Stills With Jake Elko
It was around the time of the year when you almost forget how nice it is to be able to drive on dry pavement. My brother flew in with his girlfriend, both from Pennsylvania, for some spring adventures around Alaska. After seeing some sights around Anchorage for a few days, we wanted to head towards Valdez, since Thompson Pass had just opened a few days prior. I broke out the summer tires and we were on our way. Up the Glenn and towards Glennallen, we started to see the peak of Mount Drum show its face. We had been driving for a few hours, so we decided to stretch our legs and skate down the long, open road. I noticed my brother couldn’t stop looking at the massive mountain ahead of him, so I decided to pull my camera out and take a picture of him on his skateboard. The image I ended up with may just be my favorite photo I have taken in Alaska so far. It shows how small we really are in this world and gives a feeling of relief and wanting of summertime. I can still feel those first mosquito bites on my legs every time I look at this picture.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of watching the Northern Lights, as someone who didn't see them growing up. When I first moved to Alaska, I lived in Fairbanks in 2014 and 2015, which allowed me to watch the Aurora dance, what seemed like, at least three nights a week. I remember this night in great detail because of the anticipation to set out and shoot photos of what could be the last extremely vivid light show of the season. I left my cabin around midnight and drove about 15-miles up Murphy Dome Road. Murphy Dome gives an amazing view of Fairbanks at night, along with a clear view North, without light pollution, which allowed for ideal Northern Lights viewing. A few friends were supposed to meet at the dome, but plans fell through and it was just myself and a couple other locals from Fairbanks. You hear stories of locals seeing purple, red, orange, and even white aurora, but I have never experienced such a storm until this night.