30 Jul Staff Series Feature: A Photographer’s Adventure, Pt. 1
But I just fucking got here!
First, I’m going to preface this with: The reason I picked up the camera again after a long break of not doing photography was motivated to me by a mentor of mine. But ever since I’ve picked it back up, I’ve attempted to run wild with it.
Being in the military is no easy task. In fact, it’s not even a task. Someone once told me a difference between a successful Soldier and an unsuccessful Soldier was how they viewed themselves in the Army – is it their job, just a way to make money and get benefits? Or is it their career, a way to sustain themselves and serve awhile to garner their experience and training to mold Soldiers under them to take the reins down the road? That’s stuck with me since I heard it.
Well, the Winter of 2015, I was informed I would be moving from Virginia to Alaska. While that’s a series for a different day, with different images and experiences, the beginning stages of when I got to Alaska wasn’t quite what I expected. Shortly after arriving there, approximately 2 months, if that, our unit was informed we would all be moving by the end of the following year. Now, my first instinct was “Well, what the fuck was I sent up here for if I’d just be turning around and moving again?” Needless to say, it did happen and I was selected to head down to El Paso, Texas.
While this part of the series isn’t completely dedicated to landscape, this portion of it is definitely dedicated to my days in Alaska and the last day as I drove through a place that was probably more beautiful than I’d ever been to.
So, the planning began about two months out from my departure. I decided, you know what, I’m going to take extra time and make this a vacation road trip instead of a ‘hurry up and get there’ road trip.
Alaska isn’t a small state and the first stop took me from Anchorage to a place called Tok. The trip from Anchorage to Tok was breathtakingly gorgeous. There’s really no words or pictures that can solidly do it justice, but I tried. Everytime I saw a gorgeous view or overlook from the road, I’d stop and set up a shot. I practiced panorama shots, long exposures, depth of field, the whole nine yards it seemed with different views of nature and landscape.
This first leg of the trip took normally about 9 hours or so but after I stopped so many times, I was probably on the road for about 11-12. I couldn’t help it, everything was so beautiful.
It was a bittersweet day for me to be honest. I really wanted to have more time in Alaska. Everything was so fresh, beautiful, and everytime I went on a short trip to go hike or just drive, it seemed like I was really going on an adventure in the last frontier.
Alaska gave me a lot of opportunities to work on my under par photography skills too! I say under par, as we are our own worst critics. But, I really was able to do some fascinating things, like get shots from airplanes overflying different mountain ranges, I was able to get press credentials to cover the 2016 Iditarod and 2016 Fur Rendezvous events, and I saw a lot of wildlife I’d never thought I’d see in person.
So regardless of my short stay there, I fell in love with the place and I’ll eventually be back as a short term resident during the summers when I have enough money for some property up there to get a nice home away from home so to speak.
If you’ve never been to Alaska, I highly recommend going during the summer if you’re planning on just doing a “quick visit” and I recommend at least a two week time period up there. There’s so much stuff to do, you would be hard-pressed to do it in under a week!
If you’re a photographer, I’d recommend splitting your time up between the summer and the winter and doing a couple trips. The summers are always bright and beautiful for about 20hrs a day, while the winters are the opposite, being dark for about 20hrs a day. That’s on average and I’m sure there are websites you can look up exact lighting details on, but each offers a much different perspective on the landscape. And in the winter, it’s much easier to see the Aurora Borealis. Sadly, I never got out to really go and get quality images of the northern lights, and it’s probably one of my biggest regrets with what I wasn’t able to do in my time up there.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my point of view of the state of Alaska and the first portion of my trip! Part two of this series will be out next week for sure and it’ll be my epic entry into Canada and the beginning of that part of the trip. Travelling the Alaska-Canadian Highway is not only gorgeous, but historical.
If you liked this part of the feature, be sure to comment on the post for it on our facebook page! I’d love to hear your feedback about my photos, whether it’s constructive criticism or even a similar circumstance you may have found yourself in! Don’t be shy! 🙂