Aerial Landscapes of Alaska

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 40 mm, f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

The photo trip to Alaska was spectacular! There is so much to share, but I must start at the beginning.

I quickly learned that you don’t want to be caught without a camera in your hand when you’re in Alaska. Natural beauty surrounds you in every direction you look. For the first week of the trip, we headed to Lake Clark National Park and stayed at the Homestead Lodge.

This park can only be accessed by water or air, so our group took two small planes from Lake Hood Sea Plane Base in Anchorage. I was excited to fly in the plane below that was built in 1949! I loved every second of it and sat on the right side of the plane (important for being able to share the images in this post).

As we headed to Lake Clark, we flew over Cook Inlet, the body of water shown below. The plane stayed along the western edge of it so I was able to capture all the natural watersheds that fed into this inlet.

The coastline was full of color, shapes, lines and beautiful natural patterns.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

For over an hour, I shot one image after another of the rivers, their tributaries and the land. The trees and plant life that lined all the rivers and made up the riparian zones created great abstract images from above.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/5.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800, hand-held.

I even have proof that I was flying overhead as you can see the shadow of our plane in the image below! Now that is a great selfie!

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 32 mm, f/5.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800, hand-held.

As the plane moved along the landscape, I worked on creating images of the landscapes that appeared balanced but allowed for the viewer’s eyes to move around the image.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 38 mm, f/5.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800, hand-held.

Sometimes I zoomed in more to focus on specific aspects of the rivers and their watershed zones.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 55 mm, f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

Other times, I captured more of the scene so that I could see the transition between heavily forested areas and the watershed zones close to the inlet.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

Along the flight, we spotted 3 volcanos. The one below, Mount Spurr, was the first one we came across on our flight.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/4.0, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

Because this part of Alaska is not accessible by land, there were very few towns and villages but occasionally we saw a few houses dotting the rivers, such as in the image below.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 70 mm, f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

Some of the rivers bended and curved greatly in the forested land only to straighten out as they approached Cook Inlet.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 31 mm, f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

The mudflats along the inlet were just as fascinating as the curves of the rivers. The patterns in the mud looked as though they were in a watercolor painting.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 70 mm, f/5.0, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

During the flight, we were surprised by the haze off in the distance and were informed of the Swan Lake wildfire that had begun on June 5 from lightning. Because this part of Alaska has not had rain in 6 weeks (very unusual), the fire spread rapidly through the Kenai Peninsula wilderness on the eastern side of Cook Inlet. The smoke spread throughout the region on both sides of the inlet and obscured our view of the mountains for most of our trip in Alaska. I was happy to have a few photos from this flight that allowed me to see a little of the mountainous scenery.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

As we got closer to Lake Clark, we came upon a third volcano, Mount Iliamna. (I didn’t capture a great shot of the second volcano, Mount Redoubt on the way to Lake Clark since it was obscured by the wing of the plane.)

Image: Mount Iliamna, Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 36 mm, f/7.1, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

As we passed the last volcano, we started to approach the beach where we would land in Lake Clark National Park. The air cleared a little and the waters lit up with a beautiful turquoise color.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

The scenes just got better and better. I would have thought I was in a tropical paradise if not for the snow-capped mountains in the background.

Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held.

As we approached the landing on the beach, I saw my first grizzly bear! Life was good! I was so excited and then decided to take this video below of our landing. Please enjoy!

Stay tuned for more to come. Next up…grizzlies! You can view these images individually and more not posted here in my portfolio located here.

Please also check out my new business for pain relief, PABR Institute, at www.pabrinstitute.com, and subscribe to my email articles to get tips to help you find relief in your body.

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

8 thoughts on “Aerial Landscapes of Alaska”

  1. Very cool, love the perspective of the Inlet from above. I’d only seen it from a ship but that was 47 years ago and my memory is no longer that sharp. thanx!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeff! The world looks amazing from above and we don’t know about the beautiful patterns nature creates just by the rivers following gravity and flowing into the ocean. It stunned me!

      Like

  2. Love the colors in the landscapes, Amy. Those mountains are spectacular even at a distance. Chris

    On Wed, Jul 10, 2019 at 9:28 PM Amy’s Impressions wrote:

    > Dr. Amy Novotny posted: ” Image: Cook Inlet coastline, Alaska. Nikon D750, > Nikkor 24-70 mm at 40 mm, f/4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 1000, hand-held. The photo > trip to Alaska was spectacular! There is so much to share, but I must start > at the beginning. I quickly learned that ” >

    Liked by 1 person

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