For a place that is not reachable by any road, Glacier Bay National Park, tucked away in the southeastern corner of Alaska, can boast a great deal of popularity. This 5,000 square mile park, as large as any in the contiguous 48 states, gets its name from the long and narrow bay and the rivers of snow and ice that creep along its edges at a glacially slow pace. (Was that a pun? Ouch!)
Alaska is often called “the last frontier” for good reason. The overwhelming majority of our 49th state is still pristine and wild. When traipsing around this wonderful wilderness, I am constantly reminded of the American pioneers of yesteryear such as John Colter and Jedediah Smith, so open is this vast state. It is truly in a class all by itself. Perhaps the prime feature shared by all eight national parks of Alaska (only California has more) is this singularly pristine wildness. These wonderful parks are vast tracts of pure, untamed and untrammeled Nature. Towering volcanoes, sparkling glaciers, crystalline lakes and mega fauna in the wild seem to be everywhere.
A century and a half after being acquired by Secretary of State William Seward from Russia’s Czar Alexander II, “Alyeska” remains remote, sparsely populated and largely roadless. Throughout this immense state, if you want to get around beyond the point where the few roads end, you will likely be using a raft or canoe to navigate the many river drainages or the ever-popular and ubiquitous bush planes for just about everything else.
How many of your images will win? The 2018 NANPA Showcase competition is accepting entries until October 1, 2017 at 11:00 p.m. EDT. The annual competition is a wonderful opportunity for you to submit your best photography and have it evaluated by three notable professional nature photographers- George Lepp, Roy Toft and Darrel Gulin . You may even have your image published in our annual Expressions publication which features the top 250 images from those entered. For more details about the 2018 NANPA Showcase competition, check out the website.
Over 3,300 images were submitted last year. One of the key NANPA Showcase 2017 winners is Mark Kelley, a photographer based in Juneau, Alaska. Mark had nine images featured in the 2017 Expressions, including Best in Show for “Eagle Hell,” Judge’s Choice for “Hiker Inside Glacier Ice Cave,” and First Runner-Up for “Drizzly Bear.” All of these images were made in Alaska and reflect the photographer’s passion for this beautiful state.
I couldn’t help but stare out the window during the short 45 minute flight from Anchorage to Iliamna — my home base for the next week as I sought to photograph the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) and maybe catch a glimpse of the elusive coastal wolf (Canis lupus). Coming from Seattle, Washington, I am no stranger to vast mountain ranges, winding rivers, and large bodies of water, but the Alaskan scenery left me awestruck. I couldn’t believe that I was going to spend the next week in this incredible place. Continue reading →
It’s not that one or two things or even a hundred things are beautiful – every single aspect of the natural world is beautiful, even the very air around us. Using high-energy particles from the sun as brushes and electrons orbiting atoms in our upper atmosphere as a canvas, impossible abstracts are painted across the night sky in neon colors. Of all the astral phenomena that draw our eyes to the heavens, the aurora is the most spectacular. And, it requires no special equipment to view it, only a willingness to stay out when most people are asleep (and to endure some cold temperatures).
The Cree called it the “Dance of the Spirits,” and in the Middle Ages it was regarded as a sign from God. Today we call it aurora borealis after the Roman goddess of the dawn and the Greek name for the north wind. Its most basic form is a static green band, usually stretching across the northern horizon. As it becomes more active, pink, red and even violet are added to the palette. These colors can fall down in curtains or dance across the heavens in twisting waves, as if responding to music we cannot hear. A photographer could point a lens at the same spot all night, taking one photo after another, and never repeat an image. Continue reading →
Alaskan brown bear (grizzly) with a salmon at the Brooks River, Katmai National Park, Alaska.
Katmai National Park is best-known for its three prime attractions: bears, bears and more bears. Within Katmai’s borders lie several spectacular mountains, such as Mt. Douglas volcano and Four-Peak Mountain, as well as scenic creeks, rivers and lakes that are seasonally teeming with salmon. While brown bears draw the majority of visitors, salmon draw the bears. Continue reading →
In 1980, seven Alaska parks were created in one fell swoop. Specifically, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (or ANILCA) was passed by Congress on November 12, 1980 and signed into law a couple of weeks later. Among other things, the act provided for more than 43 million acres of new national parklands in Alaska. Kenai Fjords National Park is one of them.
Giving birth to Kenai Fjords came with some really sharp labor pains. The local citizenry was initially opposed to setting aside these lands, but they came to enthusiastically support their expansion as they experienced the injection of tourist dollars into their local economies. Continue reading →