Posted on December 17, 2013
Above: At 10:28 a.m. the sun has yet to rise above tree line, snow can be seen blowing off peaks in the Alaska Range. Elliott Highway, 37 miles north of Fairbanks.
It was an… ambitious adventure. Nordic ski 14 miles into Colorado Creek Cabin, in White Mountains National Recreation Area, starting about 55 miles north of Fairbanks. Distance wasn’t the issue. The problem at hand was twofold: temperatures around -35 degrees fahrenheit, and less then 5 hours of daylight. Stopping more then 2 or 3 minutes meant quickly becoming chilled, and wasting precious daylight.
It’s fascinating to review the time-of-day pictures were shot, tracing the sun path.
By the time darkness really took hold Nick and I had just slogged up the final ascent. I was far too exhausted to stop and fumble with my camera, and risk chilling off again.
When not sleeping or eating the cabin was a blast, but the next day brought another 14-mile ski back. Luckily the return was all downhill.
Even two weeks later, as my blisters and frostbite continue to heal I wonder why we thought it would be a good idea. It really comes down to mind over matter, living in Alaska requires perseverance and toughness. Sometimes a little personal reminder is necessary.
Category: Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Sports, Travel Tagged: adventure, Alaska, art, Art Photography, Cold, Color, Color photography, Cross Country Ski, Daylight, Fairbanks, Interior alaska, Landscape, light writing, Nordic Ski, People, photo, photography, Skiing, Sun, travel, trees, Weather
Posted on April 17, 2013
The Northern Lights visited last weekend, thanks to a solar flare that sent charged particles towards Earth. In a news brief, alerting northern residents to the likely lights display, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner quoted a NASA scientist saying “This is the strongest flare seen so far in 2013.” It will likely be the last significant show of 2012-2013 winter, Fairbanks already has over 15 hours of sunlight, with dusk and dawn expanding far on either end.
I work late on the weekends, Friday night I had my tripod, but the lights weren’t very dramatic. Saturday night the lights were much stronger, but I foolishly was without tripod. I tried to find adequate surfaces to rest my camera and relied on the 2-second self timer, effective, but far from ideal.
Although April 10 recorded the strongest solar flare of the year, it did not produce the most dramatic lights I have seen this winter. Those came over the nights of March 16 and 17. I went out with a tripod that night.
Thanks to all the wonderful visitors I’ve had over the last few days. I’ve greatly enjoyed viewing your blogs as well.
Category: Alaska, Landscapes, Photography Tagged: 2-second self timer, Alaska, art, Art Photography, Aurora, Cold, Color, Color photography, Daylight, Fairbanks, Interior alaska, light writing, long-exposure, Northern Lights, photo, photography, radio tower, satellite-receiving dish, Satellites, Ski Boot Hill, snow, Solar Flares, The moon, tractor, Weather, Winter
Posted on April 11, 2013
It may be a little dated, but as I mentioned in my last post, winter has decided to stick around in Fairbanks. It was probably a lot nicer out Christmas day, 2012, then it is now in the middle of April.
I was capturing some of the gorgeous light from the sunset walking to my grandma’s house, just before 3 p.m., . Suddenly a pair of runners turned off a subdivision onto the main road. I had time to capture one frame as the ran off into the winter wonderland.
Category: Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Street Tagged: Alaska, art, Art Photography, Christmas, Cold, Color, Color photography, Fairbanks, lens flare, light writing, People, photo, photography, running, short days, snow, Steel Creek Rd., Sun set, trees, Weather, winter running, winter sun
Posted on March 6, 2013
First things first: A huge shout out to my friend and fellow (former) Fairbanks resident, Luke Smith, who is the skier in this weeks National Geographic Extreme Photo of the Week. Photographer Ryan Kruger captured Luke skiing Frazier Basin, Bridger Range, Montana.
Here’s the image, click the link above to see the full story. I especially like the delay between the initial viewing and noticing the skier, and of course, the monochromatic image.
Photographing skiing and snowboarding is a very delicate balance for me. Often my love for snowboarding overpowers my desire to take photos on the hill. It’s easy to worry about my camera, ducking under and squeezing through trees at Skiland, where I ride, and the fartherst north chairlift in North America.
I am becomming more comfortable with it though. The hardest part is forcing myself to be less agressive while riding.
While neither of my photos offer the extreme enviornment of Krueger’s, they have their own qualities. Both with a strong sense of light, the Sun peeking out behind my friends Nils and Nick in the first, illuminated hoar frost on the lift in the second. The first image is also a pan shot, my movement, parallel with the subjects, keeps them in focus while blurring the background.
Category: Alaska, Black & White, Photography, Portraits, Sports Tagged: Alaska, art, Art Photography, black and white, black and white photography, Bridger Range, camera, Cold, Color, Color photography, extreme, Extreme Photo of the Week, Fairbanks, farthest north in North America, Frazier Basin, hoar frost, illuminated, light writing, Luke Smith, Monochrome, Montana, Mt. Aurora, National geographic, pan, People, photo, photography, Ryan Krueger, Skiing, Skiland, skilift, snow, Snowboarding, Weather
Posted on December 5, 2012
For one reason or another, the northern lights are something I don’t photograph enough. Being a heavy film shooter until recent probably played a factor, digital cameras are more cooperative in cold weather. Cold, lack of tripod, poor location and early-morning hours have all played a role in deciding as well.
As the wind whistled and the lights danced overhead a few weeks ago, I said, “no excuses.” Less then a mile to get to my house I had a revelation: the hay field about half-a-mile up the road. Seems silly I had never though of it before. Not wanting to miss a second, I decided to forgo finding my tripod and zipped to the field. I used the two-second self timer and the roof of my car. Directly off Farmers Loop Rd. subsequent cars driving by helped illuminate the farm equipment and barn. Foreground helps any picture, especially northern lights.
The image is actually two pictures placed next to each other. Photomerge, which creates panoramas, wouldn’t blend the images. The color is off and the horizon isn’t perfect, but I like it.
Worth noting, the Big Dipper is noticeable, just up and to the left of the barn.
Posted on November 1, 2012
The wind whipped all Halloween. Soaring and swooping ravens took advantage of the strong drafts to have some fun. A flock of ravens is also called a murder, fitting for this last day of October.
Ravens have long held a place in lore. Tricksters and shape shifters are among the most common Alaska fables. Raven Steals The light is a popular North-West Native American story where the earth begins bathed in total darkness. Accounts vary, but the plot often involves the character of Raven pretending to be the grandson of an old man who holds all the light. Raven then steals it and shines it over earth and water.
“And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!” – Edgar Allen Poe
Here a murder of ravens flies above UAF. © Robin Wood
Category: Alaska, Black & White, Landscapes, Photography, Wildlife Tagged: "The Raven", Alaska, art, Art Photography, Birds, Cold, Color, Color photography, Edgar Allen Poe, Fairbanks, halloween, halloween murder, light writing, literature, murder, nature, photo, photography, Ravens, shape shifters, Silhouette, trees, UAF, Weather, wildlife, Wind
Posted on October 31, 2012
Winter has arrived. Sparkly-white snow dominates the landscape, already scarce daylight will continue to diminish and temperatures hitting negative numbers will likely drop another 50 degrees. Though these are conditions I have enjoyed my entire life thanks to stable housing and adequate clothing, not all do. My weekly photo challenge of “foreign” will focus on the life of those who do not.
Every year UAF takes part in National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. Volunteers stand outside all day, even camping in tents if UAF deems it’s not too cold, to raise awareness for the homeless in Alaska. I’m used to cold weather, but these people are brave.
Alaska has scary homeless statistics. According to University Alaska Anchorage Justice Center Alaska ranks 10th nationally for estimates of homeless people based off total population, one-quarter of one percent, and it’s rising quickly. When including those people who stay in shelters, with friends or in temporary housing the number is estimated at 4,500.
These pictures do not illustrate actual homeless people, just those trying to raise awareness. Perhaps I will use this occasion to find some truly homeless people in Fairbanks and document their trails and tribulations.
© Robin Wood
Category: Alaska, Photography, Portraits Tagged: Alaska, Art Photography, Cold, Color, Color photography, dark, Daylight, Fairbanks, Homelesness, Homeless, Hunger, journalism, light writing, National Homeless and Awareness Week, People, photo, photography, postaday, snow, sub-zero temperatures, UAF, University Alaska Fairbanks, Weekly photo challenge, Winter