I decided to add a few days on the beginning of the trip American Forests took back in July to Denali in Alaska. My map said a trip starting in Fairbanks made a lot of sense, so I booked a ticket for a 4:30 p.m. arrival and off I went with not more of a plan than that. I like to find cool things to shoot at a destination rather than being influenced by how others have already captured it. I love the challenge, and then the reward, of having a “wow’er” — an image that causes a person to utter the word in joyful reaction to a picture.
I knew as soon as I saw this rainbow I had a sense that I might have my first “wow’er” for the trip. (above) It was a very cool to begin my time in Alaska with a big win.
The Parks Highway from Fairbanks to Anchorage is one of the most beautiful drives in North America. Case in point. I almost missed this wonderful scene because I was focused on technology instead of focusing first on the grandeur that was so obvious in front of me. I was distracted by a drone issue that caused me to turn away from the range. I was in a place with other people, so it was easy to hear the talk of the cool and somewhat rare sighting of the summit of Mt. Denali. I might have been distracted, but I was prepared to get it once I knew I wanted to shoot it. (left)
I got to Anchorage around 7:30 p.m., which pretty much added up to a 12-hour day driving through the Alaskan countryside. But, the thought of stopping made no sense. I could do a four-hour drive to the coastal town of Seward.
The Parks Highway is full of wildlife viewing opportunities. A couple cars parked on the side of the road is always a good indicator of something special to see — in this case a moose, which love to wade into a lake or pond and submerge their head to chomp down on grass growing on the bottom. (right)
I got to Seward around 11:30 p.m. and — who knew? — every hotel in the town was closed for the night. I knew the hazard when I left Anchorage, and I was prepared to sleep in the car… mostly because I knew if I had looked for a room and didn’t find one, I might not have made the trip. And, not making the trip down to Seward would have been a very bad thing. The one hotel not closed had one room left but “it didn’t have cable.” I felt bad about taking the discount offered because I thought “cable? Unless a UFO landed, there was nothing I wanted to see on cable.” Not only did the guy hook me up with a room, but he told me what boat tour to take the next morning and that, “oh by the way, there’s a really good shot right now, at 12:30 a.m.,” just down the scary gravel road next to the harbor, the deep cold harbor.
I thought “Hey, if someone says there’s a picture to take, damn the whole potential drowning thing. Let’s do this.” And, this is what I took at 12:20 a.m. that morning. (above left)