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Operating camera gear at sub-zero temperatures presents some unusual challenges. The camera assistant on this trip, Dealtry Pickford, discovered that even changing film can be difficult since bare skin will sometimes freeze to the metal camera and the film itself turns brittle and the edges become so sharp that you have to be careful to avoid deep "paper cuts" on fingers already numbed by the cold. Batteries go dead much faster in the cold and must be carried (and slept with) close to the body and connected to the camera with a cord run down the sleeve. Camera and lenses must be lubricated with special grease so that their movements don't freeze up solid. In weather this cold, breathing anywhere near the front of the lenses or the eyepiece will leave the glass surfaces looking as frosty as a beer mug fresh from the freezer.

And then there are the other details one must keep in mind when traveling on glaciers, like how deep the crevasses are and what it would be like to fall into one. Crevasses can be concealed with thin layers of snow that give way without warning under the weight of a man on skis. We wisely hired extremely competent guides to supervise all our glacier work, and they assured us that being roped up together and traveling in single file would provide us with the necessary margin of safety.

  Most nights we slept inside rugged mountaineering tents, but when the wind came, up, we made a sturdy igloo that accommodated the four of us quite comfortably. It is stunning to see an igloo illuminated by candles within, perched on a ridge above a massive glacier under a starry sky streaked with green and pink shafts of the northern lights.



Access up into even the foothills of this impressive mountain range would have been completely impractical without the use of rugged little ski-planes, compact four-passenger aircraft that sport skis instead of wheels. As well as delivering us and our gear into hard to reach spots, we used these planes for all of our aerial photography. Robert Fulton, a cameraman who specializes in shooting from planes, used a front-facing camera mount and lump-in-your-throat flying to capture some of the most memorable aerial motion picture images ever shot in the peaks near Mount Denali.

Within the boundary of Denali National Park, a dog sled is the one of the few ways of getting around during the winter, especially if you are lugging 100 pounds of camera gear with you.




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