June 26, 2009

Alaska, Alaska

Looks like I need to dust off the ol' compass eh? Dad gave me that compass on my 13th birthday. Sort of a "right of passage" gift. It's led me true so far.

Tomorrow I'm flying out with anthropologist Amy Craver to Nikolai, Alaska. Nikolai is a largely Alaska Native community where they have been living off the land for hundreds of years. No posts until next week. Be back soon.

June 22, 2009

Sometimes beauty is...

...in the details.


From a Discovery Hike on Cathedral Mountain...


This is a snap from the Cantwell Bluegrass Music Festival that I went to this weekend. It reminded me of a scene from "Into the Wild" when Alex sings that song... with that girl. Okay, so that was vague, but it was a good time among the same kind of people that Alex tramps with in the movie. I took at handful of photos when I should have taken a thousand. But here is one. These two were just walking slowly by... no particular reason, just walking.

Speaking of "Into the Wild," the movie was filmed in Cantwell. The mountains in the background are the same mountains that are in the film. One of the locals told me that pretty much everyone in town was hired as crew. I guess they had guys with shotguns walking around as "bear protection." The "magic bus" that Chris McCandless died in is about 30 miles from where I live in C-Camp.

June 16, 2009

For the Shot

I got some strange looks from the tourists for my antics while shooting photos for Jane, the park historian. Jane enjoyed the photos though, and they will likely be published in her book which will hit the press next year. The pictures themselves are landscapes showing where buildings and bountries used to be. Also, that is a government vehicle which means that it is your tax dollars at work. This could air on that segment that ABC News had years back, "It's your money."

Photo courtesy of Jane Bryant

June 12, 2009

Safety FIRST

I was messing around in photoshop today and came up with this one of Stephanie Gillson, Denali's safety ranger. The editing is in the "wedding photographer" style with the desaturation and old school feel.

June 11, 2009


Denali is the only national park to have a sled dog team, and they aren't just for show. During the winter, the rangers use them to patrol the vast wilderness area in the interior. Here is one from spending some time at the demonstration yesterday.

June 10, 2009

The Good Ol' Days

Yesterday Cass Ray, my fellow office worker, took me on a mystery hike. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, only which way to walk. We headed up the ridge near the visitor center and after a little poking around we came across what he and I (unknowingly) were seeking. A few boards and stones.

The materials themselves would be insignificant, but the boards made the sign of the cross and marked the grave site of Jerry McClarty. McClarty was a drunk, and froze to death in his cabin in 1934. After a few wrong turns we came across the second grave site; the final resting place of Maurice Morrino, Italian owner of an "Alaskan-Italian" style roadhouse at the entrance to the park in the early 1900's. He served his guests caribou and beans at every meal. He was buried on the ridge overlooking his property.

It was a good hike, and a great day to be outside. Thanks for the history and the adventure Cass.

Evidence of moose...

...among the spruce.

June 8, 2009

Savage (Cont.)

Editing photos for the park today I found a few more that I liked from the hike along Savage River during training.

June 6, 2009

Kids These Days

It's always a challenge photographing kids. I photographed in an elementary school during Valentines Day this year and in most of my photos there was at least one kid looking right into the camera. Apparently, moose calves are the same way.

The Yawning Wolf

Yesterday Jay and I headed "out West" down the park road to put up bulletin boards and to give me a chance to get some shooting done for the "Rules of the Road" video coming up. It was a long haul, but we made it down the entire length of the road, all 93 miles. Last night we stayed at Toklat, a NPS camp at mile 56 for the West District folks who work at the visitor center at mile 60-something.

Just before getting into Toklat we came across a section of road where wolves usually den. Jay was hopeful that a wolf would show himself, but I wasn't holding my breath as the dens were across the valley. If anything could seen, it would be a speck. So we drove into a pullout and stopped the car gazing longingly into the valley below, just then Jay made an exclamation, and I looked forward. Right in front of the car, about 20 feet away, was a wolf.... sleeping. Funny how things work out. And I know, I know, ANOTHER animal photo... apologies.

June 4, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Fun facts about each of the slides:

1. The bear is a yearling cub.
2. Denali National Park was founded originally as a game preserve for the dall sheep.
3. There are about 2,000 caribou in the Denali herd.
4. "Moose jams" occur routinely on park roads when tour buses stop for moose traffic.
5. Denali (Mt. McKinley) is 20,320 feet tall.

June 3, 2009


Hiking along Savage River, we stopped frequently to gaze about with binoculars for wildlife. Or I should say, they looked for wildlife while I snapped images of them looking for wildlife. This is Bill Rusk, an SCA intern, who will spend his summer "out West" in the interior of the park.