Photostory: The Duane-venture

I’m taking a slight break from the Bryce posts to bring you a local photostory.  As the weather continues to improve, we’re getting out more, and I’m taking more pictures of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

The trip involves closed paved roads, easy trails, tough trails, tunnels, scrambling, and really nice scenery.  The distance is 5-6 miles.  Elevation gain is approximately 800 feet.  There will be ropes.

– Layers of clothing you don’t mind getting dirty
– Sturdy boots with good traction
– Flashlight (yep)
– Work gloves
– Sunglasses for protection against branches
– Spare clothes to change into afterwards
– Definitely bring camera gear, but keep it light.  Tripods are recommended.

The Duane-venture

Woman in a riverbank in a mossy forest, photographing the water | LotsaSmiles Photography

We have a friend.  His name is Duane.  He knows a lot of the local hikes, and he’s kind enough to share those with us.  He likes to chase waterfalls.

Duane’s also familiar with many “off-road” trails – ones without parking lots or paved paths or crowds.  Most don’t have bathrooms.  Many don’t have officially marked trailheads.  Some don’t even have well-established paths through the underbrush.

These are the hikes we’ve dubbed the “Duane-ventures.”  And these are oftentimes the highlights of my summers.
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Backpacking Alaska – Returning Home

As we were turning around at the Johnson River to head back to the lodge and our pick-up spot, our early pilot spotted us and touched down in the soft sand.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Good news: we didn’t have to hike anymore.  Bad news: that sand was really soft.  So much so that the plane got stuck.  Continue reading

WC: 5 Things that Drastically Improved My Photography in 2017

I’m constantly learning.  But I love building on my skills and improving.  How boring would this world be if there was nothing new left to learn?  There aren’t as many items as last year, but while I’m finding fewer things that really improve my art each year, I hope to never stop growing.

Here are a few things that drastically improved my photography in 2017:
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Backpacking Alaska – Day 5: Bears

Ordinarily, this post would be for my monthly photo challenge, but that didn’t seem too popular, so I’m tabling that for now.  Perhaps I’ll revive that sometime later.  In the meantime, you get more bears!

In fact, this is the last daily installment of my grand backpacking adventure through the Alaskan bush.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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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.

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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.

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Alaska: My First Bush Plane Flight

Apologies for the hiatus!  I know I took a little break from the Alaska posts, but they’re back!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Right from the start, I knew a flight in a bush plane was on the itinerary for Alaska.  Much of the Alaskan wilderness is completely wild.  No roads or modern conveniences.  Completely untouched – just the way we like it.  As a result, it’s only accessible by small bush planes, and once they drop you off, you’re on your own!

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