Backpacking Alaska – Day 3: The Red River

Day 3 was all about the Red River.  This was our major obstacle.  We knew it was coming, and we knew it would pose a challenge.  I’m told when our fearless leader divulged our planned course to a bush plane pilot, his first question was, “do you have a floatation device for crossing the Red River?”  Um…. no?

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

See the black bear just outside the trees on the far side?  This was the only black bear we saw the entire trip.

Continue reading

WC: Taking a Breather

We lead very busy lives, and I’ve been feeling things have been particularly hectic lately.  With the holidays fast approaching, there are a number of extra items on my to-do list.  Additionally, the weather has been damp and dreary – not very conducive to enjoying the great outdoors.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

In short: I’ve been cooped up in front of my computer, work work working, hardly seeing any sunlight and going just a tad bit crazy.

Continue reading

Backpacking Alaska – Day 3: Wind

The second night came and went in a blink of exhaustion.  Crawling out of my tent, I found some of our crew were already down on the beach.  They’d spotted a bear out clamming in the receding morning tide.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

This was my first real opportunity for shooting the bears we had come out here to find, and I was stoked, my aching muscles quickly forgotten.

Continue reading

Backpacking Alaska – Day 2: Rocks

Day 1 was all about distance.  But that turned out being a good thing, because Day 2 rocked.  And sadly, that wasn’t a good thing.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

We woke on Day 2 to find moisture on our tents and moose tracks feet from our camp.  It was fortunate we were so tired; we weren’t kept awake by any unidentifiable noises in the night.  I was also shocked to see the drastic variances in the tide.  The waterlines on the beach came within feet of our tents; we were lucky to have not gotten wet.

Continue reading

Backpacking Alaska – Day 1: Distance

Who’s ready for backpacking adventures?  I know I’ve been promising them for a long time, and you’ve had a taste here and there, but I’m finally getting into the heart of my epic adventure into the Alaskan wilderness.  I appreciate your patience.  It was truly a remarkable journey, and I’m excited to share it with you.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

After an hour’s bush plane flight out of Anchorage, we found ourselves on the beach in Chinitna Bay, and once our pilot departed, we were on our own.  We had finally arrived, and I was ready.  This was my first time truly backpacking, and I couldn’t wait.

Continue reading

WC: The Waterfalls’ Spell

We’re quite spoiled here in the Northwest when it comes to waterfalls.

To be honest, when I first moved here, I wasn’t all that excited about waterfalls.  They were all photographed the same, and they all looked the same to me.  The hikes were pleasant, but I just couldn’t understand how the group would then park their tripods at the waterfall at the end and shoot for what felt like forever.  I was used to a quick shot, and I was done.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

How many pictures of the same scene can one take?

Continue reading

Hiking Denali: Savage Alpine Trail

Busing Denali National Park is a good way to sample the park in a single day.  But to truly enjoy the wonder that is this stunning national park, one must slow the pace a bit and get out from behind dusty window panes.

For our second full day in Denali, we wanted to get our hiking boots dirty.  We knew we couldn’t venture beyond Savage River without a bus pass, but after the previous day, the last thing any of us wanted to do was sit on a bus again.   Continue reading

Photostory: Secret Cliff Discovery

Nowadays, most of the best cool spots are overrun with people wanting to see such locations firsthand.  With the prevalence of the internet, once secret or obscure places can be broadcast to millions of people within an instant – complete with GPS coordinates.

I do whatever I can to avoid crowds, and it’s sad to see some of my favorite spots reduced to a mere tourist attraction.  Therefore, I have decided to make an effort to not disclose the precise location of all of my photos anymore, instead sharing only the beauty therein.

Continue reading

Costa Rica Canopy Tours

If you find your way to Costa Rica, chances are, you’ll go wandering through a jungle or two.  And what better way to do so than on a canopy tour?  Sporting secluded paths, numerous suspension bridges, and abundant life, these certainly keep one entertained – all with a knowledgable local to answer silly questions and point out the camouflaged animals (and make sure no one gets eaten by a puma).

Continue reading