I took a photo a few days ago in Broad Pass, which is the high point through the Alaska Range mountains along the George Parks Highway that connects Fairbanks to Anchorage. A few inches of fresh snow had fallen early that morning and decorated the tundra in a beautiful white blanket. The small spruce trees were the only signs of color in this white winter landscape. I love this clean and pure feeling found in Alaska’s winters. If you visit this scene, you would be quite surprised to show up during the autumn season and witness the splash of powerful color that unfolds across this very same landscape. These two portrayals of the same place are remarkable in their difference, and equally beautiful in their own way. While not exactly the same place, they are within a few miles apart.
I grew up experiencing nature’s seasons in Wisconsin, and perhaps it is the nostalgia of my youth that makes me appreciate all of the seasons’ distinctive characteristics. If you have ever attempted to hike across the autumn tundra you already know what kind of challenge that can be. In contrast, put on a pair of skis in winter and you can easily cruise across the snow covered tundra.
Photographing in winter has its intrinsic challenges, and I’ve written an article about photographing in the cold if you have interest in learning about some of the ways I prepare to do that. I’m not a die-hard cold lover, I like being warm. I do like winter however, and to best enjoy it, means to be best prepared to get out in it.