Yes, We Did A U-Turn On The Alaska Highway
Sometimes you need a bit of luck. In early September, I was on the Alaska Highway, travelling from Haines Junction to Whitehorse, after being lucky enough to get a shot of a charging grizzly a couple of hours earlier.
We had covered close to 2000 kilometres in six days and, as always, my head was swivelling in every direction as I sat in the passenger seat. I used two cameras during the trip, a Pentax K100D with my 18-125mm lens and a Pentax K200D with my 70-300mm lens. I had shot several hundred pictures through the window of the 4WD as we travelled at 100 kilometres an hour.
But this time, I only had time to squeeze off a couple of shots as a lake flashed past on my side of the vehicle. Margaret Goodwin of Yukon Tourism was at the wheel and I asked her a few seconds later if she would actually mind turning back. Willingly, she found a spot to do a U-turn and we retraced our path as I looked for the lake.
It was the only time on the entire trip that we had doubled back – and it was well worth it.
So why did I make the unusual request? Because all through my week in the territory, I had been looking for the quintessential Yukon shot. I wanted one frame that would capture a vast horizon, under a big sky, encapsulating snowy mountains and some of the beautiful fall colours.
Yes, I had shot several scenes that fulfilled those self-imposed requirements – but for some reason I knew this vista would be one of the best. I guess I would rank it with another shot taken on the same trip, the fourth and final frame on my post Big Blue of mountain peaks reflected in the surface of an amazing blue lake near Dawson City.
The Blue Lake shots were taken under a flawless blue sky, but here on the Alaska Highway, the sky was a showcase of beautiful hues that looked like a watercolour painting. As you can see from these shots, it was dusk and there were ribbons of blue-grey cloud above the mountains. The lake was perhaps 250 metres from one end to the other. As you can see from the shots, it was fringed by trees that spanned several colours from autumn’s palette.
And there was very little breeze. While this might not seem like an important factor, it comes into play in a big way when you are photographing a reflection on the surface of water, as I was attempting here.
Not one of these images has been enhanced in any way. I never use Photoshop – as most readers know by now. The true beauty of communicating through photography is to allow someone to see exactly what you saw through your lens.
That evening in the Yukon, everything suddenly seemed to come together for this series of shots.
For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.