Sunset with fireweed.

The Spectacular Color of Glacier Bay

Alaska, Photo Essay

Alaska…the name of the great northern state evokes images of soaring mountains, ice-choked fjords, giant bears, and crazy-governors-turned-reality-TV-stars.

One thing Alaska doesn’t signify, at least for most people, is color. Most people think of a frozen wasteland where snow starts falling in June and lasts until the following May.

In fact, summertime in Alaska is a riot of color. Over the summer in Glacier Bay National Park I’ve seen dozens of spectacular sunsets that last hours due to the low angle of the setting sun in the sub-Arctic. Fields of purple lupine covered the ground in May and June but gave way, seemingly overnight, to fields of pink fireweed. Even some seabirds, like puffins, have a seasonally colorful beak to celebrate the summer.

Below is a collection of photos I’ve taken this summer in Glacier Bay National Park and on the Gustavus Beach, that illustrate the amazing color of the state. Click any photo to open a slideshow view.

Colorful Glacier Bay Photos


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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~

20 thoughts on “The Spectacular Color of Glacier Bay”

  1. Gorgeous gorgeous photos! Beautiful capturing of the light. Did you use a different wide-angle lens for the Gustavus Beach photo? It seems wider somehow.

      • Wow, that is a huge lens. I bought the 17-55 over the winter and I like it. I used to have a 10-20, a 50 and a 70-300 for wildlife. You might buy a 50mm and experiment. It is quite liberating to not have a zoom.

      • I need a new camera first. My lens isn’t detachable, and I upgraded less that 12 months ago so it might be a while before the next upgrade. One of the reasons I got the Panasonic is that it has 5 way stabilization in the body of the camera.

  2. Stunning colors. I do think I’ll skip eating the baneberries though! I also have a 10-20 lens. It is one of my favorites!

    • I am afraid to eat any berries that are even remotely round! I like the 10-20 for landscapes and building interiors. Those 7 mm between the 10 and 17 wide angle I use make a huge difference.

  3. Fantastic Jeff! I think the one Gustavus Beach is my favourite. It looks like a beautiful place to stop & rest for awhile:)

    • Yes, the Gustavus beach is one of the best places here. It has quickly become one of my favorite places ever. Great place to shoot photos and watch the wildlife.

  4. Jeff you could definitely do a travel commercial for Alaska. I put your post on Twitter earlier today. That lead photos is stunning. Well it’s more than that but honestly I’ve run out of adjectives for your photography.

    • Thank you Sue. That top photo was special. A few minutes before I took it the sun was too bright, and a few seconds later the sun went behind the horizon and all those photos looked flat. I was lucky to get about 3 photos when the sun was just right. A week later, the fireweed was mostly gone!

  5. Pingback: Slightly Ridiculous FAQs About Alaska | Planet Bell

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