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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.

    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

Aurora and spruce trees, Denali National Park, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, Nikor 14-24mm f/2.8, 25 sec., @ f/2.8, ISO 1000

It is that time of year in interior Alaska when the skies begin to darken once again, and those brilliant stars appear in the late night sky. They are a welcomed sight for me, and on my last trip into Denali Park, I woke at 2am to go to the bathroom and looked up into an aurora borealis display in the night sky. I was not really mentally prepared, nor was my gear all set for this, but I could not resist. So, it took me a while to throw everything together and get set up, in particular because I was using a new lens which requires live-view focus, and that in turn requires placing a loupe on the back of the LCD screen to check sharpness. That need for the loupe  is a special thanks to fading eyesight at close range.

I used the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 with a mount for a Canon camera. I’ve been considering this lens as an alternative for a while, as many of my colleagues have proved it’s excellent quality. There is some functionality loss on a Canon, namely the auto focus does not work, and the f/stop does not reveal in the display. But, is it a fantastic lens, and this is my first shot with it. I look forward to this year’s aurora shows and hope to capture many more images with it.


  • Phyllis B. - Beautiful, looking forward to next March!August 30, 2012 – 8:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Hey Mark,
    Indeed, you know the spot, taken from your campsite at Teklanika campground in Denali.August 28, 2012 – 10:09 amReplyCancel

  • Mark Richards - Hi Pat, eating my lunch after a long clinic and having some deep psychotherapy looking at your photographs. Can almost hear the silence in this one. Thank you. MarkAugust 28, 2012 – 3:58 amReplyCancel

  • Eileen - Just gorgeous!August 28, 2012 – 12:17 amReplyCancel

  • asder - plss somebody help me i cant follow you on facebook .plss check your facebook fanpage,there is something wrong about it.great blog and amazing posts.i have been searcing digital photography blogs ,i think this blog is one of the best photograpy blogAugust 27, 2012 – 1:26 pmReplyCancel

Para gliding in Hatcher Pass, southcentral, Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 16-35mm f/2.8L, (23mm), 1/800 @ f/6.3, ISO 200

While driving through Hatcher Pass on a late July evening, a group of para gliders were having fun riding the wind currents at this mountainous area. It looked like a lot of fun!

Matanuska glaicer, southcentral Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 16-35mm f/2.8L, 1/30 sec @ f. 16, ISO 100

The Matanuska Glacier is located on the North side of the Chugach mountains, along the Glenn Highway in southcentral, Alaska. It is one of the few road accessible glaciers in the state, and is beautifully situated against a dramatic mountain back drop. During my July visit, the eskimo potato blossoms were profuse and the pink adds a cheerful feel to the landscape.

  • Patrick Endres - Bob, I remember your photos with that Nikon lens, glad to have one now and look forward to experimenting with it.August 28, 2012 – 1:55 pmReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Thanks Sam, I wish you good luck, the aurora should be good if the skies are clear for you.August 28, 2012 – 1:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Bob T. - This is a great photo. The Nikon 14-24mm has produced some great images for me. I especially like to use it from a low position looking up, including the sky and clouds. Look forward to seeing more of your great photos with this lensAugust 28, 2012 – 11:50 amReplyCancel

  • Bruce Faanes - Beautiful shot! Looks like your new “point & shoot” Mark III in your talented hands is working out very well. Image just about looks 3D.
    On a side note, may be sending you an e-mail in the near future for some advise on Polar Bear photography. Going to Hudson Bay 11/6/12 and any advise from the experts is always greatly appreciated. Have a great day!August 23, 2012 – 1:06 pmReplyCancel

  • refurbished cisco ip phones - Nice blog,thanks for sharing….August 22, 2012 – 4:15 amReplyCancel

  • Sam Ciraulo - Patrick,
    Stumbled upon your site while searching the web for advice on photographing the Northern Lights (Saw your excellent blog entry on the topic. Thanks for the voluminous advice!) Will be in Alaska from Sept 12 through 26, 2012 to visit friends in Fairbanks and Valdez and of course to do some photography! Your work is extremely inspiring and motivating to me. Appreciate your commentary and text entries as well.

    Your images have “pushed me over the edge” Can’t wait to get back to Alaska!August 21, 2012 – 6:15 pmReplyCancel

Coastal brown bear in a meadow of lupine wildflowers, Katmai National Park, Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS, w/1.4x, 1/400 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 640

This is a cropped version of a photo I took on coastal Katmai last month. Even at 700mm, I could have been closer, but thanks to the great quality of the 500mm lens and the file of the 5D Mark III, I am able to crop in and still have substantial file size for reproduction. I’ve been working on my 2014 calendars and have tagged this image as a possible cover shot for my 2015 calendar. I was hoping for more images like this, but the bears were so busy eating that they rarely looked up, let alone, in a profile or direct view with eye contact. The purple, brown, and green is a really nice color combination, and makes a very pleasing palette.

  • Karen Casebeer - The bear looks like she is in heaven! Great new slideshow pix too. But I miss the polar bear and fox shots! Wonderful blog.August 18, 2012 – 6:20 amReplyCancel

  • Inge - Great shot as always Patrick! I very much enjoy all of your updates, every Alaskan scene is so recognizable to me now :) Love the flowers, I saw fields full of them in the south when I was there. And today I drove by a Denali grizzly when I was out in the park, and it didn’t pay any attention to me at all – way too busy eating berries! I wonder, did you get any good Fireweed shots from your trip? It seemed it was covering every inch of Denali these last weeks!August 17, 2012 – 6:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Vivian - I second the motion for this photo as the cover for the 2015 calendar! Well, there will be other photo contenders as time goes by, and they may be just as good as this one if not better – so just consider this a tentative vote for the cover photo!August 17, 2012 – 11:10 amReplyCancel