Tag Archives: alaska

Gabe Rogel vs Alaska’s Brown Bears

Aniakchak National Monument, AK
While quickly un-holstering his .45 revolver, Dan quietly yells, “Oh shit! The bear is on a kill! Turn around! Turn around!!!” So, we do, and start moving as fast as possible with our 80 pound backpacks, ripping our boots off and starting to wade completely helplessly, like sitting ducks, through knee deep mud. We’re making our way aways from a large brown bear who was on some sort of kill… possibly another bear,maybe  a moose… we couldn’t tell, as the carcass was mostly gone. Over the next day or so, Dan tells us a horrific story, proving bear’s heightened aggression while they are eating.
Chris Solomon, Aniakchak National Monument, AK
Let's Tarentino this a bit and go back. Back to how and why I ended up in this bizarre, terrifying situation. A couple of years ago, I get a random email from this writer in Seattle who says his name is Chris Solomon, and he’s planning some hiking trip to Alaska, possibly to feature in Outside Magazine. Hmmmm… hiking. I’m not normally a huge fan unless there’s a much larger climbing or skiing objective involved (I know, I’m a snob). But wait, I think he said something about packrafting, this oddball “sport” I’ve been hearing more and more about. This piques my interest, due to the exploration possibilities it opens up to remote, wild and varied terrain. Alaska… always incredible. Outside Magazine… cool. Okaayyy, I’m listening.
Dan Oberlatz, Aniakchak National Monument, AK
I call. We talk. And Chris goes on to explain we would hike through Aniakchak National Monument, the least-visited of all the U.S.’s park lands. After a couple of bush plane flights from Anchorage, we’d find ourselves half way out the Aleutian Peninsula, hoist our massive packs over our shoulders and walk/packraft from the Bering Sea to the Gulf of Alaska… and, oh yeah, we’d go up and over a wild volcano somewhere in the middle. This area also boasts the most dense brown bear populations in the world, a fact that both heightens my interest in seeing these magnificent beasts and keeps me up at night.
Adventures in Aniakchak, AK
Chris also explains we’ll be in the field with one of Alaska’s best adventure guides, Dan Oberlatz, who has owned and operated Alaska Alpine Adventures the past 15 years. The three of us will make this overland, 200 mile journey through some of the most rugged, wild and out-of-this world terrain our planet has to offer. After learning more, I respond with a smattering of four letter words, solidifying not only my excitement for the adventure, but my commitment.
Hiking in Aniakchak, AK
Working as an adventure sport / outdoor lifestyle, commercial photographer the previous 12 or so years, I’ve found it extremely important to balance the well-paying, sometimes posh advertising work with projects that take me right down to my roots: sweating through wild, raw adventure. After all, having experiences such as the once Chris has sold me on, are the entire reason (along with the creativity involved with photography) I studied this profession and worked my ass off to make it my livelihood.
Hiking Adventures in Aniakchak, AK
Again, in Tarentino fashion, lets fast-forward to the location along this journey where I stated, “I will remember this place on my deathbed.” As we stood along the bottom of the vast, 6 mile-wide Aniakchak crater and took in the surrounding landscape; snowy peaks that shoot up to the volcano rim, 500’ high cinder cones along the crater floor, a huge, milky, turquoise lake, fed by a mineral-rich, yellow-orange-red stream, lined with bright green bushes, abundant brown bear tracks and best of all, not another human for a hundred miles. And those humans, are few and far between. We had spent 3 long days hiking up and into the crater and were about to spend 3 days pack rafting down to the Gulf of Alaska, where we would then walk 5 very long days along the coast to the nearest fishing village. We were out there. Way out there, and in a landscape only a human body can describe to itself.
Aniakchak National Monument, AK
Adventures in Aniakchak, AK  See more of Gabe's images here!

Their Favorite Winter Pics

Aurora's contributors are a rare breed, always willing to go the extra mile to capture an amazing image. They thrive in the winter, a season during which many give up on the outdoors and stay inside, sipping hot cocoa and catching up on TV. We wanted to get to the heart of why Aurora photographers connect so profoundly with the harsh conditions and stark beauty of the coldest of seasons. So we asked our photographers to choose their favorite winter image and tell us why -- here's what they said: Airborne skier flies above clouds

"I've skied Mt. Adams in Washington 50+ times, and there's always a risk, either from chance or the failure to recognize dangers. And on this day, I almost got wiped off the North Face by an avalanche. I had climbed the North face North West ridge and halfway up decided to turn around because it was getting too warm. Suddenly, a wet slide was triggered a few thousand feet above me (on a route we had just skied the day before) and came down, missing me by inches. It was only about 20 feet wide, but it was heavy snow and was going very, very fast on a very steep slope. It was a scary moment." - Jason Hummel


"Mont Blanc is the most famous peak to ascend in the Alps. For me, this image shows how the mountaineers put their lives in the service of the mountain." - David Santiago Garcia

Underwater Iceberg, Antarctic Peninsula

"I've spent years photographing glaciers and ice on six continents, but this is one of my favorite images. It's shot from a small zodiac inflatable boat in Antarctica, and captures so much of the graceful lines and cold beauty of the massive icebergs there." - Paul Souders

A man ice climbing a frozen waterfall through a sandstone arch in Utah.

"This unique frozen waterfall, in a remote area of Utah , rarely forms ice solid enough to climb. You have to hike in a ways to find the frozen falls, which keeps the crowds away. " - Whit Richardson

Two people are climbing a frozen waterfall in Sounkyo Gorge, Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaido, Japan.

"The combination of people enjoying adventure sport in a spectacular landscape is what photography is all about for me."  - Andrew Peacock

A snowboarder soaring in the air at sunrise in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe, California.

"I've been snowboarding most of my life and this image always reminds me of the freedom you feel when you launch into the air on a perfect powder day in the backcountry." - Rachid Dahnoun

Moonbow, Lake O'Hara and surrounding mountains, Yoho National Park, Canada "It had snowed all day at Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park, a beautiful park in the Canadian Rockies. After the sun set, it cleared and I went outside. A full moon had risen, and because of the icy particles in the air, a moondog or paraselene was visible. I had often seen a sundog, but I had never seen the moon variety before. It lasted for several minutes before more clouds appeared." - Peter Essick Snowfall at Cradle Mountain National Park.

"I went into Cradle Mountain National Park, in Tasmania, with this specific idea: to shoot a pandani plant lit with warm light against the blue cold snowy scene." - Heath Holden

Big mountain skiing in Haines, Alaska "I love the vertical symmetry of lights and darks. I love the shadows on the left that mimic mountains, pointing towards the skier. I love the fly-on-wall perspective, along with the speed evoked by the flying snow left by the skier's wake. And the skier… that’s Seth Morrison, far and away one of skiing’s bigger-than-life legends for the past 2 decades. It was shot in Haines, AK, via helicopter access. It just feels as thought the stars aligned on this one." - Gabe Rogel A snowshoer taking in a wintery scene

"This picture taken in Mammoth Lakes, California, is of my brother from Texas, snowshoeing for the first time. It’s my favorite because it captures the wonder and majesty of being out in a snowstorm, when the snow muffles all sound except the crunch of your steps and the quiet patter of snowflakes on your jacket. ."  - Dana Felthauser

Grand Tetons, Wyoming

"This image of the Tetons was a look at an old friend in a new way, a position a bit more north than I had seen before. The breaking storm gave the black and white image an even more commanding sense of the balance of the mountain." - Joel Addams

See more of our photographer's favorite winter images here: http://www.auroraphotos.com/index.php?module=result&webseries_id=17499

New Images for October

Fly fishing guide fishing for pike in Bristol Bay region.

The end of summer / beginning of autumn is always a beautiful and exciting time to be outdoors, as the weather and colors start to change. The variety of outdoor activities is great at this time as well. You can do yoga on the beach, nap in a hammock with your dog, watch the sunrise over a canyon with a little chill in the morning air, sail, enjoy some watermelon the best way possible (getting delicious juice all over yourself) or harvest the end of season fruits and vegetables. You can fly fish, go running, have a last river tubing adventure of the season, watch lightning storms in awe, mountain bike, hike to the top of a mountain peak for an expansive view or just check out some foliage. Or, maybe you're gearing up for your winter adventures on the slopes or planning trips to Cuba or Myanmar.

All that, and an underwater skateboarder, can be seen in our new images for October gallery: http://www.auroraphotos.com/result?webseries_id=14734