Winter Fun in Fairbanks

Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo  The dark days are here in interior Alaska. With only four hours of daylight, it’s become all-important to squeeze in weekend outdoor activities at high-noon. If the lack of daylight weren’t challenge enough for a photographer, I’m also working with custom white balances on the reg.

Ever wondered why your snowy iPhone photos are so blue? That’s your camera white balance messing up the ‘temperature’ of the snow. It even happens with my Canon 5D Mark iii; so I’m regularly using Adobe Lightroom to fix my photos. It’s a lot of extra work that I certainly don’t mind doing for paying clients, but for my own personal work – meh. It’s time consuming and cumbersome. That’s why you won’t see many wintery pro-photos around here.

Indoor photos don’t offer reprieve. Flourescent bulbs, and mixed lighting cause chaos for white balance — maybe I’m overthinking it, as most people might not even notice. An easy fix is a black and white conversion. See Woods below? He’s walking! In color, and in black and white.  Holiday Preparations - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Holiday Preparations - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo For those of you who don’t know Woods personally, let me tell you something about his personality. He loves being a baby. He loves being worn, held and carried, loves being hand-fed, and loves being cuddled. He knows he has a sweet gig going, and isn’t letting up on the baby days anytime soon. So it was no surprise that he took an extra month or so beyond his first birthday to start walking.

Woods also loves to eat. His prime motivation for learning to walk was the multi-tasking appeal of carrying snacks around everywhere. I always know where he is by following his trail of cheerios, or listening for the light crunch of our dog, crumb catching behind him. He has a nice shiner on his eye from face planting on his snack cup just last night. Eat hard, play hard. That’s his mantra. Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo  Holiday Preparations - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Speaking of eating hard, Thanksgiving seemed to last forever around here. I once again made way too much food for my small family. We had Thanksgiving meals on repeat for like, four days. I spent most of the year Vegan – mostly subjecting my family to the same, and have since transitioned to a Vegetarian diet (a life without feta, is not a life I want to live). For Thanksgiving, I went ahead and made an organic turkey for the kids. I had my fair share, too. Our turkey was free range, so I assume the bird lived a happy life outdoors, but the turkey was also from Fresno, so I’m guessing not. Ha! Go Bakersfield! 

We tried to ski it off all the food, but I’m pretty sure one session of XC skiing is not the caloric equivalent of half a dozen pieces of pie, gingerbread cookies, fudge and toffee over the week. I’ve got a few dozen ugly dates with the treadmill this month.

Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Holiday Preparations - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Hot Cocoa is a must - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo        Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Ski Pulk - Ski Pulk Modification - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo   Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo

We’ve really enjoyed cross country skiing this year. It’s our third winter in Alaska, and our first season skiing. We ran out of newborns, and excuses, so we took the plunge and purchased skis. A proper ski pulk or Thule Chariot were out of the question for us (I think $1000 would be better spent in a number of other ways), so we took a utility sled, and rigged our Contours Options Double Stroller seats into it. The seats fit perfectly, and provide just enough structure and wind shelter to keep the kids warm to 0 degrees. Hand warmers and blankets help, and we always end our ski sessions with hot cocoa.

We were so glad to have my mother-in-law Christie here from Oklahoma to celebrate the tail end of Thanksgiving and to partake in Margot and Woods’ baptisms this weekend. I think she and Margot had a great time making gingerbread ninjas and skiing. Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo Cross Country Skiing with Kids - Fairbanks, Alaska | Yea Yea Pueblo


Aurora Borealis

I don’t think these Northern Lights will ever get old. I’ll always enjoy watching them, but I know as the temperatures drop here in Interior Alaska, the desire to sit outside for an hour shooting them will fade. Last week was the perfect climate for catching the Lights show.

Snow from a week ago had mostly melted off, leaving our grass once again exposed. Warmer nights (only dropping to the low 30s) meant down parkas and snow pants stayed in the closet, while we reached instead for vests, light hats, and fleece jackets and gloves. Any colder out, and my fingers would have turned to numb useless nubs, my camera battery would have drained, and my damp hair would have frozen. I don’t know how more disciplined aurora chasers tolerate the freezing temperatures closer to the winter solstice.

So here I present to you the Northern Lights, from October 6, 2015. Hopefully more to come, since this is our last season in Alaska, for now.

And in case you missed it, Isaac and I changed our residency to Alaska. We are coming back to settle down here after his military service ends (not for a few more duty stations, unfortunately). Sorry California and Oklahoma family, but something about this wild, Libertarian place has really appealed to our frontier sensibilities. It must be a mix of the bold folks who live here, the pristine tundra, and the bountiful wildlife and the lack of fashion rules that have really got us dreading the adjustment back to the lower 48 next year.

I’ll miss this one day.

After the Winter Solstice

The holidays and the winter solstice are behind us now, which means we’re gaining approximately seven minutes of precious daylight every day. Our Anniversary, Christmas, and the New Year were nice distractions from the cold, dark winter, but in our normal routine, our happy light has become our surrogate sun and we are often lost in nostalgia for warm summer days, or brisk hikes in the mountains.

When the happy light clicks off, it’s back to reality.

Fairbanks SkylineI’ve never been stuck indoors for such an extended period of time. Winter sports with an infant in tote hasn’t been an option for us, so while Margot works on walking with the support of the furniture, we’ve spent a lot of time working on other projects.

Pioneer Church at Pioneer Park - Fairbanks, AK

Fairbanks, AK Isaac, my wonderful law school drop-out, has been working diligently on the legalities of starting a small photography business — a dream of mine for quite some time now. With all this time indoors, he was able to write my contracts, model releases, expense forms, print waivers and price lists. Then, when were finally ready to make the investment in better camera equipment, we did.

Yea Yea Photography Logo


Now, here we are, launching my own photography business, Yea Yea Photography! I completed my first lifestyle photo session at the end of December when a friend had her baby. I can’t wait to see the prints when they arrive from the lab in few days. I’m proud of this new venture, and excited to see where it takes us this summer when additional daylight translates into photo ops.

Pioneer Park - Fairbanks, AKMargot 9 months - Fairbanks, AK

As the remaining winter days tick by (I think we’re only halfway through), I’ll be working on marketing for my studio, developing a few more recipes, and hopefully touring one or two places outside of Fairbanks to celebrate all of our upcoming birthdays. I’ll be sure to share all of that, and at least one session with my own blue-eyed baby (who is nearly ten months old) soon.

And many thanks to all the wonderful family and friends who frequent this blog and follow along while I practice my photography technique and share my life! Your encouraging comments always make my day.