Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
It’s hard to pick a single outstanding feature of Kluane National Park in the Yukon. When we started off, skirting Lake Kathleen, the clouds glowered briefly over the water (as you can see in the first shot), giving my lens a study in varying shades of grey. They passed swiftly, leaving the water looking like mercury, as you can see in the post The Lake Was Placid.
So, what makes this place so special? Is it the changing light across Lake Kathleen?
Is it the clouds that cloak the snow-capped mountains and then move slowly aside to reveal their true majesty?
Is it the array of early fall colours splashed across the hillside? Well, I honestly don’t know the answer, but maybe if I give you all the pictorial evidence, you can tell me what the true answer is.
As we climbed, the delicate shades of the sky looked like someone had daubed a paintbrush across it. To emphasise the skyscape, there was no shortage of tall trees standing like sentinels along the ancient hillside. You just had to pick one tree (see above) and hit the trigger.
The snowline on the mountains to our right was clearly defined. When I took this shot I thought the dramatic white slashes across the dark grey shale looked like deep-powder versions of a lightning strike.
It can be very interesting when you’re climbing a narrow pathway and the soles of your sturdy hiking boots bring you great reassurance. You have to contend with tree roots, loose rocks, slippery tracks and trying to emulate Rudolf Nureyev as you leap gracefully (ahem) across gurgling rivulets.
You also have to decide where your priorities lie and whether to use both hands to steady the two cameras, both with long lenses, around your neck. Sooner or later, chances are you’re going to slip (I did) and either you use your hands to break your fall or you use them to protect your cameras and lenses (I chose the latter option, naturally).
And just when you think you cannot possibly take another shot of a mountain peak, the light changes to prove you wrong.
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