65,000 moose roam the Yukon, an area roughly 2 1/2 times the size of New England. This is about twice the human population of the territory. With the capital of Whitehorse having a population of 23,000, the arithmetic says that the human population of the territory outside of Whitehorse is about 9,000….wow, talk about scarcely populated areas!!
The territory is home to fourteen First Nation peoples each with its own unique traditions and cultural heritage. The Tombstone territorial Park is an important heritage of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people who have hunted and camped here for centuries and who agreed in 1999, in conjunction with the territorial government, to the formation of the park
Memorable for its black granite peaks, idyllic alpine lakes and subarctic tundra
landscapes, Tombstone Territorial Park is an icon among Yukon destinations.
These peaks always draw your attention as the light and weather conditions provide constantly changing dramatic views of this view. In the scene above, the lake surface became a mirror as the wind disappeared and allowed the capture of this pristine scene in the reflections of the Lake.
This is the same view with a particularly colorful sunset decorating the valley.
For years one of the cardinal rules of photography was always shoot with the sun at your back. With the advent of new cameras and the technologies embedded in their sensors, that rule has gone the way of the rotary dial phone. In the above image I shot directly into the sun and recorded the stunning back-lit colors of the low lying shrubs illuminated by the setting sun. The ragged cloud formations add to the scene.
By professional landscape photographer standards, this is a rather pedestrian image of the Northern Lights. But this was my first opportunity to see and photograph this amazing phenomenon and I couldn’t have been more excited about the opportunity. It meant rising in the middle of the night each night to see if the Aurora was visible. Most nights it wasn’t because of the cloud cover. This night was the only opportunity we had to capture a view of the Aurora. One of my colleagues had the inspirational idea to light up a tent to use as a foreground for the image.
This image has the rough hewn textures of the boulder on the bottom of the image and the peaks on the top sandwiched around the carpet of yellow and gold spread across the sub-artic tundra.
Of course this is the same view as above only with a different cloud formation. You will also notice I converted the upper 2/3 thirds of the scene into a black and white image while retaining the golden hue of the tundra which I think complements the stark drama of the image. In the photographic community writ large, some would view this as a complete violation of photographic integrity. Obviously, I’m not in that camp.
This would be a rather ordinary image but the lovely pink hue of the clouds and the reflections in the still water in the foreground turn it into something special.
This image was taken only a few minutes after the image directly above. In just those few minutes the cloud edges were lit up with these wonderful points of light giving the scene a completely different look.
I’ll close this post and conclude the three posts on my Yukon visit with a photo of yours truly and my three photographer buddies (courtesy of Jim Ruff) from whom I learned something every day.
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