Saturday, August 20, 2011

Alaska Seen Through a Camera Lens

The team that participated in this week's trip to Alaska represented a terrific group of people. The cast of characters spanned a broad range of scientific disciplines from plant and microbial ecology to hydrology to subsurface science and geophysics. Through this blog you had the opportunity to read their unique perspectives on the places we visited; Nome, Council, Kougaruk, Ivotuk, Atqasuk, and Barrow. You also had the chance to read how each perceives the challenges we face in conducting research on the Seward Peninsula and the North Slope. These landscapes are complex, but our approach is a strong one and this team is ready to move forward with a scope of work that will ultimately lead to improved understanding of basic Arctic processes and the modeling of those in support of improved climate change predictions.

Our team also included a photographer, Roy Kaltschmidt from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Roy took many of the pictures that you have seen this week scattered throughout our postings. His contributions to the NGEE project are easy to spot as they reflect a perspective that can only come from a thoughtful analysis of the lighting, colors, angles, and composition of the scene in question. The majority of our team used their cameras to record an event, Roy used his to capture, and in some cases create, an impression. This proved to be a distinguishing feature of his work.

Roy was present throughout our trip and sat in on our community meetings, project presentations, and field site visits. He never seemed to grow tired. However, while we were having lunch or dinner, possible before breakfast, Roy would often "go missing" only to return 15 to 30 minutes later with stories of people and places he saw around the towns and villages we visited. There was an interesting encounter with the circus clown in Nome and a Snowy Owl in Barrow. As a result of Roy's curiosity hundreds of pictures emerged over the course of our trip. Those pictures do much more than simply record our trip.

I want to thank Roy for joining our team this week. We will compile his photographs and, with his permission, make them available for viewing through the NGEE web site or another site that Roy may designate. We will work out those details and announce that site within the next couple of weeks. We hope that you will then be able to enjoy more of Roy's view of the Arctic.