Reading the North

The Polar Bear Scientists

By Peter Lourie (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The blurb: The latest edition to Scientists in the Field, a children's book and young adult series, "The Polar Bear Scientists" follows real-life researchers as they study bears on the North Slope.

Excerpt: "In the whole world, there are probably fewer than thirty people who spend all or most of their job working with polar bears. A veteran polar bear biologist, and the godfather of Alaskan polar bear research for the past thirty years, Dr. Steven Amstrup has worked full-time on polar bears since he joined the Polar Bear Research Project in 1980.

"Steve loves these animals because they're the largest bears in the world and they live in the most mysterious environment. 'Plus,' he says, 'polar bears are the apex predator. If polar bears are doing well, probably the Arctic ecosystem is doing well.' Studying these bears is like looking through a window into the entire ecosystem in which they live."

Not Quite Black and White

Photos by Joe Kashi (Joseph Kashi)

The blurb: This collection of photographs were mostly taken on the Kenai peninsula, featuring digital images taken with the full spectrum of colors but with the ambience of traditional black-and-white photography.

Excerpt: "As I transitioned from large format black and white photography to digital photography, I first experienced the typical burst of brightly saturated digital color images but soon realized that I missed the expressiveness and sense of abstraction found in tradition black and white photography. Over time, one of my evolving bodies of work became the making of digital color photographs that were 'Not Quite Black and White,' merging traditional sensibilities with full spectrum digital color imaging.

"These photographs are mostly of mundane sights, such as mud puddles, icy surfaces, and foggy beaches. They are not heavily desaturated nor otherwise highly manipulated. Instead, their resemblance to tradition black and white photographs is primarily the result of the choice of subject and lighting."

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News