Misty mountains

Misty mountains

As I was just leaving Fairbanks on July 21 to continue north to Fairbanks, I received a call from Peter Christian, the National Park Service law enforcement ranger and pilot who would be flying me around for a few days to do some aerial photography in Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. He told me that the weather had simply been awful and that the forecast was not hopeful. He wondered if perhaps I might not want to make the additional six hour trip to get up to Coldfoot.

First and foremost as a photographer, I never cancel plans based on a forecast. In the 1990s television series “Twin Peaks,” Special Agent Dale Cooper, who was musing aloud about the process of forecasting weather while dictating to his assistant, Dianne, said, “If you could get paid for being wrong sixty percent of the time, it would beat working.” Such is the case with weather forecasting when it comes to mountain ranges especially. I declined Pete’s offer to turn around and continued. Our first morning was rather unremarkable, as the ceiling was low, and it was raining and even snowing at times. But whether the weather is good for photography really depends on what you expect to capture. If you are looking for a postcard image or some really bang, pop, wow shot for a stock agency, then cloudy weather is not good. But I was there to photograph the Brooks Range and Gates of the Arctic. Clouds, snow or rain are all part of the place. Despite the weather, I was happy to capture images that for me expressed a mood about being in mountains in the arctic north.

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