Animal Eyes at the Marlin

Music, Photography

My annual summer hiatus from blogging is nearing an end. Though with the record-setting rain Fairbanks had this summer, as reported by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, I easily could have found more time for blogging. Thanks to all those who continued to visit.

Animal Eyes is a Portland-based band comprised entirely of members from Alaska, who all met in Portland. It’s a small world. They rocked hard and long, during this June 31 concert at local dive bar The Marlin.

Animal Eyes performs at The Marlin on June 31, 2014.

Animal Eyes performs at The Marlin on June 31, 2014.

Lights strung around The Marline during an Animal Eyes concert.

Lights strung around The Marlin during an Animal Eyes concert.

Yukon Quest day one

Alaska, Photography, Sports, Street

Above: Straight down view from the parking garage during the start of the 2014 Yukon Quest international sled dog race.

The Yukon Quest kicked off February 1, a world famous 1,000 mile sled dog race between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon.  Dog teams pull sleds and handlers along the namesake Yukon River, up and down summits and through treacherous trails in some of the worst weather imaginable. A true endeavor for dog and man alike.

The race alternates start and finish between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, this year was Fairbanks. The Chena River in downtown Fairbanks is the usual starting spot, but due to unseasonably warm temperatures the ice was deemed unstable and the race started on 2nd Avenue. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people lined the street to send off racers.

I wasn’t on assignment so I casually photographed the race from the top of the parking garage. I love the chance to combine rugged dog mushing with a city scape – particularly from a high perspective. 

Fantastic Weather, Fun Skiing in Fairbanks.

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Travel

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.

 

Music Monday: Thought Trade on Alaska Live

Black & White, Music, Photography, Portraits

Above: Thought Trade warms up for their performance on Alaska Live in the KUAC studios. Left to right: Daniel Opgenorth, Casey Smith, Travis Burrows, Sabe Flores, and Patrick Mailloux. 

Fairbanks band Thought Trade was featured on locally produced Alaska Live on June 26, 2013.Given the right mood their fluid, rhythmic, stream-of-conscinouse style of playing can put one into a trance. Listen for yourself to the Alaska Live podcast, or check out their blog with interesting insight and links to more music. 

Thought Trade sound check. Nine people and lots of gear in a petite room.

Thought Trade sound check. Nine people and lots of gear in a petite room.

WPC: Costumed Community of Music Lovers

Alaska, Music, Photography, Portraits

The photos are dated, but the weekly photo challenge of “community” is a good opportunity to post them.

A costumed community of musicians and dancers joined together the Saturday after halloween for some dancing to Steve Brown and the Bailers. These like-minded people – in spirit, enthusiasm and search of enjoyment – joined together for the night to make a very welcoming community. 

Hope my fellow wordpress community and beyond enjoy!

Litte Daylight, Cold Temperatures, A Long Ski.

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Sports, Travel

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.

At exactly noon, the sun is already hidden behind some trees, with a frozen lake in the foreground.

At exactly noon the sun is already hidden behind trees, with a frozen pond in the foreground.

At 12:16 p.m. some of the only direct sunlight to be had.

At 12:16 p.m. some of the only direct sunlight to be had.

Nick pauses partway into a long uphill on a cold cross-country ski.

Nick pauses partway into a long uphill on a cold cross-country ski.

Sporting thick  fur mittens and hauling a moose skull, the only person we encountered on the 6-hour ski said “you have a ways to go.” Taken 2:21p.m., Nov. 30, 2013.

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. 

iPhone photos – dragonflies, logs and a dog. Oh my!

Alaska, Black & White, Iphone, Photography, Portraits

Time for another iPhone photo collection. For me iPhones are true slivers of life. It could be my other camera is just out of reach, or I need to be quick – dramatic light in a restaurant or a dragonfly landing on my leg. My favorite is attempting to capture the impromptu; that picture that must be shot out of a car window with little time for composition, a logging truck or a man and his dog.

Denali and Fairbanks

Denali and Fairbanks at Dusk

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

Above: Denali – the tallest mountain in North America – is silhouetted at sunset as city lights from Fairbanks begin to shine. A 15-second exposure created the long tail of smoke leaving the power plant. November 20, 2013, 

Winter in Fairbanks is a double-edged sword. The clear days with stunning views are often some of the coldest. The low temperature was -32 degrees fahrenheit the night I took this photo, 2 years and 2 days after I took this similar photo.

Luckily one of the grandest sights is easily seen about 7 miles north of town, on the Steese Highway.

Drone photos above Fairbanks

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

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.

iPhone Photos

Alaska, Iphone, Photography, Street, Travel

I have been pretentious when it comes to phone cameras. Always the last one I go for, often forgetting I have it.

That’s unfair of me. Camera phones continue to change our world in ways we can’t predict or fully understand.  The ease, concealment and wide-spread use share the world more then any medium before. From pets to people, welcome parties to war zones, the game has changed.

“You finally have a video technology that can fit into the palm of one person’s hand, and what the person can capture can end up around the world,” James E. Katz is quoted saying in a 2011 New York Times article.

Here’s an edit of some of my iPhone images.