Alaska’s Tongass

I have just wrapped a large assignment for the U.S. Forest Service photographing our largest national forest and one of the most impressive places in world.

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by · Posted in: new images · wilderness

If you've been watching this blog or the Facebook page this summer, you know I've been working on a pretty big project for the National Forest Service in southeast Alaska. The job was a federal contract to create a body of work representing the Tongass National Forest. It has been one of the most interesting and rewarding assignments I have shot.

Had you had asked me what I expected last winter when we started planning the project, I would have told you I expected to see a lot of big spruce trees. Period. Like most people, I had a few vague impressions of steep, foggy coastlines and a few equally foggy details about environmental controversies surrounding timber and wilderness, but I didn't understand the immensity and diversity of this place.

The job is finished and though I've been from Yakutat to Misty Fjords and have seen the forest from boats, kayaks, planes, and on foot, I still feel like I've barely scratched the surface. To 'cover' the Tongass is simply not possible. No matter how much you think you've seen, there will always be more. It's not just the size—though at 17 million acres, the size is overwhelming. What makes it inexhaustible is the ecological variety, rich history, and the people who truly live in and depend on the forest. For a photographer, the Tongass could easily become a lifetime obsession. I expect I'll be back. In the mean time I've put up a small gallery of highlights here:

Photos: Tongass National Forest

To learn more about the forest:
USFS Tongass National Forest
Wilderness Society
Salmon in the Trees, photographer Amy Gulick's project on the Tongass