Category Archives: Photography

Northern Lights, Bettles, Alaska

Over the winter of 2020-2021, I worked at a remote lodge 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in the small, isolated community of Bettles, Alaska. Located in the normally dry and clear interior of Alaska, Bettles is ideally situated under the typical arc of the Northern Lights, or, the Aurora Borealis. On any mostly clear to clear night, from late-August to early-April (when the skies get dark enough to see aurora), the vigilant observer will be treated to some degree of a show.

Though scientists who study the aurora can make forecasts and predictions about when and where auroral activity will occur, much remains unpredictable and mysterious for the aurora chaser. Each night puts on a different show. On some nights, thin distinct bands of aurora will linger in the sky for hours; on other nights, bursts of intense waves, greens and purples, will wriggle and twist their way across the sky in just a matter of minutes. Clouds or a full moon make the aurora appear vastly different than on a clear moonless night. Whatever the conditions, when the aurora do appear overhead, the viewer is guaranteed an excellent show unlike any other.

The following images and time-lapse videos I captured in and around Bettles, in the winter of 2020-2021.

An auroral forecast, along with an FAQ section about the science of the aurora, can be found at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute website.

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Intense aurora above Arctic Haven Cabins

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Brief aurora behind Bettles Signpost

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Glamour Snoots: Koyukuk Kennel

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Welcome to the Koyukuk Kennel, the dogsledding division of Bettles Lodge! Meet the team of 17 adorable Alaskan Huskies who are working with me this winter giving dogsled tours in the Alaskan bush 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle. They were all ready for their snoot close-ups with the help of my fish-eye camera lens!

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And of course, an equal part of the kennel is our 8 new husky puppies born in early September 2020. Our pandemic-inspired litter of Corona, Curve, Demic, Fauci, Lysol, Kluster, Swab, and Zink!pace

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Aboard the Good Sloop Clearwater

After serving four months aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, it is incredibly difficult to summarize the experience in any amount of words. I served as a crew member as the good sloop plied the Hudson River from the post-industrial valley town of Kingston to the bustling shores of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Along the way we sailed past historic bridges and lighthouses spread out over ninety river miles of the scenic Hudson River Valley. We enjoyed rain and rainbows, sunsets worthy of a Hudson River School painting, and city lights off in the distance of many unique Hudson Valley towns. The crew busied ourselves with teaching fourth graders all about their river ecosystem on schooldays, and with entertaining guests on chartered sails on evenings and weekends. Our crew played music together, played games together, slogged through the rain together, and all made sure that this 50 year-old replica of a historic cargo vessel sailed safely from dock to dock and would keep sailing for 50 more years. Mere photos of the ship can never do justice to the myriad of tasks that are involved in operating a historic tall ship, or to the vibrancy of the community aboard the vessel.  But as my tribute, here is a photo montage of the fine and splendid sloop Clearwater that has served as my workplace, my home, and my community for the spring and summer of 2019.

 

 

Minnesota Winter Time-lapse

A compilation of time-lapse sequences shot in winter in Minnesota. Enjoy!


 

Sunrise at Grand Marais Harbor, with the schooner Hjordis. December 2018.

 

Total lunar eclipse of the Super Blood Wolf Moon, January 20, 2019, as seen from West Bearskin Lake, Minnesota.

 

Sunset at Camp Menogyn Sauna, with Fisheye Lens. January 2019.

 

Temperance River. December 2018.

 

Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge at Night. November 2018.

 

Nightfall over the City of Duluth. November 2018.

 

Sunrise shadows across Hungry Jack Lake, as seen from Honeymoon Bluff, Superior National Forest. February 2019.

 

Hooking up the dog team during Fall ATV training at Amarok Kennels. November 2018.

Glamour Snoots

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The Dogyard

 

What better way to showcase my canine comrades than with a glamour shoot with a fisheye lens. Enjoy the snoots!

 

The Green River Through Time-Lapse

Rather than share more of my Green River Canoe expedition with words, here is a selection of trip highlights as seen through time-lapse photography.

 

 

Self-portrait on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir

 

Stars at night in Desolation Canyon

 

Moving shadows in Desolation Canyon

 

Getting camp ready for the night in Desolation Canyon

 

The Roosevelt Fire that rained ash on Jon and mine’s first day, as seen from further down the Green River (near Warren Bridge, Wyoming)

 

Lightning storm reflects on the Green River from a campsite near Naples, Utah

 

How to set up a tent in 24 seconds. Kingfisher Island Boat Camp, Flaming Gorge Reservoir

 

Sunlight breaks into Desolation Canyon above Chandler Falls Rapid

 

A starry evening at camp, Desolation Canyon

Fun with Time-Lapse #2

Second batch of time-lapse videos. Enjoy!

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Sunrise at Norway House Cabin, Camp Widjiwagan, Ely Minnesota. March 2018.

 

Clouds along the Lake Superior shoreline, Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota. May 2018.

 

Circumpolar star trails with tree in focus in foreground, stars out of focus. Video fades to white as night turns into dawn. Ely, Minnesota. April 2018.

 

Northern Lights dancing near Ely, Minnesota. April 2018.

 

Flowing water in mud puddle from spring meltwater. Ely, Minnesota. March 2018.

 

Calgary, Alberta skyline transitioning from dawn to morning. April 2018.

 

Calgary, Alberta city skyline at night. April 2018.

 

Traffic on Calgary’s Reconciliation Bridge. April 2018.

 

Another angle of the Reconciliation Bridge crossing the Bow River. April 2018.

Barns Across the Continent

On a recent spring break journey, I drove 3,200 miles across the top the US and Canada—and all I did was take pictures of barns! But the rural country landscape does fascinate me, and I find it particularly compelling to photograph. As I drove across the land, the aesthetics of the structures changed with the landscape. Here is a photographic escapade of the rural journey and what I saw: barns, grain elevators, abandoned homesteads, and more.

 

 

And here was the route:

Spring Break Route 2

 

 

 

Fun with Time Lapse

I’ve been playing some tricks with time by capturing scenes with time-lapse photography. Here are some results to share after a few months of trial and error. Most scenes taken near Camp Widjiwagan outside of Ely, Minnesota.

 

My first time-lapse ever. Icebergs floating past Big Red Lighthouse, Holland Harbor, Michigan.

 

Sunrise and moving shadows, Burntside State Forest, Minnesota

 

Sunrise over Burntside Lake, Minnesota

 

Sunset and full moon rising over Burntside Lake, Minnesota

 

Rotating stars with fleeting glimpses of the Northern Lights

 

Starry and Cloudy Sky at Camp Widjiwagan

 

Sigurd Olson Center at Camp Widjiwagan

 

Hanging out around the campfire

Winter on the North Shore

Photographic explorations of Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior and inland to the Iron Range.