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Last month we posted photos from our ‘encounters’ with the brown bears of Alaska: Thru Ellen’s Lens: The Brown Bears of Katmai , Alaska. (If you haven’t seen those, stop now and see them.)

What you haven’t seen are Ellen’s photos of landscapes from our time in Prince William Sound; the results from her three-night odyssey learning to photograph the night sky and the Northern Lights; and photos from our drive north to Denali National Park.

It was a landscape photographer’s dream. After five days of chasing animals that were always moving, or in the wrong light, or looking the other way, the absolute beauty of the Alaskan landscape was just there. With the right light you could almost just ‘point and shoot’ to capture it. Prince William Sound (the site of the Exxon Valdez Oil spill in 1989) was glorious, so much so, that the colors seemed unreal. Ellen shot many of her images there in black and white, concentrating on details and patterns. 

That was followed by three nights of skyscape photography, 10 PM-2AM, with vistas that were literally out of this world. She was working with a professional photographer who goes by the name of Aurora Dora, a knowledgeable and patient teacher. The first two nights — despite the predictions — there were no Auroras so the photography focused on the night sky, especially the Milky Way. On the last night, the Auroras appeared and did unpredictable and magical things. It was cold, very cold. with temperatures in the low 20’s, but Ellen came back from her night time photography every night (with frozen fingers) awed. Fortunately, she insisted on the third night that I go out on my own to see it. (And so I did, rather than watching it through the window.)

The Denali range in Alaska has always been very special for us. We’ve stayed in the national park on two family trips in the early 1990’s, and all of us remember those trips fondly. This time were staying in the small town of Talkeetna, about 70 miles south of Denali National Park (though with all the en route photos it took us almost three hours to get there). When we arrived, we found a vast frozen wonderland. Unfortunately, we were only permitted to drive about 35 miles into the park because of the weather which had already dropped some snow on the roadway. Nevertheless, Denali and the National Park were spectacular — a true winter wonderland.

To tempt you to see all 45 of Ellen’s photos in a large format, here are just three of them, the first from Prince William Sound, the second one of the Northern Lights, and the third ‘focusing’ on Denali.

If you find these three of interest, we urge you to go to the slide show (see the link below for details).

One of the 150 glaciers in Prince William Sound

The magical Northern Lights, seen from Talkeetna, AK

Mt. Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America

To see more, use this link to Ellen’s slide show: Alaska Landscapes & Skyscapes.

For the best viewing, click on the little arrow at the top right of the first page of the link to start the slide show.

See all the photos in the largest size possible (use a laptop or desktop computer if you have access to either). They are much sharper, and the larger format presents them in much more detail than the ones above, or if you only look at the opening page of the slide show.