Favourite photos #1 – Camp for the night on the coastal plain of Alaska’s North Slope

It may be surprising to some that I am not a great believer in the significance of photographs, perhaps a heresy and doubly so as I am a professional photographer, a peddler of seductive images. Still when it comes to the Arctic I can’t help myself and I am seduced, as many of us are, by the Arctic’s extraordinariness and the possibility that I might just be able to bottle some of it and take it home. After a trip a few images amongst a stream of many become my mementos, just as this image from 2009 has done.

On this day Joe Henderson and I, and his all important malamutes, are mid way across a 120 mile traverse of rolling tundra. Over several days we have travelled from the Brooks Range mountains that you can see in the distance, bathed in evening sunlight, and are heading for the Arctic Ocean to the north. We are camped next to a lake, which is invisible beneath the snow, the tents are set and the dogs are picketed, it’s a tranquil evening. I am standing on a low bluff photographing as the mountains briefly reveal themselves, a photographic moment. The day has mostly been overcast with a heavy lid of cloud and we have travelled through an all white terrain with little in the way of graspable features, not an easy day for photography with a flat light that fails to render more than two dimensions and is tricky to navigate in three. It’s little wonder, with such a sensory void all around, that I find myself daydreaming, and I am sure that I am not the first person to analogize seafaring with arctic travel, but on this day it did feel like we were at sea in a rolling oceanic swell with only dead reckoning to guide our course. Hove to that night and with this brief appearance of the mountains I regained my bearings and confidence in photography’s ability to distill a little bit of the Arctic.

Andrea Loveland Henderson Joe and I always enjoy your beautiful photography from your arctic expeditions. They preserve such special memories for us. Thank you!!

Angus Mill Thanks, but thank you for making such rare experiences possible! Look forward to catching up with your tales from this year.

Gil Beautiful, timeless, mythical an amazing image.

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