Aerials of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

My last post about the Brooks range reflected the common frustration of photographing in Alaska’s interior with summer forest fires. In early June, I had the chance to fly across the Brooks range through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge doing some aerial photography. This was before the smoke and fire season build up in the interior, and, I thought it a timely to post a few of those images in light of my last failed attempt.

Aerial of the Brooks range mountains, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the Brooks range mountains, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Flying over the Brooks range will forever readjust ones mind in respect to wilderness, vastness and sheer rugged beauty. It’s really hard to process such giant spaces; mountains ridges, then rivers, then more mountains, then more rivers, and on it goes, all without habitation. My flight was about 2 hours from the Arctic ocean to Coldfoot, with the back door off the Dehaviland Beaver. The pilot, Dirk Nickisch and his wife Danielle (www.flycoyote.com), run a flight service out of Coldfoot. Dirk knows what he is doing and I always feel safe flying with him.

On a more techy note, upon reviewing the digital files, I was reminded that a high shutter speed is so essential. I’ve done aerials from many different planes, and in many different conditions and have eeked by in some circumstances with a shutter speed of 1/250 or so, but given all the factors that come into play, about 1/800 sec is a good minimum. Even at 1/400 sec, I had some motion blur (not vibration blur) of foreground mountains when flying by.

Below are a few scenes from this fantastic region.

Aerial of the wild and scenic Wind River, Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the wild and scenic Wind River, Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the Davidson mountains of the Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the Davidson mountains of the Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the Davidson mountains of the Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the Davidson mountains of the Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the Phillip Smith mountains of the Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Aerial of the Phillip Smith mountains of the Brooks range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.