The long overdue official renaming of Mount McKinley to Denali, Alaska, and the resulting outcry from the State of Ohio (the birthplace of President McKinley), puts me in mind of my fine art poster Denali, the Great One, Alaska, published in the 1980s.
Denali, the Great One, Alaska was one of a trio of fine art graphic posters that I self-published as Wilderness Studio, Inc., following licensing and publication of my artwork first by Modernart Editions, then Bruce McGaw Graphics and Dryden Gallery. This initial trio included The Dance of Spring is the Dance of Life, and all three were wildly successful. In fact, thousands of copies of Denali, the Great One, Alaska went to Alaska, where they were sold by the leading chain of framing stores to locals and tourists alike.
This image of Denali was photographed from Wonder Lake, pretty much from the position of the famous Ansel Adams image, in the middle of the long sub-arctic summer night with faint alpenglow still illuminating Denali. The perspicacious viewer will note that the moon is wrongly sized and wrongly positioned relative to Denali. In the pre-Photoshop era I accomplished this visual sleight-of-hand using an in-camera double exposure. The landscape of Denali was photographed with a 35mm lens, I moved the camera, and photographed the moon on the same piece of film using a 200mm lens.
Obviously, were I able to be in the same position and to remake this image today, I wouldn’t need to resort to the rather incredible legerdemain implied by aligning two exposures with different lenses in-camera. But I would need to think ahead enough to make all the captures I might eventually need to post-process the image in keeping with my vision.
Actually, the biggest impediment to making this image were the mosquitoes, which around Wonder Lake assumed legendary Alaskan proportions. I had driven up the Alaskan Highway in my old 1960s Volvo Station wagon, which even then was an antique, and I got permission to drive it down the Denali road, and to camp at Wonder Lake until the light was right for me to photograph. But the full tale of my Alaskan adventures is a different story for another day.
By the way, in the years since The Dance of Spring and Denali, the Great One I have continued to create poster art. Giving me the sense that there may be some continuity in life and art, a great company that was a big distributor of my Wilderness Studio posters, Editions Limited, has published my posters recently. Click here to see my posters that Editions Limited has recently published.