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Sunday, January 1, 2006

Alaska Bound

Living in tents and a Sportsmobile for months at a time, Kennan and Karen Ward explore the limitless photographic opportunities in the vast Alaska wilderness

When speaking to Kennan and Karen Ward, and especially looking at their images, you can see why they're so passionate about Alaska. Before long, you'll find yourself seduced by the boundless photo opportunities that are available in America's northernmost state.

"One of the best parts of Alaska is that there is so much wilderness still intact," says Kennan, who began his love affair with the state in the late '70s when he worked as a backcountry ranger in Denali National Park. Along with his wife, Karen, the two photographers have often returned to Alaska to compose images that are impossible to capture anywhere else in the country. "Unlike the Lower 48, where in 20 minutes there's always a development, up there you can really get into the wilderness and experience it in ways that you can't elsewhere," says Kennan. Both Wards are eager to share their knowledge of the wild beauty that is Alaska.

Denali National Park And Preserve

Encompassing a complete subarctic ecosystem, Denali includes more than six million acres of federally protected lands abounding with large mammals like moose, wolves, grizzly bear and Dall sheep. It also features more than 600 species of flowering plants and 160 species of birds. With the majestic 20,320-foot peak of Mount McKinley as a backdrop, it’s a location that easily inspires the creativity in any photographer.

“It’s the champion of parks,” says Kennan of Denali National Park and Preserve. “It’s the Everest to a photographer or to any adventurer who wants to see the tallest peak in North America, Mount McKinley. It’s also the place to see grizzly bears, moose, caribou and wolves run rampant. This is where your chances of seeing these wild animals are pretty good.”


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