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Approaching Denali – The Movie

I hope you enjoyed last week’s photo essay, Approaching Denali. As promised, here is a short movie I made from the flight. You should have seen me. My Flip was in my jacket’s chest pocket, iPhone in the right hand pocket, Sigma 15mm fish in the left hand pocket, and the D700 w/ the 17-35 on my lap. My hands were flying around and my head was on a swivel. I’m sure our pilot was worried I was going to accidentally pull the handle to the ejection seat.

I normally carry a small Flip video camera with me when we travel. It is a great little camera. If you are interested in it, feel free to read my review here:

Flip Mino HD Review

I hope you enjoy the video. I did my best to hold the camera steady in a turbulent small aircraft.

Note: If you are an email subscriber, you might have to visit the site to watch the video. If so, here is the link:

Email Subscribers Click Here…

Music By: Cary Brothers
Song: Ride
Album: Who You Are

Who Click the icon to get the album.

Cary Brothers is a great band (it is actually an individual singer song writer with a boatload of talent), and I can’t recommend him enough. If you liked ‘Ride’, I think you will like the rest of his work.

Approaching Denali – Part V

Approaching Denali Part V

We banked, the clouds opened up, and there it was. I don’t know what else to say……

I hope you have enjoyed this last week’s images and stories. I had a great time putting it together and reliving the flight. I’m sure other images will be hitting in the future. I still haven’t touched on the glacier landing! If you would like a recap of the Approach to Denali, you can find them below.

p.s…I am working on a short video of the flight that will get published next week.

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…

Approaching Denali – Part III



As we broke through the clouds the fear of not seeing the summit were erased. Even more vast than forest below, the sea of clouds stretched across the horizon. We were alone in the sky with the summits of Mt. Foraker, Hunter, and McKinley. The otter’s engine drowned out the sound of voices as it struggled to gain altitude. I had to share this moment with someone. I looked back, but Shauna was busy making this image, all I could do was turn to Richard and say…”This is so F#@%ing awesome!” I’m pretty sure he read my lips because he grinned and gave me a thumbs up. We continued to circle in this sea of clouds as we approached the island in the sky…..

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…

Approaching Denali – Part II


Once we had settled into the flight and gotten over the surprise of how fast we had taken to the skies, we began to come to terms with our surroundings. As our otter lumbered along, the vastness of the Alaskan forest expanded before us. Had I not been sitting in the co-pilot seat, I would have thought the forest was never ending. However, I could see ahead, and it was clear the forest ended at the base of mountains we were flying towards. The approach was slow. I watched as rivers cut wide swaths trough the trees below. I was able to take my time and scan the banks for grizzlies. I was alarmed by the sound of rain spattering against the windshield. It was a subtle reminder of how exposed our tiny aircraft was to the whims of nature. As we passed what our pilot called the foothills of Denali, I looked on in awe. Any other place in the world, this image is of a mountain, a final destination. Today, it was simply a foothill. A small stepping stone along our journey to a something three times its size. In front of us, hidden behind a low ceiling of thick gray clouds, was a mountain standing over 20,000 feet tall. We couldn’t see it. We didn’t know if we would see it. Our pilot reassured us that Denali was directly ahead……

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…

Approaching Denali – Part I

Approaching Denali - Part I

Denali (aka Mt. McKinley) is big. Actually, it is huge! When we circled the peak, our pilot noted our altitude as around 12,000ish feet. That means, the summit we were staring up at towered another 10,000 above our small aircraft. Thoreau or Emerson might have been able to put in to words the sheer magnitude and scale of this mountain. I only have my camera. Over the next 5 days, I will be posting images of our approach to Denali. I hope I can do with my camera, what they would have with words. Heck, I would be happy if my camera could do half of what Thoreau did. Stay tuned for our flight through the foothills, the island in a sea of clouds, final approach, and a lucky break.

For the Adventurers: If you are ever considering visiting Denali and are looking for a quality flight operation, I would recommend Talkeetna Air Taxi. We had an incredibly long and scenic flight. Also, our pilot Richard lands on a glacier like Sully lands on the Hudson…smooooooth!

For the Photographers: I have been part of the new Nik HDR Efex Pro beta test team and using it for several months. This image was completely created using the most recent beta version of the toolset. I got the OK from Nik to post a couple of processing screenshots. You can find them over on twitter. Again, this is only a beta release so there are still some pending cosmetic and preset naming convention changes. I will continue to post information and impressions until the release date. As of now, I can say that is is all that you would think it would be coming from Nik. Intuitive, powerful, and fits very nicely into my workflow.

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…