I’m back from vacation. Over 3 weeks traveling through Alaska, Yukon and northern BC yielded approx. 4500 clicks of the shutter and somewhere between two and three thousand different compositions of flowers, landscapes, animals and more.
The joy of experiencing the beauty and wildness of these places, however, was tempered by the grief of losing a friend and co-worker, Peter Wharton. I learned of Peter’s passing early on during the trip, and there is no doubt it affected what I photographed; I’ve many images of placid and reflective waters.
While in Fairbanks, I learned of the photography of Michio Hoshino from a few photographs featured at the highly-recommended Museum of the North. Hoshino’s images of Alaska are unsurpassed. You can view a few of them in the museum’s online exhibit about Hoshino: Coming Home. Hoshino’s photography is matched by his writing, but much of it can only be found in its original Japanese. Translations of only a few selections have been made, I believe.
One passage from Hoshino: “I remember one day, a long time ago, on my first visit to the coast of the Arctic Ocean, when I tried to take a picture of a single thrush, resting on the top of a beached log. I had found it odd that here, in the midst of the treeless arctic tundra, a drifting tree would have been lifted up onto the shore. This was a spruce tree that had drifted down a river, and after a long journey had arrived at the sea. Carried along by an ocean current, it one day reached these distant northern shores. Its branches fallen off, and its bark peeled free, the tree had become implanted in the sand pointing up toward the sky. It had become a landmark, and not only provided a place for the thrush to rest its wings, but also a scent station where the arctic fox marks its territory. As it slowly rotted, it imparted nutrients to the soil, which one-day might nourish flowers in their short summer bloom. As I thought about this, the boundary between life and death became blurred, and I realized that all things have embarked upon an unending journey.“
Today’s plant is commonly known as Arctic starflower. It is found in the woods and subalpine meadows of both northwest North America and northeast Asia.