Dean M. Chriss
Reflection Near Tazlina Lake, Alaska

Reflection Near Tazlina Lake, 1984, Alaska

(Click image to enlarge)

I can remember seeing the perfect reflection shining like a beacon in the dark foliage, as if illuminated from within. It may still be the most perfect reflection I have seen. I raced to capture it before it was destroyed by a light sprinkle, a breeze, a duck, or some other animal. I also remember being afraid that the heavy clouds might part to expose the sun directly in front of me. I did my best to photograph the scene but ultimately believed the shot was a failure. Forty years later I can't remember why.

The film on which this photograph was captured lurked in boxes and filing cabinets for roughly 37 years before it was scanned, stored digitally, and the film thrown away. There was always something about this image that I liked. That's the only reason I went to the trouble of scanning it instead of throwing it away unscanned with tens of thousands of others. In 2024 a little memory loss makes the image seem pretty good for it's vintage. I guess time really does heal all wounds.

As long as I'm trying to remember things, I still recall the bone chillingly cold wet day, the smell of the damp air, and the powder blue junker I rented from a no-name, off-airport agency. The old Chrysler had lots of dents and and was built long before I rented it. It was incredibly expensive to rent a car in Alaska at the time and this one was much more reasonable. I drove it thousands of miles, often on roads that no car should travel. I wanted to drive north of the arctic circle, but fell short by around 80 km (50 miles), making it only a bit north of the Yukon River. It was my first trip to Alaska, and for the most part a very memorable one.