I consider myself to be an artist. I make baskets and wall hangings, primarily made from pine needles, that are really unique and sell quite well. Alaska – my favorite place to visit – ironically doesn’t have pine needles that are long enough to use for this work, so instead I use my artistic talents there by dabbling in photography.
I remember one of my visits to Seward, a beautiful port town. We went out salmon fishing, and caught a bunch of rock fish, and my brother says, “Hey want to see something fun?” Of course, I’m always up for fun, so he told me to keep my eye on the water where the fish is. Pretty soon here comes an eagle, and luckily, I had my camera. I watched him grab the fish and take it to the shore to eat it. I got so many great shots, the bird was so majestic.
Then there was the time I was on the river during Iditerod – the dog mushing race – and it was completely frozen over, so I was standing right on top of while it taking pictures. One of my favorite mushers Brett Sass was going by, and I got some really great shots that I later posted on Slicker. That’s when another guy, who was also taking some pictures that day, found me. He had taken a shot of me in the background, on the river, at almost the same moment I was taking pictures of him. He was in the background of my shots of Brett!
My traveling clients tell me that their favorite thing to photograph, besides Denali mountain of course, is the sight of bears fatting up by eating the salmon that are spawning from a waterfall in the spring. During the right time of year, you can get close enough with a telephoto lens to watch them. I haven’t had a chance to witness this myself, so on my next trip I’m planning a tour that includes a helicopter ride into the heart of it.
Because Alaska gets only about 3 hours of sunlight in the winter, and close to 20 hours of daylight in the summer, it allows you to photograph in a wide range of light. There’s a really unique dusk and dawn in the middle of the day in the winter, and a different kind of dusk and dawn in the middle of the night in the summer. Photographing all the beautiful scenes and wildlife in Alaska, in all the different light, is just incredible!