After a fun time photographing in the Flume Gorge, we went to The Basin. There is no actual trail but a paved path to this natural fall. Thousands of years of rushing water has eroded the rock into a smooth, circular cave-like formation. We spent a good 1 hour over here.
Right after this fall you walk across a small wooden bridge to the main spot.
The final part of our trip was a Cruise. We drove down from Denali to a town called Cooper Landing in the Kenai Peninsula. We did not realize that Whittier, which is where we had to take our cruise from was equi-distant from Copper Landing and Anchorage. We really did not have to come all the way down. But I’m glad we did. The drive was beautiful, infact almost every inch of Alaska is breath taking .. so i’ll recommend this drive towards Seward
Image above is the view on the drive back towards Anchorage, So the next day in the morning we drove to Whittier where our cruise was waiting for us. Its a good 3 hours on the cruise ship if not more. It takes you to Prince William Sound, and they show you over a dozen Glaciers. However though, you are really not that close to these glaciers, they point them out from a distance. Needless to say the scenery is breath taking. The most exciting is the “Surprise Glacier”. They take you very very close to this one Glacier, and they fetch some ice from it floating on the water for you to consume. Yes consume !🙂 .. lets say you order Rum and Coke or may be even just coke, they put the Glacier Ice in it rather than just regular ice. but you have to be quick to order one of those🙂. Essentially you are having a 150 yr old ice..
(Surprise Glacier )
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After the sightseeing in and around Anchorage on day 1, we drove to Denali National Park and preserve the next morning. The drive was very pretty and scenic. There were low lying clouds , mist and rain on the hills along the road. It was a little gloomy if you were alone, but we were about 5 of us so it was a lot of fun. The problem with Alaska is that you don’t get cellphone signals and even GPS doesn’t work once you are out of the main city area, so if you are planning a trip make sure you do your homework on the route before you leave.
Denali NP is centered around mt. McKinley which is the highest mountain in North America. Its originally called Denali , which means “The High One”. As a tourist you need special permit to drive your personal vehicle inside the park. You can only go up to the first 15 miles after which for the next 91 you have to use the Park’s services.
The image above is of the Savage River Trail head. You can park your vehicles here and do this trail or hop on to the Park’s bus service and go further into the park. The reason why the park bus is used is because the wildlife there has gotten used to these buses. The animals treat them like any other rock, tree or object and are not intimidated by it. This is because these buses have always been there, ever since that particular animal was born, so they have sorta become part of their environment. These animals recognize these buses but not the humans sitting inside it, so be careful, don’t jump out and be quiet.
The bus allows you to get off at certain scenic locations to get the view of the Park and the Tundra. The above image was shot from one of those viewing areas. You can see the hills with low clouds entirely covering the Alaska Range and the Tundra.
if you are lucky and the weather is clear you can also see Mt. McKinley from the moving bus. We weren’t so lucky because the clouds were too low, but we did see a glimpse of the North Tip. The first image was shot on our way in and the other on our way back.
When in the bus you also get to see a lot of wildlife if you are lucky. The bus driver stops for you and you can take as many photos as you like as long as your are quiet and stay inside the vehicle. We say plenty of Caribou, Moose and Doll Sheeps in the way. infact we even say a grey Wolf at the beginning at Savage river entry point.
The image below shows how low and dense the clouds were. This image was shot at another of the scenic/break areas on the way.
Finally we reached mile 66 which is the Eielson Visitor Center. There is a small ranger led hike , where the Ranger basically explains the climate, the soil, the permafrost, wildlife etc etc. I would recommend this trail because then you will really appreciate what the Denali NP is all about. And the best part is that its free. Its also a beautiful viewing area as you can see from the images below. These images are of the Tundra, and the Alaska Range.
We stayed about 3 nights in Denali. There were a lot of activities we did like cycling in the park, rafting, hiking etc. After that we were on a our final leg to Kenai peninsula to catch a cruise to see the Glaciers.
The New Jersey Shore line is a little over 200 miles of coastline spanning from Sandy Hook all the way to Cape May in the south. I have visited and photographed most part of the shoreline. My favorite being the Sandy Hook and Cape May point. Its a popular vacation destination on the East Coast. Unfortunately we were hit by a devastating Hurricane Sandy in Oct’12 and that has pretty much ruined most of the coastal communities and state parks.
Its been over two months now since Sandy, but most part of the coastline is still closed for visitors. Last week I drove down to Island Beach SP and just a few miles before the entrance, there was a barricade beyond which no one is allowed. Today I checked for Sandy-Hook and that’s shut down too. It sucks not to be able to go back there now. I hope they open it by Summer time, else the tourism industry would take a huge financial hit. I was quite bummed about it, was going through some pics I had made in the last two years and thought will share with you all. Hope you enjoy them:
Island Beach SP
Sunset Beach, Cape May
Broken Pier at Ocean City
Just heard the title of this post on Two and a Half men🙂 . Last week I went to Island Beach SP in New Jersey 3 times. May sound crazy, but I was absolutely obsessed with wanting to take some Red Fox photographs. I recently discovered that there are a few there, till now I used to have to drive 2.5 hours to Bombay Hook in Delaware.
However, I wasn’t too lucky. Out of the three trips I made, just got one decent shot. The Image below is from the first trip. I reached well in time but had no clue about the park, so had to scout a bit. Unfortunately we saw nothing, and moreover it was a boring day for landscape shots as well. There were no clouds in the evening sky. So decided to head back, and just then, close to the exit we saw it. Light was too dim by then, Sun had almost set and I had to jump out the car quickly ..
On the 2nd trip, almost the same thing happened and saw this one at the same spot. Just when I was about to take the shot a few cars went by at speed higher than what was the limit was. The poor thing got scared and ran away. I didn’t want to stalk it and scare it even more. I did though manage to get the face in focus.
Third time’s a charm, well not in my case. The very next day I was back and unlucky for me I didn’t see nothing, not even a bird. It was so disappointing, you really need a lot of patience for wildlife photography.
There was a small trail right next to the parking lot, so decided to do that. I was quite irritated and was hoping to at least get a good Beach Shot. There was still some light and the Sun was almost setting. Thankfully the trail wasn’t too long and at the end of it got the unexpected surprise.
The Last image (above) is an HDR of two shots, one with a 30 second exposure to get the movement in the clouds.
The Sun had already set, clouds broke out at the horizon and the afterglow just lit up the entire scene. Landscape looked very dramatic.
I love to shoot during sunset and sunrise because the light is at its best. With the right amount of clouds in the sky, the landscape can look amazing. I have been wanting to shoot in dense Fog for a long time, I just figure it will add a lot of drama to the scape.
I was at Lake Pleasant last Sunday morning in Adirondacks, NY. We were driving to Whiteface Mt. when we discovered Lake Pleasant en-route, so we decided to come back the next morning. My friend and I woke up early and reached the spot by 5:45 in the morning. To our surprise there was a lot of fog and there was still time for sunrise. There were no clouds and the stars were still shining bright.
In my posts you will see a lot of photographs from Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey. There are few reasons for that – a. Its very close to where I live, b. every time I have gone there I have got atleast 1 unique shot and c. there are plenty more opportunities there in terms of flora and fauna as well.
Last Friday I woke up early at around 4:30 so decided to drive back and catch the Sun rise. I check the weather and it seemed great. There were supposed to be broken clouds and that is perfect for sunrise because that gives a lot if unique opportunities in terms of light. But unfortunately it wasn’t my day. When I started from home it looked promising but when I reached, there was a lot of fog. Visibility must be less than 1/3 of a mile. I thought since I am already here will just wait it out and hope it might clear up. I was there for an hour and a half and got nothing. Well not exactly nothing….
It occurred to me that this might be perfect for Black and White images..
Two weeks back my friend and I drove to Harriman State park to do a trail on Rt. 106, which we had recently discovered. Since plans have a funny way of not working out, this one bombed too. The road was closed. So we decided to drive around on 7 Lakes Drive and hoped to get some evening clouds reflection on the lakes. But by 6pm we decided to drive further and go to Bear Mt., which is also part of Harriman State Park and only 2.5 miles from where we were.
Lucky for us the overcast clouds started to break and by the time Sun came to the Horizon we got to see many of the many amazing colors spread all across the sky. You could literally see the color change and in about 15 min the magic hours came to an end. I wanted to capture the magic moment on timelapse but at the last min could not really figure out the timelapse settings on my Nikon, so that sucked too. However, got the following images:
I did a couple of interviews with my favorite nature/landscape photographers, and one of the most important advice I got was to follow the right light. If you can manege to capture the right light, it would make any ordinary landscape look extra-ordinary. All the images are example of such.
One of the country’s oldest vacation spots, Cape May is at the southern tip of New Jersey. It has one of the top award winning beaches, it is a designated birding location and has a Lighthouse, and also most importantly one of my favorite places in NJ. During WW-II it was a big Naval base, apart from that it has a very rich history in terms of architecture, tourism, movie shooting locations etc.
Though my focus was more on the beaches in terms of photography and had a great time shooting there. My favorite spot there is the Sunset Beach, which as the name suggests gives a clear view of the sun-setting over Delaware Bay. NJ being on the east coast all the beaches are East facing and this is the only part which faces South-West. I have been here a couple of times but mostly during the winter time. I think in one of my posts I mentioned why I go to the beaches during winters. Not because I am crazy but because people don’t get out and you get a People free landscape to shoot. However, its not a bad idea to have people in your shots, but that’s a different conversation.
There are a couple of more interesting beaches you can go check out. I like to drive through the town, gives a very cozy feel of a small town. If you guys visit, do make it a point to stay the night, there is a lot to explore there. Spring and early summer would be a good time.
I have been frequenting Sandy Hook for a year now, and as a photographer one would really get bored of the same spot. That’s the thing about Sandy Hook, every time I have gone there I have found a different play of light, weather and composition. I have seen the most amazing colors in the sky right from Red and orange hues to light green. Some might find that surprising but its a fact.
What makes any place lively is the people, and here I have seen many – families, individuals, artists, photographers, surfers, bikers, bird watchers, fitness freaks etc. All in all it has something for everyone. There are about 2-3 nice sea-food restaurants if you want to stay back for a nice meal. These are open all day long.
I mainly come here just for the fun of photography. I am not a professional, but the landscape here is so wonderful that it would make a hobbyist look like a professional too. The east side of the Sandy hook is more interesting compared to the west. Mainly because on the west you will not find high waves, although you would definitely enjoy a beautiful sunset. Also the vegetation on the sand dunes turn golden and deep green as the sunsets and eventually disappears. The most I have enjoyed coming here is in the winter time. Now of course why would anyone go to the beach in winters? excatly for the same reason, there is no human in sight, you have high tide and lovely opportunity for photography. Summer time is equally great because then on a clear sky night you can sit back late and enjoy gazing at the stars, enjoy the cool breeze and hear the gushing sound of high tides colliding with the rock jettys. Sometimes there are coastal floods, when the water comes inland and covers up most of the beach, but that gives a whole different experience of being there.
Spring and Early summer also witneses a lot of birds there. If you come in May you can see many HorseShoe Crabs which cover most of the beach laying eggs. Couple of times I have seen Dog Sharks and Sting-Rays as well. Although people fish and then let them back into the Ocean, but I am not a big fan of such sport. Its more like harrassing them, but I am no one to judge.