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Sunday, September 20, 2015


If you’re going to drive to Alaska there is pretty much only one way in and one way out, and that’s the Alaska Highway from the Yukon Territories of Canada. After passing the huge St. Elias Mountains of Kluane National Park in the Yukon, you’re greeted by the Nutzotin Mountains just across the border in Alaska (pictured here). If it’s a clear day you can also see the massive Wrangell Mountains further in the distance behind the Nutzotin, but they weren’t visible when we arrived. Be warned, the Alaska highway is pretty rough for the last few hours in the Yukon and flat tires are common. We managed to make it just across the border into Alaska before getting our only flat tire of the 14 day trip. It was sprinkling and there was a beautiful sunset on the horizon, so naturally I photographed the sunset while my esteemed colleague, driver and cousin Chris (aka C-Unit) changed the tire. We were in need of a break from the road anyway and I ended up making a few of my favorite photos from the entire trip, so thank you tire gods! And thanks to Chris for being the craziest and best driver a photographer could ever hope to have.

Tips for photographers: This is a three image panorama that I photographed handheld from the road. I know that sounds bad right?! How lazy! But I’ve increasingly turned into a roadside landscape photographer, using a long lens to pick out landscapes from the road like a poacher dropping big game from a truck. Wow that doesn’t sound like a good comparison! We were on the road for two weeks during this trip, and we did a lot of run and gun, pull over and shoot stops. I know this is not a recipe for success. To make a great landscape photo usually requires hard work to get to an epic location, and then patience to wait for the light, two things that take a lot of time that we did not have. So what was the end result? Well I made at least one good photo this way, and I’m sure I’ll find a few others, but those are far and few between. Chances are, if you’re shooting from the road, with no tripod, you’re not going to make anything very special unless you get lucky.

I am Montana based wedding and portrait photographer Paul Bellinger. I love to travel and our motto at Paul Bellinger Photography is that we will go anywhere and do anything for our clients. There is no wedding too big, too small, or too far for us to travel for, and we’ll gladly make your portrait on top of a mountain as well. Please visit www.paulbellinger.com for destination weddings in Montana or anywhere in the world, and www.portraits.paulbellinger.com for our portrait studio in Billings Montana.

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