iPhone roadtrip: Fairbanks to Whistler

I recently returned home from a road trip through Canada, south through Washington, Oregon and California, then north through Nevada, Utah, Montanan, Washington and Canada again.

Because of the quickness both in taking and sharing pictures I really embraced my camera phone on this trip. This is the first of likely a half-dozen posts chronicling the road trip from my iPhone.

All these were featured on my Instagram account, follow me @rwoodpix to see what other adventures I embark on this summer.

The first leg of the trip was roughly 2000 miles, from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Whistler, British Columbia, to do some snowboarding. This first post features shots from the road.

Fantastic Weather, Fun Skiing in Fairbanks.

Above: Snow-covered spruce trees lead to a hill north of Fairbanks briefly blanketed by the golden glow of sunrise.

While much of North America is recovering from the recent polar vortex, Fairbanks has been experience lovely weather. Temperatures were above zero degrees fahrenheit for much of December and January, including plenty of balmy days up into the 20-degree range. Not to say we haven’t had cold weather – last weekend was 40-below – but it has felt pretty mild so far.

All that warm weather was ideal for cross-country skiing. Nordic skiing is easily one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors while getting a killer workout.

One of the outings was directed toward a frozen pond (in the summer nothing more then a swamp,) overlooked by a old cabin on the bank. Whispery clouds provided a canvas for the pink and orange sunset to blanket.

An old cabin at sunset just north of Fairbanks Alaska, Jan. 2, 2014

An old cabin at sunset just north of Fairbanks Alaska, Jan. 2, 2014

Closeup of an old cabin.

Closeup of an old cabin.

 

Beginning of Ski Season – Weekly Photo Challenge

Above: A quiet and foggy beginning to the 2013-2014 season at Skiland. December 7, 2013 at 10:12 a.m.

December 7, 2013, marked the start of the downhill season at Skiland – the farthest-north chairlift in North America. Opening day is often a mad dash; wake up after a party; corral people, some gear, and grub; then try to get there for first run at 10 a.m., because last run comes quick at 2:30 p.m.

This year was relaxed, waxed boards the night before and went to bed at a reasonable time. The next day lots of clouds made visibility difficult, but unseasonably warm temperatures – over 10 degrees fahrenheit – complemented  a snowpack that hide reasonable numbers of rocks! 

Not much lifts the spirits in dark and typically cold December then an early opening at the downhill. Here’s a few examples of rapidly-changing light from the chairlift. 

Drone photos above Fairbanks

Above: Farmers Loop road cuts across the frame in this view of the hills north of Fairbanks. My friends and I are the three small dots almost in the center of the frame – as seen from Dog Mushers Hall.

A friend of mine has been using drones for research and testing, so we took it out a few weeks ago for reconnaissance. The roughly two-foot wide, four propeller remote control unit is impressive – and difficult to keep track of in flat lighting. A few times we had to chase after it to verify which way the directional beacons were facing.

It’s great to get different perspectives, and drones offer a fantastic vantage point – not just reasons to worry about privacy. With that said, the presence of drones will only grow, and quickly. New laws and regulations must accompany the metaphorical and physical rise of unmanned aerial vehicles.

A colorful drone takes off amid a gray day, Nov. 9, 2013.

Drone and GoPro take off amid a gray day, Nov. 9, 2013.

The view south toward Fairbanks, from Dog Mushers Hall.

The view south toward Fairbanks includes two dogs and two dog walkers, taken above Dog Mushers Hall.

My backyard, Birch Hill in the background.

My backyard, Birch Hill in the background.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mt. Rainier Horizions.

Above: A riverbed in late fall offers little more then a creek winding into Mt. Rainier.

The horizon, like the end of a rainbow, is unreachable. Constantly changing – expanding and contracting, becoming more open or more obscured. Horizons inspire adventures and dreams, spawn stunning sunsets and create wonders. 

Horizon is also the weekly photo challenge. 

Paradise, located 5,400 feet up Washington’s Mt. Rainer, can supply spectacular views. As well as keep them completely hidden. I got a taste of both possibilities hiking there August, 2012. 

Clouds lift, if only for a moment, to reveal a expansive view.

Clouds lift, if only for a moment, to reveal a expansive view.

This time clouds descended to create a more abstract horizon line.

This time clouds descended to create a more abstract horizon line.

Again clouds create the horizon, no panorama today.

Again clouds create the horizon, no panorama today. Panorama Point, elevation 6,800 feet. 

Post Number 100!

Above: Heidi in the Hood, a selectively-saturated portrait.

It sounds and feels like a lot – this is my 100th post. Thanks to everyone who visits! I have spent a lot of time running Far North Light and loved every minute. It’s great to have so many people show an interest in seeing things through my lens for a little while.

To commemorate 100 posts I have made major formatting changes. Most notable is the blogs appearance, it now includes a homepage with a slideshow, and will in the future include more galleries and portfolios. Please check out my updated about page as well.

I decided there would be no better way to mark 100 posts then to revisit some of the most popular. Note: as this is the second incarnation of Far North Light some of the images were not previously on the blog, but needed to be revisited regardless.

Do you have a favorite photo that I didn’t include in the best-of? Let me know and I’ll make a follow-up post.

Strange Day was the first 4×5 large-format negative I ever took, and one of my first images ever accepted into a juried art show. The following image is a scanned silver-gelatin fibre print. If I knew how I achieved such black clouds, I would tell you.

Strange Day

Strange Day

Stange Day was taken at Creamers Field, which was a diary farm and is now a migratory wildfowl refuge, and one of my favorite places to photograph. It’s excellent for everything from landscapes to portraits. The next is a wind drift closeup from Creamers, also 4×5.

Wind Drift

Wind Drift

 

I don’t often go in search of wildlife, but when given the opportunity do photograph it.

Migrating Canada geese.

Migrating Canada geese.

One of my favorite posts is from Halloween 2012. 

Ravens play on a windy Halloween day.

Ravens play on a windy Halloween day.

No compilation post about photography would be complete without some of my photojournalism. From Oct. 17, 2012

Research Vessel Sikuliaq gets its first taste of the water, Marinette, Wis.

Research Vessel Sikuliaq gets its first taste of the water, Marinette, Wis.

And from my coverage of presidential candidate Ron Paul’s visit to Fairbanks.

Ron Paul visists Fairbanks, Alaska.

Ron Paul speaks in Fairbanks, March 4, 2011.

As I’m sure is obvious this is but a small collection of the posts and stories I’ve shared. Many of my personal favorites I put into the homepage slide show. I hope you enjoyed, and stay tuned for many more images!

Day Bike in Denali Nat’l Park

Saturday, May 25, a group of friends and I did an out-and-back from Savage River, 12 miles into the park. Completely clear skies allowed the sun and cool air to compliment each other nicely. We split into two groups part-way through, and mine made it a few miles past the mostly frozen Teklanika River. The frozen river is a reminder that weather near the tallest peak in North America is very dynamic.

Savage River, as far as the public is allowed to drive.

Savage River, as far as the public is allowed to drive.

Visitors can bus, bike or simply hike into the park.

Visitors can bus, bike or simply hike into the park.

Snow and melt water were both prevalent, and crews were on hand to try and keep them heading the right directions.

Road work crew.

Road work crew.

This includes keeping culverts clear of ice, which can be a tricky operation.

Deeper then expected.

Deeper then expected.

We started at 11, and biked roughly 50 miles before returning just before 6 p.m. A fantastic time to bike, but difficult time to photograph. But this trip was about having a good time with friends, and we managed to meet up right before the final uphill, before relaxing and snacking at the top.

Left to right: Charlie, Louise, Denali, Nick, Robin and David.

Left to right: Charlie, Louise, Denali, Nick, Robin and David.

Budding pussy willows with Denali in the background.

Budding willows with Denali in the background.