Thursday, January 18, 2007

Changing my life, five minutes at a time

Hey dudes! So this week has been really full of ups and downs. Monday morning the News crapped out on me saying that they would no longer need me to help cover the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse next month. Bummer. Later that day I went grocery shopping with Sam and was convinced that the trip to Fred Meyer would be the highlight of my day. But later still, I got a call from the Associated Press in Anchorage. They had an assignment for me. Whooopeee! Things were lookin' up. The assignment was to drive the 60 miles (one way) to Chena Hot Springs Resort to photograph Japanese tourists who flock to Alaska each winter to get a glimpse of the northern lights. I drove out there under cloudy skies hoping for the best. But 4 a.m. rolled around and it was still cloudy so I drove home. These tourists wait up all night to try and seem them. I got shots of the tourists sleeping and playing cards and running outside to look up and check for the Aurora. I slept most of Tuesday then drove out again that evening. As I was driving back out there, sure enough, the Aurora blazed across the sky. I was tempted to stop and photograph them there, but no, the AP wanted Japanese tourists in the foreground with the northern lights in back. So, I hauled ass, driving as fast as my pickup would allow hoping to get out there, shoot and scoot. When I finally arrived, the aurora had fizzled out and it started to cloud over. DAMN! I thought I had missed my shot. Around 11 p.m. I was about to drive back home, but a translator (and Sam) convinced me that since I had already driven out there, I might as well stick around. I jumped on a snow coach that hauls tourists to the top of a mountain and when we arrived at the top, it was clear. Hallelujah! I set up my camera, tripod, and flash and waited. Around 1 a.m. green streaks started to flicker across the sky. With each blast of colour and twist of light, the tourists shrieked with delight. They spend thousands (some even take out bank loans) to come here and see this. Then it happened. Holy mother of god. Red and purple and green filled the sky. I have never seen anything like it. IT WAS CRAZY. The lights were moving so fast and changing and it just kept getting better and better and better...YES! I was shooting and shooting and then I just had to stop and watch. Then, just like that, it was gone. I flopped down in the snow and lay there for about half an hour. Tears in my eyes and huge smile on my face, I vowed there and then to be a better person. This was a sign from something. I was spent. Of course, my resolution was short-lived. I'm back to my old crabby, jaded self. But, man, I'll never forget that. I sent the pics off to the AP and editor loved them. He gave me another assignment right then. It's not for while and I don't know the details but involves me traveling to the villages later in the spring. Sweet.
I also got a call from the CBC in Whitehorse yesterday. They asked if I would cover the second half of the Yukon Quest for them. I love radio and am really looking forward to that assignment. Since I don't have any radio experience it'll just be phone hits to their morning and afternoon shows...sort of a reporter-in-the-field type thing. Anyway, life is good. Gotta go run the dogs.
Here are a couple photos that I did not send to the AP.
Peace

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

is that you in that blue snow/jump suit?! What are you doing rolling around like that?
mummbles

akbushbaby said...

no. that's a Japanese tourist.

Anonymous said...

So, where are the slopes?

D & N

akbushbaby said...

Slopes?

Anonymous said...

Did you get any photos of the tourists frolicking in the hotsprings? Glad to hear you had a spiritual awakening of sorts. Life IS good.

laura g. said...

Incredible pics! Way to go on waiting for them. I think I met you last year on the Quest at Angel Creek Lodge. I was Dave Dalton's handler. Are you going to do the Quest again this year?

akbushbaby said...

Yeah, but not as a handler. And I'm only going to be on the Alaska side from Circle into Fairbanks covering the second half for a radio station and mushing magazine. I hate to jump in halfway, but that's life. We had something in common last year...we both had minor accidents with our mushers' dog trucks! ha. Actually I had two: one in Dawson and one in Central. Minor damage and no insurance claims...yea!

akbushbaby said...

Are you handling for Dave again?

laura g. said...

I wish I had known about your accidents at the time, I would have felt a lot better about mine!!

laura g. said...

Nope, I'm not Quest handling this year, I wish I had time but three weeks is a huge chunk. I just handled for John Schandelmeier and Zoya deNure for the CB300--it's only three days which is a bit more manageable!

akbushbaby said...

So are you back in Ontario then? I'm from the Ottawa area...Brockville to be exact.

laura g. said...

Nope--I'm an AK girl, Anchorage to be exact but I try to spend as much time as possible outta anchorage. Will be in Fairbanks all next week watching dogs.

akbushbaby said...

huh. I don't know why I thought you were a Canuck. Maybe Dave's handler before.