Tag Archives: Wrangell Mountains

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and the Northern Lights

Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and the northern lights, Alaska.

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and the aurora borealis photo, or northern lights, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

We’ve had some pretty great weather here through the month of February, and that means, a great time to get out and look for northern lights. Working on my own project, rather than photo tours, I was able to hit a few destinations I wanted to shoot that are a little more hit and miss; less reliable than some others, but places I wanted to shoot nonetheless.

One of those places is Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Inevitably I’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time in a place slightly larger than the country of Switzerland; I’d head off in one direction and then have fog and haze cloud up the skies, or I’d head off in another direction, and the lights display would be directly behind me. The mountains in front me being what I want to shoot, and the lights behind me. Not a great mix.

But, such is what happens when you have specific ideas in mind; it’s important to be flexible in nature photography, and particularly so when shooting the northern lights, but part of working on a project involves fulfilling your own ideas. Spontaneity is great, and I’m all for it. But I’m also interested in trying to make a photo of something I envision ahead of time, and working toward that.

It’s a rewarding, but often frustrating endeavor. Continue reading

Wrangell – St. Elias aerial photo

Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Wrangell mountains, fall colors, sedimentation rock layers ad striations, aerial photo, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

An abstract aerial shot of the Wrangell Mountains, with a little fall color thrown in. Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

I’d actually asked the pilot to fly us up in this area in the hope to find a particular glacial scene I wanted to reshoot, but the great patterns and colors along the ridges above the glacier were more interesting; in part because we didn’t find what I was looking for anyway.

Aerial photography is an exciting challenge; trying to see compositions that work in camera from such an unusual perspective is harder than one might imagine. The sensory overload of flying through such magnificent scenery, Continue reading

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

The Wrangell Mountains

Wrangell Mountains, Willow Lake, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Willow Lake and the Wrangell Mountains, wintertime, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska. From left to right, Mt Drum, Mt Sanford, Mt Zanetti, Mt Wrangell. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

Well, maybe not all of them, but some of the stars, for sure.

Mt Drum, Mt Sanford, Mt Zanetti and Mt Wrangell, viewed from Willow Lake, along the Richardson Highway. It’s not always this clear, however, and so many of the people who drive by this scene have no idea what they’re missing. Perhaps more amazingly, when it IS clear, some people drive right by without so much as a glance.

Cheers

Carl

Wrangell Mountain Reflections

Reflections in the morning, of fresh snow or termination dust on the Wrangell Mountains, near Mount Blackburn, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Reflections in the morning, of fresh snow or termination dust on the Wrangell Mountains, near Mount Blackburn, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks

Here’s another image, taken earlier, of the scene outside my tent door a few mornings ago. After spending the previous day in the rain, cold, sleet and snow, I went to bed hoping for an improvement in the weather.

All during dinner, I had watched the snowline on the peaks above camp come ever slowly down the mountains – lower and lower. Now, listening to the rain fall on my tent, I didn’t imagine much change happening.

Turning off my headlamp, it was lights out, and I had barely a flicker of hope for the rest of the hike – the continuing patter of rain falling on my tent a sound I was about done with. Eventually that sound faded and then ceased altogether – at first I thought it had simply turned to snow, but a glance outside confirmed that nope, the rain had actually stopped. Woo hoo! Continue reading

Copper River, Wrangell Mountains, Simpson Hill Overlook

The Copper river and Mt Drum, from Simpson Hill Overlook. View of the Copper River basin and Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

The Copper river and Mt Drum, from Simpson Hill Overlook. View of the Copper River basin and Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image thumbnail to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

OK, enough with the waterfalls already! Here’s another image from my spring trip earlier this year, from Simpson Hill Overlook, off the Richardson Highway, near Glennallen, Alaska. This is a scene I’ll never tire of; looking down the Copper River, with the Wrangell Mountains in glorious sunshine. The mountains you can see in this image are Mt. Drum on the left and Mt. Wrangell the broader, dome-shaped mountain on the right in the background.

Just out of sight to the left of the frame is Mt. Sanford, and  Mt. Blackburn to the right. How many vantage points do you know of in North America where you might choose to exclude from your photo two mountains both of which stand over 16 000′ high? That speaks volumes, in my opinion, about how amazing this viewpoint is. The 5th (Blackburn) and 6th tallest peaks (Sanford) in the US and they don’t make the photo? Craziness!

The Copper River is pretty grand too. Not to get bogged down by meaningless numbers and superlatives, but the Copper River is 300 miles long, and the 10th largest river, by volume, in the US. The Copper River is also the north and western boundaries of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, coolest park in all the world! It’s perhaps best known, however, for its nearly infamous Red Salmon run, usually over 2 million spawning salmon, loaded with fatty Omega-3 oils that make for some delicious supper.

I was really hoping for some sweet delicious alpenglow on this particular evening …. but ….. alas, such wasn’t to be my fortune. The light faded soon after I shot this – the boreal forest in the foreground grew dark, and the mountain light ebbed and dwindled; distant dim clouds low on the northwestern horizon thwarted my efforts at capturing some rich color on the snow-capped peaks, as seems to be the case all too often.

This scene is one of the very few ‘roadside‘ vantage points from which to photograph some of the big mountains in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Willow Lake is another. The views on a clear day from these places rival anything I’ve seen anywhere else. The problem, I guess, for photographers is that the clear days are few and far between. Enjoy ’em when ya can! 🙂

Cheers

Carl