Alaska photos

Photo galleries from our trip at the end of August.

Some of you will recall that in early September my father and I visited Katmai National Park on the southern coast of Alaska, as part of a Muench Photography Workshop focused on photographing the Coastal Brown Bears that feast on the annual salmon run along the southern coast. I wrote a summary of the trip – and posted a few teaser photos – shortly thereafter, but then became busy. Since then, I have struggled to find time to complete the work of selecting and editing a few photos out of the 8,000 shots I snapped during the trip. I finally finished. Read on!

Brown bear and cub – Geographic Harbor, Katmai.
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Nature First

I just joined the Nature First community, because I am impressed by their efforts to communicate about respect for nature while photographing nature. For more, I recommend their why Nature First page.

The Nature First Principles were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations:”

  • Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
  • Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
  • Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
  • Use discretion if sharing locations.
  • Know and follow rules and regulations.
  • Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
  • Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

First snowfall

The first snow of the season is always special.

I missed the first snowfall of the season. I left town on Tuesday night for a business trip to Chicago, and missed the 2″ snowfall that arrived on Wednesday morning. So today, back at home and waking to a brilliant blue-sky day, I was eager to get outdoors. Most of the snow had melted close to home, but we chose a short hike along the Appalachian Trail to the top of Holts Ledge – home of the Dartmouth Skiway. (Things looked very different when I visited seven weeks ago!) We didn’t have to climb far before reaching an elevation with consistent snowcover. It was shallow, and crunchy from several melt-freeze cycles, but it was a wonderful taste of the winter hikes to come!

Descending the Appalachian Trail on Holts Ledge. Lyme NH.

We paused at the top to enjoy the southward views across the Upper Valley and toward Mounts Cardigan and Ascutney. We then strolled over to view the activity at the top of the Dartmouth Skiway, chatting with two fellows who were tinkering with the snowmaking equipment. Only three weeks to opening day!

Snowmaking coats the trees at the top of Dartmouth Skiway. Holts Ledge.

Halfway down the Appalachian Trail we encountered one of those wondrous effects to be seen this time of year: needle ice, where some mud froze, causing the expanding ice to crystallize and push the mud upward into the air.

Crusty ice spires in the mud along the Appalachian Trail on Holts Ledge.

Lunar eclipse

We were fortunate to have good weather when North America was treated to a full lunar eclipse this morning. It was expected to occur an hour or more before sunrise, as the moon set in the west. Using PhotoPills as a planning tool, I didn’t think I’d have a great view from my backyard, so I arranged to meet a colleague at a location on the Dartmouth campus – a location that has a great view to the west, with Dartmouth’s iconic Baker Tower in frame.

The moon, at upper right, during a full lunar eclipse – Baker Tower and the Dartmouth campus.
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