Monthly Archives: September 2011

Heaphy journeys the seasons in the upper Yukon River valley

Yukon River

Sun-bathed fall images exalt the upper Yukon River valley before yielding to the black and white grip of a six-month winter.


Brian Heaphy, Featured Artist

Brian Heaphy, Featured Artist

“I primarily shoot river scapes and, as such, I spend much of my summers camping along the Yukon River and its tributary streams.

This, of course, means that I am greatly skilled at swatting mosquitoes and sitting in the rain for hours while waiting for the sun to come out!  It has its moments indeed, but, I do treasure the experience.

I practice a very unique subsistence lifestyle here in the remote upper  Yukon River valley of interior Alaska. It takes me an hour to hike into the nearest tiny town in order to access satellite telephone and internet services.

As a “one-man-band,” getting ready for winter here is a full-time job.  Doing things the “old-fashioned way” takes time.  When temperatures plunge to minus 50,60, or 70° F with only two hours of daylight, a person really has to have their act together!

Yukon River

Refracted light creates tones of warming color as winter approaches the upper Yukon River valley. Uncommon and fleeting, such moments add striking contrast to the reality of the season.

I have been richly blessed with the skills, abilities, and opportunity to live as I do. As one might suspect, however, my success has come only at the cost of a great deal of sacrifice and a fair amount of self-imposed discomfort. Nonetheless, I consider those costs a very fair exchange for the personal growth which I have experienced along the way.  The unforeseen gift of a strong and growing personal faith has been the icing on the cake.

There are very few people left on this planet who live as I do. It is a very arduous routine but the pay-off comes in the form of increased discernment and “crystal vision.”  That is to say that a person quickly learns to differentiate between those things which matter and those which do not, as well as those things which one can live without and those which one cannot. It is extremely satisfying and purposeful to be able to live and move at the speed of creation.

Yukon River

Placid waters combine with the gentle sweep of the country to extend an irresistible invitation to pause and admire.


For someone who originally grew up in the northwest hills of New England, and who graduated from Annapolis with a degree in engineering, I could not have landed any farther from those beginnings!

I can honestly say however, that it has always been my heart’s desire to find a niche such as the one which I now treasure.  All of my previous pursuits and occupations have effectively combined to prepare me for the demands of my present circumstances.  Amazingly, it has all “added up!”

See “Creation Pictured at its Best,” photographer, Brian Heaphy’s upper Yukon River valley seasonal river scapes, at Eagle’s Eye Limited Prints and Images.

More about Brian Heaphy

Fall/Winter Featured Artist, Brian Heaphy

Brian Heaphy

Brian Heaphy

Former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Officer, Federal Officer, and Wilderness Guide, Brian Heaphy, now makes his home in Alaska’s remote upper Yukon River valley.  While practicing a subsistence lifestyle, he photographs Creation and writes about “Living on purpose at the speed of life.” TM

Brian grew up in northwest Connecticut and went on to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD with a degree in engineering.  After receiving his commission as a Naval Officer, he completed Basic Underwater Demolition / S.E.A.L. training and then made three consecutive deployments to the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia.


Koyuk, Brian Heaphy's pack dog.

As platoon commander, he led each of three S.E.A.L. platoons through the conduct of numerous Naval Special Warfare operations. While overseas, Brian’s childhood dreams of someday living a homestead lifestyle in the bush country of Alaska incubated far beyond his comfort level.  Happy to still be alive, and relatively uninjured upon completion of his obligated service, Brian resigned his commission and moved north to Alaska to begin work as a river guide.

Brian has since lived and worked in remote locations across the State of Alaska from the Bering Sea to the border of Canada’s Yukon Territory.  Included among these places which Brian often refers to as “the best of what’s left on the planet Earth,” are the Kenai River in the Kenai Wildlife Refuge, the Chulitna River in Lake Clark National Preserve, the Kanektok River in the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, and the upper Yukon River and its tributaries in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.

Brian Heaphy's home in the upper Yukon River valley

Brian Heaphy's home in the upper Yukon River valley

Only recently has Brian advanced his creative pastime of wilderness river scape photography to the professional business level.  For many years, he chose to share his images with others as gifts in the forms of hand-fashioned prints and greeting cards.

Along the way, however, comments and compliments from myriad friends, relatives, and associates caused him to consider the possibility of a formal career in photography.  The interest and prompting of several world-class artists and photographers finally convinced Brian to take the next step and begin taking pictures “for real.”

Split Chum Salmon

Split chum salmon drying for dog food.




Brian’s work is currently on display in prominent gift shops, fine art galleries, and museums across Alaska.

Brian Heaphy’s photography is also available for viewing and internet sales at: Eagle’s Eye Limited Prints and Images.


Experience the seasons with Brian Heaphy, Photographer in the upper Yukon River valley.