Along the peaks of the White Mountains in Alaska, a seemingly endless labyrinth of 20 foot tall spruce stand vigilant, surveying the valleys below them. I call them, the sleeping giants.
These stoic towers spread out over 1- million-acres of wilderness.
The range reaches a maximum elevation of 3176 ft. And it is only along the highest points where the relentless winter winds and blowing snow encase the trees in a solid crust of compacted snow and ice.
Standing in awe of such a rugged untamed wilderness eventually gives way to necessary movement in order to generate some warmth.
The hard crunching sound of snowshoeing is sometimes unexceptingly interrupted by punching through the snow’s crust. And it’s easy to loose your sense of direction. Not to mention the howling winds that quickly cover snowshoe tracks made minutes before.
Photographing this place is a challenge, both physically and mentally. Looking through the viewfinder is a calculated risk – any exposed skin against the camera’s metal body means certain frost bite. And pushing the right buttons on the camera with cumbersome mittens is nearly impossible. Removing them for more nimble lighter weight gloves involves some serious consideration. Weighing the discomfort of freezing hands against creating a photograph of such intense beauty with sub-zero temperatures and savage winds is the ultimate conundrum.
It is solitude redefined.