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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Tonsina River, 2005

Tonsina River, 2005

For a photographer, the major problem of the Alaskan Landscape is this:  the place is beautiful, and almost everyone who comes to photograph here is immeditely overwhelmed by the infinite number of things to point a camera at.  It’s almost as if all the beautiful lies that Ansel Adams told about the landscape are true, but only here…

Burned Trees, Near Nenana, January 2008

Burned Trees, Near Nenana, January 2008

But there are also reminders of the damage we do, even here, like the fire damaged forests along the roads, the result of climate change.  Even the picture of the river above shows the river flooding, from accelerated melting of the glaciers.

For me, the landscape is a way to contemplate both the damage we have done, and the beauty that still remains.  After twenty years here, I finally understand what Bob Adams means when he calls the landscape redemptive:  it a place that both records our mistakes, but also heals and forgives.

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Tuesday evening I had dinner at Ben Huff’s place–Adam was there too–mostly the point of the evening was to talk about the Homer photofest, which I skipped this year…  I almost made it–my wife and son and I skipped town because of the smoke–we headed towards Homer, but somehow I never made it there, got hung up at Bird Point on Turnagain Arm, Whittier, the Kenai Refuge, and the Cook Inlet beach at Nikiski…

Bird Point, August 7, 2009

Bird Point, August 7, 2009

Cruise Ship, Whittier, August 8, 2009

Cruise Ship, Whittier, August 8, 2009

Portage Glacier, August 8, 2009

Portage Glacier, August 8, 2009

Spawning fish, August 8, 2009

Spawning fish, August 8, 2009

Beach Rocks, Captian Cook State Park, August 9, 2009

Beach Rocks, Captian Cook State Park, August 9, 2009

Equisetum, Kenai NWR, August 9, 2009

Equisetum, Kenai NWR, August 9, 2009

Lillies, near Seward, August 10, 2009

Lillies, near Seward, August 10, 2009

As might be apparent from these images, I’ve got a soft spot for the landscape of Alaska.  But most of this work I’ve done in the landscape over the past 20 years is with an 8×10 view camera, a slow laborious way of making pictures.  I’ve not posted a single 8×10 black and white landscape to this web site–somehow blogging seems more suited to taking pixels than grains, and that the web moves too fast, the black and white images demand a stillness to view…

Turn Lake, Sterling Highway, August 10, 2009

Turn Lake, Sterling Highway, August 10, 2009

There were wildfires in Alaska this summer, starting about July 4 with lightening strikes, but growing as the weather was hot with no rain.  By the evening of August 5, things had gotten pretty bad, so my wife and I decided it was time to leave town, looking for cleaner air…

Heading down Crest Drive, Fairbanks

Heading down Crest Drive, Fairbanks

Farmers Loop and Steese Highway

Farmers Loop and Steese Highway

Thick smoke in Fairbanks, 8/5/09

Thick smoke in Fairbanks, 8/5/09

Ambulance and smoke

Ambulance and smoke

As we were leaving town, rain began to fall.  The next day, the smoke and steam shut down the town.  But we were gone, south…