Above: A small stream snakes through vibrant green moss on Mt. Rainier in Washington state. The picture reminds me how alive and diverse the mountain is, from the thunderous cracks and groans of enormous glaciers to the smallest bubbling stream sustaining a secluded ecosystem. The picture is a rough scan of color positive film, shot on Hasselblad.
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.
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.
I don’t often go in search of wildlife, but when given the opportunity do photograph it.
No compilation post about photography would be complete without some of my photojournalism. From Oct. 17, 2012
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!
First things first: My condolences go out to all those affected by today’s Boston Marathon tragedy. I have spent some time viewing photos and watching videos, it truly is horrific. I can’t imagine the utter shock and chaos felt during what should have been a time of jubilation.
I was riding my bike to school, just about this time in 2012, and stopped by Creamers Field to shoot some 35mm, B&W film. I happened upon an unexpected scene.
Fairbanks musician Tim Robb watched the arrival of Canada goose while practicing guitar, his dog in attendance. Robb is a very enjoyable, mellow yet enthusiastic musician. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner correctly critiques his work: “Robb… typically blurs the style lines through free-form interpretation and improvisation.”
I was worried I didn’t have anything for Music Monday, then I found these gems in my archives. The first image is a lesson in micro-composition. A few extra seconds in the viewfinder and I may have panned up and to the right, eliminating the rear-door handle and “Outback” emblem, at the same time getting all the lettering on the barn and the vents on the roof.
Solitary: being, living or going alone or without companions. The word instantly conjurs images of some distant wayfarer or contemplative individual. For this installment of the Weekly Photo Challenge, I will show you three of my interpretations of solitary, images I believe convey the mood through subject matter and compositional elements.
First: a very literal interpretation of solitary. In Denali National Park, a lone-grazing caribou is seen in vast tundra. I wont even begin to speculate on the distances, however it was shot with a 300MM telephoto lens on a Canon 7D. The importance of the 7D is the smaller APS-C sized sensor increases the 300MM lens to an effective focal length of 480MM! As focal length increases, the depth of a picture is flattened, making the relationships of everything seem closer.
In short, this caribou is very alone.
Please click on the images to view full size.
My second image is more metaphorically solitary. The model and her shadow are all the viewer has to dwell on. I think her gaze off the edge of the frame, often deemed poor composition because the viewer wonders what the subject is looking at, gives the feeling that there is nothing besides more wall, adding to the solitary feeling. Also helping is the edge of the 4×5 film, terminating any curiosity about what else there may be.
Finally a somber event that would leave anyone feeling solitary. A woman walks past a cutout to honor a victim of domestic violence. The plaque reads,
“Nancy Tegoseak, Age 40, April, 2004. Nancy was born in Tanana and the loving mother of five children. She was beaten to death by her boyfriend. She leaves behind three children.”
As part of my art minor I’m taking a Native Arts of Alaska class. It’s emphasis is in wood carving, and masks are a very popular form of Native art. A friend of mine and Finnish exchange student made a Lynx transformation mask out of Birch. I had to do a shoot, a transformation shoot if you will, with Suvi and her mask. You will likely instantly understand why I wanted to, but her long, red dreads offered the perfect gateway between mask and creator.
Please click on the images to view full size.
The title pretty much says it all. I was just shooting a few frames of my cat Carlos sitting in the sun when he opened wide for a yawn. The two frames were mere seconds apart. I feel it’s hard taking pictures of pets that are not simply snapshots. One way to change the aesthetic could be trying different gear, editing or processing techniques. Much of my aesthetic comes from shooting film. Another way is to turn it into a study with multiple images. In this case a study of a cat yawning. Of course I couldn’t have anticipated his sudden inhale, but also would’t have caught it had I not just taken the preceding picture. It could be argued only one picture is needed, but I think the combination of the two paints a more complete picture, allowing the viewer to get an idea of the cats appearance.
Record temperatures in Fairbanks means snow’s melting, fast. I’ve been photographing the farmer who is raising Black Angus cows some more. Here water drips off a fence highlighted by sun with a cow in the background. 100 speed film means not a lot of grain, but on 35MM it still comes standard, shallow depth of field just because I can.
Please click on the image to view full size.
Went out for drinks after my show last Friday. I noticed a neat reflection being projected onto our table at Lavelle’s Bistro. It’s very rewarding after such a hectic week in a very crowded and noisy restaurant to notice the elegance of still life. In the low light shallow depth of field and grain come standard on the 35MM 400 ISO film.
Please click on the image to view full size.
After a few years of persuasion from local photographers, April 6, 2012 I will be holding my first solo show at Frank’s Menswear, downtown Fairbanks, on 2nd Ave. The show, titled “Raindrops and Spirits” will be around 15, 8×10 in. silver-gelatin darkroom prints, taken at various locations around Alaska including Fairbanks, Homer and Kennicott. It’s very exciting to know my work will hang on the walls of a business for a month, and hopefully it will lead many more shows at many venues, as well as a few print sales.
People play an important role in the theme of my show, the absence of people equally important as the inclusion. The title is derived from the following image, which features a blur in the lower left-hand corner. People often ask me what caused it, and I reply with “A raindrop on the lens.” But having a vivid imagination I often like to think it’s something more, in this case the apparition of a forgotten worker from the mine, wandering the grounds he calls home.
Please click on image to view full size.
While doing some back editing I realized I have a fair amount of work from a few trips to Valdez last summer. Valdez is the northern-most ice free harbor in the U.S. and is home to the terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
Seen here from across the bay, on a rare sunny day in Valdez, are the storage tanks for the oil that continues to flow through the pipeline 35 years after it was first pumped. According to valdezalaska.org there are 18 crude-oil tanks, each capable of holding 510,000 barrels of crude, for a total of 9.18 million barrels. While not nearly at peak production the pipeline still proves to be a vital portion of Alaska’s economy. Watch where you’re boating, if you enter the restricted area around the storage tanks you can be fined up to $32,500 and lose your boat.
This next image is simply Valdez harbor with mountains in the background.