As I noted in my previous post, my pilot had suggested that perhaps I should not come up to Coldfoot as the weather had been rather dreadful as of late. I was presented my reward when the thick overcast started to break up and we found blue sky openings amidst the cover, with rays of sun coming through to offer spotlights of the mountain ridges. It was an interesting cover, as the thick ceiling hung directly over the center of the park, while there were hardly any clouds just outside the eastern boundary, just beyond the Dalton Highway. We flew a route that took us over Jennie Lake, the Hammond River, then over to the two peaks that Robert Marshall named “Gates of the Arctic” – Boreal Mountain and Frigid Crags. (As a fellow “Battlestar Galactica” aficionado, my pilot and I had renamed the later of which to Frakkin’ Crag within a day or so.) While cloudy over the Gates, the fresh dusting of snow on Boreal provided wonderful contrasts that called upon the photographic works of Bradford Washburn and Ansel Adams.

I was elated to be up in the air, shooting through the slid open window of a Husky. Even in the cloudy areas where we flew, I was happy that the cloud ceiling had lifted considerably, allowing me to photograph peaks that were not obscured by clouds. Snow-blown winds along some of the summits provided nice moody subjects to work with. The nice contrasts between the cloudy areas and the sunlit areas reminded me of both the challenges and the pleasures of being a landscape photographer in Alaska. The weather and light change so much, even in one day, that you are constantly pushed to find ways to create. The only thing that matters – and no, it really does not matter what kind of camera you have – is having an eye open to the possibilities.

This particular photo was taken on the return leg to Coldfoot, with Jennie Lake in the foreground, which is inside the park, and Sukapak Mountain, just outside of the park boundary and along the Dalton Highway, in the background.


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