Images from Wrangell St. Elias National Park
The historic Kennecott mine, near the confluence of the Root and Kennecott Glaciers, is a marvel of engineering. Not only did the mine require the laying of 196 miles of railway, some 15% of that on trestles, but it looks like a carpenter’s version of Jenga. In operation from 1911 to 1938, the company mined copper, occasionally mining Chalcocite, a mineral comprising of nearly 70% copper and weighing significantly more than an average stone of equal size. Meagan and I took advantage of the park’s policy of allowing rock collection .
Small-town Alaska can be a strange place. Despite Talkeetna’s high rate of tourist turnover, they have still kept, if not increased, their strangeness. One thing they have in spades, though, is hospitality. Where else would more than one person offer an unclaimed mattress laying out in a back alley to a weary traveler? I wandered the (street)s of Talkeetna for a day after my field season ended and crew had left town. I was waiting for my sister and her husband with their band, St. Animal in tow, to come down and play at the local Mountain High Pizza Pie restaurant; a great way for me to unwind after a busy summer. I split most my time between staring at the wonderful view of Denali from the junction between the Susitna and Talkeetna rivers, and making a name for myself with the locals as the guy who sits on all the business porches for hours waiting for something(?) while watching all the tourists walk down the middle of the streets lost in either Disneyland flashbacks or doing an excellent job of recreating a Hollywood zombie movie. When not doing either of these things, I found myself trying to fill a void in my stomach at many of the excellent local eateries, (OK, mostly pubs) after too much hiking . I must say, not a bad weekend…
For me, summer is a time of chaos, long hours, travel, and moments of serenity found in nature. These are a sampling of images that tell a story of the first half of my summer field season. As a geologist for the State of Alaska I was fortunate to explore the Western Alaska Range’s Styx River and Kuskokwim River regions by foot and by helicopter. There really is no better way to see the state. We were based out of the historic Rainy Pass Lodge, one of the oldest lodges in the state and also one of the first checkpoints on the iconic Iditarod dog sled race.
These last few weeks have been very busy and exciting. I had my first two weddings of the season in the beginning of July and have been busy processing and editing all of the images for the happy couples. It has been refreshing meeting so many wonderful people at the weddings and I couldn’t have asked for a more fun group of people! Thank you to both of the families as well who were so excited and helped to make the days unforgettable.
Since the bulk of my image work is done I thought I would share with you all some of my favorites. These are by no means all of my favorites but it is a good selection none the less.
If you are interested in a photographer for your wedding, please contact me
One of the nice things about living a little ways outside of town in Alaska is that you are occasionally greeted by wildlife in your yard. This year we have had a momma moose and her two yearlings stop in now and again to munch on some of the alder trees we have on our property. The other day I took the opportunity to take some close shots of the mom without her being alarmed by my presence (from out our house window).
After she became accustomed to the sound of my shutter she soon relaxed and continued to peruse our great selection of herbivore delights. This continued for around 20 minuted before she decided that she would take a moment to herself and lie down. Nothing like a nap after a good meal! She gave us a great yawn that had both Meagan and I laughing despite trying to keep quite. Her rest was short lived however as her two adolescent children came crashing through the woods towards her demanding that they move on.
It was a nice moment to share with the mother moose and a reminder of how important it is that we learn to respect and share the land with all the species that coexist within it.
When most people think of water in their homes they give very little thought to how it got there. Why would they, aside from knowing that it is drinkable the process for which it got there is probably very uninteresting. In Alaska however, people take a very hands on approach when it comes to their drinking water. Littered throughout the state and in many different settings there are watering holes. These watering holes can come in many different shapes and sizes from large banks of pumps where one can drive up and fill 250 gallon tank in the back of their truck, to small pipes stuck into the hillside were a spring slowly fills a 5 gallon jug. The idea is all the same, good clean water that you know exactly were it came from, your local watering hole. I wanted to share with you a few photos of my favorite watering hole near Fairbanks, Alaska.
The Fox water shelter has been around for many years and has seen some improvements over the years as well. It started out as a small pipe you could hold a jug under, and is now a nice shelter complete with a holding tank and two dispensers. One thing hasn’t changed though, the people you meet there are friendly and will not think twice about holding a conversation with you. That’s because they’re your neighbors, it doesn’t matter if you don’t live across the street, when you are at the Fox watering hole you might as well.
Now it might seem strange to some people that Alaskan’s go through so much trouble to get water when they can just turn the faucet on right? …Wrong. Due to the remoteness, cold weather, and expense of putting in a well or water tank, many of us Alaskan’s simply do without. And why not, you wont miss it when you hear about your friend who’s heat quit and he ended up with a nasty flood when the heat came on and revealed all his burst water lines.
I took these shots after work when I got the idea to go and photograph common places for locals that would seem uncommon to many others. I took along my new wireless flash triggers that I mentioned in my previous post which allowed me to get creative with the lighting. By placing a flash behind the half wall on the ground I was able to illuminate the inside of the shelter and show the people filling up even though I was loosing sun light (it is only February in Alaska).
Oct. 6th at 10:45 A.M. the first snowflakes fell at my house. Winter is truly here. Here are some images of this fall and the change in seasons we have been experiencing. Here’s to looking forward to a great winter. Which I heard on the radio today is going to be one of the strongest la ninas in 60 or so years meaning a cold dry winter for us interior Alaskans and a great ski year for those in Utah and Montana!
Well I have finally gotten around to integrating my blog and my website. The idea will be to keep everyone informed in a way that won’t require looking at multiple sites. I used a round about method called simplepie, because it is as simple as pie of course, but let me tell you for an amateur self taught web designer like myself, it took me all day to set this one up. Although it turned out the real problem was that feedburner.com and simplepie do not get along really well and so in order for me to get full text rss I had to send my feeds through a 3rd party rss full text creator.
For anyone looking to create a website with no background knowledge of how to do so, and simply trying to do it on your own with no help/classes, I would recommend having a lot of time on your hands. And occasionally putting on some nice music and grabbing a glass of wine when you are really hitting a bog.
All that aside I would really like to hear what you all think of the new look. Do you like it more? Is it easier to navigate the site? What would you like to see to make it better? Let me know, all of your comments would be appreciated.
I hope you can all get out and enjoy what we have left of summer