I just returned from a 10-photography gig in Alaska. My client is an industrial scales distributor of commercial scales; truck scales, fish scales, warehouse scales and much more. The average person would maybe not find that all that interesting but the variety of industrial businesses that depend on accurate weight measurement for overall company profitability and State of Alaska compliance makes a person realize how important scales are. In ten days, I probably drove over 1500 miles (barely scratching the overall distances available in Alaska) and 20 different business locations.
What makes this type of shoot possible is that I used to live in Alaska and the client is a good friend. Thus, I use a company truck and when visiting the bulk of businesses in the Southcentral area of Alaska (Anchorage and the Mat-Su) I am able to bunk at my friend plush home in Wasilla. During the summer months, if you have not made hotel reservations months in advance, even the most ghetto room in Anchorage might run $350/night versus $49 in the off-season. Rental cars are not available as well.
First-things-first – It’s Sunday…time to play up at Hatcher’s Pass.
Hatcher Pass (3,886 ft or 1,148 m), also known as Hatcher’s Pass, is a mountain pass through the southwest part of the Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska. It is named after Robert Hatcher, a prospector and miner. The nearest cities are Palmer and Wasilla approximately 12 miles (19 km) to the south, and Willow approximately 26 mi (42 km) to the west. The communities are at an elevation of approximately 250 ft (76 m) in the Mat-Su valley.
Back in the day, Dena’ina Indians hunted for caribou, sheep, and moose in the western Talkeetna Mountains until the 1930s. Human development in the area, including the road over the pass, is almost entirely due to gold mining.
Almost all the land around the pass is public; there are numerous widely distributed small private land holdings, mainly mineral estates. The area is popular for daytrip recreation; sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, camping, hunting, white-water kayaking, berry-picking, climbing, recreational gold-mining, mountain biking, etc. Independence Mine State Historic Park, a few miles east of the pass, consists of 271 acres (1.10 km2), with well-preserved mine buildings, and a mining museum which offers underground mine tours. A large tract of land organized as the Hatcher Pass State Management area includes and surrounds the State Park and the pass.