Snow and cold reach out to us. The cold is really an amazing thing in the Alaska winter; it’s indescribable, though we all try to do exactly that. It’s invigorating, it’s intimidating, it’s challenging, but it’s also incredibly, and inexplicably, beautiful. The real cold, that minus 35 degrees cold, is something so unique it’s almost impossibly to talk about.
My first winter in Alaska, I spent much of the time living in a small cabin belonging to mr Jim Edwards, a wonderful, wonderful old man who I enjoyed coming to know very much. And that little cabin, with it’s broken glass windows and holes in the roof and leaky walls, a home for 2 winters for me, taught me so much about the cold. Here, the cold became a very real ‘thing’, some tangible, physical being. It knocked on the door, tapped on the window and asked to be let inside. Demanded to be let inside. It made every persistent effort to sneak in through the floorboards, or the cracks in the windows, or under the door, or anywhere else of a dozen or more places.
And my little wood stove fired up and fought it off, again and again., much to my relief.
This scene above just felt cold to me, and that’s what I wanted the photo to represent. I didn’t want to simply use a cooler white balance in the post-production and tone everything down, because I wanted it to be starker, wilder, than that. More still than that. More alone than that.
So I processed the image in black and white, and I feel the photo now conveys a good sense of the boreal forest, the wilderness in Alaska in the middle of the winter. I stopped here for about an hour, listening to the silence, and feeling the cold. And then I shot some images.
Black and white photo of the boreal forest and the Wrangell Mountains in winter, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.