I'm pleased to report that I just finished posting the photographs from my June 2013 trip out to Eielson Visitor Center in Alaska's Denali National Park to the Denali gallery on photosbychriscoffman.com!
As Ike Waits advises in Denali National Park: Guide to Hiking, Photography, & Camping, taking the green bus rather than the more expensive tan ("tour") bus into the park with a departure in the early morning is the best option for hikers and photographers, as you can hop off anywhere and then pick up a later bus once you're finished hiking and photographing. I highly recommend Waits' book, which contains detailed route maps as well as some very useful advice on finding wildlife and maximizing possibilities for optimal lighting conditions while in the park. A helpful desk agent at the park's Wilderness Access Center also told me that seats on the green buses are easier to find in afternoon rides out of the park than on the morning buses into the park, and my own experience this past June proved both of my sources to be right on the mark. I rode all the way out to the Eielson Visitor Center in the morning, stopped for lunch and a hike up the steep Alpine Trail, and then rode back out of the park in the afternoon. I happened to pick up a green "camper" bus rather than a regular green bus on the ride back. I noted that the camper bus I took on the way out of the park was far less crowded than the ones heading into the park and that its seats were slightly less ergonomic than those on the regular green buses. These features all made the camper bus far more convenient for the twists and turns in which I engaged while shooting from the bus window while the vehicle was in motion! By contrast, the green bus I took to Eielson was packed and my range of motion was limited--though the passengers were all very cordial and made sure that everyone with cameras had turns at the best windows when animals were in view. But between the hike, my acrobatics on the camper bus, and a camping trip in Denali State Park with some friends after my trip into Denali National Park, I was sore for days once I returned to Fairbanks!
This year I chose the bus to Eielson Visitor Center because it offers several developed trails that I had not yet explored. I had already hiked part of the McKinley Bar Trail trail and done some other off-trail exploring near the park's Wonder Lake area during a camping trip in the summer of 2009. My photographs of a grizzly bear in the woods and of Denali with Fireweed (the latter of which was shot on the Denali Park Road between Wonder Lake and Reflection Pond) resulted from the 2009 trip. This year, my climb up the Alpine Trail yielded three new images of Eielson Visitor Center dwarfed by the surrounding mountains and river valleys. Though I joined a ranger-led hike, the trailhead for this very popular route is readily visible from the Visitor Center and is also identified on a convenient topographic map published by the National Park Service.
As there were not many animals within viewing range of the Denali Park Road during my June trip out to Eielson, all of my images from this trip are landscape photographs. They begin with this image and continue until the snowier shots of the park from May. I've also posted two fresh photographs of Mount McKinley taken from the Mountain Vista area, which has a number of well-situated picnic tables and easy trails with views of Denali. I am now offering all of these photographs as prints on photosbychriscoffman.com. Some are also available as royalty-free downloads with a commercial license. I can also arrange for downloads of other photographs on a rights-managed basis; if you're interested in licensing any of those images, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your project and your intended usage to start the process of getting a quote and setting up for a download.
I hope you enjoy my photographs! On this same trip, I had a truly outstanding dinner with some friends at 229 Parks--which served me the best restaurant meal I have yet to eat in Alaska--and a scrumptious breakfast at the McKinley Creekside Cafe. Both of these restaurants are popular with Alaskans and can be found by exiting the touristy "glitter gulch" area just north of the park entrance and driving south in the direction of Anchorage.