Favorite Photos 2017

December 21st, 2017 by Carl D

Hey Folks

Another year winds down. And so it’s time to put together a short post of photos from the year.

They’re not really “Favorites” any more than a selection of images from the year. Some of my favorites have already been posted here, here and here.

And so … here they are

Click on any of the images to see a larger version.

Northern lights

We’ll start with a northern lights image. This one was taken on an absolutely incredible night last March. Absolutely incredible.

Cold. The wind was howling, and we were up on a high ridge. Tripods hit the ground. But it was SO worth it. Just awesome.

Northern lights corona, aurora borealis, Alaska.
Northern lights corona, aurora borealis, Alaska.

Backpacking the Goat Trail

And so to the Goat Trail. A much nicer spell of weather and one of my all time favorite lunch stops. Just before what we all call “The Gully of Death”. It was the evening after this one that I found out I had my storage unit broken into and half our stuff stolen.

Chitistone Valley and the Goat Trail, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.
Chitistone Valley and the Goat Trail, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Packrafting the West Fork

Fall comes early in Alaska. And even earlier in certain parts of Alaska. In south central, at lower altitudes, we get GREAT fall colors early-mid Sept. This image was taken by guide Rhane Pfeiffer on an exploratory backpacking/packrafting trip he took in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. I’m still jealous, I’ve wanted to paddle this area for years. Hopefully in 2018 I’ll get the chance myself. Everything Rhane told me about it has me excited.

Packrafting the West Fork of the Tana, near Iceberg Lake, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park.
Packrafting the West Fork of the Tana, near Iceberg Lake, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.

Sea Kayaking Icy Bay

We had some awesome trips to Icy Bay this summer. I guided the first one, with Rhane, and then Rhane led 2 more trips during the summer. This photo from our first trip, before I headed over to the Lost Coast for a backpack and packraft adventure along the coast. Fun stuff.

The highlight of this trip, for me, was seeing a wolverine cruise past camp after dinner. Such an amazing animal and always a treat to see. This summer I saw 2!

Sea kayaking trip to Icy Bay in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Sea kayaking trip to Icy Bay in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

The Lost Coast

After we spent a few days at Icy Bay, I headed over to The Lost Coast with Tim and Jeannie for a trek along the beach and through the woods. I absolutely love walking through the forest here, it’s amazing. Jeannie was a fan of the beach, so we mixed it up and did a little of both. Always a fun hike, but Tim and Jeannie were such awesome people this was one of my favorite hikes of the year.

Backpacking the Lost Coast in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Backpacking the Lost Coast in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Lake Clark

Rhane led a trip for 2 to Lake Clark this year. An awesome adventure, and one we’re definitely aiming to run again in the near future. I’ve not spent much time in Lake Clark, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. Fun place.

Lake Clark, backpacking adventure.
Lake Clark, backpacking adventure.

Brown Bears of Katmai

Here are a few of my favorite brown bear images from this year. In total I spent 5 weeks photographing brown bears this summer and fall. Always a blast, even with some rather adversarial weather in early Sept. 🙂

Brown bear female chasing sockeye salmon, Katmai National Park.
Brown bear female chasing sockeye salmon, Katmai National Park.
Adult male brown bear chasing silver salmon in Katmai National Park.
Adult male brown bear chasing silver salmon in Katmai National Park.
young subadult brown bears playing in the river, Katmai National Park.
young subadult brown bears playing in the river, Katmai National Park.

Polar bears

We had a good couple of weeks photographing polar bears at Barter this year. We didn’t get the snow we were hoping for, but with patience and some luck, we were all able to get some great images.

Standing polar bear subadult, ANWR, Alaska.
Standing polar bear subadult, ANWR, Alaska.
Polar bear cubs playing in the Arctic Ocean, ANWR, Alaska.
Polar bear cubs playing in the Arctic Ocean, ANWR, Alaska.
Female polar bear sniffing the air, ANWR, Alaska.
Female polar bear sniffing the air, ANWR, Alaska.

Bald Eagle

This year we had awesome conditions on the Chilkat River, one of the best years I’ve seen there in a long time. Lots of snow, the river freezing in all the right places and all the fish spawning in the right places meant great photo opportunities for us with the eagles. Really a nice year.

Bald eagle landing on snow, Chilkat River, Alaska.
Bald eagle landing on snow, Chilkat River, Alaska.

Northern Lights over Wrangell Mountains

The night I headed back from the Bald eagles trip we had some great fall northern lights. I had a new lens to play with and the aurora danced her magic in the skies over the Copper River and Wrangell Mountains: always something special to see!

Northern lights over Copper River and Wrangell Mountains.
Northern lights over Copper River and Wrangell Mountains.

Hope you guys all had a great year. Here’s to the next ones rolling our way.

Cheers
Carl

Expeditions Alaska
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