The last 3 months have been some of the craziest and most exciting of my life. A big part of that has been my project with The Break Free Program. As this last month of the project wraps up, I wanted to give you all an update on how things are going and talk about some of my images from my final photoset.
An exciting place I got to go shoot this month was Seward, Alaska. I figured the Alaskan coast would be a great place to capture toward the end of my project. Coastal Alaska is a unique region of the world. These areas are unlike any other place I’ve been before. Mountains come directly out of the ocean on all sides. Some of my favorite shots from this trip were long exposures of water. Live ND Mode on my E-M1 Mark III made it simple since I didn’t need any external filters. With a little bit of trial and error I was able to capture this.
Working to create these images has forced me to learn so much. Before this project I wouldn’t always have an obvious foreground or leading lines in my frame. Thankfully, my Olympus mentor, Matt Suess, has been incredibly helpful and pushed me to improve in those areas. This photo I took standing on sea ice (without ice spikes) is a good example of that progress.
Another thing I learned to improve was my long exposures and night photography. Both were things I had rarely tried and understood even less. With practice and some tips from Matt, now they are two of my favorite types of photos. On top of that, Olympus’ nifty features like Live ND and Starry Sky AF makes it that much more convenient.
The heart of this photoset was to create and capture Alaska’s winter. To do that I’ve gone into sub-zero temps, crossed frozen lakes, and avoided avalanches. The physical effort I put into many of these photos makes them really special to me. There have been disappointments and seriously exciting moments throughout this project. Weather in Alaska is rarely predictable and often is unfavorable for photography. Despite the challenges this project has resulted in some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. I look forward to what comes next for me here in The Last Frontier. Our summers receive almost 24-hour sunlight which makes for a different world for photography.
It’s still blows my mind that I’ve gotten to photograph the Aurora Borealis and a frozen ocean in a place so far North. I never expected my photography journey to go this far. It’s an honor to document this, and I’m thrilled to share this final project with you all. I hope it inspires you.