After a long trip, it takes a few days to catch up on sleep and the emails, snail mail, laundry, unpacking and other chores waiting for me at home. It takes a few more days to sort through images, deleting the misfires and almost-hads and what-was-I-thinkings, and sorting the maybe-winners from the definitely-winners. It takes a few more days after that to think about what I have left, and what of those images that I truly love and work as a photograph.
By the time I'm ready to sit down and show some images, I'm weeks removed from the trip and the memories are fading. I go from remembering details across many hours of each day to remembering just the highlights of each day. Often, those highlights coincide with the favorite images. Favorites are more than just keeper photos. They nearly always have real memories attached to them.
In early June, a good friend of mine, Donald Quintana, and I visited Nome, Alaska. It was his second time there, but my first, and my first time witnessing the height of summer just south of the Arctic circle where days are so long you forget how to tell time. There's also birds in breeding plumage that you never see farther south. And baby musk oxen with their squee-inducing moments of cute. But the light, especially the hours of gold on each side of twilight, just might be the best gift of summertime this far north.
Gathered here are my favorite little moments from five days on the tundra next to the Bering Sea.
- An animal of extremes: How the northern elephant seal barely dodged extinction
- River otters and their incredible comeback in California's Bay Area
- A nod to nene: How Hawaii's native goose is returning from near extinction
- Controversy over tule elk conservation on the rise as California's drought worsens