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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!ReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Hey Mark,
    Indeed, you know the spot, taken from your campsite at Teklanika campground in Denali.ReplyCancel

  • 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. MarkReplyCancel

  • Eileen - Just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • 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 blogReplyCancel

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.ReplyCancel

  • Patrick Endres - Thanks Sam, I wish you good luck, the aurora should be good if the skies are clear for you.ReplyCancel

  • 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 lensReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • refurbished cisco ip phones - Nice blog,thanks for sharing….ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

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.ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

  • 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!ReplyCancel

Coastal brown bear rolls in a grassy meadow with its feet sticking in the air. Katmai National Park, Alaska Peninsula, southwest Alaska. Canon 5D Mark III, 500mm f/4L IS w/ 1.4x, 1/320 @ f/5.6, ISO 400.

An open grassy meadow, with white daisies dotting the perimeter serves as a good spot for this brown bear to scratch its back by rolling around on the surface. I liked the display of both the pads of the bear’s feet, and its long, distinctive claws. Those claws can do some serious dirt removal, in addition to very dexterous tasks like extracting the brains from salmon.