacier, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Glacial Stream and ogives, Root Glacier, 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 my most recent trip to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and beyond. This is an aerial photo from above the Root Glacier, near Kennecott and McCarthy, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The small stream is made up largely of runoff water from Stairway Icefall, a massive 7000′ vertical wall of ice that effectively form the “headwaters” of the Root Glacier.

This is an image I’ve wanted to capture for sometime now; I’ve seen various similar images of this same stream from a few photographers, including my friend Ron Niebrugge, and often thought it would be a cool subject to shoot. Indeed it is. 

The banding and ridge formations in the ice are a feature called “ogives”, created by icefalls, such as Stairway Icefall. The ice “bends” because the speed at which a glacier might advance is higher near the middle of the glacier rather than the outlying edges.

Shooting these kinds of images requires a fast shutter speed, and little depth of field; the lens will generally be focused at infinity, so a wide open aperture (or close to it) is best; shutter speed is the priority. Newer digital cameras also allow higher quality images at higher ISO’s than earlier models, and my new D700 was a great plus for this flight. I shot this at ISO 1000, and there is no discernible digital noise at all. That’s a nice feature to have.

I’ll write another post later with more info on shooting aerial photography; it’s a blast.

Cheers

Carl

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7 thoughts on “Glacial Stream, Root Glacier, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park

  1. Carl D Post author

    Hey Floris, Ron and Patrick;

    Thanks so much for the comments, I appreciate the kind words. Patrick, shot through an open window. Even though the air taxi there work hard to keep clean and unscratched windows, I always open them to shoot; making sure the pilot slows down first, of course. An open window at 140mph isn’t a good idea. 🙂

    Cheers

    Carl

  2. Carl D Post author

    Hey Kent,

    Thanks so much, man, I appreciate that. You have such a great portfolio of glacial images, it really means a lot. Thanks again.

    Cheers

    Carl

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