Tuesday, December 20, 2011

WILD Alaska

This place is everything I expected.  I'm up here in Sitka, Alaska, which is an island on the southeastern part of Alaska.  It's December so there's not much light, but because we are so far south it's much lighter and warmer than I would have thought.  Temperatures hoover around 32 degrees day and night, and it's light from about 8:30am to 3:30pm.  The other camera guys I work with call it our winter raise because since there is less daylight we don't have to work as many hours and get paid the same amount.  With this job we usually film from before sunrise until after sunset, so it's LONG days.  In Alaska, though, it's almost like a normal workday.
I'm filming for the show "Dead Meat", so we've been hunting for deer, ducks, crabbing, fishing, and diving for sea creatures. Then we learn how they cook everything up.  Sea cucumbers have by far been the most disgusting thing I've ever seen cooked.  I also ate gooey duck, which looks like a giant penis with one ball on the end.  The ball part was sliced up and cooked in butter and garlic and was actually really good tasting.
One of the days on this trip was the highlight of my filmmaking career. I was given a hundred buck, a van, and a camera, and was told to go get B-roll (random shots) of the island.  There's only 15 miles of road, but I drove the hole thing trying to film everything I could.  It was awesome breaking away from the crew and doing my own thing.  I went on a hike and got to explore the rainforest, filmed tons of bald eagles, filmed the largest brown bears I've ever seen, and some owls.  When I tried to film town it just pored rain on me, which has been the story of the week.  It pretty much rains, snows, or sleets 24/7 here in the winter.  There have been a couple hour breaks in the clouds where I actually get to see the mountains and realize how amazing this place is.  I've been a lot of places in this world, but Alaska is truly one of the wildest most amazing places I've experienced.
I definitely need to come back here in the spring/summertime.  I've filmed all of this amazing stuff, but there's something missing... I need to get into the mountains and climb or ski or film climbing or skiing.  There is just so much untouched terrain up here I can't even describe it.
It does take a special person to live here year round, though.  One of the hunters that we went out with told me his favorite color was grey.  I giggled a little bit and he said, "No, I'm serious.  My favorite color is grey.  I mean look at all the beautiful shades of grey there are."  We were on a boat driving to another island and the window was foggy, it was raining heavily and you could only see the shapes of land out front.  He said, "Look at how beautiful this is.  You almost can’t even tell the window is fogged."
He was dead serious, too.  There are some special people that live up here who have learned to appreciate everything Alaska has to offer, even the grey days.

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