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Tara Young
Using text adapted from Robert Marshall's "Alaska Wilderness: Exploring the Central Brooks Range" (1929) and images from Expedition Arguk (2013), filmmaker Paxson Woelber's "The World Beyond the World" aims to celebrate that most ancient and sublime of human pleasures: moving through a mysterious, beautiful, and unknown landscape.In 2013, Expedition Arguk walked and packrafted across 300 miles of wilderness in Alaska's Arctic in order to report on Arctic issues and create public-use media from this far-away but increasingly important region. "The World Beyond the World" was shot during the first third of the trip, which took place entirely in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Gates of the Arctic is the second-largest U.S. National Park, but its extraordinary remoteness and challenging weather mean that the park sees relatively few visitors. There are no park guidebooks, maintained trails, campgrounds, or roads.The video was assembled entirely from stills shot with a Nikon D7100 camera, using a Nikon 55-200 VR and a Tokina 11-17 ultrawide lens. Post-production was done in Photoshop and After Effects, with countless hours on a Wacom Intuos4 tablet. You can see the still images from this adventure in an earlier Alaska Dispatch article written by Woelber, and find images on the Expedition Arguk site.
Tara Young

Samuel Johns likes to refer to himself as an artist, a storyteller. He raps, plays traditional Athabascan drums, and gives motivational talks to inspire youth. Johns grew up in Copper Center, a depressed Alaska village on the road system. He cites the availability of liquor in the village as one of the downfalls of the community.“Growing up in the village, it’s good for some people. Some people find their peace in the wilderness and (aren’t) affected by addiction. But then when they are caught in that life, it could kill them.” It’s a story Johns knows well; many of his friends and family in the village have died after getting stuck in addictions.“Growing up in the village is hard,” Johns said. “That’s why I have the ability to share my story, because I know where some of those kids are at.” With few opportunities and an epidemic of alcoholism in rural villages, Johns became depressed and after an alcohol-related death in his family he fell into drinking. He finally gave into the depression and desperation he had been feeling and drank away five years of his life. Johns now sees clearly that there has been a lack of sober male role models in his community. He didn’t have a role model and acknowledges that even he wasn’t present for his first daughter during his years of drinking.Johns now wants to help change that environment for the younger generation living in Alaska Native villages. Through his positive message raps, he’s trying to reach youth in a way that’s relevant to their lives.“Everybody has heard everything on the radio and I’m the exactly opposite of that,” he said. “Rappers, they talk about cars, money, making it rain. People can fantasize about it, but they won’t have a real connection. But when it comes to lyrics about domestic abuse, they can picture that in their mind if they’ve been around that. They can picture it, they can feel it because it’s real. My target is the younger generation. So they can listen to it and say, ‘Man, I kind of want to make a difference in my community.’”Johns, who has been sober for almost seven years now, feels that in the village he never found a healthy way to grieve for the deaths of loved ones. Since January, Johns has been bringing his traditional drum to Bean’s Cafe to play traditional music for the homeless community, many of whom are Alaska Native. He plays music for them to “reconnect them to their lost identity.” He says the drumming is healing and traditionally a way to unite people. It’s his way of helping people heal and connect to their Native history.You can see Samuel Johns’ videos on his YouTube channel.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Tara Young
Meet the newest members of the wood bison family at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where five babies have arrived so far this spring. The center expects another 45 wood bison calves will arrive before the end of the season.Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Tara Young

bethel alaska break up bash 2

It's spring in Alaska, and filmmaker Victor Bee broke out his Phantom drone, equipped with a GoPro, to capture breakup, when the Kuskokwim River ice erodes and floats downstream and frozen ocean ice finally melts.Typically, breakup takes weeks to unfold, with the banks of rivers and creeks flooding. Mud covers most street surfaces. This breathtaking view shows breakup near the mouth of the 700-mile Kuskokwim River as tons of melting ice chunks move down the ninth-longest river in the United States towards Kuskokwim Bay.The shift in the environment is a hopeful one for Bethel residents. Green buds will start popping out of the ground soon, and summer is just around the corner. What was once an ice-covered highway will soon yield salmon. 
Tara Young

Renewable Village

The remote village of Igiugig at the mouth of the Kvichak River on huge Lake Iliamna in Southwest Alaska believes in self-determination, including its energy supplies. With climate change in the Arctic creating more storms and more coastal erosion, the villagers are working to find sustainable ways to create energy and food. Alexanna Salmon, administrator for the village council, and a small group of young, motived local leaders in the village of fewer than 70 people have worked to find ways to utilize renewable energy in their community. Hauling fossil fuels by small plane or boats is costly, and fuel prices are soaring. Salmon and her small team have utilized renewable energy opportunities to show the community and other villages that there are alternatives to expensive fossil fuels.Traditionally Igiugig residents lived in fish camps during the summer, taking advantage of one of  the largest sockeye salmon runs in the world. Today, tourism and fishing bring many people to the area, with several lodges in and around Igiugig hosting the visitors. Rather than live in energy poverty, the residents of Igiugig are testing renewable energy methods, which include solar and wind power. They have started a local food production program to serve the lodges in the area and to feed the community. Greenhouses and wind power have allowed them to enjoy fresh basil and squash in addition to locally hunted and gathered food items.Find out more about Igiugig's renewable energy efforts at EarthJustice.org.
Tara Young

3,000 reindeer flow over Swimming Point, N.W.T.

Videographer David Stewart captured the annual reindeer crossing at Swimming Point, on the Mackenzie River in Inuvik, N.W.T. The crossing takes place when a team of spring herders moves the reindeer from their wintering grounds at Jimmy Lake to their calving grounds on Richards Island. The point where the reindeer cross is known as “swimming point” because the reindeer used to make the crossing in summer.The reindeer herd is Canada's only free-range reindeer herd and the northernmost free-range herd in North America. It was originally a government initiative, started with animals from Norway via Alaska in the 1930s. 
Tara Young
World-renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker returns to Alaska’s Denali National Park to climb Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The rugged majesty and danger of the Great North is captured in this stunning video of mountain climbers and wildlife in this vast national park, which covers over 6 million acres. Conrad has climbed some of the most challenging terrain in the world, a quest that has taken him from the mountains of Alaska and Antarctica to the big walls of Patagonia to multiple ascents of Mount Everest.In this National Parks Epic Challenge video, Conrad shares highlights from his many expeditions to Alaska to climb and ski Denali and the Alaska Range. He also shares memories of camping trips to America’s national parks with his family, where they experienced the joy and beauty of nature together.Find out more about national parks on the National Park Foundation site as well as Owner's Guide to the parks.
Alaska Dispatch

Brad Sherk Art: Alaskan Coast Time Lapse

Brad Sherk started drawing and making art at a very early age and started selling his work in 2010. He mainly uses chalk pastels and conté for his drawings. He has always been fascinated by nature and wildlife and has made it a goal to celebrate nature in his work as well as express environmental concerns.Sherk says he hasn't been to Alaska; “it's on my list, though.” He got the inspiration for the Alaska time-lapse drawing when a friend and his family came back to Ontario after going to Alaska for a family vacation. They showed him incredibly beautiful photos of the sea stack islands that they kayaked around in an inlet. Sherk also had recently watched the documentary “Blackfish” and was interested in creating a piece that celebrated orcas in their natural habitat.This video is the first in a series Sherk made in collaboration with his brother, filmmaker Darryl Sherk. For other time-lapse videos by Sherk borthers, check out their YouTube channel.
Alaska Dispatch

Motorcade transports bodies of Alaska State Troopers

With a clear blue sky and temperatures pushing the 70-degree mark, Friday, May 2 should have been remembered as an unusually perfect day in Alaska's largest city. But it was far from perfect. A long line of Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage police, and other law enforcement vehicles slowly drove through the city's center escorting the bodies of two Alaska State Troopers slain a day earlier 281 miles away in the village of Tanana. Read more: Troopers release details surrounding fatal shootings in Tanana
Tara Young

Rainy Pass Lodge is the oldest continuously operating hunting lodge in Alaska, set deep in the wilderness 120 air miles northwest of Anchorage. 2014 marks the lodge’s 77th year in existence. Exclusively a hunting lodge in its early days, Rainy Pass Lodge is now open year-round to cater to snowmachiners, ptarmigan hunters and the Iron Dog and Iditarod races, as well as summer guests and horseback riders.Buckey Winkley came to Alaska in 1961 and has been the resident hunting guide at Rainy Pass Lodge since 1964. Winkley was born 20 miles north of Boston, and he says, “That’s why I still sound like a damn Kennedy.”As a child in the 1950s, Winkley enjoyed history and reading, and he immersed himself in hunting articles, hunting books, and books about natural history. “To me there was nothing more exciting than hunting a grizzly bear in Alaska.” His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all hunters. He started shooting guns when he was 5 years old, and started collecting them in high school. Winkley says he’s always been a collector, and out of the 145 antique guns in his “museum,” he’s shot more than 70 of them.“There’s guns in here that are over 400 years old," he said.Some things haven’t changed at Winkley’s cabin in the past 50 years -- his closest neighbor is still 35 miles away. But one thing that has changed -- in a positive way -- is the way the Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulates the hunting business and ensures there are animals enough for hunting year after year. Winkley had high praise for “the game wardens that enforce the laws, the biologists that study it. Alaska Fish and Game department is one of the best in the world.”This remote spot deep in the Alaska wilderness is where Winkley calls home. Rainy Pass Lodge owner Steve Perrins says Winkley tends to be a hermit once and a while, but Winkley says laughing, “everybody has their moods. There’s times I like to be left alone, dammit.”Watch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Tara Young

Delta Junction Aurora

Filmmaker and photographer Sebastian Saarloos was born and raised in Alaska and is a land surveyor by trade, and also has also served on the Delta Junction City Council. He's been taking photographs since digital photography started back in the late 1990s, but really dedicated himself to shooting when he got sober in 2011. It gave him a way to focus his energy and passion, and avoid the bar scene.This video was shot with a Nikon D300 near the airport in the Interior Alaska community of Delta Junction on April 23-24, between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Saarloos uses Facebook, weather and space weather websites, aurora webcams and apps on his phone to help him know when to go take aurora photos. You can see more of Saarloos' work on his Facebook page.
Tara Young
Ryan Lightbourn is a filmmaker from Nassau, Bahamas, who's currently based in Orlando Florida.  He traveled to Alaska on a cruise with some 30 family members for his grandmother's 89th birthday. As usual, he brought along his video camera to capture some of the the raw beauty of the Alaska wilderness with his Canon 5D Mark III camera shooting Magic Lantern Raw, super wide footage.Lightbourn shoot films and music videos professionally, but it's playful shoots like this that he most enjoys. It's the only time he doesn't feel like he's working while standing behind a camera. Lightbourn grew up on a tropical island, so islands, sunshine and crystal clear water, are familiar territory. Nevertheless, he said he found the scale and scenery of Alaskan mesmerizing. In 2011, Lightbourn's short film Roid Rage was screened at Screamfest in LA, went viral on YouTube and had over 3 million views. He continued working on short films, and has just completed his first indie feature, "Sleepwalkers." 

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