Dall sheep usually don’t live in ugly places. Denali National Park is certainly not an exception to this rule. Those who spend time in Denali experience nature at an incomprehensively large scale. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel small in a good way. And Dall sheep always have the best views.
The story behind these images was the reason I ultimately switched to digital photography. They say that the best camera is the one you have with you. I learned this lesson in Alaska in 2006. Having my employment limited to summer work scooping ice cream at a local dairy farm, power washing houses and photographing jewelry, my funds for photography equipment were admittedly limited. At the time I was shooting on film with a well-loved but aging SLR. I treasured that seasoned SLR but learned that age has its disadvantages too. I took this camera to Alaska in anticipation of grand landscapes and intimate wildlife portraits but unfortunately, as we touched down in Anchorage and I assembled my gear on the hotel bed, I realized that the internal light meter on my old Pentax wasn’t working. On a tight schedule and unable to locate a nearby photo store, I went to one of Anchorage’s finest Fred Meyer to purchase replacement batteries for the light meter. We hopped in the rental van and drove north, and I reassembled the camera with its new power source. Apparently, the problem was more complicated than a dead battery. Unable to figure out the proper exposure with my setup, I ended up borrowing a Sony Cybershot (I think?) for most of the shooting during the trip. Although I missed the control of my familiar SLR, and the quality of the earlier Sony images left much to be desired, it was way too hard to argue with the simple use and cheaper processing of digital photography. I used this camera from the mountains to the coast and loved the freedom to experiment afforded by the inexpensive imaging. Although I still think there is value in the more contemplative process of shooting on the more expensive film, sometimes quantity beats quality. This was the trip and that convinced me to go digital.