Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Jackson, Wyoming!

I wish Happy New Year 2010 for all of you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wildlife in Wrangell - St. Elias Park

I haven’t updated my blog for a while… This will be the last posting from my Wrangell – St. Elias National Park project.
While I stayed in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park for 4 months, I saw a lot of wildlife and photographed as many animals as possible. Although there were many black bear sites in the area, and I personally saw some of them, I couldn’t get any good shots.
It’s the “year of rabbits” in the Kennicott and McCarthy area. I’ve saw multitudes of Snowshoe Hare every day. Some of them hung out right in front of my door. Hundreds of them were just sitting on the five-mile dirt road between Kennicott and McCarthy.

Porcupines are also very common in the area… Be careful, don’t be too close.

The Alaskan state bird, the Ptarmigan, changes its color from winter to summer. In spring, their feathers are half white and a half brown. There are Dall Sheep and grizzly bears in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Dall Sheep live in high elevation and grizzlies haven’t been sighted in Kennicott during the past 10+ years.

The wildlife there was shy. Unlike in Denali or Yellowstone, animals haven’t gotten used to the presence of tourists. It requires a lot more effort and patience to photograph wildlife in Wrangell – St. Elias.

Thank you for reading my stories from Alaska. I’m in Jackson, Wyoming for next 4 months. I’ll update this pages as often as I can. Please check back!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flying over Wrangell - St. Elias National Park

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park is the largest National Park in the United States, and it contains spectacular mountain ranges and massive glacier system in the vast wilderness.
The best way to experience this largest park is take a flight over the mountain ranges and glaciers in a small bush plane. I’ve been on the planes a quite a few times since mid May.
I was flying among the high peaks of St. Elias Mountains in late May. I was thrilled to flying very closed to glacier covered rugged peaks.Also, there are so many glaciers between the mountains. Several smaller glaciers merge into a huge glacier! It was truly magnificent place.
I also flew over some major rivers in the park. The rivers start from the massive glaciers, and they get wider and braided as they go downstream. The braided river reflects sunlight through the thin clouds and it shining like silver.Here is the famous Mt. Blackburn and Root Glacier merges into Kennicott Glacier. I've lived this area for 4 months.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kennecott Mill Town

One of the big attractions in Wrangell – S. Elias National Park is the Kennecott Mill Town. (The mining company was named after the Kennicott Glacier. However, when they registered the name, they misspelled as Kennecott.)

Soon after the richest copper was discovered in this remote part of Alaska, the mill and the railroad to transport copper ore were built in this area supporting town of Kennicott in early 1900s. That was before Wrangell – St. Elias National Park was established (in 1980).

While the mill was operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except July 4th and Christmas Day), the mining employees and support employees lived Kennecott. Since the Kennecott mines closed in 1938, it quickly became a ghost town until the ruins were rediscovered for tourism. The old mill buildings are registered as a National Historic Landmark, and they are being stabilized and restored.

I’ve been photographing these picturesque buildings in the different times of the days. My favorite time is during sunset. The red buildings glow under the warm sunset light.

More information about Historic Kennecott is:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mt. Blackburn and Root Glacier

I’ve been living right at the point where the Root Glacier merges into the Kennicott Glacier, in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park (Alaska), since mid May. I’ve been exploring and photographing this massive glacier and its moraines for a while.
Walking on a glacier is a special experience, kind of like walking on another planet! The ice crystals shine from all directions. The melting water creates narrow streams, as they find a way out toward the glacial surface. There are numerous waterfalls on the glacier. The pools reflect some of the most beautiful colors on earth. I love to find the aquamarine blue colored pools on the glacier.
This peak is Mt. Blackburn and its highest point is 16,390 ft. When it’s clear out, I can see this white peak from my window. My favorite view is that of Mt. Blackburn, as it rises high above the glaciers.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Greetings from Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska!

I’ve been living, exploring, and photographing in this pristine Alaskan wilderness since mid-May. I’m amazed by the massive glacier, the high mountain ranges, and the wildlife in this area.

Finally, I am able to access the online and update my news. I’ll post some articles from my notes with new images since I arrived here. Here is a note from the day when I first arrived at this park.

Note from 5-17-09

After a whole day of driving, I finally arrived to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, my home for four months.
Wrangell – St. Elias National Park is the largest National Park in North America, six times as large as Yellowstone Park. However, this park is minimally developed for tourism (at least not yet…). Most of the parts of the park still remain wilderness. The park includes ten of the fifteen highest peaks in North America, with four major mountain ranges- Wrangell, St. Elias, Chugach and Alaska- and the largest glacier system.
I left Anchorage in the morning, drove through Glen Highway to Glennallen. Passing Glennallen, I began seeing the Wrangell Mountains. It was a perfectly clear day… the mountains were shiny under the vivid blue sky. (From left: Mt. Sanford, 16,237 ft, Mt. Drum, 12,010 ft, Mt. Wrangell, 14,163 ft, Mt. Blackburn, 16,390 ft)
I saw total of six moose around the area! This is a mom and her young teenage moose near Chitina. Leaving the last of civilization, the small town of Chitina, we followed the dirt McCarthy Road sixty miles deep into the park.
I arrived at the historic mining town, Kennicott, in the evening. The two glaciers, Kennicott Glacier and Root Glacier, stretch out in my backyard. This beautiful backcountry will be my home for the summer. These are the old buildings of the historic Kennecott Copper Mine Mills.
Please visit my blog again. Thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Black Bear

Mendenhall Glacier at dusk, TJ and I were photographing the glacier. I heard there were bears in that area the past a few days. I was hoping to see a bear but I didn’t actually expect to see one since 2 coaches full of tourists just left.

When TJ said, “Bear…,” I thought he was joking. I responded, “Yeah, you have to find one for me.” “It’s right there.”

I turned back, there was a bear! A young black bear was 30 yards behind of me.
Then, he was walking away from us…

He was playing with the flowers on the tree. He stood up with his hind legs and eating the flowers for a while at warm sunset light.
Then, he slowly walked away and left the bush.
The presence of a bear made my day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sunset in Juneau

Again, Juneau is a famous for its rain… Fortunately, I had some opportunities to photograph sunset in Juneau while I was there.

I love the scenery in Juneau where the mountains meet the ocean.

The 1st sunset was when it was a perfectly clear day… I was enjoying photographing all day outside. I was at Douglas Island and observed many fishing boats. After long sunny afternoon, the sun setting behind the small island in the channel was beautiful.
A couple came back from kayaking at dusk. The 2nd sunset was spectacular! It was raining all day until the evening. I was still heading to the location and hoping to see the sunset. A little sun light came through a hole in the heavy cloud. Then, a rainbow showed up! The sky got dark again, and it was raining when I arrived at the location. A few beams came from the holes, and spot lights lit the channel. The only a small part of the heavy clouds turned to a rose color. Then reddish sun rays lit up the ocean. It was an unexpected nature show after a long rainy day. The 3rd sunset was also after a long cloudy day. The 4th, last sunset was at another clear day in Juneau… the sun was setting behind downtown Juneau. The bright orange light lit the cruise ships, and painted the channel as a sunset color.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

Juneau is famous for rain…
Fortunately, I had 2 perfectly clear days during the 7 days I spent in Juneau.

Mendenhall Glacier is located only 20 minutes from downtown Juneau and is one of the most visited glaciers in Alaska.
It is still spring in Juneau. The glacial lake surrounded Mendenhall Glacier reflecting the glacier like a mirror, but is slowly melting during the spring thaw. That afternoon, I was at Douglas Island, located across the Gastineau Channel from downtown Juneau. Mendenhall Glacier was right above the ocean! It was a stunning view.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Alaskan Marine Highway - Bellingham, WA to Juneau, AK

On the afternoon of May 1, Bellingham, Washington it was a beautiful clear day.

I was getting on the ferry to Juneau, Alaska. My “home” for 3 nights is a little corner on the deck, nicely covered by the glass ceiling and windows. I hauled a huge duffle bag and an equally heavy weighted small suitcase filled with photography gear, plus a heavy camera backpack. I set up my sleeping bag on a deck chair by the window. That’s the best view for Alaska’s Inside Passage.
Soon after the ferry departed Bellingham, the snow capped Mt. Baker showed up behind the town to see us off.
The water was very calm. The ferry barely shook.

The day light was already long at the north… the sunset was after 8pm! The northwest sky turned to vivid orange, and sun was slowly setting into the ocean. Another ferry was almost heading to the setting sun. I was holding my camera facing to the blowing wind. Seagulls flew across the ocean when the sunset. Nest morning, I was awakening by bright orange light… It was 5:30 in the morning. The first light painted the eastern sky. I jumped out my sleeping bag and grabbed my camera. I barely made it before fading out.
However, soon after sunrise, the sun hid under the heavy clouds. It was overcast throughout the day and raining the following day. The ferry was slowly cruising via the Canadian Coast, and stopped in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, and then finally arrived to Juneau on May 4.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last Winter Storm

Spring has come in Tahoe, finally... Almost all the snow on the ground is gone.
During the past winter, we didn't receive very much snow compared to normal winters.

We had one last storm in late March. Typically, in Tahoe, the sun comes out right after a storm. Photographing after a snow storm is very special. I like the white snow and blue sky contrast!
These are the beaches on the South shore of Lake Tahoe.
Here is Tahoe's famous peak, Mt. Tallac, photographed from the beach.