Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Nature’s Best submissions

Sunday, May 5th, 2013
Nature's Best submissions

I’ve been submitting my photography to the Windland Smith Rice International Awards hosted by Nature’s Best Photography magazine for almost a decade.  I’ve had a mix of success, with several semi-final images and one photo selected as a category winner.  I have tried different ways of figuring out what images to submit, but I really have not settled on any particular method that is as successful as I would like.  So this year, I thought, “What have I got to lose?”  So, I selected 50 images to submit to my Facebook fans for a vote.  These are the 20 images that garnered the most votes, with the featured image at the top of this post gaining the most votes. There are some images that I wanted more than my fans, but, to stay true to the experiment, I am going with their will.

I also have mixed feelings about submitting some of these images as they are of iconic locations that have been done a few times.  Now, I like to think that what I have done with them – most notably the sunrise at Mesa Arch photos – have enough elements to make them stand out from other Mesa Arch photos.  But I am intrigued to see how the selection committee reacts; I often find that many of the images chosen for the exhibit are of iconic locations and that there could be more new locations selected.  So if one of the iconic locations is chosen, it will be a mixed bag: my suspicions about what they select will be proven, but I will also have been successful in having an image selected.

On the air with Shannyn Moore

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
On the air with Shannyn Moore

It’s hard to believe that I have been listening to The Shannyn Moore Show since it first aired on KUDO 1080 in Anchorage.  Over the years, I have had occasional email, Facebook or even telephone conversations with Shannyn about everything from the aurora borealis to judicial selection in Anchorage.  But what brought me to my first face-to-face conversation with her, in her studio at KOAN 1020, a local Fox Radio affiliate, was nothing less than the greatest conservation challenge facing Alaska today – the proposed development of the Pebble Mine at the headwaters of two of the main five watersheds that contribute to the amazing Bristol Bay fishery.  I was the guest during her second hour on December 20, 2012 (you can download the Podcast for free on iTunes.)

One of the problems with the jury system is that our minds tend to fill in the blanks when we want to visualize something but don’t have all of the information.  During a mock jury experience, in a case where a driver’s speed could have been a contributing factor to the accident, the jurors assumed a speed limit based on how the streets were described – mixed residential and commercial.  No one had told them what the speed limit was.  Unfortunately for the plaintiffs in that case, the jury assumed wrong.

But some things you can get right.  Shannyn always refers to her show producer as “Chris in the Box,” which lead me to visualize that he was in a very small control room.  I got that much right.  How I pictured Chris, however, was all wrong.  How I pictured his system and how he called up bumper music or other sound materials was also all wrong – I was thinking old school to some degree, but instead, everything is pulled up on the Internet, typically through YouTube.

I also incorrectly pictured the actual studio setup, thinking more of a side-by-side orientation between host and guest; rather, I sat across a rather wide table.  It felt like a bit of a barrier so I did my best to lean in on the desk to interact more with Shannyn during the show.  The discussion was rather free-flowing, and I thought I did fairly well … until I listened to myself on the Podcast.  Oye.  Early on, a thought started to scream through my head as I listened, “State your thesis, dammit, and make a point soon!” I realized as I listened that I did not state at the outset what my photo project was, exactly, that I had come to talk about.  I got there in a rather roundabout way.  I also missed an early opportunity when Shannyn mentioned how she follows my aurora chasing on Twitter.  It would have been a great time to discuss a recent blog post I did on how social media has changed the aurora experience.  But instead, I brought it to people contacting me to see where and when I was going to watch the aurora and if they could come along.

But, Shannyn was very gracious and never let on that I was having a logorrhea problem.  She even invited me to come back again to discuss my Bristol Bay project.  With a pending trip for my last chance at winter fieldwork and the impending launch of the project website, I think it may be time to go back again soon.

Chris-in-the-Box in his box


Stock photo fun

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
Stock photo fun

For many years, I aspired to be represented by Alaska Stock Photos, Inc.  As I developed my craft, I felt that being represented by them would help to diversify my income portfolio as well as further establish myself as a credible photographer in Alaska.  I mean really, where do people go when they want high quality Alaska images?  They go to Alaska Stock.  Of course, even knowing that, it still took repeated encouragement (aka, badgering) from my good friend Nick Fucci and my wife Michelle to actually get my stuff in gear to get a submission into Alaska Stock.

But learning how to actually capture the types of images that are useful stock photos has taken a bit of time.  For many years, I simply captured an image because I liked the colors, composition and various elements, not because I visualized it as an end product, like, “Oh, that will make a great commercial stock photo” or “That will make a great print.”  And while I have come to better recognize the types of images that sell well as stock, I am still much more of a found-image stock photographer than I am the kind who sets up shots specifically for stock, like two of Alaska’s more successful stock photographers: Michael DeYoung and Matt Hage.  With that said, I have started to get into the habit of previsualizing the type of photo I want to capture during a trip and how that could be a good stock photo.

They say that it takes about a year or so once represented with an agency before you start to see the checks come in.  This turned out to be true with my representation with Alaska Stock.  The stock photo industry is no quite as sure of an income source for photographers these days, what with the proliferation of digital photography and microstock companies, but it is still a good way to diversify your income portfolio.

And while it has certainly been a pleasure to see those somewhat-regular checks coming in, one of the surprising treats of delving into the stock world is seeing how the images are used by the clients.  I am also finding that it has paid off to take those images over the years, thinking they might someday come to good use.  Case in point, a photo I took of a row of parked kayaks on the shores of Kasistna Bay at the Across the Bay Tent & Breakfast back in 2004.  It was the year I started using a digital SLR and my first year attending Hal Gage’s macro photography workshop at Kasistna Bay.  During an afternoon of free time, I was roaming around, exploring the shore and property and found these kayaks.  The art student in me liked the lines, color and perspective, and took both a horizontal and vertical.  Six years later, Alaska Stock selected the vertical image for inclusion in its collection.  Then, in September 2011, I learned that the image had been sold for some marketing materials, but not who the client was or how the image would be used.  Then, after making deposits in our bank one Saturday afternoon, Michelle came back with the new Tide Tables for 2012 (a useful tool for any Alaskan), and the cover graphic looked rather familiar.  I finally learned how that kayak photo had been used by the stock photo client.

Live from Anchorage, it’s the Rachel Maddow Show

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Live from Anchorage, it's the Rachel Maddow Show

So, I was doing like I do every weekday, sitting at my desk on the computer, working while I listen to the Shannyn Moore Show on KUDO 1080, when Shannyn announced that the Rachel Maddow Show was going to be broadcasting live from Anchorage.  The show would be broadcast live from the Tap Root Cafe, a restaurant and bar with live music and the home of Shannyn’s television show on local politics, Moore Up North.  Shannyn announced on her show that there would be a limited number of tickets, on a first-come, first-serve basis, and that interested parties had to send in an email to a particular address.  I immediately emailed the given address, and found out later that night that I was successful.  I would be joining two hundred or so other eager progressives in perhaps the progressive media event of my life thus far in Anchorage.

It turned out that there were far more than two hundred people in the audience that night, most of whom were standing room only.  Estimates put the crowd at around 300-400.  Of course, there was no mention of the event later in the local media, even though similar-sized crowds involving conservative national television personalities would receive extensive coverage from the paper and television stations.  That is just one of the hazards of living in a conservative town in a conservative state.  But it equally adds to the power of being in a room, concentrated with very dedicated progressives; perhaps everyone who is anyone in the progressive leadership and advocacy circles was there to see one of their heroes, the hard-hitting, smart and research-intensive Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.

It was an absolute treat to observe the production involved in broadcasting such a show, and rather impressive to watch how they could make it happen in such a confined space.  Prior to the show, Rachel engaged the audience for approximately twenty minutes, talking about her experiences in Alaska and answering questions.  It was revealing that Rachel Maddow was exactly the same person she was in person as she is behind the camera.  Smart, witty, endearing, friendly and very sincere.  I imagine that even outside of a professional setting, she is the same person.  I doubt the same cannot be said for her conservative opposites on Fox News or talk radio, who have admitted that they do not believe in what they espouse, they do it to entertain and make loads of money.  And who knows, they may even be normal, sane people when they are not on the air, rather than the psychotic, paranoid, despotic fear mongerers that they are on broadcast.  Again, it speaks volumes about Rachel Maddow’s integrity that she believes and practices what she presents while on the screen.

To see the show in its entirety, go to the Rachel Maddow Show and check the “Previously” link on the left for the October 26, 2010 broadcast.

Alaska Bride & Groom coverage

Monday, July 6th, 2009
Alaska Bride & Groom coverage

Congratulations to Andrea & Mike, whose weddding I photographed aboard the S/V Alaska Rover last July in Resurrection Bay, for being featured in the current issue of Alaska Bride & Groom in the Local Weddings section.  I was also pleased to see the magazine refer to me as one of “Alaska’s top photographers” in an article designed to dispell wedding photography myths.

Winding down

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Winding down

I started my day spending some time with a reporter and camera man from KEVN, or Black Hills FOX, a FOX affiliate in Rapid City.  I took them out near the northeast entrance and talked about photography, what inspires me, my residency, and whatever else came along.  To illustrate my process, I took a shot that I normally would not have, in harsh, mid-day light.  But, with the help of a warming polarizing filter and a break in the clouds, it turned out actually pretty nice, so I include it in this post (top left image in gallery below).  Here is a link to the FOX interview.   

But my time here in the Badlands is winding down.  I only have two full days left, and one morning.  So far, the weather has been quite cooperative.  I guess it is trying to make up for how it has treated me sometimes on this trip.  I had planned to spend some time this evening exploring a tiny section of the park off Highway 44.  It is essentially the bridge between the North Unit and South Unit of the park.  There are no pullouts or overlooks, but I was going to park on the side of the road and hike in to explore.  Unfortunately, they are doing some road construction on Highway 44.  The portion of the road that is now only one way, requiring the pilot car to take you through, is exactly the section I wanted to explore.  So, no joy there.  For Plan B, I continued on through and started from the far end of the Sage Creek Road, working my way back to the Pinnacles Area. 

There were quite a few bull Bison out and about, offering me some great opportunities for close ups as well as broad landscape and wildlife images.  They were all in various stages of trying to lose their winter coat.  It has been almost three weeks since our last snow out here, so I guess they figured they were safe.  It was interesting to be so close to them, as they were grazing I could hear them making this low grunting noise.  Then I heard something I have never heard before.  A large bull had been sitting on top of a rise for quite some time, but he stood up suddenly and stared straight ahead of him … right at another bull.  The second bull had been slowly walking straight at the sitting bull, and the second bull was starting to growl.  Or, at least, that is the closest I can describe the sound.  It was a low, rumbling, very intent growl, and it kept getting louder.  I thought for a second that the two were going to get into it.  I was prepared, at a safe distance with my 500mm and ready to go.  Unfortunately, the second bull stopped growling and backed off.

As I approached the Pinnacles area, I saw two ewe Bighorn sitting on a slope, providing an almost picture-perfect wildlife pose.  They were collared, which most of the Piannacles Bighorns are, but I still photographed them.  Even though they are being monitored, they are still wild.  And wildlife population monitoring is important in guaging the health of the particular population, understanding its habits.  I will try to get up early tomorrow and see if the weather will be right to set up my camera for another time lapse.  I really want to do one more, for a full 24 hours, before I leave.

Article at home

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The Alaska Journal of Commerce, a state-wide weekly newspaper with a business and industry focus, has published an article about my residency here in the Badlands.  Rob Stapleton, the writer of the piece, has informed me that it has been picked up by the Associated Press.  You can read the article, in this week’s issue, online here.

Back off on the wolves already

Saturday, February 7th, 2009
Back off on the wolves already

There has been a lot of discussion this past week again about the State of Alaska’s aerial wolf predation control program. It all started with Ashley Judd doing a commercial on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, lambasting Sarah Palin for maintaining the program, and for her proposing the idea of a $150 bounty if you can produce the leg of a wolf. Fortunately, the law does not allow our Governor to do that.

But, Ron Reagan of Air America Radio, yes, the liberal son of THAT Ronald Reagan, has been giving the issue quite a bit of air time this week. I posted a note on his blog one day, pointing out that the real problem is the Board of Game and its insistence on ignoring the will of Alaskans, as well as the economics of guided hunting in Alaska. But on his show yesterday, one of his guests suggested a blanket boycott of all Alaskan businesses and products. Well, as an Alaskan business that thrives on living wolves and is against the aerial wolf control program, I had to call into his show. (When you play the podcast, skip ahead to the last 4:07 of the program.)

This is not an issue that is going to be solved by boycotts, advertising campaigns, letter-writing campaigns or any of the usual approaches. Unless and until we have leadership in this state that is willing to actually govern by science, not by what we can do to turn a buck, then the issue of irresponsible predatory control is not going to go away.

Oh, and let’s also take into account history. As the saying goes, those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. While the grey wolf, or Timber wolf, is not currently listed as endangered in Alaska, it is in the Lower 48, except for Minnesota where it recently has been downgraded to threatened. The reason why wolf populations are so down is due to a historical campaign of hunting them as competing predators, or because wolves have had the audacity to kill livestock in some areas. We appear to be headed in that direction here in Alaska, despite the science and history that warns otherwise. At least then we could have one more thing in common with our neighbors in the Lower 48 – wiping out a species to the brink of extinction. You may not think it can happen here because the population is so large, estimated at 7,700 to 11,200 by the Alaska Division of Fish & Game. (Note how the State, by placing wolves under this Division, considers wolves to be “game”). However, since the reintroduction of the wolf predator control program in 2003 (after the 2000 voter initiative banning the practice expired), the State of Alaska has been responsible for the elimination of 700 wolves. That’s approximately ten percent of the low end of the State’s own estimate of the population. If you are a hunter and you don’t like wolves now, wait until you have the Federal Government stepping in to take over wolf management in Alaska.

ESPN Publication

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I had one of my photos from the Alaska state high school football championships published on Here is the link.

Go Rachel!

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Go Rachel!

Going way back to when she was just someone who substituted for vacationing hosts on Air America Radio, I have been a longtime fan of Rachel Maddow. Now, not only does she have her own show on Air America Radio, she has an increasingly popular and influential show on MSNBC. For example, last week she had the second-rated nightly news program for her time slot in the daily Nielson ratings, beating out Larry King Live. And she has only had her own show on MSNBC for a few months. One of the vestiges of her radio show she has maintained on the MSNBC show is her segments where she explores popular culture with Kent Jones; or, more accurately, she learns what she can from Kent about popular culture so she can carry on conversations at cocktail parties about something other than foreign policy, domestic issues, public policy, government, politics …. well, you get the idea. As she says, he tells her just what she needs to know so she can go out in public.

Anyway, if you follow my blog, you would have read about the human Obama logo that Alaska Women for Obama organized a little while ago. The story about that day has now made its way to the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC as part of her Kent Jones segment. Watch the video.