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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Something New!


How a trek to the wide-open landscapes and extreme wilderness of Alaska led to a creative recharge for Marc Muench

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We walked and climbed, climbed, then strolled, stopped to take some pictures, then walked some more. Everyone was enjoying themselves as if we were all in an IMAX theater watching a cinematic epic for 24 hours. I had carried a Nikon D800 with my favorite lenses, an 18mm Zeiss and a Nikon 70-200mm ƒ/4, plus a Really Right Stuff Series 1 tripod. The camera equipment made my pack 40 pounds instead of the 30-pound limit Dan normally suggests. Trevor was using my Panasonic Lumix GH2, and Connor was equipped with his iPhone and an extra battery.

Whenever I'm in a situation where too much is happening around me to possibly capture everything, I have to go into a graphic mind-set. This is when I do everything I can to only view what's occurring in a perceptive two-dimensional space. Oftentimes, the drama of the light, subject and mood is such that this becomes almost impossible, especially when there are others you want to share the moment with. Just when I thought nothing would pull my attention from what I was composing, my son told me to look up at the skyline ridge. On the summit of a nearby peak was a mountain goat. It wasn't that unusual, as we had been watching the goats wander the steep slopes for miles around us most of the afternoon. But this guy was standing perfectly still facing the sunset, as if he was celebrating it. Both Trevor and I were thinking the exact same thought; the goat was enjoying the sunset!

When the fog cleared and the sun set, we were elated, but when the full moon popped up over the highest point on Baranof Island, we lost control. I had been so immersed in photographing the fog and pink light on the mountains that I had forgotten about the full moon. I could hear Dan from about a mile away photographing on his own mountaintop. The whoop was unmistakable!

Glaciated peaks as far as the eye can see, pristine lakes reflecting crystal-clear water, fog dancing and a full moon all blended together to create some of the largest goose bumps of my life. I'm not sure what I would have thought had the clouds stayed thick and we never had the sunset/moonrise, but if all I had from that hike was the memories of strolling along in the high country with my two sons and a good friend, that would have been enough. Having the additional drama was lucky—because of our enthusiasm for seeing something new, we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

Go to www.muenchphotography.com to see more of Marc Muench's work and learn more about his workshops.

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