My friend Doug emailed me and asked whether I’d be interested in going on a photography trip to the Tombstone Mountains. I thought wow, “the town too tough to die” had mountains? I watched the movie but I didn’t recall seeing Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday chasing Ike and Billy Clanton through the mountains, only shooting them at the OK corral.
Turns out he meant the Tombstone Mountains in the Yukon Territory. I googled “middle of nowhere” and up popped the Tombstone Territorial Park outside of Dawson City, Yukon. I couldn’t pass up a trip to the middle of nowhere, so off I went in September to Toronto, then to Vancouver, then to Whitehorse, Yukon then a seven hour van ride up a semi-dirt road to Dawson City, then a helicopter ride into the middle of nowhere/Tombstone Mountains.
This valley is the heart of Tombstone Territorial Park. The helicopter dropped us off at the campground just to the right of Talus Lake. In addition to the craggy mountain peaks, the primary photographic reason for coming here was the reported amazing fall colors. They didn’t disappoint…the valley was ablaze with red and yellow shrubs.
The magnificent beauty of the park is appreciated by relatively few people due the remoteness of the location, which is unfortunate since being in the park gives one a sense of serenity and a solitary experience that is so totally different than the everyday dense geographies in which most of us reside. Several times I was compelled to put the camera down and just take in the magnificent color and shape of the land amidst an absolute blanket of quiet.
The park has numerous streams and waterfalls many of which are tucked into remote canyons and crevices. In this image, the golden glow on the mountain lasted only five minutes so I had to work quickly to get the camera positioned with the right composition in order to capture the movement of the stream and the mountain color.
The park was constituted in FY2000 after agreement with the “First Nations” people. This lone hilltop gravesite is unmarked and I speculatate that this is the grave of a Klondike Gold Rush participant who never survived his gold rush experience. Whoever the grave occupant, he/she has an unsurpassed view for eternity.
The cloud in this image turns a rather ordinary image into something much more interesting as it overhangs this mountain ridge and almost screams “Look at these peaks”!
The golden hues of the fauna and the afternoon light frame and highlight Monument Mountain.
It’s called Tombstone Mountain because of its resemblance in shape to actual tombstones and is one of those iconic natural structures that draws a photographer’s constant attention as we look to the interplay of light and clouds around the mountain. This linear cloud formation over the peaks was lit up by the rising sun and made this a wonderful image. This is why we photographers rise in the dark and hope for a magical sunrise!
I shot this earlier on the same morning as the image above. This is a perfect example of how the quality of the light can dramatically change a scene.
This was a great photographic and travel experience out into the sub-artic wilderness and I came away with a treasure trove of images so this is the first of probably three blog posts on the trip. Hope you enjoyed this one!
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Frank, you have a fabulous eye for composition and color, shape and texture. Thank you for taking this unique trip and sharing it with us all.
Thanks Ad, I loved this place.
I’ve flown over this area going to and from Beijing. It’s fabulous to see how beautiful it is at ground level! Thanks, Sue
Thanks, fellow Squirrel
Beautiful photography! Love them all!
Nice work Frank! Isn’t it great to be able to look back on this trip with beautiful images like these. I really like Tombstone Mountain, I zoomed it in and can see our tents and maybe a couple of us standing around, outhouse, and cookhouse. was this taken on your hike up to Mt. Monolith?
also Views for Eternity is excellent. I shot the exact opposite view towards Mt Tombstone and it was not near dramatic.
I shot Tombstone Mountain while coming down from Mt. Monolith. I waited about a half hour for the valley to be lit up. This is one of my favorites. The View to Eternity shot turned out a lot better than I thought when I took it. It’s amazing how images with a little contrast and color look so different than they look in the LCD on the camera. I actually sent this to the park service in the Yukon asking for info on the who’s buried in the grave. They said they would research it a see if they had the info. It’d be great if there was some interesting back story to this image.
Really like your blog post and can see that we were shooting the same thing that morning. I really liked that morning shot in your post.
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Hi Frank, beautiful pics. I would like to use the Tombstone mountains pic with your permission to use as my subject to make a wool hooked rug. Would you allow me to use it for that purpose?
It’s really beautifull, can you tell us about the dates you were in this area, please? I would like to know which dates in Sept. your photos taken. Thanks.
We were in the park the second week of September