I spent two weeks in Alaska in September 2016 and did my best to see and photograph as much of the USA’s 49th, and biggest state, as time and road access would allow.
Alaska Is Huge.
Alaska is an absolutely massive state – the biggest in the US, by far, at an area of 663,300 mi² (Texas ranks second, with an area of 268,597 mi² – less than half that of Alaska). Most standard maps don’t really represent Alaska’s physical area well in comparison to the rest of the United States. It’s much easier to understand the hugeness of Alaska by overlaying it on the contiguous 48 states, like so:
Alaska is Wild.
Not only is Alaska big, it’s also very wild, and many areas are not fully developed. Most of the state, aside from its southeast quadrant, is not at all accessible by road, and is only reachable by plane and/or boat. Alaska’s interstate system is shown on the map below in yellow.
Looks like a small portion of the state, but given the scale of Alaska, it’s still a huge area. I drove almost the entire interstate system in Alaska in my two weeks there, and put nearly 3000 miles on my rental car in that short time. I entered Alaska by car from Yukon province of Canada, and my route looked something like this:
Tok -> Anchorage/Girdwood -> Seward -> Homer -> Girdwood/Anchorage -> Denali State Park -> Denali National Park -> Fairbanks -> Glennallen -> Girdwood/Anchorage -> Whittier -> Anchorage
I knew very little about touring Alaska when I arrived, but quickly found that Alaska.org has solid information on just about everything a first-time visitor would need to know, from boat tours of the Kenai Fjords National Park to viewpoints of Denali, and tips on how to see the northern lights (aurora borealis). It’s a well-organized, easy to navigate site and I can’t recommend it enough.
Despite often rainy and overcast conditions, I did my best to shoot more or less every day I was out, and came back with a number of photos I’m quite happy with. Here they are, in date/time order.
Two Weeks in Alaska: Selected Photos
I shot the majority of my trip with the following equipment:
- Nikon D610
- Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
- Nikkor 70-200mm f4G VR
- Ricoh GR
- Sirui T-1205X Carbon Fiber Tripod + Arca Swiss p0 ball head with a Really Right Stuff B2-40-LR-M6 Lever-release clamp.
- Mindshift Gear Backlight 26L backpack (new for this trip)
- batts, filters, cleaning supplies, etc.
See Matt’s Photo Gear List for Travel for more information on what photography gear I use and why.
Thanks for reading / viewing!