Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

Anything winter related – Alaska winters, like any winters of the circumpolar Great North, are a thing unto themselves. This section relates to all things winter, photos of Alaska winter scenes, snowshoeing and skiing, and a whole bunch more.

Favorite Photos 2016

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Hey Folks,

It’s that time of the year again. Wrapping up image editing and putting together a quick gallery of photos from the year for you. These are mostly from different photo tours we ran this year. (more…)

Aurora borealis and the Corona

Sunday, April 12th, 2015
The aurora borealis and corona, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

The aurora borealis and corona, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Please click on the phone above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

As the northern lights season, or aurora borealis season, starts to wind down for those of us here in Alaska, it’s often harder and harder to be motivated to get out yet again and spend the night hoping for some nice displays. Last night I saw the data online looking promising for the northern lights, and the skies here started to clear up a bit, I thought I’d keep an eye skyward.

So after movie-time finished, I checked outside and sure enough, the northern lights were kicking overhead. I grabbed my camera gear, threw on some pants, and headed out.

This shot above is a photo of the aurora borealis corona. I’ve often been asked what the corona is, and why it’s called the corona. No, its not enough the famous song, Muy muy muy muy, Corona, by English punk band The Knack.

I’ll tell you a little known secret. The activity or display we call a “corona” is named for a very simple reason; (more…)

Image of the Month, April 2014; Northern lights and a backlit tent

Monday, April 7th, 2014
A backlit tent and the northern lights in the White Mountains, Alaska

Using my tent as a foreground subject, I lit it from behind with my headlamp, while the northern lights danced overhead. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a shot from the recent aurora borealis photo tours in March; I set up the tent for the shot, it was merely a prop. It took a few times to get the balance right with the headlamp for the exposure. Trial and error is really the only way to make this work.

Foregrounds matter when shooting the northern lights, as they do when shooting just about anything. Adding anything of interest to the foreground can really help balance the colors and dynamism of the northern lights overhead.

Cheers

Car

Image of the Month: Wrangell St. Elias in Winter

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Winter in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park.

A bluebird day in the lowlands of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Wonderful winter weather! Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

We’ve had some stupendous weather here in Alaska this last few weeks, and I was lucky enough to get out and about for some photography. Here’s a shot from my favorite park, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve one gorgeous bluebird day. It just doesn’t get much better than this!

Hopefully this weather will hold through March for the northern lights photo tours. So far the auroras have been pretty rockin’ in 2014, and I’m really looking forward to shooting them some more this coming month.

Hope you enjoy it,

Cheers

Carl

Muh muh muh, myyyyyy Corona – Aurora borealis

Monday, February 17th, 2014
Corona of the aurora borealis, Alaska

The aurora borealis corona, or Coronal Aurora borealis – directly overhead, photographed with a 50mm f1.4 lens. ISO 2000, aperture 1.4, s/s 1/3 sec. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

“Oooh, my little pretty one, pretty one,
When ya gunna give me some,
My Corona”

Hey Folks,

What a cool tune, eh?

This image of the aurora borealis corona was taken last March on one of the aurora borealis tours. Here’s to hoping we get a night like this one again. Absolutely incredible evening, and it went on and on and on and on …. all night long. I think we got home at something like 9am this morning. I remember we nearly missed breakfast at the hotel because they were closing it up when we rocked into town. (more…)

Northern lights and Wrangell Mountains

Monday, February 10th, 2014
The northern lights fill the sky over the Wrangel Mountains and Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

The northern lights fill the sky over the Wrangell Mountains and Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Winter in Alaska is a fun time; it’s a hard time for a photographer because we have to choose between shooting during the day time, and waiting out the nights for the northern lights. And then switching schedules back and forth as the weather and the northern lights predictions change.

So the last few nights I’ve spent mostly sitting around at night hoping to be in the right place at the right time. For the most part, instead I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Shooting the northern lights is harder than most folks expect; shooting the northern lights with very specific compositions and scenes is even harder, because everything has to be just right. There are a few areas I have in mind for some northern lights images over the Wrangell Mountains, and so far, I’ve not gotten close. Every night the potential has been there, I’ve ventured out, only to be skunked. And few places can really skunk a photographer like Alaska can. (more…)

Sleeping warm winter camping in Alaska

Monday, January 27th, 2014
Sleeping in a winter sleeping bag on snow in Alaska in January, a camper is tucked up and bundled up tight in his down sleeping bag. Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Sleeping in a winter sleeping bag on snow in Alaska in January, a camper is tucked up and bundled up tight in his down sleeping bag. Mountain Hardwear Ghost sleeping bag, Exped Sim Comfort 10 LW. Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

It’s January, and Alaska can be a rough place to sleep outside during this time of year. Temperatures can easily be down below zero F, even into the minus 30’s and 40’s, or colder. So sleeping outside is not to be taken lightly.

Bring a good sleeping bag. A REALLY good sleeping bag. If you predict temperatures of zero (F), I’d go with a sleeping bag rated to minus 20 degrees F. I prefer a down sleeping bag over synthetic bags, but the key is a high quality, and well rated bag. If you have a good synthetic fill sleeping bag, use that. It’ll be heavier, and less compatible, but you can deal with that. You don’t want to have to deal with being cold.

Your bag is your last refuge against the cold. Don’t skimp on it. Bring “more” sleeping bag than you think you need.  I do like the goretex or similar shells for winter bags, and highly recommend them.

Bring a good sleeping pad. A REALLY good sleeping pad. Jake, above, is using (well, half using) an Exped Sim Comfort 10 LW, which I highly recommend if you’re not packing it into the backcountry. If you need to haul it (snowshoeing, skiing, backpacking, go with an Exped Downmat 7 or even the Downmat 9). An insulated pad insulates you against the cold snow underneath, where even the best sleeping bag won’t offer much protection – once you lie down in the bag and compress the insulation underneath you (be it down or synthetic), it offers little insulating value. So a high quality insulated pad makes a huge difference. You want it to be about an inch or more thick.

Although it’s not generally needed with a high quality sleeping pad like this, I often like to throw a hard cell foam pad under the inflatable. It adds a little extra insulation, but mostly a little protection against a leak or anything. It’ll definitely ad to the life of your sleeping pad. Unlike Jake, above, don’t slide off the sleeping pad. You’ll get cold. 🙂

(more…)

Image of the Month; January 2014 – Snowshoeing Caribou Creek

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Bob and Nancy pause for a photo while snowshoeing on the Caribou Creek Trail, in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Bob and Nancy pause for a photo while snowshoeing on the Caribou Creek Trail, in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Hey Folks,

Welcome to the new year!

I thought we’d start of the fun this year with a quick photo from a place I’ll be headed to next week; Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. A week snowshoeing, skiing, sitting by the fire, watching out at night for some northern lights, enjoying good company, good food and a nice warm fire sounds like a GREAT way to start the new year. (more…)

Northern Lights & Winter in Arctic Alaska

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
A stock photo of the northern lights rising over a small creek, with the Brooks Range mountains in the background, part of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

The northern lights rising over a small creek, with the Brooks Range mountains in the background, part of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

I am just now back from a trip to the arctic looking for the northern lights; 4 of us went north of Fairbanks, to the Brooks Range, and spent a dark, cold week rambling around the mountains, enjoying what is ordinarily an incredible place; in the winter, a unique and somewhat amazing experience.

The northern lights themselves dropped by for a visit each night; we were indeed fortunate. We had cloudy skies for part of just one night, and all the moonlight anyone might ever hope for to light up the foregrounds. In the arctic, the moon doesn’t really pass ‘overhead’, but circles around the sky, so though it’s not high in the sky, it stays out for quite a while.

We were also lucky with the weather; there was just enough wind around (particularly higher in the mountains) to keep things from getting too cold. Weird, huh? Wind (generally) keeps things warmer in the winter. On our final day, there was not the slightest breath of air, and the temperature dropped a lot .. hitting minus 40 right as we departed for the drive south. For the duration of our trip it had been (mostly) in the 0 to minus 20 range; Fahrenheit, of course).

Photography in the cold, at night, can be a challenge, but we were all well prepared, and managed to make some keeper images. I’ll write another post later about tips and ideas to alleviate some of the problems folks run into in such conditions. For now, I gotta catch up on some sleep.

Cheers

Carl

 

 

Alaska Winter Driving and Travel Information for Photographers

Sunday, January 6th, 2013
Winter travel, a snow-laden pickup truck on the McCarthy Road, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.Winter travel, a snow-laden pickup truck on the McCarthy Road, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Winter travel, a snow-laden pickup truck on the McCarthy Road, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

This year (2013) seems to definitely be the year that photographers want to head north to photograph the northern lights here in Alaska; the number of websites that have suddenly added an “Alaska Northern Lights Photo Tour” to their schedule seems to have tripled in about 6 months.

That, and considering the number of photographers heading up here on their own, or with friends, to photograph the Aurora borealis this winter/spring means we’ll very likely see dozens, if not hundreds, of really, really amazing northern lights photographs from this coming season. I know I’m sure looking forward to seeing all the great images.

Given this influx of folks from “down south”, I thought a good subject to write about, one that I hope many people will find useful, might be winter driving and winter travel in Alaska. Coming, as I did when I moved here, from a background of very little real “winter conditions”, I had a lot to learn when I arrived, and some of that might be helpful for others headed this way. Not just about the physical driving on snow and ice. What to bring with me. What hazards I’m likely to encounter. And on and on. (more…)

avatar

Owner and guide Carl Donohue.

 

Shopping For Gear?


Equipment

    * Outdoor Research
    * Patagonia
    * Montbell
    * Arcteryx
    * Mountain Hardwear
    * Western Mountaineering
    * EXPED
    * Black Diamond
    * Mystery Ranch
    * Feathered Friends

Recent Articles

Translate this page.

 

Expeditions Alaska logo


Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match