Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Stuck in Alaska…”
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Old 04-09-2017   #1
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Default Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Stuck in Alaska…”

Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Stuck in Alaska…”

Even though I live in interior Alaska, it’s still easy to get stuck in a rut (or on the couch) and not get out and shoot enough. I have my “go to” Alaskana subjects such as aurora, hockey, and sled dog races, but as a hobbyist I also find myself going two or three weeks with nary a shot. Thought another Project 52 would help to avoid that malaise.

This is my third Photo Camel Project 52, having completed one in 2012 and gotten about half way through one in 2014. Many of my shots will be similar to shots in my previous two Project 52s, because after all, I’m stuck in Alaska.

It seems that the number of active projects has really dropped off, even though I see a number of visitors to the thread. Hopefully more of you jump in a give a project 52 your best shot. If you are an habitual lurker, you will find Photo Camel one of the friendliest photo sites out there.

I have been considering doing another Project 52 for a few weeks and have taken shots and written up little narratives just in case. Since I’m jumping in and catching up, I have five photos to post. Along with my weekly photo, I like to post a short narrative and some basic camera settings, and sometimes accompanying shots to the weekly photo. Hope this gets me off the couch and hope you enjoy a little taste of interior Alaska.

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Old 04-09-2017   #2
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Week #1, Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Iditarod restart…”

The Iditarod is 1,000 mile sled dog race typically from Willow to Nome Alaska. It loosely retraces the route of a 1925 sled dog relay that rushed a critical supply of diphtheria serum to Nome. It is now the premier long distance sled dog race in the world. The early races took about 20 days to complete, but better training, dog care, food products and sled technology have reduced the winning times to about 9 days. When snow cover is too low and dangerous in south central Alaska for dog safety, the race re-start (after ceremonial start in Anchorage) is moved to Fairbanks Alaska, my home town.

The teams and mushers are on their own out on the trails, often encountering sever and dangerous conditions, including extreme weather, wild animals, and sleep deprivation. Seventy-three teams started the Iditarod, and this shot is of DeeDee Jonrowe, a veteran musher (35 Iditarod starts), fan favorite, one of seventeen women mushers, and a cancer survivor. This shot was taken about mid-day on March 6th, just after the restart along the Tanana River, with temps at about -40F.

Canon 5DIII, Canon 70-200mm IS 2.8, 1/1250 sec, f/8.0, iso 200, cropped, Lightroom

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Old 04-09-2017   #3
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Default Re: Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Stuck in Alaska…”

Here are a few more photos from a cold morning out on the Tanana River, during the restart of the 2017 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Probably spent about four hours out on the river (along with lots of locals) and was able to get shots of all 73 teams.







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Old 04-09-2017   #4
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Week #2, Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “2017 GCI Open North American Sled Dog Championships…”

The first week’s photo was of a “long distance” sled dog team, breed and trained for strength and endurance. This week’s photo is of a “sprint” sled dog team, breed and trained for speed. These dogs can’t wait to get out and run, and fly by at 20 mph as I kneel just inches off the trail. The Open North American Championship is the oldest continuously run sled dog race in the world and probably the premier sprint race in the world. It’s a total time three day event that starts and ends at the Jeff Studdert race grounds in Fairbanks Alaska. Days one and two cover a 20 mile loop and day three covers a 28 mile loop. This photo is of Roxy Wright, a 66 year old great grand-mother and winner of this year’s race, but also of the previous week’s Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Race, the other premier sprint dog race. Although her family is legendary in sprint races in Alaska, it is remarkable that she could come back this year after taking the last 21 years off, and win both premier sprint sled dog races in the world.

Canon 5DIII, Canon 70-200mm IS 2.8 + 1.4x, 1/2500 sec, f/5.6, iso 640, cropped, Lightroom

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Old 04-09-2017   #5
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Default Re: Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Stuck in Alaska…”

Here are a few more from week #2 from about 10 miles into the race on day 3. Even with the bright sunshine it was about -30F. That’s even a bit nippy for us for March 19th.







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Old 04-09-2017   #6
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Default Re: Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Stuck in Alaska…”

Mike, very nice and interesting start to your new 52. Looking forward to more.

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Old 04-09-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesternGuy View Post
Mike, very nice and interesting start to your new 52. Looking forward to more.

WesternGuy
Thank you WG.
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Old 04-09-2017   #8
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Week #3, Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Right place, right time…”

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky rather than good, or more to the point, to be at the right place at the right time. Such was the case in the early morning hours on March 22, as I was shooting a fairly routine and mellow aurora by Fairbanks standards. It was about 12:30 am and about -30F. While I had my shutter already open for a typical 5-6 second shot, a very large and bright meteor flashed right through the middle of my field of view. It is easily the largest meteor I have ever seen. Not sure if could be classified as a “fireball” or not.

I typically will stay out and shoot from about 11:00pm to 3:00am on nights when I am “aurora chasing”. There is quite an active group in Fairbanks. Our fore-grounds and back-grounds are pretty boring compared to other aurora hotspots, but our actual aurora displays are second to none.
Canon 5DIII, Canon 16-35mm II at 16mm, 7.0 sec, f/2.8, iso 3200, cropped, Lightroom.

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Old 04-09-2017   #9
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Week #4, Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Aurora Supershow…”

What a spectacular display of aurora during the early morning of March 27th. One measure of the strength of the Aurora is the planetary index, known as Kp. The Kp index goes from 0-9, and on Monday morning the Kp hit 7, which doesn’t happen that often. The camera sensor certainly pulls out much more color than your eye is able to or is even designed to see at night, but the morning of March 27th was bright and spectacular beyond compare and colors were very visible. I’ve been in Alaska 54 years and this was among the best shows I have ever seen. It may be the last good viewing opportunity this aurora season because of increasing daylight hours in interior Alaska, but boy did she go out with a bang.

Canon 5DIII, Canon 16-35mm II at 16mm, 4 sec, f/2.8, iso 3200, Lightroom.

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Old 04-09-2017   #10
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Default Re: Mike’s 2017 Project 52 – “Stuck in Alaska…”

Here are a few more shots from week #4 since the aurora was so spectacular that night. Strong rayed aurora is almost mesmerizing. When the rayed aurora is directly overhead you are looking at what is called the corona. March 27th had spectacular displays of corona in addition to just other great displays.











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