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Autumn colored red bearberry and blueberry plants on the tundra in interior, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105mm f/4L IS (90mm), 1/60 sec @ f/9, ISO 400

The crimson red color that inflames the Alaska alpine tundra in autumn is so intense it sometimes hurts to look at it. I grabbed this photo while out on a day hike with some friends in the Alaska range. Labor day weekend is a pretty good target date to capture autumn color in its splendor in the mountain country of interior Alaska. I did not have my tripod with me on this outing, and a larger aperture would have increased the depth of field sufficiently.

Ma Johnson’s historic hotel in McCarthy, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105 f/4L IS (60mm), 1/40 sec @ f/11, ISO 200

McCarthy is a very small town located in the bowels of the Wrangell St. Elias National Park, near the old historic Kennicott copper mine. It’s a quirky town and it has the license to be so due to its remoteness and the handful of folks that chose to reside there. There is a foot bridge across the Kennicott river, for the general public to access town, which is about a one mile walk. I went there for the annual 1/2 marathon and music festival on Sept 1, 2012. There are a few historic buildings in town and vintage and dilapidated vehicles to go along. Ma Johnson’s Hotel is a great place to stay if you ever make it down there.

Ma Johnson’s historic hotel in McCarthy, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 24-105 f/4L IS (67mm), 1/30 sec @ f/11, ISO 200

 

  • Buff Corsi - Does this hotel have a dining room? Years ago Jerry and I took the hand tram across the river and had the tastiest BBQ ribs ever there. I’ve remembered it ever since.September 6, 2012 – 12:13 pmReplyCancel

    • Patrick Endres - Buff,
      No dining room in this little hotel, but there is a nice sitting parlor.September 11, 2012 – 4:07 pmReplyCancel

Bull caribou on autumn tundra, Alaska range. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS w/1.4x (700mm), 1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400.

While driving from Fairbanks to McCarthy, Alaska with friends, for a combined 1/2 marathon race and music festival, we happened upon two bull caribou foraging along the autumn covered tundra just north of the Alaska Range mountains. The colors of the tundra were nearly peaked, in that they included all phases of the green, yellows and reds that create an amazing palette on the landscape. This bull caribou was just loosing the velvet coating on the antlers in preparation for the autumn rut marking the breeding season. Thanks to the sun roof in my vehicle, I was able to get enough elevation to overlook some of the shrubs that were obscuring the legs of the caribou. The gentle back lighting in this frame accentuates the colors and provides a slight rim light on the caribou fur.

  • Patrick Endres - Hey Jim,
    Thanks for the comments on the book. I was glad to be a part of that project and think the book in general, turned out very satisfactory.September 5, 2012 – 11:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Jim McCann - Nice image, Patrick. A friend of mine saw and photographed that same bull and I’ve been wanting to get down there, but so far no luck in finding the time. The new 500 sits in the case.

    On another matter…I’ve been attending the Outdoor Writers conference this week at Chena Hot Springs, and while there I recieved a copy of “On Arctic Ground.” An absolutely stunning book with several important messages to readers, as well as fabulous photography by you and some of your colleagues. Great job!

    Everyone needs to get out and purchase this fine book!September 5, 2012 – 8:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Steve - Wow caribou, a marathon, and then live music! Only in AlaskaSeptember 4, 2012 – 7:30 pmReplyCancel

I spent 5 days in Denali in latter August this year. The skies were at times to void of clouds, but one can’t complain when Denali reveals itself in it’s typical dramatic fashion. Here is a gallery collection of a few from that trip. I purposely focused on the mountain, and had good luck with weather for that to bring a handful of images to fruition.

  • Patrick Endres - -Inge and Lois, thankyou

    -Eric, fun to have a serendipitous meeting with you again also. What great weather you had in Denali, a score indeed!September 4, 2012 – 8:25 amReplyCancel

  • Inge - Denali in full fall, what more can one wish for? Beautiful photo’s with spectacular colors and light Patrick, I love looking for recognizable spots and the hidden gems of the park. Good for you for finding the mountain out during your Denali days!September 3, 2012 – 4:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Eric Rosenbaum - Stunning work, as usual. Glad i got to run into you in Denali. And FINALLY got to Fairbanks airport and saw your photographs that went up 2 years ago. Had fun pointing them out to travel companions like a know-it-all (liked yours the most). Best, ERSeptember 2, 2012 – 11:27 amReplyCancel

  • Lois Bryan - Patrick these are exquisite. I’ve just forwarded your email to my husband who was born in Alaska within sight of Danali. thank you!!!!!

    best,

    Lois BryanSeptember 1, 2012 – 6:06 amReplyCancel

Morning light falls on the colorful mountain hillsides of Polychrome mountains in Denali National Park, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (165mm), 1/80 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 200

The region of Polychrome Pass in Denali National Park is known for its steeply bordered road and for the many colors that appear in the Alaska Range mountains. The morning light leaked through a few clouds that were brewing around the Polychrome mountains on this August morning, and a mix of warm and cool colors make this a vibrant scene. In Lightroom, I used a neutral density filter to lighten the foreground, and +21 vibrance, and -21 clarity to give it a more “water color” feel. No saturation was applied.

  • Patrick Endres - Mark, Somewhat serendipitous, as much of the landscape shots are in the ephemeral morning light under mixed clouds. I paused while driving to capture this one-the light play did not last long.August 29, 2012 – 1:44 pmReplyCancel

  • Mark Van Bergh - Nice as always Patrick. Just wondering if this was a scene you “happened upon” while driving the back road or hiking, or was it something you “awoke to” where you were camping (wherever that might have been)?August 29, 2012 – 11:19 amReplyCancel

  • David F. - Gorgeous as usual Patrick.

    Really honest to tell the digital manegment. Sometimes, saturation is not necessary.

    Regards,
    David F.August 29, 2012 – 10:21 amReplyCancel

  • David Shaw - Like many arctic trips it was a gloriously mixed bag. This one a bit more heavily weighted toward the bad weather. It rained a lot early in the trip which brought the river WAY up (we are talking flood stage) and silted in the usually blue Noatak with silver, silt-laden water. The second part of the trip was equally mixed, lots of wind, a bit of rain, one spectacular day and a couple of lovely evenings. You missed a couple of awesome moments, but also a lot of gray. I’ve been posting some images to Facebook and my blog if you want to see some of the results.
    -DAugust 29, 2012 – 9:00 amReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Dave, welcome back. How was your weather and course in the arctic? Did I miss out on a good one?August 29, 2012 – 8:27 amReplyCancel

  • David Shaw - I love the painting-like feel of this. Both threatening and hopeful.
    -DaveAugust 29, 2012 – 8:10 amReplyCancel