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Tag Archives: Thirty Below

Two days before winter solstice, still stuck in Fairbanks–OK–it’s my own fault–as a photographer and book collector, I’ve amassed all these images on paper–a technology from the 14th century…  It’s taken quite a bit longer than I expected to break free–and the tasks haven’t been made any easier by the weather–a plunge to -47F, a 15 inch blizzard–and the general malaise brought on by the near absence of the sun…

But the light that remains is incredible–I heard a painter recently describe it as “alpenglow”–a term that Wikipedia defines as the glow on mountains to the east when lit by ice crystals high in the atmosphere after sunset–but we have ice crystals right down on the ground here, otherwise known as ice fog–and finally we have cameras capable of capturing that light in a way that feels real…

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November in Fairbanks always feels like a plunge into darkness–each day is seven minutes shorter than the day before–a loss of about an hour a week–and there are sometimes cold snaps–right now it’s twenty below at seven in the evening–might be thirty five below by morning–

But there is light in November–long, raking light cutting through the water vapor clouds from cars and buildings and especially laundromats–


Laundromat Steam, twenty below, Fairbanks, November 2012

I disconnected my darkroom sink today–had to go to Home Depot to get parts to restore the plumbing back to it’s previous condition–but every happy homeowner job I do seems to require three trips to the hardware store–and the light was finally perfect the last trip…

Alpine Glow at Home Depot, Fairbanks, November 25, 2012

You know, I might miss this place when I’m gone–but right now, I just want to get packed and on down the trail…  I used to joke about a bumper sticker I wanted to get printed–“Support global warming–it’s too damn cold here”–but the plan to head south seems much more immediate.