Archive for October, 2010

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.

The great moose hunt on the hillside

Saturday, October 16th, 2010
The great moose hunt on the hillside

After being used to either solo or duo (with Nick Fucci) journeys up to the South Fork Campbell Creek valley for moose, it was a bit of a change to go up there with four other photographers: Joe Connolly, Josh Martinez, Chris Beck, and Brian Weeks.  Quite the motley crew, not only in terms of photo styles and emphases, but in terms of how we all met.  But that is the way it is with photographers; we often meet new people who are already known to our existing friends.  For example, I met Chris Beck five or six years ago after joining a local chapter of Business Networking International.  A couple of years later, I met Joe Connolly at one of the many wedding fairs, where photographers like he and I would provide information about our business to prospective clients.  Yet separately, Chris and Joe became friends through their own experiences.  Perhaps that is also a great example of life in Alaska; America’s biggest small town.

We all gathered at Joe’s house at 8:00 in the morning; I knew from my experience that it would be way too early to bother looking for moose because it would be hours before any sunlight hit the valley floor.  But Joe’s home is conveniently located just up the hill from the Glen Alps parking lot, a premiere location for launching any moose photo exhibition.  As we were chilling out up at Joe’s house, enjoying his hospitality, I noticed the dawn colors starting to form, so I sprinted down (in my car) to the Glen Alps lot, arriving with barely enough time to capture some of the color before it faded.

I went back up to the house, and we all gathered together our gear to head out into the wilds.  Well, at least out onto the Powerline Trail, a wide, gravel trail for hiking and mountainbiking in the summer, skiing and snowmachining in the winter.  Unfortunately, there were no moose anywhere near us, and the ones we could find way off in the distance were all cows.  Quite frankly, I was not interested in hiking all the way across the landscape for photos of cow moose in crappy light (the sun quickly became obscured in clouds following sunrise).  But it was a great opportunity to get out, go for a hike, enjoy some company, and photograph the changing landscape.  We stopped and spent some time along the South Fork of Campbell Creek, which was starting to form ice along its banks and various pockets of ice capturing leaves and other remnants of the autumn.

With some Flickr folk at Upper Huffman

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
With some Flickr folk at Upper Huffman

Whoever says that social media like Facebook divides people rather than bringing them together socially does not know how to use social media.  I have many Facebook “friends” whom I have never met face-to-face, or, if so, fleetingly once several years ago.  But with the knowledge of those connections and your shared interests, you can reach out to those people in person once you get a sense of who they are.  Recently, I received an invitation to join a group of photographers for a Saturday evening cookout at the Upper Huffman parking area, which is near a popular trailhead into the Chugach State Park trail system in the upper hillside above Anchorage.  The invitation came through Facebook. It seemed like it would be a good time, so I grabbed some camera beer and some homebrew (Amber and Hefeweizen) that Michelle and I had made, and headed up.  Turns out, it is a group of people who all have Flickr accounts, and have been having these get-togethers over the years.  Now, I am not a Flickr account member, so I don’t get the whole gist of it.  But, it seems like essentially a social media for amatuer photographers and serious hobbyists; a place to share and discuss photos, which can be especially fun when the photos are shared among people who have been on a photo outing together.  As is often the case in social settings where you are the new person and everyone else has known each other for quite a while, I learned a lot of names that I promptly forgot.  (I hope to get to know them as time goes by; very nice and fun group.)  But the evening sky and light was simply amazing, keeping me quite busy for a while as I moved from one location to another, capturing Cook Inlet, the sky, the city, the neighborhood with Denali looming behind it … lots of wonderful opportunities that kept my focus for some time.