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Arctic Nightmare

Arctic Nightmare
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 1994-08
Categories: River
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Earth from Above [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-10-18 10:55
Viewed: 5523
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
For today's posting I have moved a long way north - to the far north of Canada and a long back in time to 1994. This is a scanned slide taken with a Pentax Z1.

I found this landscape disconcerting/creepy at the time (in fact, after this flight, we drove to LA - via a few national parks). I could imagine getting lost here and never finding my way out - the ice creates a mass of channels and lakes quite unlike a river delta in temperate climates.

The Mackenzie River (French: Fleuve Mackenzie) originates in Great Slave Lake, in the Northwest Territories, and flows north into the Arctic Ocean. It is the longest river in Canada at 1,738 km and, together with its headstreams the Peace and the Finlay, the longest river in North America at 4,241 km in length. The Mackenzie and its tributaries drain 1,805,200 square kilometers. Its mean discharge is 9,700 cubic metres per second.

The large marshy delta of the Mackenzie River provides habitat for migrating Snow Geese, Tundra Swans (we saw several), and Brent Geese as well as breeding habitat for other waterfowl. The estuary is a calving area for Beluga whales.

The river is navigable for approximately five months of the year. It freezes over in October and the ice on the river breaks up in May. During the winter months, sections of the river are used as an ice road.

During the ice-free period the river is navigable over its entire length. Barge traffic from an intermodal hub at the railhead at Hay River serves much of the Western Arctic.

The Mackenzie (previously Disappointment River) was named after Alexander Mackenzie, who travelled the river while trying to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1789. In the Dene languages it is called Deh Cho.

The divide between the Mackenzie basin and the basin of the Yukon River to the west forms the central portion of the boundary between Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

nglen, gracious, joey, lovenature, haraprasan, anel, SelenE, Heaven, SunToucher, Alex99, cicindela, XOTAELE, Evelynn has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
very cold placeswinterpalace 1 12-14 02:27
To Heaven: WorkshopJamesp 1 10-19 09:14
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-10-18 11:05]

Hi James. What a stunning view you had . this is a once in a life time picture. you may have taken it some 13 years ago but its still of a very high standard. such fantastic shapes . TFS.and interesting notes to go with it.

Hello James,
Awesome lighting and pattern so beautifully captured!
perfect sharpness, vivid colour and details
very pleasing photo

Hi James!

A real beauty, this landscape! I like it very much for its artistic and abstract aspect. The shapes and the lighting are amazing. From my point of view, I would crop the upper part with the sky and only show the patterns...

Well seen, well done!

Kind regards


  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-10-18 12:14]

Interesting shot with great POV. Well done!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-10-18 12:39]

Woah! Pretty impressive view! It would be very scary to get lost in this maze of rivers and lakes.
Excellent capture that gives a sense of distance and awe.
+++ Well composed with a pretty straight horizon. Stunning lighting and I love the flare in the bottom-right. Great contrast.
--- Nothing ;)
Very well done James and thankyou for adding me as a favourite,
Joe :D

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-10-18 20:41]

Hi James

Looks amazing from the sky though ,it looks artistic.The shot is well composed with very good focus and details.I knew Canada was dotted with lakes and rivers but I never imagined it like this.Thanks for showing me my own country.TFS


Hi James,
Simply a stupendous capture of this beautiful scenery. Lovely composition with very nice colors. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-10-19 1:34]

hello James,
Amazing again! I just wondered at the beginning what it was. Looked like a floral design. I just look and contemplate what wonderflul shapes and forms nature can design. Very interesting note too.
Thanks a lot

Hi James.
That is amazing, not much land between all the waterways and lakes, bit scary thinking global warming, I would imagine alot more land will be under water.
An interesting excersise would be to take another photo in flight, same time of the year, same place, just to see what the patterns are now 13 years later.
Very interesting, TFS


it looks so easy at times to envisage ones position from the air but on the ground the local heights take over and all you can see is a few metres around
this does make the mind feel insecure at the perplexity and mazelike convolutions of the waterways..even if in a powered boat i think one would run out of fuel long before reaching the 'exit'
good archival stuff transparencies and you have got a presentable scan from it..
definately this shot is a case for GPS navigation

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-10-19 13:51]

Hi James,
It's a beautiful view. Patterns are very interesting. Very good composition and lighting.TFS
Have a nice weekend

Hi James,
What a stunning landscape. Your birdeye view showed what beauty nature can produce and would not have been seen if not taken from a plane. The different patterns of the rivers and lakes is beautiful, but the sunlight reflecting of it makes it even better. I can just imagine getting lost in a canoe navigating this maze.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-10-21 8:07]

Hi James.
Unusual POV, view and so wonderful picture with amazing combination of lights, reflections and dark. Crisp sharpness of the image and wonderful framing. Bravo and TFS.

Hello again James!
And again a beautiful bird POV showing amazing beauty of nature! I had oportunity to see some regions of Arctic from the plane but never something like this. Beautiful presentation, even if a little to dark for me in the left corner :)
Best withes from rather warmer place ;)

Preciosos dibujos los realizados por la naturaleza y que tú has captado en tu fotografía.
Se aprecia la curva del horizonte.
Saludos, JL.

amazing landscape, TFS Ori

Hi James,
I was just looking at some of your photos of my continent. I came across too many that I know I had critiqued but obviously never hit the ADD button! I tend to do that. This is one of those I know I would have critiqued because the Mackenzie Delta is one place I always regretted not flying over. We drove to Inuvik about 28+ years ago. We were among the first 10 to make the drive and one of only three to make it back out without major incident... actually the only one to not encounter real difficulties. That is if you don't count sliding all the way down a hill in torrential rains and sliding right onto the ferry just when the drunk captatin managed to line the boat up with the ramp for a brief few seconds. Anyway I really wanted to fly out from Inuvik to Tucktiuktuk, but we had our dog with us and I wasn't about to leave her with anyone in Inuvik. It was a bit rough in those days. Anyway I like your photo and love the light.

Evelynn : )

Hi James

Incredible, artistic view of a forbidding place.The non-ending view of this wilderness injects ones admiration for the explorers in old times, who had no modern communication or help.



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