Meet some of the brilliant photographers featured throughout Alaska.org, discover their favorite spots in Alaska to photograph, and explore more of their work.
Alaska is one of my most favorite places on earth to photograph because you truly never see the same scene twice. Weather moves in quickly, seasons change dramatically, and the angle of light is profoundly different from one month to the next. I especially love photographing coastal Alaska because of its diversity of subjects: mountainous shores lined with tidal glaciers, seabird rookeries wedged among rocky cliffs, and an abundance of marine life feeding in the rich waters. My childhood homes of Homer and Juneau are among my favorite photography locations, along with Seldovia, Sitka, and Kenai Fjords National Park.
I’m a self-taught professional who’s been the official photographer of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race since 1982, just four years after I moved to Alaska at the age of 18. Besides the famous race, I shoot for corporate and editorial clients as well as shooting for stock, and my photos have been published worldwide in magazines, advertisements, books, websites and retail products. I often tell people that I would take pictures even if there was no film in the camera--I simply enjoy using a camera to compose God’s creation into a scene and share it with others. Photography is in my blood, and I love shooting anywhere in Alaska, because the land is so diverse. But my favorite spots are Prince William Sound, Lake Clark National Park, and all along Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage.
Go on a Trip with Jeff
As a hiker who takes photographs, my taking of pictures has taken on certain characteristics. I do not, for instance, wait for photos to come to me; I go to the photos. Taken while I hike and climb, my moving takes me to where I might discover the sun highlighting an autumn landscape, two valleys framing a mountain, or a white snowfield dipping to an olive river. If I wait at all, I wait for but a few minutes, for a hiker to into silhouette against the sky, for the sun to emerge from behind a cloud, for an animal to turn its head. Such an approach mirrors the world as we experience it—as a series of encounters.
In addition, my hikes and hikes often take me well of the well-trodden track—often miles from the nearest trail and thousands of feet above tree line. There I come upon a world that only a small percentage of people see.
Finally, though I will photograph specific Alaskan subjects, including Northern Lights, Midnight suns, eagles, Dahl sheep, or grizzly bears, I do not seek them out. I look for the artistry of nature in Alaska, not the objects of nature in Alaska—the design of landscape as shaped by the unique northern light.
To duplicate the atmosphere in which I chanced upon these images I take many multi-frame panoramas. These seem best in recalling not only what the eye sees but what the impressions received by the other senses—a summit wind, a marmot’s whistle, the smell of spruce—at any given moment in the mountains.
Go on a Trip with Shawn
I got started in photography by serving as ship’s photographer for two commands while serving as a radar operator in the U.S. Navy. After college, my experience as a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota developed my passion for nature photography. Photography allows me to develop a deeper connection to my surroundings, gives me an opportunity to notice details and light. Moving to Alaska in 1999 greatly expanded my creativity, giving me inspiration through a vast diversity of subjects from mountains to mudflats, boreal forest to tundra. In addition to its amazing scenery and wildlife, I also photograph the way of life in Alaska, from subsistence hunting to commercial fishing.
As an outdoor photographer, I’m endlessly intrigued by the drama of the landscapes and light found in Alaska throughout the year. Each season brings a different look to the diverse array of scenery here, and whether I’m shooting adventure sports, landscapes, or aerials, I always feel like I’m operating on visual overload. I especially love documenting my backcountry hiking, biking, and skiing adventures in and around the Chugach Mountains. I also love shooting aerial photos over the rugged peaks of the Chugach—especially in late winter and early spring when the days are getting longer—as well as flying over immense glaciers and wide open gravel bars around the Knik River Valley in my little yellow Cessna.
Photography inspires me daily to acknowledge the beauty around me and challenges me to try to capture it. I love to take photos because it allows me to create art any time by pursuing light and color in meaningful compositions. One of my goals is to create such a visual delight for the viewer that it gives them gratitude for this beautiful planet. Most of my photography features the nature and landscape of my home in Southeast Alaska, but I love to explore, and when I do, the camera always comes with me.
I picked up photography after serving in the Coast Guard—photographing friends and family and doing senior portraits simply because I enjoyed it. Photography quickly evolved from a hobby into a passion, and today I feel most in my element shooting landscapes and wildlife. I love adventure and traveling the road less traveled, so when my wife was offered a great job in Alaska, we left Georgia and now call Alaska home. On any given day, you can find me on the trails with my wife, daughter, and faithful furry companion in search of my next inspiration. I am currently in my last year in Oregon State’s Wildlife Conservation program, and hope to use that knowledge to pursue a career helping the wildlife of Alaska—and carrying my camera everywhere I go!
I started studying photography seriously in high school, shooting my first wedding when I was 17. Landscapes came a little later, while in the service in northern Japan. I loved photographing the countryside there—it’s very similar to parts of Alaska. Eventually, I moved to Minnesota where I worked with several very talented commercial photographers, then came to Alaska—the best move of my life. The landscapes I had always imagined shooting were around every corner! And the quality, beauty, and palette of the light was beyond imagination...I could want nothing more than to embrace the majesty of Alaska. I love to photograph along the Sterling Highway, especially along Cooper Landing on the Kenai, as well as the Wasilla area and of course the incredible grandeur of Denali.