I’ve been on a two week photo excursion across Alaska, (thus the absence of posts for a bit) attempting to capture in time, this brilliant but short autumn season, so indulgent in color and splendid light. Part of this trip included some time in Denali National Park.
This year I missed my application deadline for the professional photographers permit in Denali Park, and therefore could not imbibe on that wonderful luxury of driving the park road in my own vehicle. So, it was a reversion backwards to the times before I qualified for the permit and photographed the park on foot and by bicycle. (For those unfamiliar with the Professional Photographer and Artist Permit, one needs to meet certain publication credit criterion to qualify, then you pick 10 days out of the year which are granted through a lottery basis. Most people want the same time period and the restrictions only allow 5 permit holders at a time to be in the park in their own personal vehicle). There are obvious disadvantages to travel by bike, but some significant advantages as well. I spent much more time on the tundra in the quest for light and subjects, got a lot more exercise, and in general, lost the mental conundrum of deciding where in the park to be since a bike severely limits travel options.
The bike was not tricked out for this event, since I borrowed it from a friend at the last minute. I carried all the gear in my backpack, which added a considerable amount of weight to be levied on that tiny bike seat. My lenses included the 500, 100-400, 24-105, 16, 100 macro and converters. I switched between two gitzo carbon fiber tripods and a Kirk ballhead. One very tiny one and a medium weight tripod, the latter not really fit for supporting big lenses but sufficient enough if I was careful. Minimizing gear and weight is always a mix and frequently a compromise.
I focused on landscapes in the wonder lake area, got poured on often, but enjoyed moments of great light, ate buckets of blueberries and actually got a handful of views of Denali, along with an infusion of autumn color and a few good photographs.