It is springtime in Denali National Park, and the remnant covering of snow still remains in the high country and mountain passes. But in typical June fashion, that big and ever present sun has lured many flowering plant into profusion of blossom. This cluster of wind flowers, or narcissus flowered anemones, caught my attention while looking for an object to photograph during a sunny afternoon. The 500mm focal length helps blur out the background as backlighting enhances the flowers petals.
I’ll be in Denali National park in a few days on a photography permit and it was disheartening to learn of the recent trapping death of the alpha female from the Grant Creek wolf pack. She was snared by a trapper just outside the park boundary. I, like many photographers and visitors to Denali have photographed these animals for years, as they have denned near the park road and have been a common sight. The Grant Creek wolf pack is possibly the most visible and highly viewed wild wolf pack in the world.
Why was the wolf snared? Ask the Alaska Board of Game – it has to do, at least in part, with the absence of a buffer zone along the park boundary. Here is a quote from an article in the Anchorage Daily News
On so many levels, it just makes sense to preserve a resource that is enjoyed by so many people. Wildlife does not know or follow geo-political lines and boundaries. A buffer zone seems reasonable.
Wolves, as a top predator, are a controversial subject in Alaska since they compete with sport hunters and food hunters for animals like moose.
Two years ago, on June 3, 2010, I was photographing in Denali Park with a colleague and we encountered the Grant Creek wolf pack in a rare but classic predator scene involving a cow moose and her calf. The alpha male and female from that pack were involved in this attack, and are pictured in the photos. That post and related photos became my most popular blog entry, and the comments reveal a wide range of attitudes and opinions on even the most basic function of a wild animal: eating to survive. You can read those comments on the original post, but if you just want to see some photos from this scene I repeated them below due to their popularity.
It’s been over a year now since I moved my website from a self-managed software and dedicated server to a cloud-based environment, and for that I chose www.Photoshelter.com. In general, I’m pretty happy with how things have went thus far. It was a big decision because I was giving up some very cool features that I had custom designed on my own website, but I justified that loss by new and more functional features that I would gain through the back-end administration area on Photoshelter. I’m still missing what I gave up, in particular, the functionality of the lightbox. Photoshelter continues to update and add features however, and hopefully some changes are coming to that aspect of the software. One thing is clear to me, I am so glad I’m no longer needing to manage and network with web-geeks more savvy than I to keep the server and software functioning and up to date!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been updating some web pages that showcase my work in a slide show environment. This is more for the casual browser, but it does make navigating through a bunch of categories pretty easy. The one current drawback is that the slide show uses flash, which is not functional on many mobile devices. Perhaps that too will change soon as the web environment seeks to integrate with mobile devices. You can check out the slide shows at http://alaskaphotographics.com/alaska_pictures_index.shtml
I’ve been photographing regions of Alaska’s arctic for a book project that came to completion recently. On Arctic Ground is authored by Debbie Miller, a long time Alaskan author, and published by the Mountaineers Books. During two specific trips over the past few years, I photographed regions within the National Petroleum Reserve, a giant section of land in Alaska’s arctic. Both of those trips loom large in my memory for their epic wilderness setting, adventure, and the magical, compressed infusion of life that happens during the arctic’s nightless summer skies.
The book advocates for and showcases the wildlife sensitive habitat regions of this large area. Here is a quote from the feature on Amazon:
Since the advent of a high res DSLR, I was able to continue producing images in a panoramic format without carrying an additional bulky panorama camera in the field. Each year, the software utilized for stitching multiple digital images seems to get better, easier, and more sophisticated. The benefit of merging multiple images allows for a much larger file, but file size is not always necessary. I’m going to suggest something that seems to go against the grain of conventional publication/DPI standards for print media.
Dots per inch, or DPI has a direct relationship to viewing distance, and this is sometimes overlooked when evaluating a picture for size-output based solely on DPI. For example, I have four 3.5ft x 10ft panorama images displayed as canvas gallery wrap prints in the Fairbanks International Airport. Two of those were panoramas made from multiple files, and two were cropped from a single 17MP RAW file. When viewed at a distance of 15-20 feet (since they are hung high above the hallway) one can’t tell the difference. All four look quite sharp and clean. If these were viewed from 2 0r 3 feet however, the quality might seem inferior. But then, no one views a 10 ft picture from 3 ft, since you could not even see the whole thing at that distance.
Below is a gallery of panorama images, most of which are digital files stitched together in photoshop, some are film files from the Fuji Panorama 6x17cm camera.