Frozen Salmon

I walked out to one of my favorite spots along the river this morning. Surprised to find it nearly frozen solid, I decided it was an opportunity to turn my camera away from the big scene and take a closer look at the rapidly changing river. As a true testament to the season, frost flowers have returned and there was a salmon completely encased in ice.

Have a great Monday out there!



Providence Medical Staff Ball

A big thank you to the staff at Providence for having me photograph the 2017 Providence Medical Staff Ball at the Denaina Center on Saturday, November 4. It was a lovely event that I truly enjoyed documenting. Here are the images from that night for attendees to peruse.

I look forward to doing this again next year! 


Foggy, Frosty, Monochrome Morning

Not all the world is a sunny day and with apologies to Paul Simon, not everything looks worse in black and white. It's been quite foggy in the valley the past few days, creating an ethereal mood in the frosty mornings that is perfect for monochrome images.

Also, if you venture out to the Eagle River Nature Center, the Albert Loop Trail has reopened for the season, which is where I took this earlier. The glacier has stopped melting and you will notice how the water is clearing as the silt is carried downstream. 

Happy Friday, have a great weekend out there!



November Sun

The sun is sinking lower on the horizon every day now. In just a few weeks it will drop behind those mountains until late January, at which time it will appear for a few minutes a day, staying a bit longer with each pass and bringing the promise of spring. Alaska is a land of extremes, just like those who seek to embrace every season it has to offer. 

Happy Thursday,



Happy Halloween

Auroras often take on unique shapes while transforming overhead in what is known as a corona. Mirrored images resembling a butterfly or angel wings are common, as are human and animal faces. This is probably why ancient cultures used mythical accounts involving deities and spirits to explain what we now understand is the result of solar particles colliding with gas atoms in the upper reaches of earth’s atmosphere.

Despite having this knowledge, watching images take form across the sky is no less magical and how you interpret them is completely subjective. With a bit of luck, we may have an opportunity to do some cosmic gazing in the next few days as a solar wind approaches earth. In the meantime, I am curious if you see any recognizable shapes in this photo? Share your interpretation in the comments.

Happy Halloween! Have a fun and safe holiday out there









Aurora Borealis Article

I was hoping for a good aurora borealis display last night but alas, the lights did not cooperate. If earth's magnetic field doesn't shift far enough south, lights stay low on the horizon and are not visible back here in Eagle River Valley as we are surrounded by the Chugach Mountains. Since I have no new images to show, you may enjoy this short article about chasing auroras. I was recently interviewed by Melinda Munson of Tripod Communications for this piece. If you'd like to learn some of the basic science behind the northern lights and view some of my best images from over the years, follow this link:

Happy Aurora Chasing!



October 9

Most days I come out here just to breathe, nothing more. When the thoughts stop flowing and I find my breath, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when I find inspiration, when I can imagine.

Happy Birthday John Lennon.




September came on with a vengeance and now it has nearly passed. When the first dustings of snow arrived above 6,000 feet, I assumed it would quickly melt. Instead, it continued to accumulate, hopefully a sign of a snowy winter ahead. Have a great weekend out there, wherever you are!

PS - Don't forget about my signed & numbered bear print promotion. It's not too early to begin holiday shopping:



Brown Bear Sow and Cub, Artist Proof Prints, $75 each

Hello and happy Thursday, friends! I am grateful for the overwhelming response to the photos of the brown bear sow and cub that I shared recently. I have added both images to my online store, available on canvas, metal, or high-gloss photo paper. I have also decided to release the first ten artist proofs, 18x12" high-gloss prints, signed and numbered, for $75 each

It's never too early to begin shopping for the holidays! Follow the link to my online store:

As always, thank you for following my journey. Every purchase helps to keep me out exploring and sharing with the world. Feel free to share!


Morning Brown Bear Cub

Occasionally, if your mind is in the right place, opportunities are presented when subject and light briefly collide. After the moment has passed you may find yourself short of breath, reeling from the exhilaration, knowing that you captured the moment perfectly and no matter how many times you go back and look at the image, scanning for details of exposure and clarity, you nailed it.

When the universe provides such a moment, I am grateful for the experience first and the images second. Given a choice of responding with either ego or gratitude, I will always choose gratitude.



Crow Pass

It was a long day but we made it over the Crow Pass Trail, down to Eagle River and to the Yukla Yurt in about 16 hours (21 miles with a 2,000' ascent followed by a 4,000' descent and numerous water crossings to boot). We started off a bit later than planned and, as a result, finished the final 8 miles in the dark. Many thanks to the crew - Tyler, Jennifer, Amanda, and of course, our fearless canine leader, Freija. We were dragging by the end but everyone arrived intact. I'd been saving this bottle of pinot noir that I brought back from Aurum Wines in 2014 - a winery I lived & worked at in New Zealand. I decided this was a worthwhile event to finally open and share it with friends. More photos to come. Thank you for all the well wishes before our departure and, as always, thank you for following along on my adventures.




Alaskan Llamas

It is not uncommon for a visitor at the Nature Center to inquire about finding an unusual set of tracks while hiking the trails here, smaller than moose but similar in shape. My automatic response, naturally, is that they are the tracks of an elusive unicorn. When that doesn’t fly, I explain that there is a local couple that hikes with their llamas here quite regularly. Last week, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with them. It was a great experience. They made good company, even hauled my tripod for me, and I certainly llearned a llot about llamas!



Iowa Sunset

Back at the airport after a quick weekend getaway to Minnesota and my mom's hometown of Decorah, Iowa to surprise my uncle Harold at his 80th birthday party. Many thanks to my cousin Nikki for taking me out to enjoy the scenery last night and setting us up for this lovely Midwest summer sunset. Let's hope I can get back to Alaska in a reasonable time flying standby.

As always, thank you for following along...


_CTB3470 copy.jpg

Autumn Photography Class

Hello and happy Saturday, everybody! I will be offering a digital photography class on Sunday, September 24, at the Eagle River Nature Center if you or anyone you know may be interested. It begins at 9 am with a classroom portion and then we will go outside for the rest of the day (weather permitting). The focus will be on understanding basic principles of digital photography and shooting in manual mode with an emphasis on capturing fall colors. We will finish around 5 pm. The cost is $75 and is limited to 10 people. Follow the link to register and, as always, feel free to share. Thank you for following along!



Remembering Crazy Jeff, Portraits of an Alaskan Hitchhiker

It's not often that I share the "Facebook Memories" that show up in my newsfeed, but this is worth sharing. It's been 8 years since I decided to take chance by offering a ride to a stranger, which turned into a great friendship. This was written in 2014, after the world lost a very unique soul:

It was a dull, overcast day when I was was on my way to Denali National Park to photograph fall colors and give a slide show lecture to a tour group at one of the lodges near the park entrance. Driving through the endless strip malls and stoplights that make up Wasilla, the scenery matched the muted skies as the line of traffic moved slowly along. As I was passing yet another row of box stores, I noticed a gaunt, lanky fellow alongside the road thumbing for a ride. I caught just a glimpse of his face, but it was enough to see that he had a unique look and exuberant personality that I wanted to photograph.

I’ve been known to give someone a lift when they need it, but this guy looked a little shady; not to mention the large, bone-handled knife on his belt that didn’t put me at ease either. For the next few miles I debated going back to pick him up. I was on a mission to get through Wasilla and up to Denali as quickly as possible but I also saw a potential photographic opportunity that I didn’t want to ignore. I ultimately decided to turn around and offer him a ride in exchange for photos.

I parked my truck and walked over to him, camera in hand. As he stood up from his crouched stance and looked at with me an inquisitive, wild-eyed gaze I asked: “Where are you going?” “Willow” he said, which is only an hour up the road in the same direction I was headed. I replied: “Tell you what, I’ll give you a ride in exchange for letting me take some photos of you, you’ve got a great look.” At that moment, he dropped his head to the side and let out a big laugh, showing off years of poor dental hygiene that only served to compliment his piercing blue eyes, sharp cheekbones and braided goatee. He was the embodiment of Alaskan redneck, standing well over six feet tall and topped off with a hand made birch bark hat. “Sure” he said, and we introduced. His name was Jeff but I silently gave him the nickname “Crazy Jeff” as I shook his hand. I picked up my camera and watched the personality I saw gleaming from the side of the road come to life before me.

There was never a dull moment on the ride to Willow, Crazy Jeff had a lot of energy and I was keeping an eye on the Crocodile Dundee knife still riding on his belt. I brought him to his son’s place and he showed me around the sawmill equipment he had stored there; he was a logger from California who moved to Alaska in his early twenties, continued to work in the lumber industry and did his share of gold mining as well. He was hoping to get his saws and truck moved over to his cabin near Hatcher Pass to start his business up again. I took more photos of him, gave him the sandwich and banana I had packed for the road and continued northward to Denali after getting directions to his cabin.

A couple weeks later I would find my way out to Jeff’s place, the absolute quintessential Alaskan log cabin on the banks of the Little Susitna River, complete with electricity and a stellar view of the Matanuska Range but no running water. Seeing as he was not getting adequate nourishment, I brought him some basic groceries, fresh vegetables from my garden and a few jars of canned salmon. Looking around at his hand made log furniture, books, and guitars it was clear that he was a very talented individual. After that day I would routinely visit my friend, usually with some food I made up at home and a bottle of wine or a few beers. I would show him photos I’d taken; sometimes we would play guitar and one way or another we would almost always end up in some sort of philosophical discussion. A friendship was formed that day I stopped to give Jeff a ride, and to be honest I didn’t do it out of good will, I really just wanted to photograph the crazy bastard!

I hadn’t seen Crazy Jeff, or CJ as I began to call him, for almost a year. I’d been a lot of places since that last visit and I was looking forward to catching up with him and sharing my recent adventures and photographs, so I made a point to stop by his cabin on my way to Valdez yesterday. When I pulled into the drive I saw a number of people outside – four men standing around a pile of lumber and two little girls riding bicycles. Something didn’t feel right, in all the times I’d been to CJ’s cabin I never met another person other than his oldest son Tyler. I walked up to the men, who appeared to be doing some remodeling on the home, and asked if Jeff was around. One of them walked over to me with a blank expression, it was Tyler. He informed me that his dad passed away last November, the result of a brain tumor.

CJ was a man who chose to live in the corners of society and for much of his later years, in solitude. He was extremely intelligent and always up to date on current affairs, but I often wondered if he suffered in his isolation, causing his occasional mood swings. He is gone now, leaving behind children, grandchildren, and at least one person wishing he could have seen that infectious smile one last time.

Shine on you crazy diamond, you were one of a kind and a true friend. Thank you for the wisdom and character you imparted. May the four winds take you safely home.