Tuesday, March 5, 2013

On With the Chase

So it's the final day of our kickstarter campaign.  A million thanks to everyone who helped make this dream a reality.  We're incredibly excited to get out and start capturing the Alaskan sky in all its psychedelic glory, and sharing it with you.  

We've landed, the rental car has been procured, we're checked in to our rooms.  Chris has granted me a moment to tell everyone our tentative plans for this week while he charges batteries and wipes down lenses in preparation for our first night's chase.

To experience peak Aurora activity you've got to get up out of the city, away from all the lights, and the further north you go the better your chances to see them. So after some research we've decided the Steese Highway is our best shot: http://www.bellsalaska.com/myalaska/steesehy.html. For 160 miles or so this highway follows roughly the same course as the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline which meanders from Prudhoe Bay in the Arctic Circle to the port of Valdez in the south - made famous by the oil tanker of the same name that ran aground there in 1989, spilling 11,000,000 gallons of crude into Prince William Sound. There are several pipeline viewpoints off the Steese Highway that we may use as foreground possibilities. There appears to be a parking area that looks out over the city that may prove an interesting viewpoint as well. 

Along this highway is also the historic Gold Dredge #8: http://www.golddredge8.com/ an actual functioning gold mine from Fairbanks' boomtown era with a large, old, industrial looking building that piqued Chris' interest as a solid location. 

And lest I forget to mention the Chena Hot Springs Road that heads westerly off the Steese toward this: http://www.chenahotsprings.com/ which may prove a warm and welcome diversion from all the freezing nights we'll be spending chasing the aurora around.

During the day we have plans to take in the IFSS dog-sledding championships: http://www.northpolechampionships.com/ in North Pole, a town to the southeast (go figure). And the World Ice Art Championships: http://www.icealaska.com/ in downtown Fairbanks. Chris is also trying to coordinate to meet with some pretty prominent aurora scientists from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks to better understand the phenomenon and how best to capture it on film.

“But Erik, (you might be thinking) how do you intend to chase aurora by night and dog-sleds by day? Don't you need to sleep? Or eat?”

An excellent question.  And one I have faith our fearless leader intends to address in due time.  But as you'll recall my own words from the kickstarter intro: "Chris doesn't hardly stop to eat.  Or to sleep.  He's the rare breed of spirit that subsists on passion for his art alone."  Funny how when I wrote that it seemed to me such an admirable trait.  For reassurance I defer to what I said of our past outings: "No matter how much I moaned during production, I could never argue with the product."  So don't cry for me.  I asked for it :)

There's Chris knocking.  Time to go see how these muckboots hold up...

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