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Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park

Sunrise over the Polychrome mountains, Denali National Park, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f/4L IS, (40mm), .4 secs @ f/14, ISO 100, polarizing filter, Time 7:28 A.M.

This vista in Denali Park is a popular one, and I’ve photographed it in many phases of light and seasons. The vibrancy of the tundra colors in Alaska’s short autumn season are mesmerizing to say the least. First light happened on two out of 9 mornings and I chose to be at this location for one of them. While the entire sky was clear in the pre-dawn light, clouds began forming in the eastern sky in accordance with the rising sun. This created an unfortunate shadow over the specific region that I hoped to be lit with morning sunshine. I squeaked out a few frames before the clouds expanded.

Sunrise over the Polychrome mountains, Denali National Park, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f/4L IS, (24mm), 1/10 sec @ f/10, ISO 100, polarizing filter, Time 8:25 A.M.

In the span of 90 minutes, I was able to get a few shots when the sun sprinkled through the thickening cloud formation. The second image was taken about an hour after the first one. It was processed as a single image in Lightroom although I shot a variety of exposures to later blend in order to retain more detail in the clouds in the left part of the frame. I used a polarizing filter in both shots.

  • Why I love where I live – Kellie Dolan « E-Commerce - […] all the animals was breathtaking. But make sure you are not afraid of heights, driving through Polychrome Pass was interesting to say the least. My husband drove and I cringed through parts of that. But we got […]ReplyCancel

  • Patrick - Mark,
    I remember that dining experience, and the rain/sleet, and the other grand Alaska treks that were shared. You were wise to sneak that journey in pre-parenthood.ReplyCancel

  • Mark Richards - Hello Patrick
    What happy memories these photographs trigger. Robyn and I had a fantastic sleety day hiking out here with caribou criss-crossing our paths across the foothills in the far distance. The colours kept getting richer as we got closer and oh so disappointing to get that last bus back.
    Followed by one Patrick Endres, curry and the warmest Toyota dining room ever known.ReplyCancel

  • Patrick - Daniel,
    I’ve never hiked out there, but now that you mention it, I’d love to do it some time. Did you go to that big glacial erratic out there? I hear it is the size of a two story house.ReplyCancel

  • Daniel H. Bailey - Beautiful shots, Patrick!! Polychrome is definitely one of my favorite places in the park. When I was there last fall, I felt compelled to completely immerse myself into it and so I hiked out to that mountain right in the middle of the frame in the upper photo.ReplyCancel

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