In the last few days, I’ve begun the process of adding image galleries right here on the TKM Journal. The end of the year, and during a break from teaching, is a great time to get started on a project like this, and I’ve already been able to get two pages to relative completion. Thanks for taking a look at the new collections and leaving some feedback if you have time.
Personal Favorites: This is the first time I’ve put together a gallery that highlights my most valued images from over the years.
Mendenhall Caves: These are the photos that I’ve become known for by that small contingent of folks who know about my photography at all.
It was a perfect day to visit the Herbert Glacier, so I did. There was no way to know if the light and sky would do what I hoped they would during the special time of transition between day and night, so I made the best I could with the light I had each moment that I was there. It was a good thing I didn’t wait. The Herbert River, as is natural for this time of year, was ferocious in its steeper sections. The dwarf fireweed plants, more surprisingly, were just on the edge of blooming. In the sun, it was pleasantly warm, but only in the sun. Like I said before, it was perfect.
I ventured out across the lake yesterday in an effort to find just one more photograph for 2011 (and to find a spot for a little ice climbing). My only reward was the story I’ll be able to tell about how my leg got soaking wet up to the knee where I also accumulated a nasty bruise. Despite going out in relatively quiet fashion, the year was full of great trips, amazing adventures, and even a few photographs. I’ve been so thoroughly blessed it would be difficult to put into words…so here are the images that tell a small part of the story.
Aware of the company we were keeping, Corey and I made no attempt to hide our grievances against hiking to the end of West Glacier Trail with healthy piles of gear in our packs. We also reminisced about the days we used to run up and down the trail for high school cross-country practice, and perhaps those youthful experiences are precisely why the trip feels like such a slog all these years later. The trail was a complete mess after the morning’s rain, which was much heavier and more persistent than had been forecast. I, for one, was tempering my expectations with the help of continued scattered showers, despite the anticipation of fresh snow crowning all the surrounding peaks for the first time this year.
The views over the Mendenhall Glacier toward Mt. Bullard, Suicide Basin, Mt. Wrather, and the Mendenhall Towers opened up before us as we crested the last treacherous rocks on the side of Mt. McGinnis, slick with mosses and residual rainwater. This vista had been my destination on many winter hikes, and Corey recalled how, when he was a kid, the ice had been but a stone’s throw away. On the contrary, after our sweaty ascent, we would climb down…three hundred feet? It could be even more. The volume of melted glacial ice that has been swallowed, unnoticed, by the Pacific Ocean staggers the mind.
Even as we began out trek across the ice, the weather was refusing to show her hand (a sign of wondrous potential to any landscape photographer), but before we became too concerned with what the sky would bring, we located some ice features that warranted a high degree of enthusiasm on their own. Corey didn’t waste any time dropping into the icy playground, and I got right to work behind the lens. One thing led to another, including both downpours and sun-breaks, and I eventually stood over my bag, chilled to the bone, fingers numb, trying to swap the lenses on my camera as the light bathed alpine colors on the mountainsides.
The next few hours were a battle between a growing, nausea inducing, headache and the utterly sublime surroundings. I shifted gears to a more responsive style of photography, which is my preference in any case. We didn’t travel as great a distance as I had originally planned, and I climbed up off the ice while Corey was still doing some exploring. As I was waiting in a huddle, reaching out to trip the shutter every so often, the clouds turned their colors and then faded. In classic fashion for Corey and me, the hike back to the car was lit by my iPhone flashlight, our two headlamps with either completely or mostly dead batteries. Shrugging off our packs at the trail-head initiated some relief that would last until the soreness set in overnight.
The whole ordeal (which was actually a blessing) brings to mind the Calvin and Hobbes strips where Calvin’s dad is engaging in his bike riding activities. He inevitably suffers some series of destructive misfortunes and comes home a tangle of cuts, bruises, and chain grease…hoping it’s not long before he gets a chance to do it again…or grumbling that he never will. I would be lying if I said there’s no chance of me passing on an opportunity or two, but it’s only a matter of time before I put my body back to work at bringing me to where the payoff places everything into perspective.
I finally made my first submission of images for review to Alaska Stock the other day. It was a step something like five years in the making, and I chose a set of images I made with Corey back in 2009. At this point, all I can say is that I hope they accept some of them. Otherwise it’s back to the drawing board.
On another note, I briefly saw a forecast promising some partly sunny skies again this weekend. Perhaps I’ll be granted an opportunity to make some new images.
Three or four cool, sunny days and we’ve already met our quota for the month before we made it halfway through. It’s been quite a relief after the August we endured here in Juneau. Just like my entries here on he journal, all photographic activities have been taking a backseat to teaching these last few weeks. I just have to be grateful for my classroom’s wall full of huge sun-facing windows, but over the weekend, I did get to embark on my first “official” stock photography self-assignment. The best part was getting to combine that with quality time for my wife and I on a gorgeous morning.
My old laptop is, literally, not cool. Its consistently high temperatures have burned through another video card and left me unable to process any more photos for sharing here on the journal. I’m pretty bummed because of the neat locations I’ve been able to visit in the last couple days, but I’ll be sure to provide updates as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.
I continue to go to Smith Rock Sate Park looking for the grand view that encompasses the iconic cliffs. There may have been some success in that endeavor this morning, but once again, I’m most drawn to the intimate scenes hidden within the greater view. Finding a quiet time in a quiet place this morning was as rewarding as any of the photographic outcomes.
I’m heading out tomorrow morning to Sunriver, Oregon for a family reunion on Breea’s side. It should be a warm, beautiful, and interesting week. Hopefully there’ll be some time for a little exploration and, maybe more importantly, some relaxation for my little family. The school district gets things underway in just a couple weeks. Yikes!
The above photo summarizes the purpose of yesterday’s helicopter flight out to the glacier. I never would have guessed (even a week ago) that I would see someone scuba diving in a supraglacial pool this summer, but it sure was fun. The short video below shows the bonus round where I tried to do Corey proud with dual cameras running. Cold water? Yeah, I think so!
I leave this afternoon for a trip down to Phoenix and the Southwest. It would be a real change of pace is we hadn’t had our nicest days of the year so far in Juneau in this past week. I still don’t think I’m prepared for Sunday’s forecasted 105 degrees. “Think…cool,…think…COOL…”
After a long break from posting, it starts to feel harder to develop a worthy update. I don’t feel like this is one, but perhaps it will break the barrier and I can get back to a little more consistency. My trip out to the glacier last Friday night was full of highs and lows, the lowest of which was dropping one of my brand new ice tools down a crevasse as I was on my way off the glacier. There’s a 99.9% chance I’ll never see that again.
On the other hand, my first time using the tools was a real thrill. Though climbing with no rope and no partner meant I was limited to fairly safe routes (for an example, follow this link), I still got my heart rate up and left my muscles aching all the next day. In the end, lesson learned, and I’ll be looking into tethering the tools to myself in some way the next time out.
Yesterday afternoon, I met up with Alan Gordon and a friend of his as they worked on a film to document ice climbing on the Mendenhall Glacier. Their location near the medial moraine was about as high as I had ever trekked on the glacier during the winter, but it provided a spectacular view of the terminus and some nice pitches for climbing. Sunset was in progress shortly after I arrived, so the light in the photos of some of Alan’s free climbing was really sweet. Down on the lake (before I started up), the sun was lighting up the larger icebergs into a brilliant turquoise. I worked on that for a while, but the images needed more processing than I had time to put in before posting this. Thanks for reading/viewing, and have a great week!
I know it was a long time ago because of how much hair I had in the photos taken during the trip, but though my memories are faded by time, I couldn’t help smiling as I reflected on the month I spent traveling across the country with my friends Corey and Greg. Thousands upon thousands of images and hours have moved my photography a great distance in the years since the adventure, which was my first “real” photography trip. Still, its fun to look back and see that some of the inclinations in my expression of the world as I see it were already embedded at the fledgling stage.
If I were only allowed a single portrait subject for the rest of my life, wouldn’t it be an obvious choice? Della’s charm continues to overcome my limitations as a photographer, the whole operation ends up resulting in quality family time. You can’t complain about that. For those lacking a studio lighting set-up (as I certainly do), I suggest taking advantage large windows and the brightest time of day. This photo was made while the sun remained mostly hidden by high overcast, and the window light was supplemented by three single-bulb lamps in corners of the room.
When the family embarked on a short whale-watching cruise last weekend, it was already nearing the time that most of our humpbacks begin their very long journey southward (don’t we all like the sound of a trip down to Hawaii this time of year). As such, it was not one of the more dramatic tours I’ve been a part of, and despite the sunny skies, the water conditions were not very cooperative. Still, even the two-year-olds had a pretty good time, and I could hardly complain after the grand finale of seeing a full breach and plenty of fin slapping. While it was the closest I can recall being to a breaching whale, we weren’t within a reasonable range for my fairly short telephoto lens. I got to watch unimpeded by a camera.
Where else can you boulder on previously untouched rock with a thundering waterfall and cool blue glacier as a backdrop for photos? If there is a silver lining on the cloud of rapid glacial melting, it must be opportunities like these. While this wall of rock was exposed by the receding Mendenhall over a year ago, a raging torrent of water surged beneath it (from under the nearby glacier) up until the last few days. The day immediately following my last visit to the area, ice melted, and the course of one of Juneau’s biggest waterfalls shifted by about a hundred feet. In the cool of the long Juneau fall, where the sun found us for less than a minute of the several hours we were there, I can’t imagine a better place to…live.
I’m happy to announce a major update to tkmphoto.com. I’ve added a second page to the Glacier Gallery that feature images ranging from recent highly acclaimed work (NPN Photo of the Month) to old classics. Thanks for visiting and letting me know what you think.
This isn’t the type of photograph I intended to share here, but look at this girl. How could I not want to share about my daughter, Della, through every possible outlet? Besides, nobody really visits this blog anyway (thanks if you do, though, by the way). Della just celebrated her first birthday on the third of July, and she sat down graciously and temporarily for some pictures in birthday dress. She remains the center of my attention this summer, but I’ll try to get some more content loaded up here more regularly. I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. God bless.
Here is the last installment in the Veratrum series. It’s my favorite of the group, so I hope you enjoy it.
It’s difficult to know where to start in an undertaking like this, and to be honest, I haven’t determined exactly why I’m starting this blog in the first place. Like many other “bloggers”, I suppose I’ll be sharing my thoughts with anyone who has an inclination to listen, and ease of editing might make this more functional than my website has ever been.
Best wishes to all, and here’s hoping I’ll have something to say again soon.