Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Combat fishing

Sunday, August 10th, 2008
Combat fishing

There are many descriptive terms in the Alaskan language. I do not mean any Alaska Native language, but the terms and vocabulary used by Alaskans in general. Rather than say “snowmobile,” which perhaps is too new or too specific for Alaskans, we say, “snow machine.” A great summertime term is “Combat Fishing.” Combat fishing is what happens when the salmon are running. It starts with King salmon in May on the Kenai and in Ship Creek in Anchorage, then come the reds on the Russian River and Kenai River, then the silvers. A favorite hot sport for silvers near Anchorage is Bird Creek, about a half hour to the south toward Girdwood. The prime time to fish for any running salmon is typically on the incoming tide, as the salmon are essentially being swept in with the tide. With combat fishing, you can typically find yourself as close as an arm’s length to the next anglers, one on each side of you, tossing a line up stream to let it float down and catch a salmon. Under the rules of fishing in this style, once an angler has a fish on the hook, he must yell “fish on!” so that everyone else can get out of the way and allow the angler to land his catch. Under Alaska regulations, the hook must be in the mouth or it is not legal.

In this photo, it has passed peak high tide and the tide is on its way out. Michelle and I were on an evening drive down the Turnagain Arm looking for photos, and to have dinner at Chair Five in Girdwood, and this was on the return leg of the trip. There were far more people fishing earlier, but I was really hungry and wanted to get to Chair Five for a pizza. I am constantly surprised that more people do not get snagged with a hook by other fishermen. It does happen, and is an frequent emergency room injury in the Soldotna hospital.

First in the nation … ?

Friday, August 8th, 2008
First in the nation ... ?

It has been labeled by national media as the first high school football game of the 2008 season. The match – the visiting Palmer High School Moose against the home team South Anchorage High School Wolverines. I have always been intrigued by the media’s need to label things. The label is so important, whether it is true is immaterial. For example, this game actually started at 7:05 p.m. However, the Soldotna High School Stars hosted the Nikiski High School Bulldogs at 6:00 p.m., over an hour earlier. Perhaps the national media draws a line between what Alaska calls the 4A (largest) schools and smaller schools, like the 3A class that Soldotna and Nikiski belong to. If that is the case, then there should be a qualifier to the label of “First High School Football Game of the Season.” As a photographer who is a member of several professional photography associations, one of the things that is really drilled into me is the importance of truth in captioning. If I am going to publish a composite photo, I should identify it as such. If I take a photo of a game farm wolf, it is unethical for me to identify it as a wild wolf. It seems to me that this labeling issue is merely a small symptom of a broader problem of the media playing fast and loose with ethical rules in order to generate interest in a subject or story.

Pain and pleasure

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
Pain and pleasure

On assignment for Buzzbizz Studios, I for the first time attended the Alaska Fighting Championships at the Sullivan Arena. Primarily a mixed-martial arts fighting style, the AFC pits two fighters against each other in a caged octagon for three matches. A match is won by a knockout, by a decision by the referee (which is usually based on a fighter no longer making an effort to defend himself), or a fighter crying “uncle” by “tapping out.” While not there to photograph the fights, I enjoyed the opportunity for a new sports subject. My purpose was to photograph the fashion show during the intermission following the fourth match. The show featured outfits by the local biker clothing outfit, Girls Ride Too.