Monday, August 11, 2008

Flight Seeing, Neacola Mnts

Ryan, a dear friend from Girdwood flew Weston and myself around the Neacola Mtns. just west of Anchorage across Cook Inlet, in the southwestern portion of the Alaska Range. The weather was beautiful. I used my wide angle lens to shoot this picture just before take off. The wide angle gives almost 180* view and makes the cabin of this plane look much larger than it is.

Approaching the Neacola Mtns.

I believe this is the Capps Glacier, on the northeastern side of Mt. Spurr

A closer look at a crevasse field on the Capps Glacier

View of the foothills of Mt. Spurr

The clouds were capped over Mt. Spurr, but we flew around its southern base. The light was amazing through this small rain shower. A ridge leading up to the top of Mt Spur on the right.

Ryan circled around to put the plane between the sun and the rain to create this optical affect, a rainbow.

Ryan, our pilot and navigator.

Braided river drainage of the Chakachatna River

This is where I start to go a little abstract with my nature pictures. Bradford Washburn is one of my favorite photographers and explorers. His Black and White images of Alaska in the mid 20th century have had a huge influence on a portion of my photography. I love his ability to find patterns within natures' chaotic spread, and produce such artistic compositions. This is one of my attempts to do the same, but with color digital. Just like Washburn manipulated his images in the darkroom I have done the same, but using Adobe Lightroom instead.

A view of the Susitna Flats State Game Refuge. I love the contrast between the red building and the green wetlands. I am unsure of what these cabins are used for, but was amazed by their existence in what looks like a very large bog.

Water erosion in the mud flats near the estuary of the Susitna River.

A view of downtown Anchorage

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Missoula Improv Dancers

I originally saw these ladies performing early in the summer at the Missoula Saturday Market last summer. I snapped a few pictures of them on XXXX sculpture at the end of Higgins St. and then left. After looking through the pictures I had a few that I liked, but wanted to re-shoot them because there were so many other people in the background. The picture above crops out most of the sculpture and I heavily manipulated this picture in Lightroom and changed the colors.

I couldn't believe I left without talking to these girls or getting a phone number, especially after I was infromed that the Rocky Mountain School of Photography was interested in the XX picture for the 2008 Catalog. It happed to be RMSP's 20th Aniversery and they were looking for something that represented 20 for the cover. I had to laugh because all of the pictures I shot that day I had cropped in camera the bottom half of the XX's out because of all of the people in the background. I had nothing that would work.

If only I could re-shoot these girls. I only had two weeks left before I graduated and would be flying back to Alaska. Where would I find these girls? I haven't seen them in two months. I decided that I would just visualize running into them. That next Saturday, boom, there they were performing next to the XXXX's, but again too many people around. After a brief conversation the only day that we could all meet up again was my last full day in Missoula, which happened to be after graduation. It was on. One last chance for the cover shot.

The following week I met them at the First Interstate Bank on Higgins and they brought two drummers to keep a beat. After an hour and just before sunset we moved down to the XXXX sculpture to give it one last try.

I must have shot a couple hundred pictures that night and struggled a little bit with the composition. I wanted the XX's, but there were all kinds of distractions in the background if I dropped my lens down too much, so I did my best and they were pretty awesome to watch. The next day I quickly edited changed the colors slightly, and submitted a few options to RMSP. Two months later this image appeared on the cover, and it was officially my first cover photo.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Past Reminder

View over Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

Getting there is half the fun

Self Portrait in the rear-view mirror

Justin moves a log out of the way with a tow strap

He's still the 11 year old I first met

They were always good at breaking me out of my comfort zone

I recently visited my home town of Coeur d'Alene, ID back in May to see my family and some old friends. Now shopping malls, car lots and development projects have connected Cd'A with many of its outskirting communities including Spokane, and although its hard to choke down it is what happens over time. I was reminded that change is inevitable. After spending a week hanging out with my folks who now live in Spokane, I made a special visit to one of my favorite places on Lake Cd'A, Gozzer Rd. The Geyer family who I had became close to through my highschool boyfriend, Joe, still live on this road above Lake Cd'A, just below Cd'A Mountain. I spent a lot of time my last few years in Cd'A roaming around in the pine woods of this country and hanging out with Joe's parents, brothers, sisters, nephews and neighbors. Their comment that I still look exactly the same made me laugh because I was astonished how they had all grown up. Eight years will do that.

Justin, now 21, the second youngest, still had the heart of the 11 year old I originally met, and I wasn't there more than twenty minutes before we were 4 wheeling up some old logging road looking for wild turkey's. Although we didn't see any, we ended up at the top of Cd'A mountain with some ammo, two beers, and a great view. Although guns are not my favorite thing in the world, I felt that it was a celebration of our past when I used to tag along and photograph these kids doing what every backwood kid should be doing, having fun.

I changed these pictures to black and white because I like the stark contrast with the movement of each picture, and the subject . It also gives it an urgent, sort of old documentary feel, that represents the beginning of my obsession with photography. It all began in these woods above this lake with these folks. I couldn't help feel a connection to Justin, his family, and to my past that I had somewhere misplaced over the last eight years. And that's when I realized that some things never change.