Morning at Mendenhall

Morning at Mendenhall

So, I am just a little behind in getting some blog posts caught up.  It happens.  Usually when I am visiting a location, my routine is to shoot in the morning, come back to wherever I am staying when the light gets bad so I can download and blog post, then take a nap.  In the late afternoon I head out, take more pictures, then come back and do the computer thing all over again.  Unfortunately, when I was in Juneau, I did not have that time in the middle of the day because I was photographing the state high school soccer championships.  My days started at around 4:00 so I could get up and go to some location for first light, and ended around midnight when I finally made it back to my hotel after a day and evening of shooting.

On one such early morning, I took the advice of friend and photographer Chris Beck to head out to Mendenhall Glacier and explore the Montana Creek area of Mendenhall Lake.  He suggested this area because of the accessibility of the lake and the different perspective on the glacier (as compared to the other side of the lake where the visitor center was located).  I explored the area he suggested for a little bit, photographing the calm reflections of the lake and some icebergs on the other side.  But I felt that when the sun did eventually come up, I would not be able to take as good of advantage of it from this side of the lake.  So, I drove over to the visitor center and started to hike along the western side of the lake, crossing several rather cold streams in my Teva and no socks-covered feet.

My goal for this particular morning was to just get a sense of Mendhall Glacier and its surroundings, particularly tracking first light as it hit the scenery.  I knew I would not have the time required to go out and explore for any great period of time, so I focused on the elements I could find that made the setting interesting.  A beaver dam here, a chunk of ice stranded on a beach there.  The relationship between the icebergs in the lake and the toe of the glacier, the juxtaposition of floating ice with a flowing waterfall.  So much of landscape photography for me is capturing the relationships among the various elements of a place; this is where my creative eye typically takes me, rather than what would look good on a postcard.  It’s ironic, too, because all of the photos I have ever seen of Mendenhall Glacier did not give me a sense of place.  I did not recognize any aspect of the glacier or its surroundings from any of the photos I have seen before.

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