Archive for August, 2008

Just like in the ‘Nam

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Just like in the 'Nam

After completing coverage of the several rafting groups on the river, we meandered back to the lodge, capturing images of scenery and wildlife along the way.  There I was, hanging out the open door of a helicopter, toting a big “gun” of a lens, and flying over what looked an awful lot like rice paddies.  I couldn’t help but imagine myself in another world, in another lifetime, serving in a soldier in a long-gone conflict that at least our leaders cannot seem to recall.  If they could, foreign policy would probably be a bit different today.

Remote rafting photography

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Remote rafting photography

When I first learned of this assignment, to photograph several groups of rafters in a remote location, I imagined several possibilities.  I imagined riding with some of the groups in the raft with a waterproof camera to capture some up-close action, then stationing myself somewhere along the line to photograph groups from the shore.  When I learned that the videographer from Tony Robbins would be up in a helicopter covering the groups, I was determined to find space on that helo.  Strapped in with a door open for the best access, I switched between a camera with a 70-200mm lens and one with a 120-300mm lens for a nice range of scenic and close up action.

Remote lodge setting

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Remote lodge setting

For the fourth and final full day of the Platinum Partner event, the Tony Robbins folks flew out, via Rust’s Aviation Service, to the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge for a day of white water rafting.  A quick hop across the inlet, the lodge is nestled along the shores of a sizable lake.  It is a classic log structure, with wonderful decor and superb food.  They even have a strong wifi signal for the truly technology-enslaved.  Era Aviation provided the helicopters to lift the participants out to their rafting location on the Tahulitna River.

Ready for your closeup

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
Ready for your closeup

John Turbett, a freelance videographer working for the Anthony Robbins Companies, gets up close and personal with one of the black bears at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.  Many photographers often dread working with videographers as the creative visions can sometimes collide.  I found working with John to be quite the opposite: he and I often had the same ideas at about the same time, and worked well in keeping out of eachother’s way.

In the heat

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
In the heat

One of the Tony Robbins Platinum Parnters continues to pick up scraps of deadwood as one of many piles of deadwood kicks out some heat on an otherwise cool August day.

Working closely

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
Working closely

For every one of the Platinum Partner events, the participants take a day out of their sessions and outings to engage in a community service project.  For this event, the Partners spent a day planting trees and clearing brush and deadwood at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near the Placer Valley at the end of the Turnagain Arm.  While planting trees, the Platinum Partners worked inside the outer barrier designed to keep the public away from the brown bear habitat.  The bears could not help but be curious about all of the activity.

In the details

Monday, August 25th, 2008
In the details

Cathy Frost, the owner of the Raven Glacier Lodge, is well known for her exceptional menus for weddings and events.  Preparing all the food herself, Cathy emphasizes Alaskan ingredients and culture in her dishes.  She also has filled the lodge with art and artifacts reflecting everything from fishing and mining to Alaska Native heritage.  Cathy also has an eye for the little details that make an after dark outside dining area truly glow.

Location, location

Monday, August 25th, 2008
Location, location

This evening, the group went to the Raven Glacier Lodge, one of the true gems of the Girdwood area.  Nestled into the northernmost temperate rain forest, the lodge also sits alongside Crow Creek.  While the lodge is spectacular, I spent several minutes when I first arrived examining and photographing the creek and forest.  This image illustrates the importance of always having a tripod on hand.

Taking a break

Monday, August 25th, 2008
Taking a break

After an intensive morning session, several of the Platinum Partners took advantage of some free time to ride the tram up to the chalet and go paragliding.  I could not decide if it was better to be flying off the mountain in a paraglider or to be standing there photographing them with the wonderful backdrop of the Turnagain Arm.  The strong overcast lighting on the mountain limited some of the angles for effective photography, making shots looking up to the paragliders as they took off less effective.

Up at Punchbowl

Sunday, August 24th, 2008
Up at Punchbowl

Following an opening reception at the Alyeska Prince Hotel, I joined the Tony Robbins Platinum Partners and the staff from Robbins Research International for an afternoon of dog sledding on Punchbowl Glacier.  Conditions were challenging to photograph, ever changing from an even overcast to a harsh, and sometimes hot, glaring sun reflecting from the field of snow covering the glacier.  Fortunately, a constant review of the histogram on my LCD kept me in proper exposure.  As a photographer, the outing combined many of my favorite subjects into one compact afternoon: great action with the dog teams, interaction among the people and with the dogs, and spectacular scenery.