I was all set, the warmest jacket, thermals, my trekking shoes and I had the front seat right next to the pilot. The roar began to change its pitch as the chopper pilot did his last checks before the thumbs-up and like magic we were airborne.
Yes I had fantasized about being a pilot and more so a chopper pilot but this was something else. The Boss had given me 20 minutes to be at the pickup point and go on the ride. (Thank you Manny!). In those 20 minutes I got my Lowe-Pro Dry-zone packed with my FM 3A, F-80, and F-90 and a couple of lenses including Otto’s 24mm that he leant me. (Thank you Otto!) As we flew the valley and over the peaks a thousands ghastly thoughts rushed thru my brain but none survived the stampede and soon I was able to free my mind to admire the beauty of the landscape around me. (Though not quite the same but zooming in on Google-Earth does give you an idea of what I saw.)
The chopper landed on the ice field and we stepped out to walk on a slippery rock hard surface that was just ice and nothing else. The guide gave us our crampons and we started walking and that's when I realized the BIG MISTAKE I had made. No I did not forget my slide rolls or the batteries or the light meter, nope, I was just over dressed. The sun shining brightly thrugh the pristine air, the white ice reflecting it all back … I was getting baked standing on ICE! Soon the jacket came off and then the thermals till all I was wearing was a t-shirt. I cursed myself for bringing all the extra luggage on this short trip as I struggled to keep my balance.
For the next hour or so I fought the heat and the weight on my back and took a couple of photographs that made scream “I want more…”
How can you have a river flowing IN a Glacier ? What, you mean there are CAVES inside the Ice? So it takes 300-400 years for this ice to reach the lake ? are amongst the many questions that I hurled at our guide who patiently educated us on the subject. The Chopper returned and we flew back, no ugly thoughts this time … all I was thinking was, how do I get back?
In another week or so I was back in Delhi and the warm summer welcome I got made me want to return to Alaska even more. I had to return and I did after a 2 years and that's when I put together 32˚ Fahrenheit. The 21 photographs are amongst a lucky few that I was able to find the resources to scan, print, and frame many other not so fortunate and yet excellent shots still remain prisoners of the leaves that form the Alaska file in my cupboard.
After nearly 3 months in Delhi and a week in Mumbai 32˚ Fahrenheit is ready to hit the road again.
Below is the link to an article on the show that is in my opinion the best one written so far thank you Matt.
Posted by André Jeanpierre Fanthome at 5:08 AM