Road trip?

This Spring three friends and I piled ourselves and a months worth of gear into a 29 foot RV, and hauled it, and 4 snowmobiles into the Chugach mountain range near Valdez, Alaska.

During one month we drove roughly 10,000 miles, shot 30 rolls of film, broke 2 snow machines, destroyed a few pairs of skis, and between the four of us broke the world record for hotdogs consumed (unconfirmed). It was challenging at times, but if we’d wanted an easy trip we would never have come this far north.

Black and white film shot by Hunter Bailey -shot on Ilford film

(Delta 100) This is an ice cave that was near our campsite

lack and white film shot by Hunter Bailey

HP5 Blake with some mountains outside Anchorage

Land of extremes

Alaska is a land of extremes. The northernmost towns in Alaska will not see the sun for 67 days in the middle of winter, but will enjoy almost 80 days of uninterrupted daylight during summer. There is so much unexplored territory in Alaska that scientists are discovering new species every year.

Alaska is the largest state in the US (1,717,856 sq. km) , and ranks 48th in population. Roughly 95% of Alaska is completely uninhabited by man. This is a startling fact, but it makes complete sense once you’ve spent time there. It takes an unusual person to voluntarily subject yourself to the strange conditions that are encountered on a daily basis in Alaska.

Black and white film shot by Hunter Bailey

FP4+ 125 this is a zone we spent a lot of time in called The Hogsback, you can see Troy’s track on the left and mine on the right

Greatest feeling in the world

I grew up skiing, and watching ski movies. An Alaska segment has become a staple of any good ski movie, so I have been watching people ski there for my whole life.

One thing that no movie or photo will every be able to express is the scale that you are working with in Alaska. It is absolutely humongous. It has a way of drawing you in with its beauty, and then scaring the shit out of you right when you start to feel comfortable. Every time I hiked a line I would tell myself that if I made it down this one safe I would never do it again, then I would completely forget about that as I skied down. As far as I’m concerned skiing a big line in Alaska is the greatest feeling in the world. Those few seconds make and entire day of snowmobiling, hiking, and stressing completely worth it.

lack and white film shot of skiier in Alasska by Hunter Bailey

FP4+  Jannick (our filmer) about to drop into a line

Beautiful and Unique

If skiing in Alaska is the hardest thing I’ve done, then shooting photos there is the easiest. Everywhere you point your camera there is something amazing to photograph. My favorite thing to shoot in AK is the mountains. The massive peaks lend themselves to amazing black and white shots. I think that the mountains of Alaska are under-rated by photographers. Most of the coverage of Alaska that I have seen has focuses on it’s wildlife, and it’s fishing industry.

I have grown up in the mountains, and I think it must be my background in skiing that has given me such an appreciation for the peaks in the land of the midnight sun.I think its too easy to photograph the same places that everyone else does these days. Places like Iceland, Lake Louise, and Yosemite have all become a destination for photographers, yet somehow Valdez has eluded this type of tourism despite being one of the most beautiful and unique places I have ever been. The fact of the matter is that Alaska is not an easy place to get to, and a very hard place to stay. Winter sports have given people a glimpse into Alaska, but still only a few come to see it for themselves.


Black and white fillm shot of Alaska by Hunter Bailey

FP4+ Troy on a sled above Prince William Sound and the Valdez Harbor