Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Here's a VERY short video before my card ran out of memory of us arriving at Ten Mile Camp. The elders and youth gathered at the river's edge and sang the Ten Mile Song. We weren't sure how people would feel about us being there, so it was a very nice welcome!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

more dogs of the refuge!

One of the things I learned about filming in a village is the concept of "visiting." Hardly anyone has email and phone calls only get you so far. Instead, you go visiting. Visiting consists of dropping by someone's house and just chatting usually for about an hour. It's a whole different way of life, and of producing! It gave me lots of opportunity to hang with the local dogs of our subjects.

Second pic down is elder Roy Sam (in his cool jeans and "Grandpas Rule" t-shirt), who I did dog chores with on two occasions. Third down is a lucky pup with a piece of whitefish. Fourth is a local pup with a delicious entire moose leg! Even though I was warned on a few occasions that a dog might bite me, ALL the dogs were super sweet and loved the extra attention and affection! Oh, and a reminder to check out my cameraman Zak Melm's blog, as there are a lot of pics from the past two weeks!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We were honored to be invited to Cultural Camp by the Northway Village Council to do some filming. Culture Camp is a fish camp that has been around for generations at a location about 10 miles (30 minutes by boat) down river from Northway at Ten Mile Camp. There are some cabins, and most people bring tents. The entire village comes and goes during the week, including elders, even ones who can barely walk are driven by boat to sit for the day and catch up with their neighbors. Ada, who I posted about before (the 86 year old woman who does beading), actually spent the night.

We first filmed the men picking whitefish out of the nets they had set earlier in the day. They do this several times a day. The fish is cut, smoked and shared with the entire village. The purpose of camp is to teach the younger generation skills that they will use their whole lives, such as proper techniques for cutting and smoking fish. You can see the little girl has a tiny ulu to cut her fish, so cute!

They had a huge feast of whitefish and biscuit, which was delicious. They also drummed, sang and danced. It was another once in a lifetime experience. Top photo by Zak Melms. By the way, the amazingly talented Zak started a photoblog, which you can check out: click this

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Here are few more pics from filming at the refuge, although working is a kind of a strange term, because I'm having so much fun! The top pic is a beaver we filmed while canoeing last night at about 9PM. The third pic is me with two South Koreans we filmed who are biking from Anchorage to Vancouver. The bottom one is pretty self-explanatory, me loving local dogs! All photos except top one by Zak Melms.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dogs of the refuge!

Here is a timelapse video my cameraman Zak Melms shot in the refuge yesterday. As you can see, there were several storms through during the nine hours the camera was up. Amazingly beautiful!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last night a moose was hit by a truck on the highway near Northway village in Tetlin. The Alaska State Troopers have a list of people who want to salvage road kill. We heard someone waited three years to get called. The woman on the top of the list this time was Marie Frank, one of our documentary subjects (she makes traditional Athabascan birch baskets). Her son and other villagers towed the moose to the village and skinned and quartered it. Then they hung it in the smokehouse where it will be smoked and cut. It had to be done the same night it was killed because the weather was so warm. So it was midnight when they towed it and we left while they were still working at 2AM. The people who butchered the moose split the meat, and with the other parts they make a huge stew for the entire village, so no part of the animal goes to waste. The guys were working really hard and were fast. It was pretty cool to watch! (top photo by Zak Melms)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Here's a couple of pics of my cameraman Zak filming in the refuge. He definitely takes chances, like balancing on top of a boat, but he hasn't lost a camera yet! The shot of both of us was taken at Deadman Lake. He is filming a time lapse of a spider building a web. The last shot is of Zak filming a refuge biologist checking out a peregrine falcon nest with a spotting scope.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back at Tetlin NWR

I am still producing the Tetlin National Wildlife documentary and am back in the area for the next two weeks. We drove up two days ago, and my cameraman Zak snapped the top photo on the drive there. Then he applied some photoshop magic, although it was nearly that beautiful in person!

Yesterday we went with two refuge biologists to check peregrine falcon chicks still in their nests. They will fledge in the next two weeks. We went to about 10 nests. It's pretty amazing to have access to see peregrine chicks. The adults nest on vertical cliffs and they are not easy to find. Luckily, these nests were all scouted and GPS'd in the spring when the adults were incubating eggs. This was an amazing experience! You can see the chicks clearly, which is pretty lucky, too. Usually, if you are lucky enough to find a nest, the chicks are hunkered down out of the way. You can see the adult, too, she is watching over her chicks closely from a nearby rock. It was a bit hard to shoot without a great lens, but I took these snapshots anyway.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Bolinas has a great Fourth of July parade, with lots of pup spectators!