In a few days I will be heading into the Kahiltna Glacier in hopes of getting images of Denali and the surrounding peaks and glaciers. The days before a big trip are always exciting. As a wilderness photographer, they can also be a little depressing. We have had two weeks of clear weather, however, clouds are expected to roll in on Saturday, the day we fly. Another concern is the cold, highs have been barely squeaking over zero near Denali and the lows are way below -20F.
My partners are full of excitement and can’t wait to get out there. Though they would prefer clear days, clouds are okay too. And the cold isn’t as a big concern for them either, just crawl into a warm sleeping bag and read a good book. I can’t stop thinking about the cost of the flight, the time away from family and what if its cloudy and stormy the entire trip? In the back of my mind I keep thinking “Is this a waste of time and money?” And what if I do have nice weather, can I bring up the courage to crawl out of my bag, in the dark, to catch the morning light when its -40F or colder?
Second to wildlife photography, remote wilderness and mountain photography can be the most frustrating of the outdoor photography genres. So why do it? It’s hard to explain. But when that perfect light comes and the mountains and glaciers glow, I forget about the cold and the wind, about money and first world concerns and live in the moment. It may only last a few moments but its effects last a lot longer.
See you in a few weeks!