Friday, January 27, 2017

Denali Wildlife, Alaska

 In addition to North America's highest peak, Denali National Park & Preserve is known for a variety of wildlife. Wild animals roam the more than 6 million acres of the vast wilderness along the slopes of Mount Denali (McKinley). During the fall season, animals are in their prime. They are well fed, their fur is prepared for the coming winter, and their antlers are fully grown for the mating season.

 Denali National Park is a sanctuary for wildlife; they are somewhat used to the shuttle bus and visitors traffic within the park. Wildlife, even bears, sometimes can be viewed close by the Park Road. Here is a bull caribou, feeding by the road.

 As much as I enjoyed the close up opportunities, I also love the "animal landscape" images. Here is a grizzly bear strolling along an autumn tundra hill with Mount Denali (McKinley) backdrop.

 Here is a bull moose in autumn colors. The tundra hill warmed by the morning sun.

 Here is another bull moose in bright autumn colors.

 Sometimes little critters will pose for a photo. Arctic Ground Squirrel with fall foliage.

Here is yet another caribou running across the valley.

I'll post some more photos from Denali Park on my next update. Please check back in a few weeks!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Denali (McKinley) Views, Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

 Continuing from a previous post, I would like to share more images of North America's highest peak - Denali (Mt. McKinley). I camped deep inside Denali National Park & Preserve to capture Mount Denali in bright fall colors. With unusually nice weather, I successfully photographed five beautiful sunsets of the famous North Face of Denali. In addition, I captured the view from the Eielson Visitor Center, another well-known park icon. 

 I climbed the ridge above the Eielson Visitor Center to get a better view of the valley with Mount Denali and the Alaska Range. The surrounding tundra was draped in warm autumn colors.

I discovered the view of Denali from Stony Hill to be stunning and easily became one of my favorites. When visitors ride the shuttle from the entrance, Mount Denali can be seen in its entirety only after a few hours of riding. When the bus turns the corner on clear days, the view is impressive. I clearly remember that awe inspiring experience back in 2001. I wanted to capture this "first impression" of Denali.

I had to wait a few hours for perfect lighting at Stony Hill... Dozens of shuttle buses passed by as clouds drifted by... I like the shadows of clouds on the vast tundra field. A few hours passed easily, I noticed a few buses stopping on the road down below... This means wildlife presence, normally. Sure enough, I spotted a small black dot moving on the road. It was a bear - a grizzly bear! More buses joined the bear viewing. Those passengers were lucky to see the bear very close by. Slowly, the black dot moved away from the road and walked into the hilly tundra. The bear started climbing up the hill ... It was a small dot and soon its was out of sight from where I was at. Then, the next time I saw him, the small dot got bigger and closer. He was coming my direction! I quickly packed up my gear and began walking to one of the shuttle buses parked by. The bear climbed up this steep hill so fast and with ease. The shuttle driver yelled to the passengers to get inside the bus. I too joined them. Soon, the huge grizzly bear came close and walked behind the bus then crossed the road! Thank goodness, the bus was here at that moment.

Here is another photo of the Grizzly Bear, I took earlier in the day.

I'll have some more Denali images to share on the next posting. Please check back soon!