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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Point Hope Alaska
    Posts
    84

    High in the Arctic !! Eskimo....!

    Hello, from 200 miles above the Arctic circle in the Northwest portion of the state of Alaska lies the oldest continually inhabited or settlement in ALL OF NORTH AMERICA. LIfe can accurately be traced back here to over 3,000 years ago.

    Point Hope Alaska is a tiny whaling community of only 750 people that live and hunt the bowhead whale!

    Come see and learn the Eskimo way !



    Cruising for a whale @ 50 below zero, At this present moment we are camped 7 miles out on the ocean ice pack in the Chukchi Sea in the Bering Strait of upper Alaska 200 miles above the Arctic circle.

    We sleep outside with no tents @ temps of 50 below zero or colder.



    We seldom sleep out here, due to the fact that we now have sunlight 24/7, and everyone is solar powered, you can easily stay up for 3 days or longer with no sleep, when your tired, just lean back on that sled and take a nap for a few hours and your all charged up for another 3 days or more.

    This is a typical whaling camp, this is home for two months or longer depending on the condition of the ice.

    GLOBAL WARMING ?? ?? ?? during the 1980's we noticed that the ice was getting closer and closer to land, during the 1990's we were whaling from the land we had virtually no ice.
    but for the last 4 years in a row, we have had the best ice in decades, go figure,
    We started this year, 11 miles out on the ice pack, that ride takes many many hours.




    Home Sweet Frozen Home - This is where we sleep, wait, watch, hunt. 24/7 for 8 - 12 weeks
    this is how we hunt for food !



    I was sent to this village for just 3 weeks as an electrician to wire two construction camps. When the job was finished, I quit the company and stayed.

    I have never had any classes of any type on photography, I have learned by making all the mistakes a person can make, recognizing them and being careful not to repeat those mistakes.

    I had 60 rolls of color film and no water !! NONE.. just SNOW

    and it took me months, many months to melt snow to obtain the necessary precious water to mix chemicals and develop this film and process the images (11 x 14) with gorgeous COLOR


    Many miles out on the ocean ice, I meet up with this young girl 10 years old sitting on a snowmobile, I walked over and raised my camera and she began to smile. I brought my camera down and said .. Please Kathy, no, do not do that. Again I brought my camera up and her face changed. I said Kathy, I am not here, you cannot see me. Look past me as though I am not even here. I spent 1/2 hour talking to her, and only exposed
    one frame of film.. Yes ! Yes ! -=[click]=-


    I have lots of incredible images and stories that you will find difficult to believe. so stay tuned for High in the Arctic.. .. ESKIMO !!!
    Practice .. .. .. .. makes .. .. .. .. Better !

    Blog of ICE


    Arctic Forum


    ALL PHOTOS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Nsw Oz.
    Posts
    916

    WOW. Welcome.

    Those shots are great. Please feel free to share.
    Kev.

    D200~
    24-70mm f2.8 , 50mm f1.8, 70-200 f2.8 VR.more

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    143
    Amazing. Just incredible. Please share more.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Derbyshire, UK
    Posts
    2,472

    Good shots & a good read

    Welcome to the forum. Excellent first post well done, I look forward to the next installment.
    Around every picture there's a corner & round every corner there's a picture
    - the fun's in finding them

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    2,605
    I love your 3rd shot. Seeing your feet in the picture really makes it seem real
    Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro, Tokina 12-24
    Flickr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Point Hope Alaska
    Posts
    84

    Arrow Thank you all so very much for your kind words.

    I am so glad you appreciate these images, and incredbile amount of work and undescrible pain went into creating these images.

    Here is one day I will never forget, it was so cold more than 60 below zero!

    Taking off your gloves to TRY and insert film was an excercise in PURE TORTURE. Agony beyond description, intense pain. Just after this image was created, I screamed ! because I had to change film, again ! Oh no !



    I suffered so much, because I would not listen to the advice of the Eskimo's!

    Yuk ! .. .. they kept telling me... "This is why your nose runs so much in the cold.. .. use it" !.. .. .. .. double yuk !!!

    I am sitting in the biggest walk in freezer in the world, no electricity needed, I am surrounded by ice on all sides basically, for hundreds of miles in all directions ! ICE ! -

    Then I had no choice, but to listen and do what they told me to do. My hands are freezing, my fingers are hurting and I can't move them, the pain, so I take my gloves off in sixty below, and blow my nose onto my hands and rub it all in and put the gloves back on quick. WowoW ! INSTANTLYmy hands, are warm, my fingers are moving, and, they didn't hurt, when they warmed up as they so often do.! WowoW !.. Everyone is laughing at me, because they see the big smile on my face, for the first time, my hands are warm !



    18 WHALING CAPTAINS (Umalik) are spaced out 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile apart on the edge of the ice pack in the Chukchi Sea in the Bering Strait of the upper Arctic region.

    Some families stay together out on the ice. Every camp is set up identical in every aspect. Certain items only belong in one place.
    750 people are currentlly 7 miles out, hunting, we have struck 3 whales, succeded in capturing one, so far.



    How do you suppose we get delicous fresh drinking water way out here in the middle of a frozen salt water ocean ??

    We melt snow, just for washing, dishes, etc. but for drinking .. .. we use Eskimo Technology to get the salt out of the ice ! Any idea on how that is accomplised ??

    Time tested methods that work, for thousands of years, in this one spot of land.

    Tikigaq = Point Hope. Tikigaqmuit = People of Point Hope.

    See that ice on the other side of the lead opening ? It is moving very quickly, from right to left in that image, DON'T WATCH THAT ICE !.. .. ..

    Again, I learned the hard way. It is very easy to hallunicate here out on the ocean ice, The sunlight is so intense, and reflections are bouncing off that ice in all directions. As you begin to watch that ice, it will suddenly STOP, then you begin to experience the sensations of going in the opposite direction, and I always kept falling over, again laughter erupts! I had these people constantlly laughing.. .. .. .. dumb city boy from Boston!

    I am just an electrican, that is / was obsessed with photography!
    I have never had any classes or teaching other than books, and making all the mistakes.

    I bet you think you know, what the word Igloo means, or is.
    I bet your wrong !

    First of all the Inupiaq Eskimo language contains no O's or E's, so the word
    is correctly spelled Iglu.
    In Alaska, Above the Arctic Circle, since eons ago, over 3,000 years, the Inupiat people(s) have always used: Whale bones & Sod to create a dwelling place. Iglu = one dwelling place, Iglut = two dwelling places, Igluk =3 or more

    Here is a "real' Iglu, broken down, abandoned many years ago, but this "condo" once had electricity running to it via one wire, you can see the porcelean on the service drop stick on the left !



    Some ruins visible today at the Old town site in Point Hope. The village had to be moved in the 70's due to flooding.

    This is Point Hope



    and I am located here ..



    And a better view here



    My house is here. LOL I think I am perhaps the only person ever, to go UP on his rent, we just started giving our landlord and extra $50. So we raised our rent .. to 200 a month LOL !!
    He doesn't know yet. but we have a BIG RENT INCREASE COMING SHORTLY.



    And here is the world famous: Whale Bone Graveyard as it is the only one in the entire world ! sob ... I know, personally over 150 people that I was very very close to, that are buried here, so many young people and all the elders are gone, due to cancer. Accidents are what kills so many people here,
    that and NOT LISTENING to the very last words, that were spoken to them!

    Last edited by Majik_Imaje; 05-18-2007 at 09:36 PM. Reason: corrected file extension syntax

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    2,605
    Quote Originally Posted by Majik_Imaje View Post
    How do you suppose we get delicous fresh drinking water way out here in the middle of a frozen salt water ocean ??

    We melt snow, just for washing, dishes, etc. but for drinking .. .. we use Eskimo Technology to get the salt out of the ice ! Any idea on how that is accomplised ??

    Time test methods that work, for thousands of years, in this one spot of land.
    Do they freeze it?

    Interesting method of staying warm ... it can get pretty cold here (but not as cold as you. Down to about 40F below zero.) I might have to use it sometime! Yuk is right!
    Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro, Tokina 12-24
    Flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Point Hope Alaska
    Posts
    84
    Kakiik (Kah keek) is the Eskimo word for that stuff that is coming out of your nose.

    But this will not work in a "damp" enviorment such as the East Coast, it has the opposite effect !

    We use the Sun, to take the salt out of the ocean ice !

    Stand up, any large piece of ice, Now remove all the snow off the top and some of the sides.

    As the sun beats down on that piece of ice, it will become "clearer" the salt is starting to settle in that frozen piece of ice. When it becomes very clear then take your ice pick and chop horizontally and put those pieces into your kettle to melt over the wood stove.


    Are you cold ?? then pick up that hacksaw and cut some thin slices of Raw Frozen Caribou Meat, make them small, and swallow them whole, do not chew them. FILL your stomach full, ! Your stomach has to work very hard to digest all that raw frozen meat, or fish. This is a hunters breakfast, quaq
    (quaK) sorta of we don't have a "sound" in english so that I can type it phonetically. cawk but K is the worng sound, too harsh and strong.

    When your stomach kicks in to digest that food, you will begin to generate body heat the likes of which you have never ever experienced ever.
    At 30 below zero, we are talking clothes OFF, because we are too hot !



    Here is a typical whaling camp, each camp is identical in every aspect.


    Wait, watch, listen, eat, wait, watch listen. eat.. .. .. a 2 month picnic ! While we gather food for the rest of the year, until we come down here again.

    It is mid May and this is taken at midnight, Jake my umalk (whalinlg captain) isupon the ice, looking for signs of whales headed this way.


    There is nothing but the sound of the wind and the movment of the ice. One side of your face is sweating and the other side is being frost bit, this is something very difficult to get used to.
    Practice .. .. .. .. makes .. .. .. .. Better !

    Blog of ICE


    Arctic Forum


    ALL PHOTOS

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Nsw Oz.
    Posts
    916

    Lightbulb Majik_Imaje.....

    ..... I have lived in deserts, I have experienced extremes, nothing I have done compares to the sacrifice & the humbleness that it has taken for you to live that life of extremes. I'll say it again WOW!!!!, thank-you for sharing. P.S. Was wondering how you take a dump at -60, man thats gotta hurt.
    Kev.

    D200~
    24-70mm f2.8 , 50mm f1.8, 70-200 f2.8 VR.more

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Point Hope Alaska
    Posts
    84

    Talking Well I have been wondering for years why ?

    some people .. ... .. "take" dumps.
    i have never, ever, "taken" a dump.
    Everytime i hear someone say that "term" for 30 years, my first response is always, why ? what do you do "with" it after you "take it " ??
    The great mystery remains!
    I always "leave" them, !!! "wiping our butt with a piece ice @ 50 below is no joking matter!

    I figured if I didin't eat, then I would not have to "leave" something. But it didn't work out quite that way, Drawing yellow lines on the side of a large piece of ice, was no problem at all. but how do you get um. 4" through six inches of clothing ? THAT WAS THE DIFFICULT PART oh well, dribble dribble.

    But seriiously, yes, everyone has to make a "deposit' so to speak out there, and everyone has their own personal private "depository" anyplace they want, but be careful, men are men, no matter which part of the world you live in. And men have binoculars, and these women know it, and it is hard sometimes to find a place that someone cannot see you from far away, especially if they are much higher up than you are. LOL !!!

    These are some of the remains still visible in the Old town site of the village as we see it today! photo taken last summer (August).



    WE are covered with snow here 9 months of the year. and we love it! I wouldn't trade this lifestyle for anything anyplace whatsoever, no matter what the price.



    I am traveling over to the old town site with Rosella, (tribal doctor), WowoW, we happen to see this Snowowl, that accidently stepped into a trap for an artic fox. The four legged type.
    Rosella is laughing as she bends over and picks up a huge log and WHOMP ! she said. come to my house for supper tommorrow, she burst into uncontrollable laughter when she saw the look on my face.
    Ukpik - Eskimo Chicken ! every feather is saved and used in clothing and such, mittens, mukluks for lining etc. nothing is ever wasted in an eskimo household, even zip lock baggies are wahsed out and saved. We do not throw them away. we have lots of uses for them at whaling time.



    Each tent area is set up identical no matter which of the 18 camps you visit. Everything is in the exact same place. Time tested methods that work.jpg


    It is 60 below outside, that is why their are male occupants in this tent, usually this tent is for women only, and the boyer who helps them during the day. Once this dough is all mixed up, it is placed in a clean plastic bag and then the woman puts her parky on and the bag is inserted under her parky next to the outside of her shirt. her body heat will cause that dough to rise just right !



    At night when the women go to sleep. It is the bohers job to stay up all night long by himself. keep that woodstove burning, keep the tent at the correct temperature, chop wood with an axe, use sicpan (extermely flammable seal oil) for coating the wet wood so that it can burn and keep this tent warm. There is a lot of food stored in here that must not freeze.
    this boyer, must melt snow for washing the cups and thermoses and make new Kettles of coffee, tea and hot chocolate to fill the thermoses and bring them down to the hunters at the lead opening, He is alone and armed with many rifles in case of polar bear attacks ! He has to keep a sharp eye and inspect the tent area for new cracks in the ice that can appear at any timie.
    So.. hand your lighter and any matches over to this 3 year old boyer and go to sleep, your in good hands, he is well trained !



    The wind is very important, if and when it shifts, we have very little time to evacuate and everything & everybody must get off that ice. an avalance of sorts is headed our way. WHEN the strong Arctic winds blow, that ice pack picks up speed, and it will run over and crush everything in its path.



    That seven mile journey out to the edge of the ice pack takes many hours, and with a mass exodus occuring, anything can happen, this ice is very dangerous, getting caught on the wrong side of the ice, well not too many people have survived that because you never know, when your on the wrong side, until it is too late !

    Practice .. .. .. .. makes .. .. .. .. Better !

    Blog of ICE


    Arctic Forum


    ALL PHOTOS

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