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.

 

Beautiful Burgundy Region Bike Ride – part one.

architecture, Landscapes, Photography, Travel

Above: Vineyards near and far in the Saint-Aubin town of Bourgognes, France. 

The bike left from Beaune, Bourgognes region of France, on a scalding July 17, 2013 – perhaps high eighties by early afternoon. But it was très beau! Blue doors on brick houses, vineyards near and far, wheat fields, and small towns continually supervened by smaller towns – even one with a castle. 

This is part one-of-three and it it only gets better. So please, stay tuned. 

Cool blues and greens on the brick house contrasted the hot mid-July temperatures.

Cool blues and greens on the brick house contrasted the hot mid-July temperatures.

This brick house comes complete with a creek.

This brick house comes complete with a creek.

On a very smooth bike path. One of many small towns in the background.

On a very smooth bike path. One of many small towns in the background.

Beginning of Ski Season – Weekly Photo Challenge

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Weekly Photo Post

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. 

Colorful Seattle Streets

Landscapes, Photography, Street, Travel

Above: Walking the docks at sunset in Washington Park Arboretum.

It’s time for a few more pictures form the streets of Seattle, featuring some fantastic fall colors. Not much to say about these – just an exercise in editing and blogging!

Vibrant leafs expand across the frame as a couple enjoys a walk near the Ballard Locks.

Vibrant leafs expand across the frame as a couple enjoys a walk near the Ballard Locks.

Canoeing around - Washington Park Arboretum, Oct. 13, 2013.

Canoeing around – Washington Park Arboretum, Oct. 13, 2013.

Old yellow stables at Discovery Park.

Old yellow stables at Discovery Park.

Taking a sunset run on the docks at the arboretum.

Taking a sunset run on the docks at the arboretum.

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. 

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.

Calm Before the Storm

Alaska, Black & White, Landscapes, Photography

Above: A strange system moves in prior to a strong winter storm, seen from University of Alaska Fairbanks.

A storm that blew into Interior Alaska recently brought with it snow, rain, strong winds, three days of closed public schools and left an estimated 14,000 people without power, heat or both. An article from the local News-Miner has more details along with photos of toppled trees.

The dramatic-sounding storm wasn’t as bad as the front that hit western-Alaska towns. And certainly nothing compared to recent Typhoon Haiyan that ripped apart the Philippines, a monumental tragedy.

My photographs are from the night before the storm, and rather unusual for Fairbanks.

A streetlight obscured by trees blends fog nicely into the frame.

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FoggyEve'

A streetlight obscured by trees blends fog into the frame.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mt. Rainier Horizions.

Landscapes, Photography, Travel, Weekly Photo Post

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!

Abstract, Alaska, Black & White, Landscapes, Portraits, Travel, Uncategorized

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!

Jardin du Luxembourg

architecture, Photography, Street, Travel

The Luxembourg Gardens: The second largest public park in Paris and home to Luxembourg Palace, where the French Senate convene. A popular place in Paris to spend a sunny day. Be careful where you walk, most of the grass is off limits to pedestrians, resulting in quick intervention by a security guard.

Fountains and flowers occupy the central area, backdropped by Luxembourg Palace.

Enjoying sun and scenery at Luxomberg Gardens, July 6, 2013.

Enjoying sun and scenery at Luxomberg Gardens, July 6, 2013.

2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France, the iconic bicycle race which traverses France. To commemorate the milestone large photos of the race from every generation were mounted on the fence surrounding Jardin du Luxembourg.

While they were all very lovely to look at, creating a visual snapshot over a century of change, I found the most interesting photo involved what hid behind.

Sharing a kiss behind a Tour de France photo dated  July 29, 1950.

Sharing a kiss behind a Tour de France photo dated July 29, 1950.