I arrived home yesterday, after spending the last 8 days chasing the fall colors throughout interior Alaska, and a (relatively small) section of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
After driving nearly 1100 miles, and making roughly 1100 photographs, I'm spending the day recovering, writing, and sorting images.
The trip was fraught with less than ideal weather (it rained every day), and fewer prime light shoots (we only saw 2 sunrises, due to the weather), as a massive storm cell moved in from the Gulf of Alaska and dumped oodles (that means 'a lot') of rain. Some areas above Valdez (not far from our location in Wrangell-St. Elias) were hit with nearly 10 inches of rain. But the trip was a tremendous success. Alaska has a way of throwing severe and varied weather at you, when you least need it - but there are always things to shoot.
You can make excuses, or you can make photographs.
I made photographs, and I'll be posting them over the next several weeks.
This has been written about before, likely thousands of times. But it bears reminding. Life (and weather) throws things at you that smash your plans, wishes, desires, and goals. There are only 2 options when this happens. You can whine about it, give up, and act dejected - or you can consider your alternatives and make the best of it. Since people don't want to hear me whine (or anyone else, for that matter), I choose to make secondary and tertiary plans for every shoot I go on. Sometimes things don't work out, and no photographs get made, but even on those days - I learn something. I try. I continue to plan and search. I remember that, despite the less than ideal weather conditions, I'm still in a place that many people have on their 'bucket lists'.
If live gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie.
Make something. Make an attempt. Make a suggestion. Make anything, except for an excuse. Excuses and whining are nothing short of 'drama'. If I wanted drama, I'd turn on TNT - they know drama. On the other hand, sometimes dramatic light can come from things that you were just cursing (like storms).
This photograph was created in just those conditions. A storm was blowing through, onto the Denali Highway. I was driving across a section of the Highway that looks out over the Monohan Glacial Plain - arguably one of my favorite 'grand landscape' locations on the planet. Clouds were obscuring the primary view - the incredible Alaska Range, and wind was gusting to around 40 mph. I ducked off the side of a hill, to get out of the wind, and saw several lush patches of bearberry leaves. Because we were on the backside of the ridge, the wind sailed well above our heads, and the plants here very still. So I dumped my plan for grand landscape shots, and instead focused on intimate landscapes - in this case, macro work. I believe that this image exemplifies this area, every bit as dramatic as mountain scenes, this small section is every bit as dramatic and integral to the story of wilderness tundra. Had I not kept my eyes (and attitude) open to alternative subjects, I likely would have grumbled my way back to the lodge.
Some photographers think that their dramatic tales depicting Alaska's incredibly fierce weather and storms derailing their every attempt to make photographs (and, of course, "nearly escaping with their lives"...) make their lifestyle and difficulties sound more incredible.
Lame. Yeah, that's how you sound. Stop whining about it and make photographs. You are a 'professional', aren't you? Don't 'professionals' get the job done, regardless of the conditions?
Actually, this applies to amateurs too - don't make excuses, no matter your experience level.
Make photographs. Make the best of it.
Don't wait for things to 'fall into place'.
Put them there.
I'm proud to release "Fall's Red Carpet" as a new print to our collectors! This is an image of beautiful fall bearberry plants, from along the Denali Highway.
I am setting the opening Rendition Print (#1) at 30″45″. (read about our completely unique ‘Rendition’ prints in this blog post)
Open Editions prints are also available in 12″x18″, 16″x24″, 20″x30″, and 24"x36" sizes. This print will also be available in our new Canvas Wraps in all Open Edition sizes!
If you are a collector, and would like to own the very first Rendition Print of this image, please contact us at 907-315-0191. Likewise, if you would like to own an Open Edition print, we would love to help you.