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              Alaska From Above

              Nature photographer, Ian Shive took flight to show us what Alaska looks like from above. Click through to see some of Ian's awesome aeriel shots.

              February 28, 2020
              By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              Photo By: Ian Shive

              I was the first photojournalist to ever have the opportunity to document the important and incredible work of the National Park Service Search and Rescue team in Denali National Park, Alaska. This is an extremely rare view, and not one a mountain climber would ever want to see, as it's taken from the specialized high-altitude helicopter known as the Denali Lama. It's only used in rescue missions, and I was able to catch a ride down in it during one such rescue, giving me a unique view of the tops of the highest mountains on the continent.

              One of my favorite images from one of my first trips to Alaska in the dead of winter, this island mountain in the distance is Mt. Augustine, an active volcano, and one of many in the Aleutian chain. Photographed in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

              Stormy weather may have made for a bumpy flight in the small four seater airplane, but it almost guarantees dramatic photos. I can't help but wonder what it would be like to hike through these areas below, with nothing but your own thoughts and whatever you bring on your back? There are few places so vast, so wild as Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

              Fire is a natural part of the renewal process of our planet, and in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, the abundance of the pink-hued fireweed is a reminder of that renewal.

              I always loved this image because you can feel the power of the movement of Skilak glacier as it carves the rocks, lakes and valleys of the interior of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

              As the river winds in and out of the shallows, it creates incredible shape and texture, often referred to as a "braided river." In Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, the flow of glaciers down into the valley provides the perfect conditions to photograph this abstract composition.

              Only from a plane can you truly appreciate Alaska, its unique formations revealing themselves, such as this bay and beach in the interior of Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on Kodiak Island.

              I love photographing extremely wild, untouched places. There are so few of them left, where no roads, buildings, or even trails, exist. This lake was fed by a small glacier and hadn't yet frozen over for winter, though the first dusting of snow was a reminder that winter was definitely coming. Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Kodiak Island, Alaska.

              I asked the pilot to circle around again, attempting to get closer and closer to the small rain squall that had formed over the river. The fall colors and dramatic light created the best composition I've ever made deep in the interior of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

              As the small aircraft banked hard, I was able to push my lens flush against the window shooting straight down on the mountaineers basecamp at Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park, Alaska. At the top of the frame you can see "the runway," where planes land on skis, and the small tents and snow shelters that climbers built before they begin their attempt to summit North America's highest mountain.

              The interior of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the wildest places I've ever seen. The meandering rivers and creeks seem endless, the speckled light bouncing off the mountains adding depth and texture to my images, and the dramatic, untrammeled views reminding me why protecting places like this are so important.

              Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, is jam-packed with interesting water features, such as these ponds and small lakes, which are vital for the wildlife that live here, and of course provide interesting and artistic views from outside the window of a small plane.

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