One of the photos I wanted this year was some slower shutter speed blurs of grizzly bears chasing spawning Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) up the river. This kind of image is difficult to do with grizzly bears; well, not difficult to do, but difficult to manage a photo that works. More so, I think, than with most other animals. The result of this is that it seems to take about 5 times as many attempts to get a decent ‘panblur’ of a grizzly bear than it might, for example, of a caribou or wolf. What I’m calling a ‘panblur’, for those of you who aren’t certain, is a technique of slowing down the shutter speed when shooting movement, so that the subject becomes blurred, rather than crisp and sharp. You can see in the image above the spashing water and the legs of the bear are not to sharp at all. By panning the camera along with the bear as it races through the water, Continue reading →
A snow covered spruce tree stands in winter, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Today was pretty dreary weather here in Alaska, so I thought I might go with yesterday’s theme of black and white winter landscapes. I shot this lone snow covered spruce tree one afternoon last January. We had a cold spell, with some gorgeous clear days, and not a breath of air moved.
Winter’s right ’round the corner, so I thought I’d post a shot from last winter. High on a mountainside in the Wrangell Mountains the wind had swept the snow into some really cool patterns of ridges and valleys. I loved the curves in this scene, and with some nice dramatic side-lighting right before sunset (around 2:30pm), this scene was cooler than cool. Cooler than being cold, in fact. For scale, you can see a lone spruce tree in the background, shaded by the rising ridge beyond it.
Funnily enough, the temperature up on the hillside was markedly warmer than down at the Shack. Everytime I ventured up on to the mountains, the temperature was noticeably warmer. Folks tell me the inversion is simply because warm air rises and cold air drops, so down into the Kennicott River basin it goes. T Continue reading →
Here’s another photo from our backpacking trip to Skolai Pass early in September. We had a few nice cold mornings, and before the sun popped up I made a few images of the frosty tundra. Let’s see how many plants readers can identify in this image?
A winter sunset over the Mentasta Mountains, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.
“The effort to clarify our sight cannot begin in the society, but only in the eye and in the mind. It is a spiritual quest, not a political function. We each must confront the world alone and learn to see it for ourselves”. So says Wendell Berry, one of my favorite writers, in his book “The Unforeseen Wilderness”. The book, a dearly needed plea to save Kentucky’s Red River Gorge from a nefarious plan to dam it, was written nearly 40 years ago. I haven’t read the book completely yet, as I just bought it this afternoon. But I glanced at it, and this passage caught my attention. Berry continues on:
“the figure of the photographic artist – not the tourist-photographer who goes to a place, bound by his intentions and preconceptions, to record what has already been recorded and what he therefore expects to find, but the photographer who goes into a place in search of the real news of it”.* Continue reading →
A follow-up to my ‘snowbank’ scene. I’d been reading a bit of eastern philosophy, some of which I really admire, and the yin yang idea resonated strongly with me. It just seems, so clearly, to represent the world; light and shadow, sound and silence, space and solid, energy and matter, left and right, short and tall, love and fear, being and non-being. The philosophy delves much more deeply than those mere examples of its (yin yang) manifestation, but I won’t go into all that at the moment. It’s pretty cool stuff though, check it out. Continue reading →
Here’s an image I made in January. I’d not had a good morning, hoping for some alpenglow on Mount Blackburn, but was thwarted by an unscrupulous cloudbank. But, I figure I may as well enjoy the mountain morning, right? So I wandered around a bit, soaking up the quiet. There’s nothing quite so silent as a winter dawn in Alaska. I found this little snowbank and thought it might by a good photo study, particularly once the sun a crested nearby ridge. Maybe two hours later the sun peaked it’s nose over the ridge south of me, Continue reading →
Here’s an image I shot earlier this winter. The snow covered rocks, backlit, caught my attention, and I made a few images before hiking back to the shack. This one I’m unsure about, and would be glad to hear any opinions on how you feel about it. If you click on the image, a larger version should open up in a new window for you.
Here’s another photo of some snow patterns on the mountain side. I liked the yin yang thing going on here. Converting to black and white gave me a little more flexibility with playing with the tone, etc, and accentuated the pattern. Who said there’s no polar bears in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park? 🙂
One of the beauties about the Alaskan winter is it’s easy to catch that sweet dawn light – and earlier. This one was taken before the sun came around the mountain side. I had a great shoot in this spot, for several hours, and got a number of cool abstract images – once the sun slipped out from hiding beyond the distant mountain top everything changed, and a myriad new scenes appeared. A magical morning, for sure.
I really like the sweeping ridge lines here, and the cool blue light of the predawn sky – I shouldn’t really say predawn, because it was, like, about noon.