Posted by: lle2010 | September 15, 2010

Week 38 Mt. McKinley and the Train to Seward, Alaska

The morning we left Denali, it was a bit overcast but we had hopes that the skies would clear.  As it turned out the sun came out and we had a beautiful sunny day!  As a result we were able to experience a very rare sight.  We were among the approximately 30% of folks who actually get to view Mt. McKinley/Denali.  I have to tell you, it was majestic!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Mt. McKinley is also know as Denali, “The High One”.  Mt. McKinley is the highest mountain in North America. At its highest point it is 20,320 feet tall.  The mountain is also know for it’s extreme temperatures.  Temperatures have been recorded as low as -75 degrees f with wind chills as low as -188 degrees f.  Fortunately, we did not have to experience those kinds of temperatures.  We had a mild, sunny day that I believe was in the high 60’s – low 70’s.  The first time we saw Mt. McKinley was from the bus.  I took photo after photo.  As our trip progressed, the motor coach stopped twice and each stop offered its own vantage point for viewing.  Below I have posted my two favorite photos and then there are thumbnails you may click on to view the other vantage points. 

Many of you have told me you wanted more photos.  I will try to pick the best ones and place them in the post as thumbnails.  I hope you enjoy them!

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 200 mm  1/320  f 8  ISO 100

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 100 mm  1/400  f 11  ISO 100


We arrived in Anchorage late that afternoon.  Our group took a little time to walk around the city, before checking into our hotel.  That evening we all met up and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Simon & Seaford’s.  The next morning we all were up bright and early to board our train to Seward.  Royal Caribbean Cruise Line occupies the last car on the train.  The car sits higher that the others and has a glass dome ceiling.  No matter where you may sit you will have a spectacular view of the country side.  Below are photos taken from the train.  If you would like to read more about the train and its amenities visit,

I loved the peacefulness of this scene.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 130  1/160  f 6.3  ISO 400

This next photo is the only eagle photo I have.  I like the fact that the eagle is in the foreground and in the distant is an airplane.  I have also included two versions of this photo.  In the second one I placed a tungsten filter in the post processing.  It is fun to experiment.  You never know what you may come up with.


I like how the clouds are hovering over the tree line and the way the morning light softens this photo.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 50 mm  1/125  f 8  ISO 400

This was the first glacier we passed.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 150 mm  1/800  f 11  ISO 400

It was difficult to capture the engine of the train.  I can’t tell you how many times I tried.  The photos were either blurry or too much reflection on the glass.  This was the best I could find. 

This next photo was taken on Kenai Lake.  The water was so calm, not a ripple.  This caused the lake to appear as a mirror.  The reflection of the mountains was unbelievable.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 35 mm  1/125  f 9  ISO 400

When we arrived in Seward, we boarded a bus that took us to the Alaska Sea Life Center.  This is Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center.  We spent about two hours touring the center.  There are puffins, jellyfish, sea lions and other sea life.  Here are just a few of the animals I photographed.  I really liked the jellyfish.  I probably stood at their window for 30 minutes.  I find them fascinating



These photos may not be as sharp as I would like them to be.  They were shot handheld, no flash at 3200 ISO.  The room was very dark.  A tripod would have given a better result.

I loved this puffin.  He stands so proud.

Canon EOS 40D  18-200 mm at 90 mm  1/125  f 6.3  ISO 400

I have no idea what kind of animal or sea life this is.  I should have taken a photo of the sign.  duh! 


This last photo was taken outside of the Sea Life Center. 

Next week Hubbard Glacier.



  1. Hi Linda,

    I think nature photography may be your strong suite. You do an amazing job with out door photos. I know want to go to Alaska!


  2. AMAZING!!!!!!!!! JUST AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I couldn’t pick a favorite this time. They’re all so wonderful. I must get to Alaska…but how do you leave once you’re there?

  4. Linda,
    It’s nice to see that you’re back in commission! The photos over the last few weeks have been spectacular! Of course, I’m partial to environmental scenes and wildlife. Truly you have some amazing shots from your Alaska vacation.

    Keep up the good work…I’m addicted now.

    Your little sister…..

  5. Well, these are simply spectacular shots! I love them all! Great job.

  6. Wonderful shots and storyline of Mt. McKinley.

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